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05/05/2017

Fields [McGrath], Laura

Hmmm. Twenty-five instant sisters freshman year on our hall – an exhilarating experience for a shy only child finally away from home. Exceptional teaching – especially Dr. Madtes, Dr. Ketchum, Dr. Devor, Mr. Heeschan, and Mr. Logan. I still value and use the rigor and discipline I learned particularly from Dr. Madtes. Singing – Chapel Choir, then Allegheny Singers. Special friendships, some of which remain strong to this day. And meeting Tom McGrath in the nick of time,  just before he graduated.

Education after Allegheny

M.A. in English (is there any other major?) at Alfred University, part time while I was teaching (also part time) and raising two babies (more than full time)! More than the formal education, I’ve learned so much from Tom, our daughters, and my colleagues and customers – and still do.

Marriage

Best luck of my life: marrying Tom McGrath (‘65)  in July 1967 – a month after graduation. Incredibly smart, thoughtful, creative, funny, and loving, Tom is the best life partner I ever could have imagined.

Where we’ve lived

We lived for most of 43 years in Corning, New York, with a year’s hiatus each in College Park, MD (grad school for Tom) and Portchester, Hampshire, England (Tom’s teaching exchange which resulted our trading homes, cars, toys, records, and books with an English family). In 2010, Tom retired from teaching biology at Corning Community College and we moved to St. Petersburg, FL. I was fortunate to bring my portable business with me.

My jobs

I started out teaching English part time at Corning Community College, then spent eight years as director of a community arts center. I left that position in 1989 to open a business as a writer and communications consultant, which I maintained until 2012. Each job led to cherished friendships and great learning opportunities.

Our children / grandchildren

Our daughters Heather and Colleen arrived fairly early in our married years. They’ve both lived in a variety of places – Heather in Boston, Maui, and Miami, and Colleen in Pittsburgh, Boston, New York City, and Berlin. Now, incredibly, both have moved to St. Petersburg and we’re all within 15 minutes of each other. Heather teaches technology to preschoolers and elementary students in a private school, and Colleen owns and operates an early childhood music business after having traveled the world as an opera singer. Colleen found her husband Ted Lilley here in  St. Pete and their daughter Marlo is our only grandchild. At two and a half, she has totally captivated us with her charm, energy, wit, and brilliance (grandparents’ perspective)!

Retirement

Life is sweet. Babysitting several times a week, seeing lots of our family and friends, volunteering a bit with our historic neighborhood and St. Pete Preservation, and enjoying the rich and vibrant cultural life of St. Pete — and did I mention sunshine just about every day!

Current activities / hobbies

Reading, cooking, gardening – all when they fit into the important stuff (see above). And looking for my glasses/phone/keys – not a chosen hobby, but a necessary one!

Our contact Info

Address:  2900 Burlington Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL  33713
Phone:  727-289-8794
Email:  

Freshman Book

Thanksgiving 2016: (l-r) a couple of friends, Tom, son-in-law Ted, daughter Colleen, granddaughter Marlo, daughter Heather, and me

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