(Pronounced LAW-ree WAR-shawl)
I grew up in Saco, Maine, a small city south of Portland. The oldest of four siblings, I “trained” our parents to let go a little. It’s my legacy as the older sister.
When I was eight years old, I was finally old enough to walk to the library by myself! I can still remember that Saturday morning, juggling my books and carrying my pride like a neon sign flashing “I’m going to the library BY MYSELF.” Mrs. Kerry was there to greet me as I climbed the curved staircase of the historic building. I did it!
I loved reading. My favorites were the Nancy Drew series, the animal series by Thornton W. Burgess, and anything by E.B. White. I also enjoyed biographies about our early presidents. In fifth grade, I won a reading contest with a prize of going to historic Strawberry Banke Museum. (Unfortunately, the prize was never awarded but I’m over it, I really am!)
My summers were a blast– off to our grandparent’s camp at Ossipee Lake for a summer of swimming, berry picking, and nature. Like any budding naturalist, I packed my binoculars, bird ID guide, and a notebook to keep a list of plants, birds, animals, and butterflies I saw. Thank goodness my grandparents tolerated my nature-nerdiness without (barely) raising an eyebrow. I was so blessed to have the childhood that I did. Three things have stayed with me from my summers at the lake:
- Catching minnows with nets is hard (this was grandma’s trick for getting some quiet time to herself).
- British Soldier lichens are really cool.
- Finding a newborn fawn in the tall grass in a field is magical.
When I went to college, I studied Wildlife Biology at the University of Maine. I was one of only a few females in the program. It was hard for women to find work in the field so I forged my career in another area: banking. Life took over and I married, had a son, Nate, and worked my way up the corporate banking ladder where I remain to this day.
Nature was, and still is, a big part of my life. I volunteer for citizen science projects like Cornell’s Project Feeder Watch and owl surveys for Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Maine Audubon. But when I found an abandoned five-week-old kitten, something happened to me. I felt the need to write about my experience of saving this sweet animal. I was hooked when I felt the power of creating something that could move people emotionally or at least make them pause to think. And I haven’t stopped writing since.