Seriously, What I've Been Up To the Last 30 Years
So, around 1963, after I left my parent's home at age eighteen, (and I should mention that I was quite spoiled, and had no idea of how to cook or clean house what-so-ever), I landed a job with an advertising agency, rented an apartment and set out to make my fortune. My best recollections of that time were finding out that toilets don't clean themselves. Huh? That I didn't like getting coffee for men in offices - quickly solved - if they ordered no sugar, I put in 3 sugars, black, I added lots of milk - after a few disgruntled comments, some other lucky girl was assigned the task. Dust bunnies? Where did they come from and how to eradicate them. Need vacuum cleaner. How to bake a potato? Call the information operator (we had them back then) - her best advice: "Honey, turn the oven on, put the food in and it'll cook." Brilliant and succinct. Washing machine? Looked like airplane controls to me. It was a lot to cope with. Parents should not turn their chicks out of the nest without teaching them survival skills.
It turned out, I was also the secretary from hell - definitely not by intention. The first three months were always my favorite at a new job because they chalked up my mistakes to being new. My worst fear (and still is today) - filing. I knew if I filed something, chances were, I would never see it again.
But, I could draw and when I left the last company, 24 of the employees had pencil portraits and I had saved a tidy sum.
After I met my husband, Abe, things changed. He had a good job, saw I had talent and I was able to stay home and teach myself how to paint. To make things easier on myself, I started with the very difficult and exacting medium of egg tempera, which I loved and took to like a duck to water. Eventually had a couple of sold out exhibitions at a prestigious gallery in Montreal.
People were asking for prints of my work, so around the late 1980's we formed Turtle Hill Productions (so named because in Vermont turtles come up from the lake every June to lay their eggs on our lawn) and decided to go on the road doing high-end art and craft shows. We trundled up and down the east coast and over towards the mid-west selling my art. The market was good and we met great people, fellow craftsmen/women, great artists and customers along the way. It was lucrative but a hard way to make a living, especially grueling for me because I'm like a sponge and absorb every noise and light. Trying to sleep at night in a strange motel room, I always had the feeling there was a party going on in my head that I didn't want to be at. In between shows, I painted commissions and new images.
But I always knew that I wanted to write. After I had my first paid article published in a trade magazine, the title of which was, I'm Tired, I'm Hungry, I'm Dehydrated and Constipated (And you want to be in the craft show business?) I was stoked. Along the way, I was lucky enough to pick up a good contract from the Danbury Mint (all licensing companies should be as great to work with and as honest as this one was). After collaborating on a dog series with the Mint for ten years, and having my work printed on candles, throw blankets, clocks, collector plates, lanterns, and you name it, my husband and I wound down our travels and six years ago, I started to write my first book, 'Summer Temptation'. Check out the gift items here if you like.
It's been a labor of learning, much anxiety and dedication. I do hope you enjoy it. If you would like to leave a comment, please do. I really appreciate hearing from readers.
And just a word about writing. All through the process I often thought, what a privilege it is to have the time to write and be able to enter a world of my own making and hang with characters that I came to think of as friends. Strange as it may sound, it's hard to leave that world when the book is finished. For a long time afterward, I kept thinking how I wanted to go back to Silverbrook and be part of it again.
I'm hoping I'll feel the same way with my next book titled, "Clark Street". A Jewish boy falls in love with a wild and crazy gentile girl.
Thanks for reading all this way down.
At the bottom of the page, but no less important to me are some of the charities that I'm hoping the sale of my books will enable me to increase my donations: