Is it possible to be a debutante more than once? In my case, the answer is yes. When I was 17 years old I was selected as a debutante for the cotillion sponsored in my hometown, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Dressed in a white ballgown, white elbow gloves, white pumps, pearls, and with my hair in an upsweep, I waltzed with my dad, did a modern dance with my escort, and had a fabulous time with my best girlfriends, some who I’m in touch with to this day.
My first time around as a Deb, I was young and curious about the world. I wanted to be part of something special. I was interested in having new experiences. I had an insatiable curiosity. Nothing’s changed. My adventurous spirit has led me to unforgettable moments.
After leaving a newspaper reporting job and an editor’s position at a nonprofit, I decided to embark on a television news career, working at small market news outlets in the Midwest and New England. My “highlight reel” of stories includes the local sweetcorn festival, the Abraham Lincoln Impersonators Conference, and meeting and interviewing actress Rue McClanahan from The Golden Girls TV sitcom. When the television career ended and I landed a job as public education specialist for The National Fire Protection Association, I was able to bring my TV skills to the job by doing a series of on-camera fire safety videos.
One day, my boss walked up to me and said, “How would you like to do something bigger than you’ve ever done before?” Always up for an adventure, I said, “I’d be happy to,” and ended up going to Johannesburg, and Cape Town, South Africa to create a fire safety curriculum for preschoolers. And while there, on a dare, I rode an elephant.
Another work trip took me to France where I was asked to speak before an international panel on safety. The conference was held on the outskirts of Paris at Disneyland Paris. I got to meet Mickey Mouse, travel with one of my best girlfriends, and spend time on the French Riviera, Switzerland, and Italy.
Sometimes the biggest adventures happen right under your nose, or three pews away when you’re sitting in church. Eight years ago, a gentleman in my adult Sunday school class walked up to me after class and introduced himself. I found this puzzling, since he’d been sitting a few pews behind me for years, but had never said anything to me. I learned that he was divorced and it had taken him years to get up the nerve to talk to me. My husband, Alex, and I got married two years and nine months after that initial meeting.
Then I wrote about our story for the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology and did a number of public readings.
Now I’m on to my next adventure, the big dance toward publication, my second time around as a debutante, fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming a novelist. I’m so glad you’ll be along for the journey!