A SHORT AUTOBIOGRAPHY
In retrospect, a childhood in Berkeley in the late fifties and early sixties
was idyllic. Quiet streets in the Berkeley Hills, going to school with the
children of Cal's Nobel Laureates, a loving family whose greatest passion
was politics. How lucky I was to be born to these great parents and this
fine older brother in a town where good conversation was the favorite pastime.
Another stroke of luck was being at San Francisco State College in the sixties.
I was on the wave of a true social revolution. It was a thrilling ride,
but somehow we threw the baby out with the bathwater the sexual revolution,
the distrust of authority, the careless experimentation with drugs, were,
I believe, misguided. I think San Francisco in the sixties was exciting
beyond measure, and I don't expect to feel that flush of power and fun ever
again. During this period, I spent three weeks in Santa Rita Correctional
Center with Joan Baez and other notables protesting the draft of my generation's
boys, and protesting the war in Vietnam. That's another story in itself.
Then in 1971, wanting
only raw adventure, I got on a freighter and went to Japan. Circumstances
led me to an island in the tropical central Pacific, Ponape, in Micronesia,
where I spent a year to the day living with Peace Corps volunteers, and
local people. This year was so full of adventure and beauty that I could
hardly describe it except to mention a fond memory of night swimming in
a warm, clear, high mountain river in the light of a full moon, with hibiscus
flowers floating past. I mean, how good can it get?
Traveling by tramp steamer on through the Pacific, I ended up in New Zealand,
where I did my nursing training in the old British hospital style. We were
apprentice students living in a Nurses Home. We wore red capes and white
hats. We called others Sister and Matron, we worked nights on our own, and
we got a damn good training. I am forever grateful for New Zealand, and
feel I finally "grew up" there.
By 1980, I was back home in California, worked on the Med-surg/ Oncology
Unit at Marin General Hospital for several years, followed by two years
at Hospice of Marin. Then outreach nursing in rural Mendocino County, and
finally, Home Health at Sonoma Valley Hospital in Sonoma. Eventually finishing
a Master's at USF, I taught at College of Marin in Marin County, and Sonoma
State University in the Basic Baccalaureate Nursing Program.
I married latish, at 42, another stroke of luck, to an extraordinary man,
computer software engineer nerd. My most recent good luck was the birth
of our daughter, who now is the center of our lives, and everything else
falls into second place. Older parenting, we are finding, has advantages.
You'll notice that in all these wonderful things above there is no mention
of the failures, disappointments, and self doubt that accompanied this life
story. That's because I'm a complete and utter optimist, always see the
bright side and choose to ignore the rest.
Some quotes which I carry with me that characterize my outlook on life:
Aldous Huxley in a last lecture before he died in Los Angeles was asked
what advice did the wise man have to pass on to future generations. He thought
for awhile and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, the only advice I have
to give youis to be a bit kinder to one another."
You cannot choose the cards you are dealt in life, but you can choose how
they are played in the game.
To thine own self be true, and it shall follow as the night follows day,
that thou can then not be false to any man.