I first started thinking about writing a memoir when I was in my teens. Whenever I met someone new and I told them my story (living in Santa Cruz, meeting the Hartleys, being adopted by them). This all happening when I was fairly young (14), they would say what a wonderful story it was. They also mentioned how lucky I was to be adopted and grow up in one of the very best areas of the United States.
What all those people don’t know is that I am even luckier than they think. My story is one very special one and it all happened because of one chance encounter. If I look at my life, there has been a series of pivotal times, when I made a choice that affected the rest of my life. I’m not kidding.
Pivotal, in the sense that my choice determined what came next. For example, Meeting the Hartleys that one particular morning outside their hotel. I was there because I was on my way to work. They were there because they were filming their latest documentary. Furthermore, their visit to Galapagos was an afterthought as their main focus was Peru and Machu Pichu. Ecuador and the Galapagos were a way to spend more time in South America that summer. Yet, this encounter, how I reacted to it, and what followed, would not have happened any other day or any other place. The stars were aligned for me that morning. And, they are so ingrained, that all I have to do is close my eyes, and I can picture that encounter as if I’m watching the scene in a movie.
I could list all those encounters a point in my life for you but that does not do justice to them. Rather, I am writing this memoir to bring out all those memories and examine them as I write them and relive them for the reader so that they can see as I see them. They say that Monday morning quarterbacking is so easy. They are right, you have all the elements, you can see what happened, and you can actually see how things could go based on the choices made or not.
I believe our entire lives are like that. We are born, grow up, live, and die. The choices we make, each and every day, determine the path we take through life. Our choices and our attitude. I learned that lesson early on in life and it has been what has guided me through life. I have learned to pick my battles and to know what is important and what is not. I hope that I have taught this to my children and they in turn can teach their children.
In a sense, this book is written with that in mind. To know who I am, where you come from, what kinds of experiences I had, that shaped me. And, what lessons those experiences teach, so that we may not repeat them. That is my wish for you.