Our Story

I’m just the Mom…

As they say, life is a journey. My first love was horses. Worked on farms in NJ, MA, NY, and Hawaii. At some point, I realized that I didn’t have enough money, talent or the right personality to deal with the two-legged animals. When I found myself using my hair blower to warm my hands after mending the fence-line for the umpteenth time, I knew it was time to get out of the horse business.

Mary up on Ginger's Coley June, 1974 Ringoes, NJ

Mary up on Ginger’s Coley
June 1974 Ringoes, NJ

From there, I worked in hotel kitchens on Maui. I also worked part-time sales jobs on Front Street as well as at a stable. Taking tourists on trail rides to the beach, through fields of sugarcane and pineapple plantations was especially memorable. My job at the stable was to keep the horses tuned up and safe for vacationers. After five years of paradise, it broke my heart to move back to the mainland. The plan was to go to the CIA. Ironically, I had worked at a farm around the corner from the school. Funny to think I could return to where I started.

Black Rock Terrace, Sheraton Maui, 1983

Black Rock Terrace, Sheraton Maui, 1983

In the midst of putting my school application together, I had an epiphany. I was working for a caterer and realized, as much as I loved cooking, after 7 years working odd hours, weekends, holidays, I wanted a more traditional life. This was the early 80’s and there weren’t too many women chefs. I was tired of having to prove myself because I was a woman (it’s a very physical job).  So, once again I changed paths. I wanted to find a career that could support my (horse) habit.

Decided that Katy Gibbs, a secretarial school in Philadelphia, was where I could get a new skill set. After graduating; worked for a sales company, then a law firm before getting a job in NYC with Merrill Lynch. This was a GREAT job!  I was an executive secretary for the head of Operations in their Unit Investment Trust division. The office was located at  One Liberty Plaza.   Commuting from NJ meant taking the PATH to the Twin Towers. They wanted to promote and train me in computer systems.  It was a great opportunity, however, as plans often do, they changed.

One evening after work, I was walking my dog and he found my future husband (good boy!)

John, Mary & Trapper September, 1989

John, Mary & Trapper
September 1989

We moved to southern California the day after we were married.  This is where our flower child was born.

This is the end of the fairy tale and where real life begins. We were clueless as to what was ahead. We didn’t know that it would take 13 years before getting a true diagnosis, Angelman Syndrome, or that Jess would have to wait to till she was 21 before she would have a voice through the app SFY an AAC.

The fairy tale may have hit some roadblocks, but we are navigating our way to find our  “happily ever after.”

Mary, John & Jessie December, 1990

Mary, John & Jessie
December 1990