Sandra CH Smith
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About Sandra CH Smith
Sandra CH Smith, born in Palo Alto, CA, spent her teenaged years hanging out with Ken Kesey and other Beat writers who were grad students at Stanford and lived a few blocks from Sandra's home. She became a little mascot for them all when Kesey took her under his wing. Not wanting to be secretive with her parents about her exciting life, she introduced Kesey to her strict and intellectual father who extorted a promise out of Kesey that he would watch out for her. "Nothing but a few sips of their nutmeg tea, no alcohol, none of that green stuff growing in their gardens was all I got," recalls Sandra. With Dad's blessings, she spent almost every weekend hanging out in North Beach with Kesey and the rest of the Beat writers. (30 years later, Ferlinghetti is a regular guest aboard Sandra's sailboat as they zoom out of Pier 39 and all around San Francisco Bay.) After a rainy year at Univ. of Oregon, we find her invited to DC by Senator Wayne Morse to work for him while attending GW Univ. Next, while still working on her degree, she takes on a side job as social secretary to the grande dame of Washington society and hobnobs with all the powers-that-be serving as hostess at the weekly soirees. Quickly becoming disenchanted with all the schemes she is over-hearing, she decides to abandon her homeland, talks Hewlett-Packard (where she had worked high school summers) into creating a job for her in their Geneva office, and sails off with a transfer to Grenoble University in France. That summer in Geneva is filled with excitement as she pals around with foreign dignitaries, dates the UN's High Commissioner to Refuge Affairs accompanying him every Sunday to France to pick up gourmet butter, spies, money-launderers, and other mysterious characters. As summer ends, she travels all around the Greek Islands as Cassandra, re-creating her favorite role as Illya from "Never On Sunday", dancing in tavernas and downing ouzo. Her last summer adventure takes her on the Orient Express alone from Northern Greece through "all those scary countries", with soldiers stopping the train in the middle of nowhere, taking passengers off into the woods, destroying cameras and rifling through everyone's bags (except hers) with bayonets . Many adventures later, taking a banana boat from Barcelona to the Canary Islands, she meets an American ex-spy whom she eventually marries upon returning to the USA. And that's when her battle with alcohol begins. To get and stay sober, she has to leave the 20-year marriage and all the luxury it encompasses. She has to leave her successful 16-year career as a journalist and newspaper editor. She moves downtown Philadelphia as an urban guerilla writer with no money and on a steady diet of raisins and peanuts. Sandra's second book, now in search of an agent or publisher, tells the story of her rise from abject poverty and total despair. At age 43 and with 8 years of sobriety under her belt, she buys a 35-foot sailboat, teaches herself to sail, changes everything on the boat from blue to hot pink, and takes off on a seven-year spiritual odyssey in the Pacific. Sailing singlehandedly or sometimes with her rebellious teenaged daughter, she follows the constellations from San Francisco to the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle somewhere off Easter Island. After saving the boat from a near capsize, she limps the boat back to Puerto Vallarta, sells it in a matter of minutes, and ends up in Arkansas with a new career...the owner of a luxury B&B she created in the Victorian artist colony of Eureka Springs.