~ Brenda owned and operated a private Preschool and Kindergarten in her hometown for many years. She converted two rooms in her home to classrooms and put in a playground in her yard. Barrington Country Kindergarten and Buckle My Shoe Preschool were programs like no other. She loved the country feel of her location but the programs themselves were somewhat accelerated. The children were introduced to many genres of music including classical, Introductory Spanish, American Sign Language, many Art forms; including drawing, painting, paper mache, collage and poetry. She took her students on monthly field trips to the Town Library and many other locations. They went everywhere from the local Opera House to watch musicals and plays, to sledding down the infamous Wagon Hill, to hayrides, ice skating, apple-picking, bowling and more. She taught her students to introductory Math, Writing, Reading, Comprehension and Cognitive Skills-learning. Brenda celebrated every birthday, and every holiday with festive parties at her school. Her students went home at the end of each week with a homework packet, the Preschooler and Kindergartners both. Around March every year, Brenda would begin rehearsing for their year end graduation and ceremony which was held at the local Historical Society. Her mother in-law would play the piano and the children would stand on a little stage and perform together, and also individually if they chose to. Brenda wrote many songs including ones to pay homage to American Indians, Sign Language Movement pieces, a song she wrote in Spanish, Poetry recitations and also some fun and popular Children’s songs. Her students wore little Greek wreathes of knowledge that she would make for them. They would each have a keepsake thick binder that held all of their work throughout the school year and photographs in order of all their field trips and parties.
Brenda still keeps in contact with many of her students to this day.
~ Brenda closed her private school at the end of the school year, when her best friend of 50 years needed a kidney and she was the only viable match. There were many visits to Boston and much testing needed. The surgery was scheduled for Feb. so Brenda closed her school and after recovering, taught as a long-term sub for 3 years before taking a position closer to home.
~ She went to public school and became a Title-One Math and Reading Tutor and tutored before and after school as well. She eventually left teaching and was the truant officer for a few years before taking early retirement to raise her girls and finally, the time was right for her to begin her writing career.
~ Brenda is known in her family as the Jam-maker. She has her own native blueberries and grapes on her property, and makes strawberry-rhubarb too from ingredients she procures from a local farm. Every Christmas family and friends know they will receive a jar of her jam.
~ Brenda has volunteered over the years for her local food pantry, the town’s start-up years of opening their Recycling Ctr. and visited the Elderly in several Nursing Homes and Assisted Living facilities. Her favorite people are children and the elderly. Brenda also belongs to the Historical Society and was on the start-up Committee for the first-ever Peeperfest Celebration which is now an annual event, and the first-ever Town Celebration which was a fundraiser. Brenda also supports many causes including fundraising for Cancer Research/Cures, Alzheimer’s Research (Find a Cure!), Homeless Veterans, Social Reform and Injustices, Save the Children/Saving Sudan, the Smile Train, and Recycling: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and then Recycle!).
~ In 2011 she and her husband of 30 years began caring for two of his granddaughters who are the light of their lives and who Brenda describes as her whole world. They are teenagers now and are independent, intelligent, funny, artistic, beautiful people. They share Brenda’s love of reading, music, and animals. The berry-picking for jams…not so much. 🙂
~ Last fall the family lost their beloved golden, Teddy. It was an unexpected and devastating loss. An opportunity recently arose for the family to adopt one of Teddy’s third cousins who they have already named Buddy, and who will be joining them end June-early July. While Teddy can never be replaced, knowing that this pup has a part of Teddy in him is a comfort and a blessing. They continue to care for their cool turtle, Shel Turtlestein, a gift from a teacher at the school Brenda worked at and whose original name was Pickle. Brenda changed his name after watching an episode of Modern Family and their male box turtle has been Shel for about 12 years now. There is nothing her teenagers like better than having to “walk” the turtle outdoors May through mid-October. Her younger girl also has a hamster named Penelope.