Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Day Thirty: Final Thoughts

Day 30: Write a brief biography of yourself—everything an ancestor might want to know about you. After all, someday your ancestors will want to know as much about you as you do about yours! Learn more about recording your memories in the Story of My Life workbook.

Circa 1960
I, your great-great-great-whatever (granddaughter, niece) was born in the beautiful Commonwealth of Virginia and lived in Virginia Beach for the first three years of my life. My big (only) claim to fame from that part of my life was that I was delivered by Dr. Mason Andrews, who gained fame from delivering the first "test tube baby" in later years.

When I was about 3, my parents moved to South Florida. My father, Allen Steele, was a senior pilot for United Airlines and could live and work pretty much wherever he pleased...and he wanted to be at the beach. So, from Virginia Beach the family moved to Delray Beach, and Dad flew out of Miami. It was a wonderful life, for his two best friends, who were also pilots, lived close by in Ft. Lauderdale. Delray Beach was a magical place to grow up. A charming, sleepy little town, it boasted interesting residents (both full time and seasonal), a gorgeous beach, and easy access to Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. Although it was "home" to me in many ways, I still felt the call of my real home...the real South... as I grew older and started thinking about college. Being an 8th generation Southerner, it's just in your blood!

June 1981
I attended Trinity Lutheran School as a child, followed by Atlantic High School. Both were great experiences, but my time at Trinity Lutheran gave me the faith that I have walked with to this day. For that I am eternally grateful...and when I say "eternally," I mean it! I knew that I wanted to go to a woman's college and I hoped to be in or near a big city. One of my mother's best friends was an author named Catherine Marshall. Catherine was a graduate of Agnes Scott College and hearing her stories about matriculating there, plus knowing it was in metropolitan Atlanta, made it #1 on my list. The only other college I even considered was William and Mary in Williamsburg, but Atlanta was the deciding factor. That's where I belonged. And I did...for several years, staying there for five years after college.

College could not have been a better experience for me, and Agnes Scott College was known for its focus on "the life of the mind." Majoring in Theatre and minoring (although ASC didn't have minors at the time) in English, I felt well educated and well rounded. The call of the theatre soon quieted for me, though, and after a little while of working professionally and avocationally, I decided that using those skills...speaking and a different way would serve me well, and allow me to follow my passion. My day job, in the retail side of Tiffany & Co. had always provided me with flexibility and it allowed me to do thing like work with NITA (National Institute for Trial Advocacy), where in January I would teach second year law students at Emory University, calling my seminar, "Theatrical Techniques for the Courtroom."

circa 1984
At Tiffany's, I worked for the most wonderful boss anyone could ever have...John Tipton...and when he heard of my degree and "skills" he asked me to go on the road with The Tiffany Touch presentation, traveling far and wide, informing people about Tiffany's history,
1987 headshot from catalog shoot,
North Carolina
Tiffany Table Manners, Tiffany silversmiths, etc. From there I was asked to be a Corporate Account Executive and spent the rest of my time with the officers of such companies as Coca-Cola, RJ Reynolds, C&S Bank and many, many others. That was tremendously enjoyable and I particularly remember doing the executive gifts for the Coca-Cola 100th anniversary. When I left Atlanta, to find a calmer, quieter life in Charlotte, I started a Corporate Division for a small jewelry and gift store. I acted as Director of Marketing for them and was able to use my marketing/branding/sales experience to start a corporate sales department for them. The company was small and the staff was very interesting. It was very different than what I had experienced at Tiffany & Co., but I was happy to be there as long as I was. My hours were good there and I had plenty of time to get to know Charlotte and its people better.  It wasn't long before my attention turned to the wonderful man I had met through a mutual friend a year after moving. Within a year after that, we were married. Two years later, we had our first child, a beautiful daughter, named after my grandmother and great-aunt. 

July 2000
A new partnership brought us to Richmond, Virginia in 1994, when we were expecting our second daughter. As we were moving we found out that she had something called Edwards Syndrome, and was not expected to live long. She did not. She died as she was being born. (About 20 years later, I learned through and its records that my paternal grandmother also had a child with similar symptoms. Make you wonder about hereditary disease...) In 1996 we welcome our third daughter, who was named after my best friend, whom I had met during my time at Tiffany & Co. But we also gave her a middle name to reflect my ancestors who had come to Maryland circa 1700.

July 2016
The girls grew to be happy and healthy young women. As I write this, the older is married, has her masters in counseling and has just started a wonderful new life. The younger is a sophomore in college and is yearning for the day she will finish college and start her life. They and my husband go back and forth to Florida and the islands with me. The Bahamas and the Caribbean islands bring back such memories for me...not that I spent time there as a child, but they reflect the unspoiled nature of the South Florida in which I was raised. We always come back to Virginia, though...and we always will. We have lived here for 22 years now. It was that long ago that I circled back to the place of my birth. The place that I knew, somewhere deep down inside, that I needed to return to. The place my ancestors came in the early 1600's. The place that all but one died in 1644 during the Indian uprising. A beautiful land of rivers, lakes and mountains. A land I hope to call home until the day I pass over into my eternal real and true home. And there I hope to be reunited with all of you, my precious ancestors, many of whom I only know through family legend and research.

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