…soapmaker, that is.
It has been suggested to me, by people whose opinion I trust, that when someone makes a handcrafted product like I do, folks like to know a bit about the person who made it. I struggled for a while with the question of whether or not anyone actually wants to read about my personal history, or if I am secretly harboring a huge ego that can only be fed by a me, me, me entry. I finally decided to go ahead with this post since maybe my kids will be interested someday. We’ll see about that.
So, then…here’s a little bit about me, Anne.
I grew up in North Idaho. My earliest years were spent on a ranch set between the Selkrik Mountain range and the Rathdrum Prairie. I lived there with my parents, brother, and lots of extended family. My people are an eclectic mixture of Scandinavians with Celtic connections. I guess it’s just one big gene pool anyway…those Vikings did get around a lot.
The creative and care-taking occupations are well represented in my family. Pretty much everyone is a teacher, a preacher, a counselor or a musician. I spent my childhood playing on the ranch with my brother and cousins, making forts, tagging along after my parents and grandparents, and watching Gilligan’s Island and Hee Haw.
When I was eight, my parents parted and I began to divide my time between the ranch and my mother’s house in nearby Coeur d’Alene. My younger brother and I comfortably went back and forth between the ranch life with our livestock-raising father and the “city” life with our college professor mother and stepfather.
My parents’ separation was a catalyst for all sorts of independent activity for me…I became a better cook, a better seamstress, a better gardener…all because I had more responsibility and wasn’t just depending on them to take care of things for me. I became my brother’s chauffeur too. Yes, I got my driver’s license at the age of 14. Thanks Idaho farm-friendly driving laws!
I was a complete overachiever and teacher-pleaser in high school. I got good grades, took AP classes whenever possible, played several instruments, edited the school newspaper, was on the debate team, in Model United Nations, went to Girls State (in Pocatello!) and was class president my senior year. I listened to folk and alternative music, cut my hair in a spiral bob which normally covered half my face, and secretly spurned people with tans. I did not date. Nobody ever asked me out. Ever. I wore a red blazer in my high school yearbook picture. See...Sheesh.
I decided to go away to college in Minnesota because I had connections there (it is the Scandinavian Mecca of the U.S.) and because it was sort of far away. I attended Macalester College in St. Paul, a Presbyterian school with its own bagpipe band. I played in the band, studied History and Art History, and tutored immigrant kids in English as a Second Language. I also studied abroad in Scotland for my junior year at the University of Glasgow. It was here that I met my polar opposite (at least on paper), New Jersey-born husband. Funny story.
We dated from afar for our last year of college and then decided to make our next move together. We weren’t sure where to put down roots, just that we would put them down together. Seattle ended up being our destination because it was enough of an urban area for his taste, and enough of the Northwest for mine. Good choice.
Follow-Up...Me, part deux.