I grew up in Ohio, and Allegheny was the only college I applied to. I lived on 3-C and those girls became like a family to me. My father was a dentist, and the summer before I came to Allegheny, he decided i needed braces. I am the oldest of 6 kids, and iI think my dad wanted to tone down my extra-curricular activities. I am not sure that worked, because
I spent a lot of hours visiting with floormates and doing all the things that college freshmen do. I was a senator to student government my freshman year and joined Alpha Chi sorority. I had always planned to be a nurse, but did not commit myself to that plan until my sophomore year when I made the very difficult decision to transfer to Columbia University to study for nursing. During my sophomore year I dated Don Truesdell and we were pinned at the end of the year. Because I did not declare a major, I took a lot of science courses to prepare myself for a nursing education as well as core curriculum courses. I loved my years at Allegheny and hated to leave, but when you have five younger siblings heading to college, you have to make some hard decisions.
Education after Allegheny
I attended Allegheny for two years before transferring to Columbia University School of Nursing. I completed my degree, graduating magna cum laude, in 1968.
While I was a student at Columbia, I married Don Truesdell (class of 1966) and after living in New York City and working at Presbyterian Hospital, we moved to New Brunswick, NJ. Don was working at his family business in Princeton, a short commute. There our first son, Don Jr. was born. We then moved to Belle Mead, NJ and bought our first house. Our daughter, Debbie, was born shortly thereafter. Shortly after moving to a larger house, our second son, Andy, was born, and we continued to live there for 26 years until Don retired from the Truesdell Company in 2003. This December, 2016 we will celebrate our 50th anniversary.
Where I’ve lived
After living in NJ for 31 years, Don retired and we moved to Seven Lakes, NC near Pinehurst. Don’s mother sold her home in NJ and moved to an adult community near us. After she passed away in 2013 we moved to Holly Springs, a Raleigh suburb to be closer to our daughter and her family. We love living here in Holly Springs. We are on a golf course which Don loves, and we have settled in well.
After graduating from Columbia, I worked for 18 months on an orthopedic floor in Babies’ Hospital. When we moved to New Jersey I was tired of working nights and weekends and was hired as a technical writer for an independent pharmaceutical testing service, where my nursing background and writing skills were very helpful. After our children were born I stayed at home for 17 years. When all the kids were in school I took a refresher course and went back to nursing, first in a family practice office and then working for an infectious disease doctor when HIV was becoming prevalent. While there I helped the doctors run a travel clinic, counseling patients who were planning adventurous trips as well as helping to treat many people who were HIV infected. We also were in the midst of the emergence of Lyme disease and Hepatitis C. There was a lot to learn during those years. I was able to witness the development of new drugs which altered the course of HIV for many of our patients. After we moved to NC, I worked in hospice as a financial assistant and was able to receive health insurance while working 24 hours a week. Since I had a nursing background, finance was like learning to do a job in a foreign language. I retired from hospice in 2012.
Our children / grandchildren
Our son, Don Jr. attended Allegheny, majored in economics, and graduated in 1993. He is married with two children and works, along with his wife, at Merrill Lynch in Wilmington, DE. Our daughter attended Wake Forest University, majoring in Spanish, and graduated in 1995. She is married with two children and teaches Spanish at NC State in Raleigh. Andy, our youngest, attended West Virginia University and Rutgers University. He stayed in the Princeton area and followed his love of working with his hands. He works as job supervisor for a firm in Princeton, and we marvel at his amazing ability to build multi-million dollar houses and deal with clients are used to having things go the way they want.. He and his wife have one son. We travel to Delaware and NJ as often as possible.
I retired in 2012 and became involved in many volunteer efforts. Since Pinehurst is a retirement community, there are hundreds of opportunities to learn to have fun and to help others. I helped with Prancing Horses, a therapeutic riding program for disabled children and adults, served in a Ronald McDonald type house for all ages, and was active in our church and choir. In 2013 I joined a chapter of New Horizons Band learning to (sort of) play the saxophone I also took classes to learn to draw and paint. Don and I ran our church rummage sale for 5 years netting over $12,000.00 each year. The profits were used by our church to fund Christmas gifts for underprivileged families in Moore County, NC. Moore is the 5th wealthiest county in NC but 22% live below the poverty line, and the same number of people are functionally illiterate. I also enjoyed playing tennis, bridge and belonging to a book club.
Current activities / hobbies
Since moving To Holly Springs in 2014, we have joined a church where I am in the handbell choir and am trying to find areas where I am needed. I am learning to play Mahjong and have again joined a book club. I continue to travel to Moore County to play in the band and visit with my father-in-law whom Don’s mother married at the tender age of 91, and I drive to Winston-Salem to visit with my mother, age 95, who is in relatively good health and living independently in an adult community. Don and I enjoy traveling, so in addition to visiting with our boys’ families we try to take a fun trip every year. This fall we traveled for 2 weeks in Arizona, Colorado and Utah seeing 7 national parks.
We attended Don’s 50th Allegheny reunion in June of this year and look forward to seeing lots of you there.