Birthday Special: My life in a 15-picture nutshell


Well…I’m 66 this year.  I know! I don’t look a day over 35!  In case you missed the post about my avatar, I will repeat:

This is how I see my daughter.


This is how I see the writer inside of me:


My daughter just turned 38 this year.


Here is my life in a nutshell:

daddy, bobby le, mom 1949

1948:  My sister was born.  

Bobby Dad me 001

1950:  My sister doesn’t look very happy.  Can you blame her?  When I came along, the fun she had as an only child ceased to exist.

1961 buckhorngrill

1961:  My sister was used to having me around by the time I turned 10.  My dad had his own moving company and had just moved his aunt and uncle to their new home.  

This picture of my family was taken at the Buckhorn Grill, owned by my great Aunt Bill and Uncle Jim, in a little town called Kissimmee, Florida.  That was pre-Dizzy World, when there were actually trees between 2 small towns instead of a road sign that said Kissimmee on one side and Orlando on the other.

Jo Ellen --Jr High

1963:  Tell me one person who likes their 7th grade school picture?


Bobby Dempsey grad day 5-31-1968 001

1968:   My sister graduated with a Bachelor’s degree.  She spent a year teaching 7th grade after graduation.  That experience compelled her to move 2 states away and get her master’s degree in Linguistics.

I wore that little black dress in 1970, when I married my first husband.  It was appropriate:  The marriage was dead before it started.  

1969 future editor writer

1969:  This is the future editor/grammar guru, and her dyslexic sister who can write but still can’t understand how to use an apostrophe.  

I wore contact lenses from 1965 until 1973.  By the time I finally conceded the fact that a person with dry eyes is not a good candidate for contact lenses, the light sensitivity problem had worsened.  I was wearing dark glasses indoors by 1975.

Simon and son 5-77

1976:  My second husband, Larry, was an excellent dad and husband.   He passed away from diabetes 7 years after this picture was taken.  The problem with marriages #3 and #4 can be summed up in one sentence:  They weren’t Saint Larry.

opr6-Mom, Lydia and Robert at Devil's Lake 1980 001

1981:  My children had the added advantage of living with an adventurous mother.  We loved going to the Wisconsin Dells.  They watched their mom go through college during the 1980’s and both went to class with me a few times.  I believe that helped them develop a life-long love of learning.

Robert and Lydia Simon 1990 001

1990:  Larry left 2 great looking, hard-working, smart children.  They were 14 and 12 when this picture was taken.  I wish their father could’ve watched them grow up to become the fine people they are today.



12-1996 headed for a cruise 001

December 1996:  I had started working in the field of Developmental Services in 1993.  In this picture, I was preparing to go on a cruise with a group home.  

12-1996 formal cruise dinner 001

Still on the cruise, at the Captain’s dinner.   I felt so radiantly beautiful! The man who was to be my 5th husband had just moved in.  Yes, we’re still living in the same house.  He’s been with me more years than I was married to the other 4 husbands combined.

sister kids me circa2006

circa 2006-7:  When this picture was taken, my sister worked overseas, flying to Africa every other month; my son was working on his doctorate and my daughter was getting her Master’s degree.

Mom and chelsaddog

2010:  My favorite puppy in the entire universe, now and forever.  She passed away at the age of 13 from esophageal cancer in 2013.


2015:  Hanging out with the granddaughter near Kennesaw, Georgia.  She’s so much fun to be with!   After riding a bus home during my first attempt at college from 1968 – 1970, I swore I would never ride another bus again.  I kept that vow until 2008, breaking it when I discovered that taking a bus was the only affordable way to visit my granddaughter.  


“What was your happiest moment?”  You might ask.

I’d have to reply, “There were so many it’s hard to choose.”  At the top of that list were holding my son, my daughter and my granddaughter the day they were born…and getting my bachelor’s degree.

But I felt as if my life began anew the day I held the hard copy of my first book in my hands; the day I believed with my heart, my soul and my mind, “I’m a writer!”