I was born during a year of uncertainty. Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller were challenging Lyndon B. Johnson after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Malcolm X made the speech “Ballots or Bullets”. Civil rights workers disappeared while hitchhiking in Mississippi, later found brutally murdered by the KKK. The first burning of draft cards protest was recorded.
I was born in Billings and lived in Hardin. The middle child and only daughter of a police officer and a homemaker. My paternal Grandparents lived on the south side and I enjoyed Billings as second home. I traveled by bus for shopping downtown. West end shopping was located at 13th and Grand. I knew the honest and hard-working neighbors. People who came from Eastern Montana who chose Billings for more opportunities. Billings promised fun and experiences unavailable in my small town, like Chinese food. My Grandparents were founding members of the church on 2nd St West and Alderson Avenue. I found friendship and dedicated residents of Billings, willing to make sacrifices for the benefit of the city.
I left Montana after graduation from Hardin High School. I received a BA in Political Science at Cleveland State University in Cleveland Ohio. I was involved in political organizations on campus, around international politics and cultures. I was a board member and helped organize the International Students Association. I further studied at Mississippi State University Graduate School of Public Policy and Administration. I interned in the Governor’s Office during the tenure of Ray Mabus. I worked on a project to survey city departments in a small town, creating a more professional administration. I completed 2 years of graduate school but did not finish my degree.
I have a grown son establishing a career outside of Montana. He attended Rose Park Elementary school where he made good friends, along with a good educational foundation. He spent his Freshman year at Senior High. He walked the same hallways and had gym in the same room as his Grandfather some 50 years earlier.
I work as a Special Needs Assistant at Lewis and Clark Middle school. I enjoy volunteer activities at the Amend Community Garden, North Plains Women’s Museum and the Special Olympics. I learned tolerance and respect from a multicultural upbringing. Hard working people, who struggled to make the best they could of difficult circumstances, taught me important values.