More About the Author
As legend has it, I arrived in utero to Denver by train from Chicago with my parents Doc and Casey (Vanden Bosch) and my sister, Mary in the spring of 1938. Depression poor, my Dad had taken a $50 a month internship at Denver General Hospital where I was born in August. Having been raised on farms in Western Michigan, neither parent had seen mountains or been farther west than the Windy City. They were dazzled by the Rocky Mountains as well as western hospitality and decided to settle permanently. Dad hung out his first "shingle" near Denver University and prayed for the best.
I grew up among other transplanted Dutch folks in South Denver, with churches, Christian schools and businesses in a small radius. For seventeen years, Denver was my home; the mountains, standing close and tall on the west were my first love. We took short forays into the mountains as Dad's now busy OB practice allowed but in 1953, our family, now numbering seven, found an unimproved old clapboard house in the ghost town of Marble, Colorado, which was home for a month each summer.
Dad loved his alma mater, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan) and his chosen profession of medicine. He was determined that his five children should attend Calvin and go into some branch of medicine. We all complied on the first count, but only three on the second. Only one sibling came back to Colorado to live. I met and married a man from Michigan; our enduring link with Colorado was and is through the mountain cabin located in the Crystal River Valley.
Looking back over my career, it has three distinct pieces. My chosen profession was teaching, which I did mainly with very young children, disabled by visual impairment in a preschool and home-visiting program in Lansing, Michigan. When we made a decision to move to Cleveland I eagerly continued my studies at Case Western Reserve University, eventually doing a dissertation on Ethics and Low-birthweight Infants. A new program with the aim of reducing low-birthweight and infant mortality among Cleveland's poor, hired me as director. We piloted a program using indigenous community workers as heath-aids to get women into pre-natal care. As the program expanded I continued to write grants for support and citywide coverage.
From there I began First Draft Consulting, helping other non-profit groups apply for funds for projects to combat problems such as teen-pregnancy, youth violence, lack of medical care for the underserved. One project touched me like none other: writing with incarcerated women in Ohio's women's prisons.
Working from my home and on my own clock, allowed time to learn to do other kinds of writing. Continuing education classes and many years at the Iowa Summer Writing Workshop encouraged my writing efforts and took away my fear of empty retirement years. I love the workshop setting and have gone on to lead them with older adults, East African development workers, women in treatment for addiction, writer's groups and church groups.
Now I live with my husband Fritz on an acreage in Western Michigan within a 20-mile radius of our three children, their spouses and eight grandchildren. Our passion is to preserve the tall-grass prairie, encourage native wildflowers and record creation's bounty with his photographs and my writing. Teaching continues to nourish me, especially with mature adults who are eager to write the stories of their long and colorful lives.