The one thing from my childhood that had the biggest impact would be the female role models, though I didn’t know it at the time. My maternal grandmother, called Gram by the grandkids (and great-grandkids), was a major force in my life. She was strong, opinionated, and funny as hell. My mom (the little one on the left) raised three kids, who mostly turned out okay, on her own without losing her mind. She also impressed upon me a love of animals in all the strays we saved, cats and dogs, over the years. While doing genealogy research, I discovered a long tradition of strong women on my mom’s side going back generations. These women made me the independent (also opinionated) person I am today. I hope to return that favor to my nieces.

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