Jill currently shares her knowledge at the Florida Keys Community College teaching Memoir Writing Made Easy. For a few years now, she also has taught the Great Decisions curriculum, a public affairs discussion class coordinated by the Foreign Policy Association. These classes put to work Jill's Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University in political science and mass communications and her Master of Science degree from Indiana University in telecommunications. She also will teach "Writing Life Stories" in 2013 at the new community art offerings by the Morada Way Arts District in Islamorada.
Jill was the second oldest in a busy family of six kids. Although they occasionally compared themselves to the Brady Bunch, they had no dog, and mom had no "Alice" to assist her. Jill loved being a member of a large, active and loving family in which exciting things were constantly happening in sports, the arts or academics.
The family moved fairly frequently in response to corporations' needs. This enabled Jill to see different parts of the Midwest, Northeast and Florida. Jill shares a couple of stories that show how language dialects even in the U.S. differentiate our population and separate us.
America's borders were not limiting; however, Jill felt compelled to explore beyond them, first as an exchange student at age 15 and then during yearly and occasionally bi-annual trips to Europe from 1981 through 2001. These trips enabled enthralling encounters, a few of which she describes in Know that I have Lived.
Attending a Catholic school for kindergarten through sixth grade led to certain experiences such as being selected to portray the Virgin Mary during an annual nativity play. Rather than being an ethereal experience, Jill discovers the devil rearing his head. In this and other true tales, Jill describes incomprehensible happenings from a child's perspective. Being left behind during a family outing shows how vulnerable and sensitive a child can be as she tries to make sense of certain situations.
Equipped with a great education and a strong work ethic, Jill's job search in the Southeast turns up little opportunity. As she tries to find her way down a career path which looks more like a dirt road to nowhere, she explores alternatives such as working as a travel agent which enables travel to faraway places.
With a knack for speaking several languages, Jill decides her bike is her best and favorite mode of transportation for many of her trips since it enhances her contact with the local people. Although this decision is not for the weak, Jill shares her love of cycling in a singular summer in 1991 when she views the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France professional bike races in person. Befriended by an international cycling team from Spain, the young woman encounters goodness and kindness that is not forgotten.
Know that I have Lived is a memoir in essays. It is not completely linear as some themes overlap years. You will not read, "I was born this date in this town!" Jill instead shares her most memorable moments with humor and warmth while highlighting universal themes of alienation, fear, naivete, self-discovery and clairvoyance. Determining life is not for the weak or the artistic, the conclusion shows there is nowhere left for her to go but down -- to the ultimate escape territory of the Florida Keys.