My life has been a love affair with the power of words. I learned to read when I was three years old. I grew up in Berkeley, California, in the shadow of the University campus, listening to passionate rhetorical debates about the issues of the day.
I majored in English Literature at Berkeley. Graduating at nineteen years old, I went off to Georgetown University Law School, a pure idealist with a head full of lofty orations and momentous Supreme Court civil rights decisions. I wanted to ‘make a difference’. Little did I know about the ‘realpolitik’ world of Washington D.C., and I certainly hadn’t a clue about the practice of law.
Once in law school I found it tedious at best and painfully adversarial. During the summers I began to intern at television and radio stations, where I could once again get back to writing. After graduation, my background in law served me well as a journalist in Washington, where local news and national policy are often one and the same.
Then, my husband’s law firm transferred him to Houston, Texas, and off we went with our two sons in tow. I found myself working as a writer and video-producer in a truly Houstonian world – the oil business. After being downsized out of Conoco with two thousand others (we called ourselves the ex-cons), I worked in many different arenas, including business, real estate, and raising a family.
While volunteering as a child advocate, I was exposed to juvenile law, a type of law practice that attracted me. After passing the Texas Bar in 2005, I practiced in the family courts for several years, representing children from birth to age seventeen who were wards of the court for various reasons. Some had been abused or neglected, others had committed minor crimes. Some simply needed to be adopted. It was gratifying, exhausting work, and I realized that I had the ability to communicate with children and teens, sometimes when others had failed.
One day my son remarked to me, “Mom, you would make a great teacher!”. A light went on in my head, and I began to consider working with youth in a more proactive way. I now look forward to teaching, helping many others discover the joy and power of words. I am currently teaching English as a second language to adults.
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