| Distributed by CroatianWorld
Nenad has kindly asked if I would introduce myself. I apologize for the length – it’s a long life. I am so grateful to Nenad and CROWN members for helping me discover the astounding country and history of Croatia and its people.
I was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1946 to an Air Force family. We lived in ten places over the next twelve years, so I learned to be very adaptable! My family broke up when I was 13, and my sister and I moved with our mother to her hometown in Mississippi. The next seven years were a misery. I had never seen segregation – another word for apartheid – and was always embarrassed by things that I heard and saw, even in my own family. Music became an important outlet. But when I tried to major in music in college, I saw how far behind I was. I became discouraged and dropped out of school.
It was the late 1960s. I was a hippie in San Francisco, andeventually lived in a New Mexico commune where I met my son’s father. When hemoved east, I followed and arrived in New York with $8, a box of Pampers, a15-month-old child, and no job skills. My “ex” left. I lived with friends,got a job, then an apartment, and daycare.
I was a typist at Scholastic Magazines when I noticed thatwriters got paid a LOT more then secretaries. My editor, Bob Stine, began to letme write. When he became editor of his own magazine, I tried out for it and washired. Eventually I became Associate Editor. I worked 12 years at Scholastic.During those years I bought a flute and played as an amateur. When the magazineI worked on was discontinued, I decided to go back to school and get thatlong-forgotten music degree. I went freelance as a writer and took part-timejobs. I went to Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music and studied with HaroldJones and Michael Parloff while still raising my son.
By the time I had my Bachelor's degree, my son hadgraduated High School. He did not want to go to college. I waited two years tosee if he would change his mind, and then (with his blessings) got a Master’sdegree at Louisiana State and a Doctorate at Florida State. My goal was to get auniversity job before I was 50. First I worked at Oklahoma State University andthen was hired by Southern Illinois University in Carbondale – one monthbefore my 50th birthday. My "double life" of publishing andmusic was what they needed, and I now teach Flute, Music History, and MusicBibliography and I also play in the Paducah, KY symphony.
I have been at SIUC for almost seven years now. I couldn'task for better colleagues or more cooperative students. This area has rollinghills, miles of peach and apple orchards, and five producing wineries. I lovegoing to New York to see my son and his family (his beautiful wife and twofabulous children). My son is the retail manager for Phat Farm, a hip-hopclothing store in Soho.
I became aware of Croatia at first because of the war, andthen because of ER and Wimbleton. When I remembered “Yugoslavian-American”friends from past years and places they had told me about, I realized that theyhad been Croatian. I saw a travel film and realized that the cheap, good wines Ihad found when I was young and poor had also been Croatian, as were the fig jamsI had bought in New York over the years. I became more and more curious.
In 2002 the American Flute Orchestra (I am their piccoloplayer) was supposed to play in Slovenia. I was very excited, because it was achance to see Eastern Europe. Then because of 9/11 the tour was cancelled.Angry, I decided to go anyway. I remembered a place that a friend of mine hadtold me about, 27 years earlier – Dubrovnik. I contacted CROWN to see if Icould find a group to go with. The kindest people in the world – members ofCROWN – said that I should go by myself. So I took a deep breath, went lastMay and discovered Croatia. It has changed my life.
In Dubrovnik, I met wonderful people whom I hope will belifelong friends. I have also met many wonderful Croatian-Americans and hope thesame! When I heard the language it sounded like music to me, and I am takinglanguage lessons to learn it. Plus I have discovered so much music and so manycomposers that I never knew about! Some people say that Europe is the old world,but Croatia is a new world for me – and I like it very, very much. I have beenplanning all year to go back and see more. I feel that I have opened a door andfound an entire room in a house I thought I knew.
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself. I readCROWN with great interest, and translate everything I can manage.
Puno pozdrava, Suzanne Lord