A Cajun girl in a kilt, that’s me. My dad was born and raised in southeast Louisiana, as was I, but my mother was born to immigrants from Glasgow, Scotland, who came to the US for religious freedom and the hope of a better life. Upon marrying my father, however, my mother abandoned her Scottish heritage and adopted my father’s culture, cuisine, and customs.
Although she grew up with oatmeal every morning, she never had it again after she married my father, switching to grits, the hot cereal of Louisiana. It wasn’t until one of my mother’s first cousins started visiting us (after her retirement and the passing of her own mother) did I come to truly understand my Scottish heritage. My image of myself shifted. Was I just my father’s daughter? Was my mother’s past inside of me as well?
When I first visited Scotland in 2000, I felt like I had “come home”. The highlands and the lowlands; the heather, the thistles, and bluebells; the shortbread and the never-ending cuppa tea; the heavy accents; they all tugged and tugged at my heart. Now, I consider myself a series of contradictions: Community Coffee in the morning and hot tea in the evening, gumbo for lunch and scones in the afternoon, Zydeco to energize me and Mozart to relax me. With my very French maiden name and my fair, freckled complexion, I remain a Cajun girl in a kilt.
After spending twenty years in the legal field as a real estate paralegal and negotiator, I spent two glorious years as a trailing spouse in the heart of Europe, the lovely country of Belgium. I spent most days volunteering at the international school my daughters were attending, in the high school library, working as a teacher’s aide in a critical thinking class, organizing a middle school Renaissance banquet, and conducting cooking demonstrations on the foods of ancient civilizations.
My days in that bustling school filled me with energy and awoke in me a burgeoning creativity, leading me to return to graduate school to become certified to teach English at the middle school and secondary school level.
From 2007 to 2020, I taught middle school English and literature in the Archdiocese of Washington’s Catholic schools. Once again, my own creative juices were awakened as I taught writing to 7th and 8th graders, beginning my career as a freelance writer.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced me out of my classroom, but it will not stop me from continuing with the things I love most: reading, writing, tutoring, and cooking for my family and friends.
“I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly you find—at the age of fifty, say—that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about…. It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you.”Agatha Christie, An Autobiography (1977)