I came to Sarasota in 1958 from the snowy world of Rochester, New York. What surprises I encountered hot salty swimming water, people with southern accents, big petticoats, football games, warm weather and sunshine all year round, I was truly in shock. Everyone was so friendly. I made friends, some of whom I stay in touch with to this day. For those of you that I don't know so well now I am truly enjoying reading your biographies and testing my mind's eye to see you and recall our mutual progression through the miasma of adolescence. Personally, I had a great time. Some people I meet seem to have a very unhappy memory of their high school years. I do not. I would love to be 16 and I guess the best other choice might be shiftless. We slid in and out of all sorts of experiences!
After SHS I went off to the University of Georgia. I elected to be away from home! Not too far though. Georgia was rather a shock as well. Those girls were so Southern that I am not sure I ever completely adjusted to the school culture or to my, of all things, choice of majoring in business administration. Did you ever take statistics? What was I thinking? After the death of John Walker I needed to come home and enrolled at the very new University of South Florida in Tampa. It was a good choice for me and I finished up there with a BA in Humanities whose curriculum I enjoyed from beginning to end. Though I did have one math requirement that was a struggle. For graduation I was presented with a one-way ticket to New York City.
At first I lived with my sister and her husband on the upper west side and looked for a job. I got one, at American Telephone and Telegraph where I stayed for a year. Reconnected with an old girl friend from Rochester who was at Barnard and we found an apartment. It was great. Subway to work, enough money to make ends meet, interesting friends, Jones Beach in the summer and getting to know the city. Then I came back to Sarasota for about three months. Got tired of N.Y. but low and behold I was BORED. Living with Mom and Dad is hard. So back to N.Y., same roommate, better apartment and found a more interesting job as Assistant Buyer of Maternity Wear for Sears and Roebuck. It was great. My experience at the old Sears store at the Trail and Bahia Vista is what clinched being hired.
Then I went up to Cornell for a summer weekend with friends in the Finger Lakes and met Jimmy Schmidt. He lived in Cincinnati and worked in a family business. We married in 1968. So here we are, divorced but still friends and still in Cincinnati. I like it here very much and feel rooted by many good friends and family. The winter weather can be daunting but the change of seasons is always beautiful and energizing.
Jimmy and I have a daughter Anne. She is a lawyer by education and now at home with 3 boys, Max 7, James almost 4 and Henry 7 months. She is a fine mother and had an agonizing time deciding to leave law when her oldest was born. It has been a positive decision. Our son-in-law is from Bremen, Germany and he works for an international publishing company. They lived for 3 years in Amsterdam, which was great. Now they live in Philadelphia which is closer, but Amsterdam is really a wonderful city.
Our son George is currently in flux and has an MFA from the Chicago Art Institute. He is a fine painter and you can go to his web site www.georgeschmidtpaintings.com if you need some new art or a portrait of your successful self! Besides it's fun to look at paintings. He's a sailor and a snow boarder so he stays busy.
I've had some great life experiences: partner in an independent bookstore for 12 years (great partners-dream job), executive director of a small educational non-profit for talented but underserved middle school students, volunteer coordinator and event planner at a large independent school and a couple of more. Currently I work at a busy independent pharmacy that is a 3-minute commute from my house. It is almost as much fun as the bookstore and keeps me busy for 10 months out of the year with a very flexible travel policy. In summer I go to my cottage in Michigan. I have enjoyed some wonderful trips to far away places but am very content at home. I like the company of my old dog, working in my yard, cooking and reading. SHS prepared me well for a full and diversified life, not for a major in Business, which is fine with me.
I send best regards to all.
Jeanie Snider Schmidt