I was always rather shy; I was tall and clumsy, and preferred to not draw attention to myself. I did well in school, followed the rules, and always wished I was one of the popular girls, but I was not. I was always very nervous when I had to speak in front of a group — preferring to be as unobtrusive as possible. I spent time with a small group of friends and when alone, lost myself in books.
When my children were young, I was involved in their school activities — room mother, scout leader, field trip chaperone — but none of these things required me to speak publicly. As they grew, so did my confidence, as I began to deal more and more with the wider world around me. I learned to stand up for my children and myself. I learned that I was no longer that awkward, shy little girl. I was learning to voice my opinions and stand up for what I felt was best in difficult situations.
Many years have passed since then, and I have become much more confident and less intimidated by people with more education or experience than me. I have found a passion that has given me the courage to speak out and be heard. This passion is historic preservation. I live in a community that has been designated a National Historic District, and yet we face an uphill battle to save certain areas from development. Throughout our entire town, there are small and large pieces of history that should be protected, and we are fighting to preserve them, too. For someone so new to the intricacies of town and county procedures, I often feel frustrated that I am not more knowledgeable when I speak out at meetings, but I do speak out. I am not afraid anymore to stand up in front of a group of people and express my opinions and my strong desire to protect these buildings and pieces of our history.
The photo above is of a local small family cemetery in the midst of a large commercial development area. This cemetery is an example of what can be done if people try to save our historic treasures. We are fortunate that many of our Town and County leaders are sensitive to the issues we care so deeply about. It is important, though, that we attend the meetings, talk to our representatives, explain our reasons for wanting to save our history. And so, I stand up and I speak, and I even argue my point at times — at 68 years old, I have FINALLY found my voice!!