HOW SHE GREW!

Even before I was born, our family loved to read.

 

It all started in Washington, D.C.. I had a really big brother. My mother was an opera singer and my father was an F.B.I special agent.

  I looked like this when I  was     two-years old.

When I was good, I was very, 

very good.

But when I was bad, I was horrid!

One Halloween my mother made me a cat costume. What did you wear for Halloween this year?

Our family went to church every Sunday. I loved to wear hats! Gloves might have been cool too, but I can't remember if I liked them or not. Do you?

I'm the kid on the right with my mouth open. At my birthday parties we made our own party hats and pin the tail on the donkey game. Can you tell? What did you do at your last birthday?

I was a tomboy. I loved playing sports. See, I'm the only girl practicing hitting while my neighbor, Mr. McDonald pitched to us. Mr. McDonald delivered eggs to people's houses. His eggs were always fresh! We got to help Mr. McDonald candle his eggs That means to look inside the egg by holding a candle behind it to see how fresh it is. Sometimes the eggs had a chick inside them! People don't want to find chicks inside their eggs.

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Like most kids, I had an awkward age. In 3rd grade, I got braces and glasses and was really, really skinny.

I spent a lot of time on my grandmother's farm. I loved to ride horses, hike, play in the barn and the corn fields and make believe! What do you make believe?

I loved to ice skate outside. But because I was the skinniest, I was always at the end of the "crack the whip!" We used to skate up a river in the Cleveland Metroparks. Did you ever ice skate on a lake or a river?

I always had dogs. This collie was my first dog. His name was Brandywine of Dellrose Drive. Fancy huh? We really called him Brandy though. What would you name your dog?

I took lots of dance lessons with my friends when I was growing up. I.m the one second from the right. I loved tap, jazz and modern dance and I loved school dances with lots of rock n' roll. Do you like to dance?

This is my mother and I leaving for my high school graduation.

I liked Harpo Marx when I saw him on TV, so I started taking harp lessons thinking I'd become a jazz harpist. Instead, I gave my first professional performance with the Cleveland Orchestra when I was fifteen. I still wanted to play jazz harp though.

In my senior year of college, I (right) became completely paralyzed.This picture was taken when one of my nurses (center), Theresa Bentley, took me to the beach, so that I could practice walking in the sand. My cousin, Jayne Helms (left), a fashion model in New York, had come down to visit me. She came along to help. I only weighed 55 pounds in the picture.

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Three days after I was admitted to ICU, a contract arrived from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. A few days later with my breathing failing, my harp teacher, Alice Chalifoux, former Cleveland Orchestra principal harpist, decided to forge my name on the contract that would months later, land me in the Atlanta Symphony as solo and principal harpist for the next twenty-three years. I arrived at the position weighing 75 pounds, with my face still paralyzed, only two and a half months after I was released from the hospital.

While still playing in the ASO, I married Frank Ryan, who was still working on his dissertation at Emory University. I weighed 125 pounds. Soon after, with a newly adopted baby, Julia, we moved back to my home state for his new job!

These are my two gorgeous step kids.

They are so cute in this picture, I couldn't resist introducing them to you when they were this age.I didn't get to meet Tim until he was a teenager and I didn't start being Sara's Mom until she was 8. Now Sara is an optical physicist and Tim is a fire fighter. 

This is beautiful Julia, wearing a hand- made family heirloom. The dress is about a hundred-fifty years old. All the eyelet is hand-sewn. I'm glad I didn't live then, I can't make anything that doesn't have one sleeve about a foot and a half longer than the other, Do you think you would like to live a hundred-fifty years ago?

Having kids brought back my love of children's books and children's illustrations.  Now, I write about sujects I love, in books I feel happy about children reading. I create illustrations and activities that I think are fun and will encourage kids to read. Frank, Julia and I live together with 2 dogs, 4 cats and a hamster.