Hello old friends!  After Graduation, I stayed close to Livingston attending Katharine Gibbs Secretarial/Liberal Arts School in Montclair. I commuted my first year with Dawn Kruse (Aunt Dawn as our girls refer to her) who became one of my very dearest, lifelong friends. I finally had the chance to visit her in Florida for my birthday in October where she’s lived for 20+ years. I moved to Upper Montclair my second year and rented a 15-room home with three girls from Gibbs. I met Alan in April of my second year in ’79 when he hired me for part time work in Grunnings on Bloomfield Avenue. He fired me three times that summer and we were engaged by October and married in October 1980. If he doesn’t try to fire me again, we’ll be married 44 years this Fall.

I worked for two years each as a Secretary in Newark at Fidelity Union Trust Company, then CE Lummus Engineering in Bloomfield and Product Coordinator for HealthScan, Inc. in Cedar Grove.  When I got pregnant with our first daughter, I knew I wanted to be home for every minute so my company set me up with a VERY large computer complete with dot matrix printer and that began a 20+ year at home medical transcription service. I transcribed long meetings held by pharmaceutical researchers from around the globe that I sent to the New England Journal of Medicine to be edited. From Clifton we moved to Barnegat to buy our first home where our second daughter was born. Living year-round down the shore just wasn’t working for us so after just nine months, we headed back up north to West Orange for a couple of years while Alan began his 28-year career with the USPS. I continued my typing along with doing wedding calligraphy and craft shows selling whatever my craft interest was that year. In 1990 we found a little house nestled in the woods of Frelinghuysen Township in Warren County. The views were beautiful but the house was anything but turnkey complete with lots of projects, chopping wood for our only heat source for four years, a tv antenna that worked when it wanted and plenty of wildlife including snakes in the basement, howling coyote at night and black bear frequenting our yard.  We had just two acres but it was surrounded by woods behind an eight-acre corn field and next to a 52 acre horse farm so when I sat up in bed I could see the horses running and from the kitchen enjoyed watching the cows escape from a nearby farm.  We had the kind of neighbors that left plants on our deck for Mother’s Day and stood on our steps singing Christmas carols. I had a 120’ wide x 15’ high slope that became my friendship garden with traded plants from friends’ yards. The driveway was so long that we only got four trick or treaters in 24 years and had to hire back hoes to clear snow before hiring a snowplow and then being able to use our hand blower and shovels. We had a low pitch roof so that had to be shoveled too, if we got more than four-six inches. The new owners have turned our little slice of pie into a chicken farm and they mostly live off grid.

The years were filled with local volunteering and work at the only school that little town has. While maintaining my transcription service, I started in the cafeteria, moved into the curriculum office for six years, then into the pre-k handicapped classroom as an Aide in the morning while working in the office in the afternoon until finally there was an opening as Front Desk Secretary. I absolutely loved our little school and the staff and developed deep friendships with many families over the 21 years employed there.  I sewed most of our children’s Halloween costumes, costumes for school productions, volunteered as classroom mother, organized tricky tray fundraisers, and served as secretary on the PTO.  While living in Frelinghuysen Township, I taught knitting and made dozens of blankets for Katrina disaster victims, was a Story Hour Teacher for our Local Library, Girl Scout Leader, Coach for Cheerleading and Softball, taught CCD, and was in charge of art direction for vacation bible school. I organized a few of our class reunions before our reunion committee formed and Michael rescued us all and blew it out of the water.  For about ten years I treated myself to NYC days and went to just about every talk show recording there was. In 1996 our third daughter was born and six months later I had to put my parents into nursing care down the street where they lived for nine and eleven years. It was a lot, but I truly love being busy and youth and energy were on my side.  With a few exceptions, we took nearly all of our vacations in Wildwood Crest at our friend’s condo and Beach Haven West at my sister’s home.

We, like many others, had our fair share of illness and tragedy and from 2005-10 we lost all four of our parents, Alan’s brother, our sister-in-law and several friends. And then just when we thought we were never going to get out from under that dark cloud, our oldest daughter, Nicole (Seton Hall graduate), told us she was done with the PR fashion industry race in Manhattan and was moving to Nashville.  A year or so after she moved, she met her husband and a year later they were married. That gave me time to hand stitch all of their wedding favors and sew her veil. Three months after their wedding she was pregnant with their son, Reece, now nine. 

TIME FOR MEMA AND PAPA NONNI TO MOVE SOUTH! 

As fate would have it, our middle daughter, Samantha (ESU bio/chemistry and economics grad), met her husband at their wedding. My son-in-laws were good friends and football teammates in high school. Timing for our move was perfect as it was our youngest daughter, Alexis’, senior year in high school so after the Tennessee wedding we went college shopping and found NOSSI art school with a photography major.  Samantha and Shane were married on the water in Charleston and their wedding was featured in The Knot. I sewed her veil as well and hand painted their wedding backdrop, watercolored and did calligraphy for all of their place cards. I also painted maps for all of their guests with a layout of restaurant options. 

Our girls have been our absolute light. Nicole homeschools and is a writer/editor and has several works published. Our son-in-law, Ben, is a corporate investigator. They had our second grandchild, Adelina, now seven, just a year and a half later. Our middle daughter, Samantha, a Nike sponsored fitness instructor, was teaching Zumba master classes in Manhattan, the tri-state area, and throughout eight countries in Europe, South America and Canada, before marrying and moving to Chicago. She founded an incredible new movement through music and opened a boutique fitness studio, Common Language. and YES, she sells retail and streams classes so I can work out with her whenever I want! Check it out at www.commonlanguage.one or Instagram @commonlanguagechi. Our second son-in-law is a lead financial trader and they gave us our third grandchild, Aven, now six. Our youngest daughter, Alexis, is a wedding and lifestyle photographer and creative like her Mama. She has photographed the CMAs and added real estate to her menu in 2020. You can check out her work at www.aimphotonash.com. Instagram @_aimphoto_. Two incredible son-in-laws and three grandchildren in just four years was icing on our cake. We consider ourselves incredibly blessed.  

I’ve played on two adults softball leagues, and I currently hold memberships at TennGreen, TN Craft, Frist Art Museum, and Cheekwood and have frequented nearly every venue Nashville has to offer along with walking and biking miles and miles of their vast trails. We’ve enjoyed many diverse performances. Lots of fun to be had here! I also spent five years practicing yoga and several years taking pottery classes. 

When not cheering on our grandson at ball games or our granddaughter at dance or flying to Chicago to play and craft with our littlest sweetie, I spend countless hours volunteering, knitting, crocheting, hand and machine stitching, quilting, painting, origami, crafting, gardening and reading. I love puzzles and Legos and have built three doll houses, currently working on the Moomin Valley troll house and all of the furnishings based on a Finnish author’s comic strip. I opt to shop first for supplies at a wonderful store, Smart Art and Craft close to Opryland. The supplies are all donated and profits go to the DIDD community. My husband and I are big yard and estate sale shoppers so spend lots of weekends on the hunt. I also enjoy cooking and baking and have a passion for making gingerbread and all things Christmas. This year I handmade photo quilts, baby clothes quilts, doll clothes, and pillow cases with my custom fabric. While living in Frelinghuysen Township, I had an “Art Shed” in our charming wooded backyard. Living in a townhouse now, I have dubbed our third bedroom as my “Art Room” and it is a crammed crafters’ delight complete with huge card catalog for holding my paints and a map table for housing my art papers. I have a working manual typewriter, rotary dial phone, gum ball machine, drafting table and record player. (The tabletop juke box is downstairs.) Moving is going to be a challenge, but we are always looking for that next home.

My passion for volunteering has a 40+ year background through corporate, community, school, and church activities. I have experienced the joy of serving others in a vast variety of ways and have worked closely with the organizations below.  

Little Free Library – Built during the pandemic for our front lawn, stuffed with books and home-sewn masks
Smart Art and Craft – Buddy Bears sewing, These are gifted to incoming Kindergartens in our area.
Alzheimer’s Association – Events organizer
Alive Hospice – Painting butterfly houses for Auction
TN State Parks – Clearing invasive weeds
TN School for the Blind – Building picnic tables
TN Disability Coalition – Annual Day on the Hill
Salvation Army – NJ Cooked sausage and peppers and cakes every Friday night for four years
Best Buddies – Multiple events organizer 
Crosspoint Church – Prom for DIDD community
JDRF – Walk organizer 
Habitat for Humanity – Plastering and Painting
Cheekwood – Holiday Lights Tour guide for seven yrs.
Franktown Open Hearts – Welcome booth for Simmons Bank Golf Open for three years
St. Jude Children’s Hospital – Events Organizer and Sewist for five years
American Heart Association – Fundraising for walks
Hands on Nashville – Worked with FEMA on Tornado Relief
TN Schools – Donations deliveries
TN State Governor’s Residence – Holiday Tour Guide for six years
Hand-made Quilts for Orphanages – Russia, village in Haiti, foster home in Canada and US
Diocese of Metuchen – Vacation Bible School Art Director for seven years
Ronald McDonald House – cooking and blanket making 
Diocese of Nashville – Community Festival Committee for four years
American Lung Association – Fight for Air Climb Participant and Organizer for four years
March of Dimes – Booth operations and Fundraising
Local School – Reader 
Art Classes – Organized and instructed 20 classes in person and via Zoom in TN, IL, & CA
Mercy Hospital – Race Event Coordinator
Community Resource Center – Packaging supplies for local folks with needs
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – Event Organizer
Mary Parrish Center for abused women – Donations collector and deliveries
Second Harvest Food Bank of middle TN – Packaging and Distribution for four years
NAMI – Walk/Run Preparation Committee 
KCLA – Member and Board Treasurer
Boys and Girls Club – Fundraisers
Red Cross Blood Drive – Event Coordinator
TN Craft – Breakfast Server for seven years
Mr. Roger Neighborhood – Created the entire life sized set from cardboard including all hand sewn puppets. This was built for a corporate event and then donated in circulation throughout ten pre-schools and churches.
Tricky Trays – Fundraiser/Organizer for three years
Walk/Bike Nashville – Crosswalk Traffic monitoring for future safety projects 

I work as an Administrative Assistant in Provider Solutions for Wellpoint, a managed healthcare organization in Nashville and am a Notary for the state.  I have served on our company’s Safety Committee, Activities Committee and serve as the Volunteer Lead. I am very proud to have received our company’s National Volunteer Recognition Award out of more than 60,000 associates in 2019, presented at a state meeting, and was gifted a very nice amount of money to allocate to charities of my choice. Our company incentivizes volunteers by paying rewards dollars for hours that we can then choose directions of funds gifted to 501(c)(3)s for.

I am in bed fairly early and rise way before the sun comes up for meditation and planning. I am a huge HGTV fan! My brother, Rob, and sister, Lee-Ann, both still live in NJ. I’ve been home just once in nearly ten years so our connection is mostly virtual. I was lucky enough though to meet up with Rob in Chattanooga while he was coaching softball a few years ago and again in 2022 in Salem when his daughter was married (That’s why I missed our 45th reunion!)

There is no limit to the ideas and talents we all have and the amount of good we can do for others when we give of ourselves and work together.

I have been blessed to spend my life with wonderful, diverse people and communities, many old and new friends, and I hold each and every memory close to my heart. 

I registered a trademark for creative stitching that I plan to use in the future, Mema Moy and friends (R). I have only visited 18 states and just a couple of miles into Canada on both the East and West coasts. I just booked a couple of weeks in Italy for a shrines pilgrimage and I look forward to seeing a little bit more of this beautiful country and beyond, while making more friends along the way as I head toward retirement.  Thank you for being such a valuable part of my story.