The Autobiography of a Recovering Grasshopper…
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Labor Day, Sept 2, 1940. My first memory was a home on South Shore Drive across from the Beach and Tennis Club that became the Arthur Ash Tennis Club. I remember loving being in the water of Lake Michigan, of never sitting still, of big family parties at our house for holidays and birthdays.
I remember that we had a part time maid, my mother always smelled good; my dad went to work at night in a tuxedo as a theatre manager. I also remember the winters where I was put in so many clothes, I could hardly walk. I have 2 younger brothers, Terry 2 years younger and Jim 6 years younger. My parents fell in love with California on a vacation, bought a house over the phone in Glendale and moved us the summer of 47. My dad did not go back to work for Warner Brothers, I remember the tension around money when I asked my mother for a nickel to get something and she slammed the iron down, snapped at me and said, we don’t have 2 cents to rub together, do you think money grows on trees? She had to go back to work as a secretary for Toll Jr. High then my dad got a job as a painter for the Board of Education. We were effectively latch key kids, but we never locked our back door.
My brother made money mowing lawns and had a paper route but I could only baby sit because I was a girl.
My first job at 15½ was in Club San Moritz working in concessions and gave out play equipment. I don’t remember getting any money, but I had fun that summer. Got a job at Page’s Dress shop for $1.25 an hour working Friday afternoon, and Saturday. Graduated from high school, got a job working as a part-time secretary for an auto parts store manager. I worked every day I was not taking classes to become a PE teacher. I gave most of my pay check to my parents who said they would save it for me for UCSB my junior year. I met my 1st husband who was an auto mechanic at that time. He was 10 years my senior. After rough years at UCSB, returned to LA State for my senior year. I had discovered modern dance and that’s what I wanted to teach. I embraced the modern dance world, loved its creativity. I also choreographed major musicals for BHS, Music Man, Oklahoma, Hello Dolly, Brigadoon; we rivaled Beverly Hills and Hollywood High with our productions.
I worked in the office as a secretary all the three years, and also taught part time as I worked on my Masters. I lived at home, never thought about saving anything. Just made money to pay for car, gas, books and clothes. Got married June 21, 1962. Got a job teaching at Burbank High School, September 1964. Salary was $11,375 for 10 months work. Taught for 18 years, with one year off traveling the country with my second husband, 5 years younger. I worked summer school until prop 13 closed extra activities in schools in California.
Got a divorce in 1975. Sold the house we had bought together. Took most of the money and traveled to Europe for 7 weeks summer of 1976. Lived and played in Santa Monica until 1980. Hurt my knees skiing at Mammoth, the Doctors wanted to do surgery, but I knew that I would not be able to dance again, so someone said try a Chiropractor. I had no idea what that was but I was willing to try anything. I found a DC, Rick Smith, who helped me. I told him I was going back to school to get a PhD because my brain was getting fuzzy and he said why don’t you become a chiropractor – so I did. I left teaching June 1982, took my $17,000 out of teacher’s retirement and went to Cleveland Chiropractic College September, 1982. I used student loans, worked for my brother selling handicap sheets at the horse races, graduated December 7, 1985. I had moved into my parents mobile home in Huntington Beach while I went to school in LA for 3½ years.
My mother was diagnosed with 4th stage metastatic Cancer in August 1984 and died January 5, 1985. I was in my last year of school. My dad helped me get through the last year of school. I got a job working for Dr. Kevin Priestley in Corona del Mar. I did PR for his clinic, began attending Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce meetings, got very active. Began meeting people, went to Parker Chiropractic seminars, began speaking about how to build a practice with no money for advertising. I worked in the office but spent an equal amount of time doing screenings, talks and meeting people who then became my patients. After 10 years as an associate. I had to declare bankruptcy, started my own practice with a borrowed credit card from my brother. Financially, I had bottomed out, but I had great confidence in my ability as a DC.
I started by charging $20 dollars a visit, check or cash, no insurance except Medicare. It has worked for me. I slowly built my practice up to over 150 patient visits a week, when on May 9, 2007, I was in a serious car accident that almost killed me, coded when I got to trauma center, was on a ventilator for 6 weeks, one of my best friends flew down from Nevada, found substitute DC’s and my brother took care of finances.
After 3 months, I began working again. Because I do a non-force technique, Activator, I was able to return to practice. I knew I could not work as much, so I was offered a room in a multi-DC office. I love it. I pay rent for the room and a small % to a front desk woman to bill Medicare and a few Auto Cases. I still accept only check or cash. I never used credit cards. I work M/W/F 8-11, 2-6 and Saturday 8:30 -11:30.
I belong to the Royal Chiropractic Knights of the Round Table, a group of 21 women DC’s from all over the country. We meet three times a year, do research papers and mastermind. I have been in another mastermind group for 26 years.
2011 has been a momentous year for me. I decided to join the electronic media, bought a Mac Book Pro, learned how to send documents, am launching a web site, PieceFullMind.com (this one), and taking my clinical knowledge along with my poetry and photography to new heights. I want to take my writing and sharing skills to include books, products, and ideas to as many people as possible.
My financial history has always been sketchy. I seem to mostly make enough to do what I want. My friends, Renee and Glenn McCall had a home in Sechelt, BC north of Vancouver. I have been going up there since 1979 when they built it. It has been my second home, I love it. They left me the house in 2005 when Renee died. I thought I might be spending more time up there but I realized after the accident, I deeply wanted to continue my chiropractic practice. I sold the house and have a nest egg in savings in Canada. My friend bailed me out of financial challenges, when I used my credit cards excessively. I have a history of not making savings a part of my regular life.
I had bilateral total knee arthroplasty on July 21, 2011. I am pain free for the first time in 10 years. I had to pay cash for the surgery, $5000 per knee. I felt blessed that I had the money in savings to do it, plus cover my expenses while I recovered.
Mainly, I feel so blessed, grateful for my avocations of chiropractic, teaching, and all the creative arts I can express. I am really glad to be alive.