A hundred years from now it will not matter the kind of house I lived in, what my bank account totals were or the kind of car I drove. But, the world may be different because I was important in the life of a young person.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you are the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.
I was born June 14, 1953 at Lutheran Hospital in Baltimore. When I was three, we moved into our new home. Because both my parents worked I stayed with my grandmother, but I was picked up almost every night. I remember a lot of good things during that time. My grandmother and I would walk to all kinds of places in the area. Crime was not as bad back then as it is now. She would take me to the park, to visit other friends and relatives and to the open air market. The market was my favorite place to visit because I always got to pick out something from the stands. Until I was six, my life was like any other kids have. During my sixth year things would happen that would set off the chain of events that have shaped my life today.
One of those events was the birth of my brother Donald. I was no longer the only child, I became the first child. The “grown-up” child that was older and should watch out for the "baby". I was in constant competition with the "baby" and like most six year olds; I did not want the "baby", around getting my stuff. When I was six, the baby was my sixth year Christmas present. Some gift not even a return slip-- and I was stuck with him! It took me years to train him, but I think I did a good job. My brother is one of the most important men in my life. I'm really glad I did not get that return slip after all. Also in that year, I started elementary school and made my first in a series of trips to the hospital. At six years old I was an overly active child that found my way into things that I knew would result in unpleasant consequences. One thing for sure, going to school did not curb my active nature. My urge to see and be in all places at the same time would usually get me into trouble. My mother spent almost as much time at school as I did, due to the many summoning buy teachers and other faculty members. I made it through six years of school by the skin of my teeth! School was not my thing but somehow, I survived. (school and my mother, that is) Life went on....
Fortunately, for my sake, my mother was the type that believed in pushing her children into every activity she could find. I became a girl scout, took tap lessons and got involved with sports. My parents were always there for me. They attended every softball game, tap recital and even came to my Ju-Jitsu black belt promotion. However, because of my shyness it was hard for me to fit in. I had nothing in common with most of my peers. Because of my disabilities (which I will discuss later) there was always a problem between me and someone. I was a fighter, good or bad walking away from someone that was making fun of me was not my way. Therefore, fights were a big part of my schooling career.
Like I mentioned earlier, my life consisted of many trips to the hospital. During the summer just before I was to attend Jr. High School the doctor notices a lump on my back. Then during that first year of Junior High I started having pain in my lower back. With numerous trips to different doctors I was finally put in Kerman’s Hospital for tests. A team of doctors came from all over the world to study my condition. I had a very rare condition. So rare in fact, they had never seen it before. Over the next three years I underwent two spinal fusion two six month stays in bed in body casts, and relearned to walk twice. Needless to say, I had absolutely no social life. I went to school by phone and relied on teachers coming to the house to give me my lessons. One would think that being confined to bed would keep me out of trouble. Being confined to bed was a challenge. I had to concur and control my territory. By going to the bottom of my bed I found that I propped myself up on the bed rail and slide myself onto the window ledge. There I could hang out of the window and wedge myself between the frame. This was fun until my mom came home and scared the both of us. Even while confined to bed, I was still expected to attended school. Each student had their own phone which was connected to a switch board downtown. My class had nine students from different grades and different areas of the city. This was a new program so there were still a lot of problems. Some of them were not mechanical. If I did not want to have class one day I would hang out over the bed and unhook my school phone than put it back when class was over. I took my test over the phone. I found other ways to bend things to my way of thinking. To this day I believe that obstacles are in your mind.
By my first year of High School, I was able to go back to school with restrictions. I had to wear a brace from my hips to up under my chin, which unfortunately, made me really stand out. I had to stay away from all athletic activities, and worst of all fight off the rude comments and jokes. High school was a real learning experience, (and I don't mean the lessons). Of course this did not help my already aggressive nature. I took advantage of my disabilities to get me out of things I did not want to do, especially with the work settings. Because I was associated with The Department of Social Services disability department, I only had to talk to my worker to get special accommodations. I don't want this to sound that I am proud of my younger years because I am not, but the circumstances and my shyness made me seek out anyone that would accept me and anything to make my life easier. And I would almost do anything to stay on the inside of the group. I drove racing cars, did drugs, stayed out late and totally disregarded what my parents told me. Of course they did not know that I was going through this rebellious period. If they had known of my double life, I would not have seen the light of day again until I was at least 30.
In 1972, I graduated from Northern High School with a Business Diploma. My parents offered me a choice. I could go to college or have a car. With my attitude about school I took the car. Four years of high school down the tubes! In all honesty, I was just not ready for life in the real world. I wanted a job and money. The problem was getting a job that let me sleep late, work the hours I wanted to work and get good money for doing it. As you might have guessed, I had to get a real job. The kind you are not supposed to like. It took a while to find one. In the meantime, I took short term and part time jobs to keep my car on the road and me on the wrong road. One of the quickie jobs I got was delivering telephone books. Sometimes the areas were not so good. That is when I ran into my first attacker. I really believed that it would never happen to me. During the attack I was trying to be polite like my mother had told me to be with older people. (One lesson I am happy to say I know longer hold on to if the person is trying to assault me). It scared me into realizing that I was not as tough as I wanted to believe. I had to do something. What it did was change my like. I enrolled in a self-defense class given by the police department. I not only learn how to protect myself but also learned things about myself that helped me wake up to the real world-- at least some of it. After the self-defense class I still felt I needed to learn more so I took the advanced training. I kept learning and was aloud to help as an assistant instructor. I also training in security, protection and investigation work, teaching swimming, and working with the mentally challenged. I had also found a full time job working for the State of Maryland. Even with all this going on I had still had some bad influential friends.
One night on my way home from Fells Point I found myself in a part of town in which I was not familiar. After driving around a while I stopped at a well-lit house to ask directions. What I saw when they opened the door was, to me, unbelievable. I had knocked on the door of a Buddhist Church - right in downtown Baltimore City. It had been built inside of a group of four row homes that had been reconditioned and housed about 20 people. I was not happy in or with my own church and religion so basically, I was looking for something to attach my stay above water life. Within the first six month I was totally off of drugs, had my own apartment, and was heavily involved in the Martial Arts. It helped me turn my life around. I had a whole new set of values that I could understand and follow. My life completely changed.
Time and events never stay to same. The city of Baltimore decided to renovate the harbor and tear down the only place that I could find peace and comfort. It is not the place that was important it is the teaching. I will always carry what i learned with me. Always look to the world and the power it holds. Learn something new every day. It is said that when one door closes another one opens. At this time I was working for the YMCA. One of the classes they offered was Ju-Jitsu. After watching a class and talking with the instructor, I began training in my new art. It was all physical. There were no spiritual teachings but I enjoyed the art because of my Sensei. My Sensei was a female and took the time to help me find a way to do the techniques in harmony with my disabilities which by this time where starting to interfere with my life. In 1983 I left the state with a disability retirement and got married. Mistake! Looking back at my life I do not know why I thought I could live equally with another person. He was passive and me you know the story, Aggressive and short fused. My marriage lasted for two years. The divorce took longer.
After receiving my black belt in 1987 I started teaching at Loyola university and have been there since. During my life I have had to fight for every inch I got. I know now that every setback made me stronger. I still do not have many friends but the few I have are solid. Besides my family, the most important part of my life is my students. Teaching has given back many things. I am still a little shy but I now have the ability to push myself into doing what, to me, sometimes seems like the impossible. My students are also special. They allow me to give without feeling that they are only listening to get that coveted black belt. I will never have a child of my own due to my physical condition but I will always have the chance to influence our future. I can only do my best.
My life now is ok. My disabilities will progress as they will. I am still strong of will and set in what I believe. I owe my ability to sill live my life my way to my mom, dad and brother. They were always there with plenty of support. My mom died April of 96 and my dad in 2005. I am trying to find a balance with my brother that I see other people have but we are different. He has a family and stays busy with them and his life. I know that he will be there if I really need him. He is still the most important man in my life. I know myself better now and know that my life will never be easy. Looking back I have done a lot in my life, horseback riding and shows, Kung-Fu tournaments, other martial arts, life guarding, scuba diving, rock climbing and repelling, hunting, search and rescue, hang gliding and many other things. I hope to do more but If the day comes that I must accept the wheelchair, at least I can say I did those things instead of I wish I would have tried. Looking back at this statement I find that at the time I wrote it I was not being realistic because I never want to be confined in any way.
Update 2018. I am now a 9th degree black belt. I have the title of Hanshi. I am one of the few females with that title. I wrote a book and am doing research for another one. Change seems to happen quicker but I seem to adjust to it better. I am older maybe a little wiser. I will soon be starting my 30th year with the Ju-itsu club. I have worked with and taught many students. The one thing I am certain of is that I am the one whose life has been enriched. From young adults that were beginning their life’s with uncertainty to adults that have grown into smart and productive leaders. I miss them when they leave but remember the accomplishments they archived. I still stay in touch with some of them. I am hoping for another 30 years.COVI
2022 Update: We have entered the COVID area of life. It has been 36 years since i walked into the Loyola doj I am now a 10 degree black belt. The biggist surprise o me. I never even thought of getting this far. My life is very different now. I have started writing childrens books that are on sone of the problems i had as a kid. I also write poetry. Not to bad if I must say. I do hav a dark side but i have come to accept it. I can no longer do some of the things that enjoyed but I have tried to fill that time with other projects.
What can i take from my many years of comitting my life to helpin to reach for more. Helping thlem to push themselfs to places that many are to aftaid to go. Thank you. Teaching Ju-Jitsu has much of a lerning experence
for as it has been for my students. I have been able to work with some of the brightes and caring people around. I have learned many things from them and they have helped me stay young at heart when my body rebells against me. I'm not sure how many more years i have to teach but it has been a great ride. I know rhat i leave my school inthe best of hands. I am now doing my best ot watch and correct my instructors so that they are the best instructors that i can find. I want them to continue to look for more. I want them to grow in the art by looking outside what i have taught them. I hope that Maru last a very long time and carries on the work that I started. I have to think it will/
Born: Baltimore, Maryland
Date Born: June 14, 1953 Year of the snake Month of Gemini Hour of the snake 666
High School: Northern High Graduated with a business degree
College: AA Essex Community College
Started Martial Arts Training: 1972, after being attacked
Styles Studied: Tai Chi Chaun, Ju-Jitsu, Chinese Weapons, Karate, Judo, Qigong
Belts Held: Ju-Jitsu, Karate, Tai Chi Chaun, Akido and Kung Fu
Black Belts Held: Ju-Jitsu 10th degree
Certificates: Kudan, American Ju-Jitsu Association and Dai-Nippon Seibukan Budo/Bugei-kai (USA) Koto, Japan as Hanshi 10th degree, Self Defense Advanced Level Instructor, Executive protection, Hand gun certified, Private Investigator
Owner and Head instructor of the Maru Dojo at Loyola College
Worked in the field of Special Education
YMCA / WSI Maryland Red Cross
Health Center Director YMCA
Handicapped Service Coordinator YMCA
Mail Services Department of Social Services
Private Investigator Paragon Investigations Service
Patrol and Protection Unit Pinkerton Security
Private Investigator Pinkerton Security
Executive / private Personal Protection Security
First Aid /CPR/ Instructor Maryland Red Cross
Special Olympic Maryland State Aquatic Director
Special Security Morrios Mechanic Theater
Mail carrier for the Department of Social Services
Favorite colors: Red
Favorite foods: Fish, Spinach pie, mint chocolate chip ice cream, sushi,
Favorite drink: Tea, strong coffee, ,Coors Light, Tequila
Favorite movies: The Blind Side, Last Holiday, The Stand, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Avatar, Frozen, I like kids movies
Favorite TV Shows: NCIS, Good Witch, Madame Secretary, Bull, Action stuff
Favorite actor: Johnny Depp, Jet Li. Jackie Chan,
Favorite actresses: Jordana Brewster, Anjelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Tapping, Emile Ullerup,
Favorite kind of books: Science Fiction/ Fantasy, Zen and the Martial Arts, Eastern Philosophy, Spirituality
Favorite music: Blues, Old time Rock and Roll, Rock, Country, Christelle Berthon, Bagpipes
Favorite singer: Celine Dion, Cher, Tina Turner,
Favorite past time: Learning something new and philosophy
People most influenced by: My Mother/Father, cousin Ellen, Secretary at the YMCA, Master Anthony Gogh
Person from I admire: John F. Kennedy, My friends. They all bring something good to my life,