Born in Iowa, the second of five children, I spent my early childhood in a series of frequent moves to wherever my father could find work, and eventually at U.S. Naval bases from the upper midwest to the east coast. We settled in Moorhead, Minnesota, where I attended elementary school through college, and earned both BS and MS degress from Moorhead State College. I taught physical education and coached girls’ sports in Minnesota, North Dakota, California, and Oregon.
My first assignment with DoDDS was in Darmstadt, Germany, teaching English and physical education for two years and then in Japan for four years at Johnson and Yokota Middle Schools. Here my gymnastics teams competed within the DoDDS and International School systems in the Kanto Plains and earned the distinction as one of the top performing teams among middle schools in Japan. At Clark AB, the Philippines, teaching physical education outside in the unbearable heat, humidity, and mosquitos, nearly “did me in”, but I was having so much fun, I stayed for four years.
Some of my most memorable overseas experiences are the troop train ride to Berlin, the Mt. Fuji climb, overnight in the lodge of former headhunters of Borneo, the walls of my BOQ room collapsing during one of the worst typhoons in Philippine history, and the Vietnamese refugee airlift to Clark during the fall of Saigon, 1976.
I returned to the United States to teach in Albuquerque, NM, and subsequently San Diego, CA, where I finished my career by teaching high school English and English as a Second Language to immigrants from more than 20 different cultures. I was honored by being selected for ‘Who’s Who Among American Teachers’ in 1998 and 2002.
Prepared by Joan Sprague, 2002