Posts filed under ‘Memes’
Earlier this summer a meme made the rounds of the biblioblogosphere asking librarians to answer the question, “What is a librarian’s day like” by posting about a normal day in their life. At the time the meme was going around I left the following comment over at Strange Librarian, “I feel like I’d have to do 3 mos. in the life of a librarian to give any kind of real picture of my job since every day and every week and every month is so dern’d differn’t.”
When we library gardeners first started this blog, part of our vision was that we would each post from our unique perspectives in librarianship. On our original roster of authors we had a little bit of everything: school media specialists, academics and public librarians, LIS instructors. The mix has changed a bit, but we still tend to blog from our own unique perspectives. My posts are supposed to be from the angle of a regional consortium (and I’m sure they are informed by job), but I don’t think I generally blog from that perspective, per se. This post, however, is more directly tied to my perspective as a “nontraditional librarian” working at SJRLC, a multitype library cooperative serving over 600 libraries in South Jersey.
One of my goals in writing this longish “look-at-everything-I-do” post is to offer myself as a resource and promote future connections between you, gentle reader, and me. One of the things I enjoy most is helping others network and connect with each other. But sometimes it seems as if even my closest professional colleagues don’t really know what I do–my job doesn’t lend itself easily to an elevator speech (“shared services for you from 600+ libraries” is what I told ’em at the Chamber of Commerce meeting this morning.) So by revealing what I do in (I hope not too painful) detail, my hope is that you might find something of interest — some connection– between what you do, or ever may want to do, and what I do. May any of my experiences be of value to you.
SO WHAT THE HECK DO YOU DO ALREADY?
When I was first hired at SJRLC as the Program Coordinator my job was largely about providing continuing education (CE) opportunities to our 630 member libraries. Historically, CE accounted for about 90% of the job duties for the position. Now it accounts for about 10%. I still do all the CE I used to do but now I also do a lot more. It’s fun. It’s engaging. It’s sometimes exhausting. But it’s always interesting, and it’s always different. There is no such thing as an average day in my work life. So this summer, on any given day, I was working on …
- Continuing Education: Scheduling workshops for library staff in over 630 libraries in the southern seven counties of New Jersey. This includes doing needs assessment, reviewing evaluations, reviewing class requests, developing new class ideas, developing and/or finding speakers, arranging dates, booking rooms, being present on day of the workshop (sometimes) for tech support, etc. I try and schedule classes two months out, and I try to batch my CE scheduling activities as much as possible. Classes this summer included:
- Book Repair workshops (basic and advanced)
- Reference Interview Skills for Paraprofessionals
- Serving Customer With Mental Health Issues
- Access Classes (Beginner and Intermediate)
- Customer Service Fundamentals
- EbscoHost Bootcamp
- Great Readers Advisory with Novelist Plus
- Using Facebook to Connect With Customers
- Open Source for Libraries
- Web 2.0 Synergy: Putting the Pieces Together
Classes that I worked on this summer that will take place in the Fall:
- Change Management
- Creating and Managing Budgets with Excel
- Working with the Gale Virtual Reference Library
- Gaming and Libraries
- There Oughta Be A Law: Basic Legal Reference
- Publisher (Intro and Intermediate)
- XHMTL Refresher
My other big CE goal this summer was to implement integrated online registration and calendar. I spent time evaluating different products, chose one (Evanced), and then planned a smooth implementation which included working with the vendor to tweak the look and functionality, creating in-house training materials, and training in-house staff, and developing a communication plan and trial period to ensure a smooth roll-out to our customers. We went live on October 6th and everything is going very smoothly. Yay!
- QandANJ.org: Beth Cackowski is the Project Coordinator for QandANJ and (like her predecessor Marianne Sweet) does an amazing bangup job of running this fairly large, high-profile, complex project that has many stakeholders. My current role in the project is as a laissez faire supervisor to Beth. Along with Karen Hyman (my supervisor), I work with Beth on some of the bigger picture issues including marketing. This summer we worked together to once again create and run a commercial for QandANJ. The commercial premiered during the MTV Video Music Awards and has been running during a number of shows including “Adult Swim” and “Project Runway”. The commercial run will conclude with the Project Runway finale this week.
I plan on addressing the process (and cost–cheaper than you think) of creating a commercial in another post. For now, here’s the finished product:
“The Knowledge Guru”
Additionally, I wrote a short article on QandANJ for an NJLA newsletter, revised and ordered new marketing materials (PSPrint.com–check it out), exhibited at the South Jersey Teacher’s Expo, and generally filled in for Beth answering questions and providing a little tech support here and there when she was unavailable. We also worked together to code and recode the QandANJ website and Facebook page to integrate all the commercial goodies
- Development of “Demonstration Projects” Going back to the our 2003 “Trading Spaces” project (using retails merchandising principles to reinvent the library environment; see Kathy Schalk-Greene’s guest post on LG), SJRLC has taken a new approach to continuing education by partnering and investing in “demonstration” projects. In granting a demonstration project, we offer matching dollars to a library (or libraries), to offer a new cutting edge service. In return, the library agrees to share their experiences widely (through tours, speaking engagements, website, listerv, etc.) The Trading Spaces website, and the fact that Mount Laurel Diretor Joan Bernstein and Assistant Director Kathy Schalk-Greene continue to travel the country talking about the project, has really allowed this project to be the gift that keeps on giving. It could have been a one-off workshop, but instead we’ve found a way to greatly extend the learning, and get the most value for our time and dollar. We currently have two demonstration projects in the works:
- “Books By Mail”: SJRLC has partnered with the Burlington County Library and the Gloucester County Library to offer “Netflix style” service. Customers can request that any circulating materials be mailed directly to their homes, free of charge. The services are proving to be very popular. The libraries have different ILS systems and have taken slightly different approaches to setting up and managing their respective services. At the end of the grant period, each library will report on their experiences and act as resources to other libraries that are interested in adding this highly-valued and convenient service to their customers. I’m very excited about this project because I believe that offering such convenient service greatly enhances our relevance to customers–and that’s the name of the game for libraries if we’re going to survive and thrive.
- Teen Spaces: The RFP just went out for this one on Friday… We’re looking to partner with a library to develop a teen space modeled on the wonderful teen Library Loft at the Imaginon facility at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (PLCMC). Stay tuned…
- A+ Partnership: One goal of our A+ Partnership, (kicked off last summer with an all day event) is to enhance collaboration between school and public librarians who serve teens. Another goal is to highlight the great work that libraries do with teen volunteers to enhance advocacy for libraries and teen services. To support that goal we celebrated Teen Volunteers of the Year, and honored a number of teens at our Spring membership meeting, with families and local officials in attendance. We worked with the State Legislature to give the teens official Resolutions, and also partnered with a vendor to give them cash awards. The press was on hand, and we received some great coverage. The teens and their families had a wonderful time, the great work that libraries do with teen volunteers received wonderful exposure. Everybody wins! Needless to say, lots of time went into making all this happen.
- Exhibiting: SJRLC has been exhibiting at the local business expo for a few years now. When we first started we had no idea whether or not any of the attendees would be interested in stopping at a booth devoted to library services. What we found was an incredible interest, and almost non-stop foot traffic all day long. Members of SJRLC’s Advocacy team sign up to staff the booth in shifts. I set up the night before, staff most of the day (with some time off to make the rounds of other booths) and then do break down at the end of the day. We coordinate with our member libraries to have their brochures, event calendars and promotional items on hand to distribute to their customers. This summer I also exhibited for along with Beth Cackowski at the South Jersey Teacher’s Expo to promote QandANJ.org. If you’re not exhibiting (at your local expo, farmers market, etc.) think about it. We’ve found exhibiting to be a cost-effective way to connect with customers and potential customers. And it’s good to get out and flex those marketing muscles!
- Audiobooks Consortium: Three years ago SJRLC put together a consortium of libraries to share an Overdrive audiobook content. I oversee the budget and the collection (we’ve hired a part-time collection development person to put together monthly purchase recommendations), recruit new libraries, oversee marketing, provide first-line tech support, and maintain the website. This summer was spent working with the consortium to evaluate the addition of video content, planning a smooth transition while adding new Ipod compatible mp3 formats and working with Overdrive (and on my own) to design new bookmarks, posters and web-banner ads.
- Toastmasters: Another unique continuing education/advocacy offering. SJRLC started our own Toastmasters chapter a few years ago to help librarians improve their public speaking skills. If we want librarians to go out and advocate for libraries, it makes sense to invest in developing our presentation skills. Another off-the-beaten-path idea that is inexpensive, fun and effective. Think about starting a library chapter in your area.
- Marketing/Design/Communication/Web/Blog: On any given day it seems I’m designing a bookmark, a banner, a website graphic… I don’t think I have any particular skill in this area and I make do with what I’ve taught myself on an old version of Fireworks (one of these days I’m going to learn Photoshop.) I also maintain the SJRLC website and blog, and try very hard to keep everyone in the loop through one of our listservs, blog posts or rss feeds. I spend a lot of time making sure my communications, in whatever format, are clear, well-organized and effective.
That pretty much wraps up how I spent my work time over the past three months. Additionally though (like many of you) I have quasi-work related responsibilities. The reality is (again like many of you) these responsibilities are often addressed outside of work hours. I usually do pretty well managing work/life balance (my wife may disagree), but I have to admit that this summer a number of commitments ganged up on me and it seemed like August was one big converging deadline. Goodbye August, I hardly knew you. Here are some of the professional commitments that I spent time on this summer.
- ALA Involvement
- CLENE R0und Table: I’ve been involved with the CLENE Round Table (Continuing Education Network and Exchange) for more than seven years. CLENE is all about staff development and continuing education. As Membership Chair I say to you: Go join. Thank you. As CLENE web and wiki master I say: Boy, I’m tired… This summer was particularly busy because ALA was busy transitioning to the new website. In preparation for the launch I spent many nights (and some days) getting the new website, re-coded, re-organized, etc. etc. It was a challenge, made bearable by the good people at ALA ITTS. I feel compelled to acknowledge the wonderful Louise Gruenberg without whose help I couldn’t of made it. Thank you Louise! Oh, and go check out our “unofficial” CLENE blog at http://cebuzz.wordpress.com. It’s not just about CLENE, it’s about all things trainy and staff developy. If you’d like to write for us, either as a regular author or as a guest poster, drop me a line.
- Emerging Leaders: I had a number of duties this summer vis-a-vis my position on the Emerging Leaders Task Force. I developed a project proposal, recruited a mentor, evaluated applicants, edited the wiki, and revised and managed the project selection process. Lots of time invested, but this program has such a huge impact it’s time well spent.
- Statewide participation: I was involved in a number of statewide initiatives this summer.
- Portal Advisory: I worked with the State Library and members of Committee to craft a portal RFP, evaluate proposals, and recommend action on the future of our statewide federated search service and the creation of a statewide portal.
- NJLA Future Tech Symposium: Pecha Kucha: Presented as “skeptic” at NJLA Future Tech Symposium. Some day after a few stiff drinks I may post the video. BTW, Steven Bell keynoted and moderated a discussion and, simply put, he rocked.
- Super Library Supervisor: Worked with Karen Avenick to rewrite and present a full-day workshop, “Working Together Effectively”, as part of New Jersey Regional Library Cooperatives “Super Library Supervisor” program.
- Coaching: Last year I was selected to take part in a Coaching program co-sponsored by the Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative and the New Jersey State Library. Through the program I’ve received training and direct coaching from Sandy Newman, owner of Life Enhancement Coaches, and past president of the NJ Professional Coaches Association. In return, I’ve agreed to provide some gratis coaching services to librarians. I had been doing some coaching prior to receiving this training, but the training gave me a good, solid and practical foundation, as well as giving me the opportunity to practice and receive feedback from other coaches. In addition to formally coaching one client, I have been doing more and more “just in time” coaching through phone/IM/email.
Well, that about wraps up the main points. I guess the only thing I left out is the continual phone/email/IM contact I have with SJRLC members every day. That part of my job may not be sexy, but it’s the meat and potatoes of what I do (and greatly enjoy doing); providing fast, accurate, and caring customer service directly to the library staff of hundreds of libraries, so that they in turn can provide great service to the library customers of South Jersey.
Since Julie tagged us over here at LG in the Superstararchivists meme on ‘how you got into libraries’ I am taking up the keyboard! I’ve really been enjoying reading all the other stories and seeing the similarities and differences, and reading all the comments!
I’m sure I’ve told this story to several people, but I’m not sure if I’ve written it anywhere… my journey to librarianship starts out with me never having had any idea what I wanted to be when I grew up!
I felt supremely jealous of the people I knew who seemed to know just what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. The college students who were getting degrees in something specific, something they could DO or BE at the end of four (or more) years … the classmates who were already planning to be pre-med, or go into business, or become teachers … the even younger friends from my early childhood (“I want to be a fireman!” “I want to be a chef!” “I want to be a mom!”) made me feel so left out.
Not having any plan in mind, I pursued “liberal arts” (like all other confused, direction-less sorts I guess) at a “liberal arts” college, hoping to stumble upon IT. IT, you know, what I would want to do or be forever! This allows one to keep all options open and to hopefully emerge as a well-rounded individual at the very least (though probably a very impoverished one).
I entered as “undeclared” my freshman year. I spent a brief time as a Sociology Major (until I found out we would have to spend a lot of time in a local prison for one course, and I was out of there). Then, not being allowed to return to “undeclared” status, I chose English (the safety net for all). This only lasted until I finished my first few Philosophy classes and found myself signing up for as many more as I could! I came to the utterly logical conclusion that if I were going to take so many Philosophy classes, I should major in it.
I love Philosophy classes.
I am going to take as many Philosophy classes as I can.
Therefore, I will be a Philosophy Major.
(Okay, so my Logic is a little rusty!)
Of course, this created the corollary:
So, I graduated with my Philosophy Major* and could not stand the thought of ANY MORE SCHOOL (bye-bye law school)! I went to work in the publishing industry in Manhattan for several years. When this was ultimately unsatisfying to me (especially the NJ-NYC commuting), I began to look around for another career. I was willing to go back to school, but only for something that I really wanted and would really love. I took a job as a administrative assistant at an engineering company close to home (no commute!) while I (again) searched for what it was I would BE.
Fully convinced I had NO INTEREST whatsoever in anything related to ENGINEERING, I decided to look for a similar office job in a different setting while I continued the search for my ultimate career.
On a regular trip to my local public library one day during this time, I noticed a sign advertising for an administrative assistant in the library! Ah, same “just a job” job, but more pleasant environment! Ah, I could go to the library everyday – wonderful!
Now, I had always been an avid library-user and read my entire life. My mother and brother and sister and I were regulars and would routinely leave with bags and bags full of books. I had spent many hours in the library – both for pleasure and for schoolwork, but IT HAD NEVER OCCURRED TO ME TO WORK IN A LIBRARY. NOT EVER. NOT ONCE. I had never thought about who these people working in the library were, what their qualifications or jobs might be. I had NEVER in my entire life of library patronage ever considered being a librarian. In fact, I had NO IDEAS about that job at all (something that makes me wonder to this very day how it could be so and what’s so very wrong with that picture, and what needs to be done about it…..)
I applied for the library office job (and didn’t even get a call actually) but I also started RESEARCHING what this librarian job was all about. The main things I found out were:
- It requires a Masters Degree, and is a REAL PROFESSION (what I was looking for)!
- It has to do with books, reading, AND COMPUTERS (things I LOVE)!
- It involves sharing INFORMATION and helping others FIND their INFORMATION (something I already did with a passion)!
PERFECT!!!!! I had found IT. IT – the thing I wanted to DO and BE for the REST OF MY LIFE!
I found out how to become a librarian (step 1: take the GRE – yikes! – step 2: commute to Rutgers for a long time) and started telling friends and family of my PLAN! The reaction was the same from almost every single person I told:
(Oh, duh, of course, well why didn’t any of you let me know sooner?!)
I began my library studies and soon after got a part-time job as an intern at the wonderful Clifton Public Library. (I had been hoping that I would LOVE the public library, even though I knew there were other possible types of libraries to work in, but public was what I wanted to love and, lucky me, I DID!) This position soon wbecame full-time while I continued with school, and then become a full librarian job upon graduation! I have since worked at the also-wonderful Paterson Free Public Library and now work for the really wonderful central regional library cooperative!
So, there really was no “one thing” that led up to my self-discovery that I was really a librarian deep down inside all along. It was just a series of regular little steps along the path of life that only prove to have been heading in an ultimate direction once you’ve arrived at the end and look back.
And, just to be clear, I do consider myself to BE a librarian. Even though my current job title does not include the word library anywhere in it, it is what I am, it is who I am, and I am so glad!
* Actually, I have since found MANY librarians with B.A.’s in Philosophy. Also, my sister went on to major in Philosophy and is doing just fine, thank you very much!
Last week Betha Gutsche tagged me for the “Passion Quilt” Meme. I am finally finding a few minutes to play along. The rules of the meme have already been posted by Pete in his contribution to the “quilt” and since this meme is really making the rounds in libraryland I shall not repost them.
Like others who have taken part, I had a really hard time narrowing this down. I waffled back and forth between wanting do something that expressed a concept related to risk-taking or else something on the importance of imagination and creativity in the workplace. Also, I really wanted to use one of several favorite quotations that I have filed on index cards in an old recipe box from my days of being a teacher (we would do the “Thought for the Day” first thing in the mornings and rifling through the recipe box yesterday for this meme was fun).
When I found the guinea pig photo, my decision was made. I don’t even particularly like guinea pigs, but this photo was too cute not to use — and I could also relate it to a favorite risk-taking quotation so it was perfect. My explanation of why I chose this particular picture and theme for the meme is really more personal than profound, but still worth sharing (I hope).
I am a risk taker who is not afraid of change. In fact, I thrive on it. If I had not been willing to take some pretty big risks in my life, I would not be where I am right now — which, for the record, is at a pretty darn good place. I won’t bore you with all the nitty-gritty details, but here are a few of the facts in a nutshell:
I left a tenured teaching job where I was earning 40K+ back in the early 1990s to go to library school on what was almost a whim. When I graduated the job offerings for librarians in Canada were slim pickings at best, so I spent the last few dollars in my savings account to attend ALA Annual in NYC to find a job. I did not limit myself geographically and ended up with 5 offers as a result — all in the USA. I emigrated to upstate NY to become an academic librarian and then two years later I took another risk in moving to NJ to become a public librarian (even though I never thought I would leave academia).
I was single at the time and knew not a single living soul in either of these places, and it was scary — I almost quit several times to go home to family and friends in Canada. To ease the homesickness (and the boredom of knowing no one), I would take on big projects and just keep pushing myself with new challenges. I would often take on “more than I could chew”, but somehow it would eventually all get done. With each new risk and each new limit tested I finally found myself exactly where I want to be in life (at least for now). I know that there will more big decision in my future and I know that when that happens I will embrace the challenge of a new risk.
I honestly had several people question my sanity during some of my riskier moves — after all, who leaves the security of a permanent, well-paying teaching position to take a library job that pays less than 28K in a different country where you know no one? It took several years for me to regain parity with my previous salary, but the non-monetary rewards of my risks and of believing that libraries are the right place for me to work have more than compensated for any lost salary in my journey.
Risk-taking is not so scary once you start. In fact, it becomes addictive and opens your mind to greater possibilities. I encourage new grads and seasoned professionals alike to take a great big bite of something new this year and just keep chewing on it until you succeed.
Editing to add: I am feeling pretty sure that this meme has just about run its course so I am not going to tag anyone in particular. If you haven’t been tagged yet and want to play along, just saying that Janie from LG tagged you and then have at it.
Taking a cue from Kathryn Greenhill’s meme, here are the first lines from the first posts for each month this year. (The fun thing about this, is I forgot ever having written most of it. So if I ever repeat myself, that’s why!)
January: Thanks to Amy for tagging me in the “Five Things” meme.
February: Check out this amazing video,”Web 2.0… the Machine is Us/ing Us,” created by Michael Wesch, Assistant Cultural Anthropology Professor at Kansas State University.
April: Maria Palma over at “Customers are Always” recently posed the question, “What would make you stay loyal to a supermarket?”
May: I had the mind-blowing pleasure of attending Imagination to Transformation, the Mid-Atlantic Library Futures Conference, on Monday and Tuesday.
June: File under, “Tootling one’s own horn” In this case mine.
July: A few months ago I started taking Improv classes in Philadelphia on Monday nights.
September: If you get any invites from Quechup, delete them immediately.
October: David Lee King has offered up a new song/video Social Digital Revolution.
December: I started a little meme on Twitter on Thursday, which David Free picked up on and posted about over on his blog, David’s Random Stuff.
I started a little meme on Twitter on Thursday, which David Free picked up on and posted about over on his blog, David’s Random Stuff. I thought I’d add a little (brief) backstory and fill in some of the tweets that David missed. (One of the interesting things about Twitter of course, is that depending on who we follow or who follows us, we all saw – or didn’t see- different responses. )
Like David, I’m not naming names, but I thought it would be interesting to add timestamps to give everyone an idea of how this played out chronologically. I think there were some brilliant comments, so I hope the authors step forward and take credit.
Brief backstory: Janie Hermann and I were chatting about the lack of recent posts on LG and Janie jokingly suggested that maybe Twitter, the great sucker of time, was to blame. I threw out the comment that “Twitter is like therapy… without the progress.” Janie suggested (dared?) that I share that thought on Twitter. I thought it might make for an interesting meme so seconds later (at 11:10) I threw it out there to the 50 or so people in my twitterverse. This is what transpired:
- NEW TWITTER MEME: TWITTER IS LIKE… (I’ll go first) Twitter is like therapy… without the progress. (11:10)
- Twitter is like ADD without the Ritalin (11:19)
- Twitter is like Jaiku…. I’m bad at analogies (11:23)
- Twitter is like whippits (11:24)
- Twitter is like a celestial bulletin board. (11:24)
- Twitter is like a crack addiction without all the mugging, prostitution, and running from the cops. (11:26)
- Twitter is also like Paris Hilton: slutty and unfortunate. 11:26)
- Twitter is like your drunk uncle at Christmas, sometimes you want the madness to stop, but you still wanna see where it’s going. (11:30)
- Twitter is like passing notes during class. (11:31)
- Twitter is like [name redacted] – You don’t like it until you try it (11:32)
- twitter is like the background noise of the universe, kind of a low murmur that lets you know you’re not alone (aww!) (11:37)
- Twitter is like cheating on your blog (11:38)
- Twitter is like crack for procrastinators. (11:41)
- Twitter is like sex without a condom. Sure it’s fun, but you will probably regret it later. (11:42)
- Twitter is like…. so. y’know. … What was I doing? (11:43)
- Twitter is like compressed infobursts, effin ay! (11:45)
- Heck, Twitter *is* compressed infobursts (11:45)
- Twitter is like an inside joke: no one gets why you do it unless they do it (11:46)
- Twitter is like sucking out my braaains… (11:46)
- Twitter is like being stuck in a massive kaleidoscope- ooh something shiny! (11:56)
- Twitter is like drinks with @dwfree – makes you feel all nice and warm inside (12:04)
- Twitter is like drunk sex w/ a friend: not nearly as intimate as you expected it to be, but still sexy & satisfying. (12:04)
- Twitter is like drunk sex w/[the person who just posted about drunk sex.] (12:09)
- Twitter is like being in a room with your “friends”, saying something really loud, and hoping that someone hears you. (12:18)
- Twitter is like having 10 IM windows open at once. (12:27)
- George Costanza: “It’s like going to the bathroom in front of a lot of people and not caring.” Jerry: [pause] “It’s not like that at all.” (12:28)
- Twitter is, like, another reason I, like, totally, looove innovation (12:39)
- Twitter is like a party in my phone! (12:39)
- Twitter is, like, totally awesome. (ok really i’m done. lunch over) (12:43)
- Twitter is like the sound a tree makes when it falls in the forest — whether anyone is there or not. (12:48)
- Twitter is quotidian packet hops (12:51)
- Twitter is like finding out your favorite candy bar now comes in smaller easier to eat packaging…for free (12:55)
- Twitter is like is like a bus full of crazy people talking to themselves. Except you get to choose who is on the bus. (1:12)
- (Twitter is instant gratification.) (1:12)
- Twitter is like a dry skin condition. It itches, and the more you scratch it, the more it itches. (But it feels soooo good to scratch…) (1:22)
In the interest of being a member of the LG team, here goes my 8 revelations. Warning to all, the below is (almost) totally unrelated to librarianship. Abandon hope all ye who enter here!
1. If you have ever heard me speak, you may be surprised to learn that I had a bad lisp as a kid. My speech therapist advised me to take up public speaking to help overcome the lisp. Now I have a passion for public speaking and have had a career in teaching/librarianship (from Kindergarten through Doctoral courses and every grade level in between) and can’t get enough of either.
2. Following from the above, I admit that the famous YA advocate Mary K. Chelton, of Queens College, has (affectionately I hope!) dubbed me a “great big ham.” It fits.
3. After the lisp removal, I wore braces for 4 years in HS. Yuck! Today kids wear trendy colored braces in JH which are a status symbol of sorts. Not so then, when I endured being called “tin grin,” “can opener mouth,” (and worse unpleasantries that shall remain nameless). I must say, however, that this horrific experience made me a better person, especially later, when I was a school librarian with zero tolerance for vicious name calling or bullying.
4. Acting again on the advice of my speech therapist, I got involved in radio and had my own late night show for 4 years on the College of NJ (then Trenton State College) radio station, WTSR. My air name was “Me” and I played blues and rock n’ roll.
5. At WTSR (still WTSR 91.3 FM to this very day) I recollect that I once had a mad crush on another DJ whose show followed mine. I later found out he was gay (sigh). I should have known better, as his air name was “Peter Pan.” You can’t make this stuff up.
6. I am totally untalented when it comes to athletics, but I’ve been: an assistant cheerleading coach (to purge my intense dislike of cheerleaders, acquired in HS, see #3 above), a girl’s softball umpire, a scouting assistant to a HS football coach, and a choreographer for a HS production of Oklahoma.
7. I have never had the urge to do the following: ski, sky-dive, skateboard, bungee jump, or surf. But I have parasailed in Acapulco, ridden a motorcycle, refinished loads of antiques, and driven from NJ to Houston to cheer the Rutgers football team to its 1st bowl victory ever in the Texas Bowl last December.
8. I have had drinks with Umberto Eco at Erica Jong’s apartment. Read more about this story from my husband Gary’s point of view at his website (note the photo credit for the picture of Gary with Umberto!)