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Don't Let Your Past Fade Away...






My Story

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I was born in Gilroy, California at a time when orchards formed a carpet over the vast, fertile Santa Clara Valley and poppies filled the fields with an orange glow. Grandparents on both sides of my family, the Italian and the Czech, owned fruit ranches in the valley, and I spent summers sorting cherries, cutting cots (apricots) and picking sugar prunes. Now nearly all those orchards have been paved over for parking lots, and silicon has replaced fruit as the valley's claim to fame.

These vast changes continually remind me that the past has faded, and that my memories of it are fading too.



A California native, I graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley and earned a Master's degree in Education, Instructional Technologies from San Francisco State University.

In the mid-Seventies, I conducted my first oral histories with Sicilian fishermen on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. At the time, I was working as a travel consultant for the E.N.I.T.- the Italian Government Travel Office, located in the St. Francis Hotel on Union Square in San Francisco.

After many years working in information technology and instructional design, I combined my love of language and history to create Circle of Life Stories, to help people write their family histories and life stories, and to work with communities and organizations to create oral history and community memory projects. I attended the Soleil Institute in Maine to become certified as a Life Writing facilitator for Turning Memories into Memoirs.

I have conducted oral histories for the Mill Valley Historical Society, for the Faces of Marin City Project and for the Save Our Stories Oral History Project of the Alliance for American Quilts and the International Quilt Festival. I have documented in mixed media San Francisco's Madonna del Lume Celebration and the Blessing of the Fishing Fleet for the Library of Congress' Bicentennial Local Legacy Program. I am also on the Board of Directors of the Mill Valley Historical Society, for which I edit and produce its quarterly newsletter. I am a member of the Association of Personal Historians, the Oral History Association, and the Bay Area Oral Historian's Group.

For the California History Room of the Marin County Free Library, I have converted to narrative form oral history interviews conducted in the 1970's by Anne Kent and Carla Ehat. I continue to conduct oral histories in Marin County for the California History Room. I have written biographies of several honorees in the Marin Women's Hall of Fame and have authored Marin City Memories, a book honoring Marin City elders who migrated from the South during World War II.

My work includes newspaper and journal articles and poetry in the West Marin Review.

I am co-founder of LeaveLight, LLC, a company that offers motivational programs for holistic end-of-life planning, and co-author with Jacqueline Janssen of the book LeaveLight: A Motivational Guide to Holistic End-of-Life Planning.





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