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For the past forty years, I have pursued a career as a visual artist, but I recently found a new talent, that of writing.  As I began my memoir, the learning process began, and as a new writer, my work strengthened, from amateur ramblings to more practiced pros.


This story begins in 1968 when with my mother’s endorsement I leave home to take part in a failed jobs abroad program and travel halfway around the world alone. I say failed because English customs flagged me as entering the country illegally and I learn the job didn’t exist, I get engaged to a man I just met, then live with a stripper, and that was just the first ten days.

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Jobs Abroad - Memoir of A                    Flower Child


Ah the sixties. The late sixties: The Summer of Love, Draft dogging, Vietnam, assignations, war protests, riots, civil rights marches…..The Apollo Space mission, Barbarella, Planet of the Apes, hippies, Hair, the musical, princess phones with twenty-foot cords…….. And classified ads. 

    I turned eighteen in 1968, the ads in the back of teen magazines were perfect for daydreaming. They lured you in offering prizes to sell greeting cards or seeds door to door, suggesting the promise of money or adventure. But this day, under an ad for Airline careers , I spied one of the most intriguing ads I had ever seen. 

 “Guaranteed Jobs Abroad! Get paid to travel, 

Meet people—summer and year-round

jobs for young people, 17 to 40.

Only $1.00 for details.”

    What piqued my interest was the word GUARANTEED. How could I go wrong?

     When I was 16, I contemplated getting a job but never managed to summon the courage to walk into a local restaurant or business to ask. I could not see the words coming out of my mouth, so I never tried. Feeding our neighbors’ horses was the only job I ever had. I made $8.00 a month, which I spent on comic books.

    The idea of a job I did not have to interview for was appealing. And the notion of more tedious years entrenched in academia exhausted me. 

I envisioned myself getting a job without the hassle, and as a bonus I reasoned;  if I went to Europe, I could avoid enrolling in College. 

    I wasn’t a poor student, just introspective, and I despised being told what to study and think about. So I found an envelope and a dollar and mailed it. 

    I lived with my mother in a tiny town called Calistoga in Northern California.    Dad was off doing who knows what with his new wife, Zoe. I expected a fight when the brochure came, but my mom surprised me. She paid the  ten dollars for my required membership if I was approved, and we waited.

    The moment my acceptance letter came, reality hit me. Not only would this be the first time I had a real job, but I had never traveled independently. Except for the one time I flew from L.A. to San Francisco. My older brother Ed dropped me off, and Mom met me at the gate. Not independent travel in my book. This did not prepare me for globetrotting; why my Mother thought it did was a mystery. 

    By the time my eighteenth birthday rolled around in April 1968, I clutched in my hand papers that would change my life forever. In fact, a year from the date I sent for more information in January on the Jobs Abroad program, I stood shivering and alone on an deserted country road in Germany…. thumb out…. scared to death.  



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