Monday, December 17, 2007

How Did You Get To Where You Are?

Members of the 1958 graduating class at Northeast High School live all over the planet. Whether you moved far away from St. Petersburg or you stayed in town, what was it that influenced you to live where you now live?

Here is what Mardi Kline Zeiger has to say on the topic:
For me, there never was a question that I'd leave St. Pete. My mom died the year after graduation, and I stayed in town taking care of my dad, working at the Driftwood Cafeteria, and studying at SPJC. Dad finally pushed me out of the house to "get a life" so I crashed with my brother in Washington, DC, until I found a place of my own. When I was writing the NeHi column for the St. Pete Times--my very first job-- remember my boss saying that to be a good editor, you don't have to be an expert in journalism; you just have to be good at writing or editing, and to know something about what's going in the world. He was right. In Washington I parlayed my experience at the Times, and what I learned working on the NeHi newspaper into a career; found a series of writing and editing jobs, at Science magazine, the Macke Company (did their employee newsletters), and the National University Extension Association. During that time I met Errol, who was stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center; we married after three months (we still celebrate May 12 as our anniversary; that was the day we met) and eventually had two sons and a daughter. Errol finished his Army service, worked for NIH and went to George Washington University graduate school, earned his degree in microbiology, and went into research, first at NIH, then at the Food and Drug Administration. Meanwhile, I finished my degree at the University of Maryland, continued working and raising kids. Eventually, Errol was offered a post In Research Triangle Park, NC, at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the only part of NIH outside Washington; we ended up in Chapel Hill, NC, where we've been since 1976. I've spent my time here editing and writing for a number of professional journals in areas as widespread as genetics, environmental mutagenesis, urban planning, and Middle Eastern studies, along with doing freelance work. Took a break to spend Errol's sabbatical year (actually 14 months) in Paris. It was a wonderful year, and we had some memorable experiences. Like watching a total eclipse from a soccer stadium in Epernay, then wandering through the champagne country, and like welcoming in the year 2000 with a million other people at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. After we returned home, Errol retired from the government and now is a consultant in microbiology and related areas. I've been doing freelance editing, acting as the Jewish chaplain for three local hospitals, and in general keeping out of mischief (most of the time).

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