When I turned one, my parents bought an old sailboat. Living on the water is very different from living in a house. We had no electricity and no TV. And we had to wear life jackets. Sometimes I rebelled.
In the evening, we did things by kerosene lantern. The absence of a refrigerator meant a change in diet. We drank powdered milk every day. I still have a thing about lumps in my food!
But there was a lot of fun and grand adventure, too. My dad often read aloud from books like Treasure Island and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
My mom took this picture of me getting a sponge bath with seawater. Does it look fun? It’s not. Things got better when I could bathe myself. And many of the harbors we stayed in had hot showers.
The most memorable ports for me were in Costa Rica, Key West, the Azores Islands, the Canary Islands, Brazil, and Argentina.
We moved off the boat when I started middle school. I had a hard time adjusting to life in the San Francisco Bay Area. We didn’t have money for things like designer clothes, and I had no idea how to behave. Plus I hated wearing shoes, and couldn’t go through the day without rubbing my eyes. Mascara was a total nightmare.
Luckily my older sister told me things, like, “Your peach velour top clashes with your dark green Dittos. You’re embarrassing me at school.” It helped.
I (finally) made friends, ran cross-country (slowly), wrote (bad) poetry, dressed up for spirit days, and (sometimes) humiliated myself at dances.
I met my husband-to-be in a poetry class at the local junior college. He had finished college, and needed one class to apply for medical school. When he flirted with me, I neglected to mention the little fact that I was a high school senior!
I went to UC Berkeley and UC Davis, majoring in International Agricultural Development. Secretly, I hoped to be a writer one day. After my first son was born in Honolulu, I quit my job, and pursued my dream. Now, I live in Taos, New Mexico with my husband, two sons, and assortment of amusing pets.