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Who Am I?
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Who am I? I've been asking myself the same question for years. Most women answer by reciting whose wife they are, whose sister, whose daughter, whose friend; are they married and how many children they have. A definition by relationship. But who is the person at the nexus?

I'm a New England Yankee by birth (right around the time of Pearl Harbor, if anyone's interested). The genuine article. My ancestors crossed the Atlantic not once, but three times, looking for religious freedom. They were Quakers and their first arrival on these shores taught them the truth about Puritan intolerance.

Back they went to England, only to discover that Quakers and Catholics were being persecuted in their homeland. One last trip back to the colonies and settlement in a more Quaker-friendly group. All the while my female ancestress was naming her babies Tolerance, Deliverance, Sarah, Faith, and so forth. Can you imagine what it took to make that voyage while pregnant and raising little ones? I come from sturdy, resilient stock.

My ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, family members on both sides, as so often happened in those days, split on issues of loyalty versus self-governance. Governor Tryon of North Carolina had to take refuge on a British warship, while other ancestors fled (temporarily) to Canada, and yet others joined the rebellion.

My ancestors maintained a station on the Underground Railroad, where escaped slaves hid in the bricked in space behind the main fireplace and waited for the next conductor. They risked their lives to do what was right. I reflect and honor a heritage of political and social values, of speaking truth to power.

I grew up in New England in a small traditional village (a village green, a general store, a gas station and a church). I skipped a couple of grades along the way and graduated from Woodstock Academy at 16. Left home and went to California, which was as far away as I could go without falling into the ocean.

I have a B.A. in Philosophy and minors in Psychology and Geography. I have an M.A. in South Asian Studies from Berkeley, where I was a grad student during the Free Speech Movement days. If you know anything about that era, you can fill in the rest for yourself.

Freedom Summer I registered voters in the South, Mississippi 1964, if my memory is correct (it was a long time ago). I served two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India.

I taught elementary school in the poorest areas of my current city for many years and now I continue to serve the students of our city in a different capacity.

In the spirit of my New England ancestry, I am a Unitarian and my Unitarian community has become my second home. I take it as a compliment when you refer to me as a liberal.

And now, approaching retirement fairly soon (if the economy doesn't tank entirely), I'm looking forward to being able to devote myself full time to service projects and political activism for candidates and policies that enhance justice, peace and caring for the planet that nourishes us all.

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