A few years ago, my former classmates and I decided to have a reunion and we spent the evening reminiscing. Only two of us said that we had enjoyed boarding school, and I was one. At school I had spent a lot of time sitting alone in the dining room where we all ate because I played around at the meal table so I was sent to the sideboard by myself as an example. I would not stop talking or sit still. The staff sent me to “Coventry” which meant that no one was allowed to talk to me for a prescribed number of days or till I behaved myself! Somehow, I outgrew those naughty days and finally did make it to be a Prefect, an honor for senior girls!
I attended high school in Canada during the year my father was doing research there. Having come from a girls’ boarding school, this was a unique experience. I found that my prior schooling surpassed theirs. I was on the young side being 13 in the eleventh grade, so I had to be independent. We returned to England and back I went to Farringtons and left at 17-1/2yrs old. At 18, my father sent me to secretarial training school. He didn’t believe in girls going to the university so didn’t feel it was necessary for me. I was just anxious to get out of school.
I saved money during my secretarial training, and when I completed the course after a short stint working in my father’s company and then for a lawyer in London, a girlfriend and I boarded a ship and sailed off for New York. I had just turned 21yrs old. There, we were employed as Kelly Girls for about five months , and I primarily worked in Rockefeller Center for one company at one job where they begged me to stay. It seems our skills were far superior to most girls doing secretarial work. Then my friend and I got on a plane and headed for San Francisco. I got a job with an investment counseling firm and worked there for a couple of years. Within the first year, I returned to England to marry an American I had met in New York. Upon returning to San Francisco, I went to work for Smith, Barney & Company Investment Brokerage.
After I was married a few years, I decided to stay home and have a family and some years later, we had a son. In the meantime, I got very involved in Moraga during those early years. There was a Welcome Wagon newcomers club, and out of that we created a woman’s organization to conduct summer recreation programs for kids. I taught macramé! We eventually worked to get a proper park and recreation district. We took out a petition, walked neighborhoods explaining what we were doing, and got everyone’s agreement for a dollar per $100 to be added to the tax assessment. Because Moraga was not yet incorporated, we formed a Park’s & Recreation Authority with a joint power of authority agreement between the county, the school district, and the fire district. I was appointed to the board and became President of the Park’s and Recreation Authority. This was a very exciting time. Eventually we hired a proper recreation director, William Penn Mott Jr., the former Director of Parks & Recreation for the State of California, under Ronald Reagan. He was retired and said, “Well, I think what you are doing is great. I am interested in helping you.” He worked on a miniscule salary because he had a pension and didn’t want to disturb that. He was a very motivating and innovative man and exposed us to a lot of ideas. So, that was a highly educating time for me.Download Article 1K Club