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Holidailies (see link to left) starts this year on Monday, December 6th.

In which I introduce myself:

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 of a person by her relationships. But who is the person at the core?

I'm a New England Yankee by birth. 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.

Once more across to England, only to discover that Quakers and Catholics were being executed for being nonconformists. 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, Charity, Hope, Faith, and so forth. Can you imagine what it took to make that voyage while pregnant and raising little ones? I can only shake my head in admiration.

Later, my family maintained a station on the Underground Railroad. I promote and honor a heritage of political and social values, of speaking truth to power. Behind the massive kitchen fireplace, accessed by wooden pull-out cabinet shelves, was a small waiting area with a bench made from bricks. Inside you can see the holes drilled for air. That's where the refugees stayed, waiting for dark and the next conductor to come and get them.

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 high school at 16. Left home and went to California, which was as far away as I could go from Connecticut without falling into the ocean.

One other set of great-grandparents was sturdy Swedish farmers, come to this country in their teens, not speaking a word of English, making a life for themselves in the New World. Intrepid folk.

I have a B.A. in Philosophy with minors in Psychology and Geography. My last year at Stanford I spent in Stanford-in-Italy in Florence (Villa San Paolo), where my stepfather's Italian roots and my fluency in Italian and French made me feel right at home.

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, that time and place, 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, doing community development projects.

I taught school in the poorest areas of Los Angeles for many years and now serve them in a different capacity. I went into teaching in that community because I believed then (and still do) that's where the best teachers are needed most. And that all children deserve the best education: they are our future.

In the spirit of my New England ancestry, I am a Unitarian Universalist 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, 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.

Nowadays I continue to work, at a job I enjoy and at which I excel. Yes, retirement date is not far off. I still love to read science fiction; I loved my (now deceased) dog (eventually another will find a home with me); I enjoy gardening and playing with the cats. I keep a regular online journal. I visit my husband in his community living center.

I'm still working on 'who I am' and enjoying the journey in the meantime.

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