BIO Index

Claudia Tolins

After graduation, I moved to Miami for 16 years, where I married and gave birth to one daughter, Kim. Kim gave me two awesome grandsons. Cody, 17, and Caden 7. They live in Auburn, Alabama. I married again, this time to Doc, my husband of 28 years, who had four children, so very quickly I had a large instant family. Now I have 10 grandchildren, and 13 great-grands. I was born to be a Memaw! I LOVE it! Doc passed away in 1998 and the time between then and 2009 was routine growth as I strived to achieve excellence in my profession. I worked as a Contractor for NASA for 29 years (Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Telescope).

In 2009, I got a message on Face Book from Brenda Whittle, asking if I was THE Claudia Tolins from SHS Class of '61. After we chatted back and forth, she gave me the website for the 50th Grand Reunion. I went to it, and the first place I looked was to the Class of '59, when my first love, Jimmy Gerard, graduated. We went steady throughout my High School years, and broke up when he signed a baseball contract with the Kansas City A's. I was heartbroken! Many tears! No contact for almost 50 years. His email address was listed on the SHS web site, so I immediately sent him an email and in 25 words or less, told him everything I had been doing since we last saw each other. I did not know what his status was, so it was a very "word appropriate" message. Minutes later I got an email from him, also "word appropriate", telling me what he has been doing, and best of all (for me) he was divorced. We met face to face, after many hours on the telephone, and it was like time stood still. Nothing had changed - we did not notice the signs of aging, only the love in each other's eyes. He continues to meet all members of my large family and they connected with him instantly, mostly because of his sense of humor. We are learning to enjoy dual homes, his in Largo, and mine in Huntsville, and spend lots of time traveling back and forth.

The Golden Years are GREAT!!! Life is GOOD! Just a heads up, I no longer have a German accent, it is now strictly Southern. See y'all soon!

(The first picture is of a family cruise with my daughter Kim and her family, plus her grandmother (91) and me. The second picture is of Jimmy and I in Largo.

Claudia Tolins Layton