I am a middle child. Not the oldest or the youngest, but in the middle. There are only three baby pictures of me, while the oldest and youngest had hundreds. I can’t say I was ignored because all the neighbors knew my name. My mother shouted my full name whenever I was in trouble nearly every day. My older sister’s name, the good one, was less well known. And, of course, the baby in the family never got into trouble.
If you are a middle child, I can empathize.
I wrote about my middle child grievances in pink diaries with tiny locks. I destroyed those diaries, but my mother saved two of my handwritten books, bound with safety pins and brads. The Hungry Bird was my first, followed by The Bubble Gum Mouse.
Although I showed early promise, I took a circuitous route to become a writer. After college, I went into the Navy, where I needed my math skills more than my writing skills. Still, I always kept my ears open for sea stories. Sailors tell excellent stories.
Then came Naval Postgraduate School, marriage, kids, and moving—lots of moving. I went into education, teaching community college and middle school. I took writing classes and attended retreats and conferences. I earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. A year later, we moved again.
I now live along the Savannah River, captivated by herons, otters, beavers, deer, osprey, and eagles. We call our home “Croakmore” because of the croaking frogs, herons, and lizards.
Every summer, I return to Maine, to the same rocky beach where I played as a child.