I’m 65 years old, and thanks to a 35-year career at the Department of Defense, I’ve been happily retired for just about a decade. I live in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, with my husband Bill, our dog Tess, short for Tess the Mess, and our cat Amoco, who is named for the gas station where we found her.
I was a first grade teacher for six years before becoming a reading specialist for kids with learning disabilities. After having four children of my own, I decided to be a stay-at-home mom and teach my children, along with my nieces and nephews.
When I was growing up in Philadelphia’s Olney-Feltonville neighborhood, my grandmother made sure I knew how to run a household. She taught all of her grandchildren how to do essential household tasks, like sewing and cooking. I always looked forward to the day when I’d get to follow in her footsteps and pass these skills along to my son, Alex.
But when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 at age 43, I found myself worried about whether I would be able to carry on family traditions like this.