Hi there! Thank you for visiting this website. I live in Portland, Oregon, a green, mossy city with 14 bridges and an astonishing amount of rain. I moved to Portland recently to be close to our grandchildren after 30-plus years in California, and it’s a pleasure to be here.
Since you are visiting this website, you probably enjoy reading about history. I study history because I am deeply curious about the people who came before us. Some of my earliest history lessons came from tagging along after my father, as he explored old towns and neighborhoods. I learned about West New Jersey Quakers from hearing my mother’s family stories, which made me feel closer to them and to her. I enjoy hearing about other people’s family history research, and I hope you will get in touch with me about projects you are working on. One of the best things about studying family history is meeting other family historians.
I write creative non-fiction, with the goal of balancing powerful story-telling with historical accuracy. I hope that you enjoy reading my book, West Jersey Lamb’s War, knowing that I strive to be as historically accurate as possible in my writing. Historians I especially admire are those who discover stories that are vivid by themselves and also illuminate much more. This is what historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich does when she describes an 18th century midwife making her rounds or explains the symbolism of homespun cloth in early America. I am riveted by her stories, and I use them as a model for my writing.
I am not a Friend myself, but – for as long as I can remember – I have felt a deep respect for Quaker values: compassion, social justice, and spiritual discipline. When I first began to investigate the West Jersey Friends, I focused on 19th century family stories and artifacts like photographs and genealogical bits; I had no idea about my ancestors’ deep ties to the earliest Quaker history. It has been a great adventure for me to uncover these connections over the past ten years, and many people have helped me along the way. I have tried to acknowledge as many as possible in my book.
Here in Portland, I am a big fan of our phenomenal and varied local music scene. I play Renaissance and Baroque music at the Community Music Center, where I have found a welcoming and supportive community for learners like myself. Music is a great portal for studying history, and I love to hear about other people’s discoveries: songs, instruments, and writings they have come across that give us a deeper understanding of the past. If you have musical discoveries of this kind to share, please let me know.
I am a lifelong knitter and, whenever I can, I include fiber arts in my writing. My article, How My Mother Learned to Knit, tells a little of my mother’s life story through the 20th century social history of knitting. Compared to other kinds of historical artifacts, clothing is especially intimate and always tells a story.