Friday, August 12, 2011

Who I am

I agreed to write about me for the August blog, but didn't realize how hard it would be. I've lived a fairly uneventful life.

Born in San Jose, California, my dad moved us to NE Oregon when I was two. There had been a rape in the park next to our house and having grown up in the rural areas of Texas and Nebraska he didn’t want us to live in fear.

We arrived in Wallowa Valley an isolated county rimmed by mountains. It's beautiful and has been called "Little Switzerland". There is one road in from La Grande, OR and if you aren't faint of heart one road out to Lewiston, Idaho. My daughter took my mother-in-law on this road when her older sister was in college in Wyoming. My daughter said she found it hard to drive with her grandmother in her lap. The road is very narrow and clings to the side of the cliffs with a sheer drop.

Growing up I spent my days doing chores on our 200 acres, riding my horse, reading along the river, and swimming in the river. It was an ideal setting to grow up in, but I found the small town gossip and nosiness wasn't for me.

I headed to college in Klamath Falls, after working my butt off to stay in the program one professor who insisted when I started I should do the three year program graded my lab reports so low I couldn't have passed with a C unless I scored a 99 on the final. I scored 98 and ended up leaving the program all together. It had been my dad's idea for me to be an x-ray technician and not mine. I wanted to go to an art school.

A high school friend had moved to Bend and was looking for a roommate. I moved in with her, learned she'd changed considerably when "men" showed up at the duplex at all hours of the night and she'd dress up and go out.

I met my husband at an Under 21 club. A girl I worked with talked me into going with her. I was 19 at the time and all the boys there looked to be 15 & 16. When a male walked in who looked my age, I strolled over to him and asked him to dance. He had laughing eyes, curly blonde hair and muscles. We danced and he said his buddies were supposed to meet him. As the night wore on his friends didn't show and my friend had to leave. My future husband said he could take me home. We walked to his pickup, an old flat black International. He had to unlock the passenger side because the driver's side lock didn't work. He slid through and then I got in. It smelled of cow manure. He was working at a feedlot. At the duplex, he came in and we kissed until he tried to put his hands under my shirt. I told him it was time for him to leave. I figured I'd never see him again. The next night someone knocked on the door. I answered and there stood my husband grinning like a fool and asking if I'd like to go to a movie. He later told me it was my sending him away when he got fresh that impressed him.

We married when we were both twenty-one and within nine months our first daughter was born. We lived in a couple of mouse infested houses as he started his trucking business and added two more biological children. The last one came after we purchased a new house. Later we adopted a boy through children's services.

While we both decided early on in our marriage we didn't want to farm any more, we ended up purchasing a 69 acre piece or property and started raising cattle and hay. Now that the kids are gone and return occasionally with our eight grandchildren we now own 350 acres and raise alfalfa hay as well as the cattle.

During all of this my husband learned I'm not happy unless I'm writing whether for pleasure or for profit. He supports my writing and I support his tractor addiction. ;)



  1. Great blog, girlfriend! LOL I can tell you don't like to talk about yourself but it's great getting to know more about you.


  2. Nice blog, Paty. I'm with you, my life hasn't been very interesting either, but one has to wonder how many of our ancestors thought the same thing when they were writing their diaries that we find so fascinating now.

  3. Thanks, Nic. Glad you learned something more about me.

    That's true Anna Kathryn. I guess if I were to keep a diary someone int he future would find things in my "mundane" interesting. Thanks for stopping in.

  4. Paty, sounds like you learned early on that life is not fair. Oh, my heart ached when I saw the 98 instead of a 99--and I know in my heart you worked your butt off to get that 98. I loved your post and was charmed. Write on!

  5. Great blog. And so funny. (love the grandma in the lap comment!)
    I too, grew up in a small community, and I wanted out. I went to college in a city not too far from home. Nothing like NY or Dallas, but it was a big city compared to the small town where I'd grown up. I had plans to get a bachelor's degree and become a traveling x-ray technologist. I wanted to see the USA. Then I came home one weekend and went to a bar with my sisters. I met a guy with the most gorgeous blue eyes and wavy dark hair. That first night, he slid his hand up my skirt. lol! I slapped his arm but he still asked if he could follow me home. He met my mom that night--who waited up, not matter how late we stayed out. We got married 18 months later. He said he fell in love when I slapped his hand. We moved to Danville, Va where I attended x-ray school. I became an x-ray technologist in 1982 and we moved to Raleigh, NC. But eventually, I returned home--for the same reason your dad moved his family. I'm still married to the same man and now work as a mammographer. I write paranormal and historicals for TWRP. I haven't published a western yet, but I have one under consideration with Harlequin. Wish they responded as quickly as TWRP!
    Thanks for letting us get to know you, Paty. And sorry my response was so long. I just can't believe there were so many similarities in our lives!

  6. Thanks Vonnie,. Yes, even though it wasn't the profession I wanted, I have never been a quitter and I have never backed down from a challenge(grew up with two brothers and five surrogate brothers) But I wasn't about to do the three year program because the head of the department thought I should the minute she interviewed me. I didn't have the funds for a three year program.

    Lilly, that is interesting how we have a lot in common. My theory for settling on x-ray was to join the Peace Corps. That didn't happen.

  7. Hi, Paty. What a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing. And I see you have some of my friends for company on your blog. Hello, Ladies.

  8. Very interesting. I liked the part where your to-be hubby tried to put his hands under your shirt and you sent him away, and then he came back. Good for him!

  9. Nice to get to know you better, Paty. I was the first one to have to talk about myself on this month's blogs and it is hard to bare your soul. The scary thing is, the people in our small community think we are the most exciting family and we hardly ever do anything! ?????? Go figure.

  10. Thanks, Diana.

    Thanks, Vicki, I'm glad you enjoyed learning more about me.

    Yeah, D'Ann, He said he wanted a wife with morals but like a typical male if he could have gotten something he would have taken it and may or may not have come back.

    Paisley, I'm snickering because I have friends who think because I'm a writer and I'm always gone that I live a glamorous life. They don't take into consideration, 3/4 of the time I'm gone it's family or ranch related, not writing.

  11. Paty, Lilly, you say your lives are mundane but the way you met your husbands is the stuff of romance novels.

  12. It seems that nearly all small town girls are aching for the moment they can get to the big city. We do live in the city now--no cows to milk, no beets to hoe.

    Nice post, Paty. And you do have a rich life. :)

  13. Paty, what a nice, wholesome childhood you had. Good for your dad for taking care of his family. Your post reminds me that when my dh was young, his father leased about fifteen acres near their house at the edge of Lubbock. For several years, they raised cotton to earn enough to build a better home. My husband hated it, and every day when he came home, his mother would tell him, "If you don't go to college, this is the kind of work you'll have to do all your life." My husband said he didn't know what he'd do, but he was darn sure it wouldn't be farming and he got an engineering degree. After years of city life, you can guess what he did--bought a small acreage to raise vegetables and fruit weekends and then full time when he retired. He soon learned he'd been right the first time, and we sold all but five acres to the adjoining neighbors. Thanks for sharing all your memories, Paty.

  14. Alison, The way I met my husband still shocks me because I'm an introvert and rarely go outside my bubble, but that night something made me walk up to hem and bold as could be ask him to dance. My husband later told me he had thought about not going to the club when a couple of friends backed out, but he went anyway. So yes, in a way our meet was a lot like a romance novel right down to his freshness and my rejection.

    Jacquie, I do believe I have a rich life in the things that matter- family and love. And yes, most small town girls do want to dip their feet into the big city. But this one is ready for the small town life again.

  15. Caroline, It's funny how we miss what we hated as children and then remember why we didn't like it. {shaking head} been there and doing it.

  16. Lovely post!!!! And supporting each other is what it's all about! My husband would have a tractor addiction too if we had land!

  17. Paty, it's nice to learn more about you and the Sweethearts of the West. I grew up in a big city and I am still afraid of horses, because one hit me with his head when I was seven.

  18. Haha Tess! Right now my husband has a tractor for every grandchild- 8! And he keeps looking. His latest "good deal" needs a new motor. He spends most of his time looking up tractor auctions and dealerships on the internet so when he's engrossed on his phone or computer I ask if he's looking at his tractor porn.

    Mona, horses are big and can be intimidating if you havne't been around them. But a good horse knows his space and leaves your space alone. Though there are days after a ride when my horse about pushed me over trying to scratch his head on me after his bridle is taken off.

  19. Paty,

    I think your life was great. I would have loved to been raised on a farm away from everybody with horses. I was bummed when you made a 98 and needed a 99 because I could just imagine how you stayed up late at night studying

    Well thanks for the post

    Walk in harmony,

  20. Loved this blog, Paty. Thank you for giving me a peek into your wonderful love story. Very sweet and romantic. And, hey, I've heard alfalfa is a very good crop to grow!

    Wishing you much success.

  21. Melinda, Thanks for stopping in and commiserating.

    Lynne, The alfalfa is easier to grow that past crops we've had. Thanks for stopping in.

  22. That's some terrific "uneventful" life. LOL Makes miine look pretty dang ho hum. I with grandma on that narrow road with a drop-off. Just call me a scaredy cat but there ya go.
    I loved your blog and your life sounds interesting and wonderful.

  23. Thanks Sarah, I do love my life, just didn't think it was all that interesting. I guess what one lives never is interesting to them, it's the norm.

  24. Living in Boise, my life is pretty uneventful too. The year I spent in Huntington was a wild old time. Wasn't sad to leave there. I think uneventful is really good.

  25. Patsy, When I get moved to Princeton I'll be making trips to Boise. We'll have to get together and compare uneventful events!

  26. Paty,
    Enjoyed your post so much. You know I love horses and have since I was little. Growing up in the city, my first horse back ride was when I was four years old in Arizona on a guest ranch near the area in the mountains near the New Mexico border that was burned this year. My dad asked me the other day if I remembered such and such about that guest ranch, and I said the only thing I remembered was the horses and riding them. ;-) My dream of having a ranch with horses never came true after I met my Brooklyn born and Long Island raised husband. He's allergic to horse dander. ;-) The day I met him, we were both part of a group of local girls and young officers from the local army post, meeting to arrange dances at the officers club for the men and local girls. The freshest he got with me when we met was to pull me away from the edge of the top of the rocky hilltop we'd all climbed. Having grown up climbing those rocks, I had no fear of falling. Little did I know he had a fear of heights.

    Reading your blog about Oregon reminds me of my grandmother's homes in Oregon, and visiting her there many times. Bend was the last place she lived in Oregon and my sister and I visited her there by ourselves one summer. We got to go swimming in a nearby river, and in a lake below the mountain peaks. Those were fun times. Met some kids Grandmother knew from church and had a good time with them. She had a beautiful garden with tall delphinium and foxglove plants that I loved. She'd make home made sweet bread for us for breakfast. She had been a music teacher on the Klammath Indian reservation when my father was young. My father took us kids all around Oregon on vacations until we started college. It's a beautiful state.
    Since I couldn't have horses, I've made do with drawing and painting them, and writing western historical romance. I enjoy drawing on my memories of riding horses. :-) Thanks for reminding me of those good times.

  27. I've been on that scary road but coming from Idaho to Oregon. Would NEVER do it again!

    Paty, I think you are an inspiration to work as hard as you do on the land and still write. I'm truly sorry you had such a mean professor, but it sounds like you made the right choice to leave. I'm looking forward to your next book.

  28. Paty, it was interesting to learn all these new things about you. I wish you continued success with your books.Linda Swift

  29. JeanMarie, You probably swam in the Deschutes River which runs through Bend and the lake could have been Scout,Elk, Suttle or several others. I'm glad you have fond memories of Central Oregon.

    Maggie, There are many more people who don't like traveling on the on infamous rattlesnake grade! My brothers and I would help an "old" cowboy move cattle from ridge to ridge and he worked on the crew who built that road. We always gave him a bad time about they must have been drinking too much when they built it!
    Thank you for your kind words and always being encouraging.

    Hi Linda, Thanks!


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