About me, what about me….well, I’m the youngest of seven kids who grew up in the frozen north country of Grand Forks, North Dakota, 50 miles from the Canadian border. The town had a population of about 50,000 when I lived there (1950s to 1970s), and the US Census Bureau in 2019 estimates it now has about 55,000, so it hasn’t grown by much, even though the state’s largest university is there. The Census Bureau also says the population is 85% White, so it’s not the most diverse place in the US to grow up.
I’m the 4th-generation descendant of Polish immigrants who escaped poverty and conscription into wars they didn’t believe in. Large groups of immigrants from Poland settled in North Dakota in the late 1800s—they caught sight of that majestic 834-ft elevation and felt those brisk average daily temperatures of 34°F and said to themselves, “This place is GREAT. Let’s stay here!” In fact, their immigration story is told in wonderful detail by Mary Barton in The Eagle’s Nest: The Immigrant Series, Book 1. (OK, I’m biased, that’s my sister. And it was edited by yours truly. But it’s still a great read.) According to the Census Bureau, by 2019 only 3.7% of the population is still Polish. We were outbred by the Norwegians, who make up 21.7%, and the Germans at 19.4%.
As soon as I was legally able, I pointed my car south, started driving, and didn’t stop until I reached the Gulf of Mexico. Enough of insufferable winters! Now I deal with insufferable summers in Houston, Texas. I won’t say the oil industry brought me to Texas initially, but it is certainly the reason I have stayed. I began my career here initially in Dallas, Texas, and 10 years later moved to Houston, where eventually I started my own business.
I’ve been married and divorced three times, I’ve had as many as two dogs and seven cats, I’ve had a raccoon die in my attic, and I’ve been through a hurricane, several tropical storms, and a few floods. I’ve had some great successes and some colossal failures. Lots of material there for a nonfiction blog! Through it all I’ve learned to keep a sense of humor and to trust in the comfort that we are never alone—that community will sustain us.