I’m told my first word was cookie, but I’m betting it was, rather, a series of these six little blockbusters all strung together: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
My father was a crime reporter for the Philadelphia Bulletin, and I was a proud daddy’s girl. (Sorry, Mom, I’m sure that was really annoying for you.) I entered his world at age seven by learning to hunt and peck on the khaki-colored Olivetti manual typewriter that dominated my dad’s wood-paneled den. Whenever I was permitted, I accompanied my father to work at the newsroom of a building known as “The Roundhouse,” headquarters of the Philadelphia Police Department. While swinging my legs from a battered office chair and eating donuts, I listened and learned from the cadre of seasoned reporters that were my dad’s peers.
By age 12, I surmised I would become a writer. An extrovert, I loved talking to the adults in my small-town neighborhood where dogs still ran free and my sister and I captured fireflies on hot summer nights. I regularly visited with our neighbors, collecting accounts of family weddings, a husband’s business trip to Cleveland, and other “news.” The gift of truly listening — combined with a genuine curiosity and love of storytelling — foreshadowed a journalist in the making.
My writing career blossomed during journalism school at American University. I somehow fell into the plum role of rock and roll reviewer and interviewer for my college newspaper. As an intern for a major national news service, I published a dozen stories during my senior year. (Thank you, mentors.)
Post college, at age 22, I returned to Philly and became the junior member of a two-person staff for a jewelry trade magazine. By age 24, love of story, a strong work ethic, and respect for my craft fueled me into a position as managing editor of a New York City advertising magazine.
One shiny gem from my dad: “There are no small stories.” I believe this tenet fervently, particularly as it applies to the writing of family histories, personal biography and corporate histories. Everyone’s story matters, and each individual offers something valuable in telling that tale— the good, the bad, and (maybe) even the ugly. In a world where celebrity gossip seems to rule the day, it’s gratifying to share honest, sometimes gritty, stories about real people finding love, falling down, getting back up, winning the day, and overcoming the defeats of everyday life.
Poet John Mark Green has written, “Scrape away the rust from these jaded eyes
and let me see again the wild wonder of life; to know in joy and pain what a miracle it is to feel anything at all.” Is John Mark Green speaking to you? Perhaps.
What’s your story, and what’s the wisdom and wonder you want to pass on to those who love you — and perhaps to people who don’t even know you yet (think great-grandchildren)? It would be my privilege to curate your story with you in a spirit of collaboration, cultivation, and authenticity.