I was born in Pasadena and raised in Sierra Madre, both part of the Pasadena Unified Public School District in California. There were 1200 of us in my graduating class at Pasadena High School in 1969. We had the champion football team for the state that year.
During the Hippie era, I headed back East for college. I majored in art history and printmaking at Wheaton, then obtained a teaching credential from USC’s Graduate School of Education. I got married four weeks after passing my last exam. That seems young to me now, but I was the last of my friends to get married. I taught elementary school in the Pasadena and Menlo Park Unified School Districts for five years, then took a break and had two kids, who are fabulous.
When my kids were four and six, I got divorced and returned to school to obtain my BFA in Graphics and Packaging. Graphic design was a perfect career for a working mom. I created toothbrush and prophy-paste packaging for Oral-B Laboratories, theme parks for the Walt Disney Company, bottle labels for Nestlé Beverage Company, and video game packaging for Electronic Arts and Sony Computer Entertainment. Sony printed 2.5 million copies of the Online PlayStation® packaging I designed for them.
I also taught. I really enjoyed passing on my craft to budding designers at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where I moved in 1995. I had my own company for a while, but I discovered I liked being on the assembly line as a designer better than managing other people. So, I gave up my chic office on Sansome and opened up a home office.
Meanwhile, I wrote a book about my dad called The Man in the Purple Cow House. That got me interested in genealogy. Teaching the history of typography at the Academy of Art led to other historical interests: Renaissance history, the Reformation, and why my English ancestors moved to New England, hence my webBook Before Winthrop. Those subjects led me to the history of the Portuguese looking for a route to the Far East, hence my webBook, Crossing the Ocean Sea.
I closed my graphic design business in 2014. Today, I use my design skills to publish books. Like The Man in the Purple Cow House, they are mostly about my ancestors. My latest is a children’s picture book about Henry Knox (a 5x-great-grandfather) called Henry’s Big Kaboom. It’s a sing-along ballad for my grandchildren. Check out the videos.
The reason I started a blog is that all this writing and working at my computer has given me fanny fatigue and a desire to be back in nature. A year ago I bought a twenty-one-foot PleasureWay Lexor campervan. The motorhome is built on a Dodge Promaster Ram 3500 chassis, hence the name Ramsey. I’ve already logged 16,000 miles visiting our nation’s national parks and back-road towns. My aging corgi, Annie, comfortably travels with me. She is a great companion, but I wanted to share my experiences with other people like me – curious RVers with itchy feet.
Thank you for joining me.