I am not sure I always knew

who I was, or what I wanted

out of life.

When I was a child, I knew

I wanted to be a writer,

And so I wrote poetry, journals,

letters to penpals and stories–

and when I wasn’t writing stories

I was telling them or reading my

stories to others.  When I was a

little older, I thought the most

important thing in life was to get

married and have children. It

didn’t occur to me that possibly a career

in journalism or  home economics

might have been my passion.

I thought the thing to do was marry

and become a mother. Unfortunately,

the man I married was not really  a man–

he was a boy in a man’s clothing and

being an adult and a parent wasn’t

his cup of tea. But I wouldn’t learn

this until much later.

I discovered books at an early  age

and when I was 25, I discovered the

world of cookbooks. This, then,

became my passion and when I

was not collecting cookbooks,

I was writing about cookbooks.

Meantime, I collected penpals

in much the same way that I

would collect cookie jars, recipes,

and recipe boxes. By the time I

was 29, I had four  sons and

several hundred cookbooks–

and perhaps several thousand

other books–as my interest in

various topics widened and I collected

books on whichever subjects had

captured my attention–such as

books about the White House

and American Presidents and First Ladies

–and then there were the cookbooks about

the White House and First Ladies.

I continued writing, writing, writing, but

seldom accomplishing very much,

while raising four children and a husband,

with the dim realization that some people

never grow up.  I was becoming myself

but wasn’t quite there yet.

At the age of 36, I returned to work

full time, at the behest of my good

friend who had an opening in her

office just waiting for me. It

was a whole new world opening

up with many  new coworkers

who would become close

friends and a job that

would be a life saver

later on. At the age of

44, the marriage built like

a house of cards collapsed

and it took a year of therapy,

friendships, family , and my

job to bring me to the other

side, a little smarter, a little

braver, a little wiser than I

had been before.

When my husband jeered

“who will want you with

all those cats and dogs

and cookie jars”  I was

able to answer–it

doesn’t matter if someone

WANTS me–I have to  get on

with my life now –and then

I knew I was becoming a

stronger version of my self.

It didn’t happen overnight

and it didn’t happen in a few years–

it simply happened over time, having

survived the breakup of a 26 year

marriage, the loss of several

close friends  – I could

finally look  myself in the

mirror and say “I did the

best I could with the tools

I had given to me.

As I approach my

78th birthday in September,

I think I can say I have become

myself–mother, grandmother, sister,

aunt, girlfriend, poet, writer and

I embrace all these tools that

have helped me in becoming



Sandra Lee Smith

June 8, 2018





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