Wednesday, October 29, 2008

35 years ago today....

...a little 6lb baby girl was born on a snowy day in Montana. Even though her parents were married they were very young and she was not exactly planned nor wanted. She was born on her father's birthday but he was more interested in buying himself birthday presents rather than attending the miracle of her birth. Her mother, just a teenager was not emotionally equipped to handle the situation she found herself in.
It was a rough and humble beginning for this child.
As these stories usually go, it will not surprise you that the abusive father left his wife and baby to fend for themselves, leaving them with absolutely nothing.
The teenage mom, now a broken girl, did not feel welcome to go back home so she took her baby and moved a long way away. This young woman found some friends and was readily accepted into a hippie community. She started living the hippie lifestyle which included lots of drug use. It was an atmosphere not suited for a child, but the child was precocious and quickly learned how to survive.
Fortunately for this little girl, she had a Great Aunt that took an interest in her well-being and whenever the Aunt found the opportunity this noble lady did what she could to help and guide. She bought shoes for the often barefoot child, fed her breakfast, gave her baths and sang her songs. She taught the child how to read (and well) by the age of 4. This girl was educated enough to start the First grade by the age of 5. The girl loved to learn, and even though other kids made fun of her for her unkempt appearance and small stature she learned to get along by being the class clown.

It was not exactly a happy childhood. Poverty was a day to day struggle. The family lived off of food stamps and charity. Life was filled with too many moves....always moving....about every 6 months. The hippie mom was a restless soul. In fact the girl went to 17 different schools in 12 years, 6 moves during high school and 2 during her Senior year.
The girl ended up with two half sisters along the way; she became more of a mother to the girls, the responsibility of which made her grow up way too fast. In fact, the girl took it upon herself to be the caretaker of the whole family...and she mothered her hippie mom more than she was ever mothered herself. At the ripe ol' age of 16, she could no longer handle the physical, emotional and verbal abuse that was a daily part of her life, so she left home.
She finished her Senior year while living with her grandparents and she made plans to go to college.
With lots of hard work and zero financial help from anyone she made it into a private christian college. The first person ever in her family to obtain higher education.
She spent the next four years struggling to stay in school by working multiple jobs, and keeping a full class schedule and far too often going hungry.
After graduating from college she found herself in a conundrum. Even though she graduated with a degree in Business Administration, in her heart she knew that the corporate life wasn't for her. She was drawn to all things art and no matter what she did she was always motivated by creativity.
She married the love of her life (the second poorest student on campus). The couple made a mutual decision to take a few years "off" to go on snowboarding adventures which required living in the car and sleeping on floors. This was a happy time for the girl who was just beginning to learn about who she really was. Even though the adventurous couple were poor they both had a talent and determination that put them smack in the middle of the professional snowboarding world. Any money they made during this time went to pay their enormous student loan bills. It was these years that taught her that life is about experiences good and bad and she found herself at odds with the materialistic world she lived in.
Eventually, after many broken bones and head injuries, all with no health insurance the husband decided to switch careers and join the military. That sure solved the health insurance problem but created a whole mess of other problems. Talk about a difficult transition, the couple went from a free-spirited lifestyle to a rigid and controlled lifestyle essentially overnight. Needless to say....lots of tears were shed in those early years.
The following years were filled with moving, training, moving, countless low paying, mundane jobs (if they could be found) and moving. The girl soon realized that she would never have that career she always dreamed of having if she continued to stay married to this man. She chose love, gave up her dreams and decided to continue supporting her husband.
Not content to live in hubby's shadow any longer, and with creativity bursting from her, she set out on a path that very few ever even attempt to set out on; the path of entrepreneurship. Having some sort of creative outlet was the only way she would survive this military life. She spent 6 frustrating years trying this and that and encountering failure after failure but she had dogged determination and never gave up. After scrimping and saving and working really hard she finally had a small working pottery studio and she starting teaching pottery classes. Slowly she started getting recognition for her efforts, a TV spot here, a magazine article there....lots of local press, and for the first time since her snowboarding days she felt a sense of purpose once again. That was not to last long as the military kept moving them and it became increasingly difficult to "start all over again" at each new place.
Every move became more difficult and she was plagued with health issues she started to let life get her down. She prayed to God everyday for help and to know her purpose so that she could get up on her feet and GO! Finally and slowly ideas started forming....weird ideas....ideas that no one had come up with before....ideas to combine her pottery and her love of tatting. With a new energy, she set out to create her own mobile business. A business that would be compatible with the ever unpredictable volatile military life.
Here she is today, at the beginning of her new tatting life; LadyShuttleMaker....35 years on the planet. She one day hopes that this business will bring in enough money to reflect the amount of work she puts in....she hopes that it will all be worth it in the end. Someone asked her if she made much money and she replied; "My husband brings home the bread and I just try to bring home the butter". She would make more money if she worked at the Starbucks on the corner and would work far less hours. But she finally loves what she does and that is all that matters to her. Tatting is the miracle that saved her life.
What will the next 35 years bring??

Happy Birthday to me!

35 comments:

***Jon**** said...

Happy Birthday Sherry!

It touched me that you've had a very tough first 35 years. My wish for you is that each of your tomorrow for the next 35 years and more will always be better than each of your today shared with the one that you love.

umintsuru said...

Dear Sherry, I am really touched by your entry today. You have come a long way. I am happy that you have found something you love to do. That is what matters. We often struggle with that. Happy Birthday!!
Wendy

wickedtats said...

Happy Birthday Sherry. I'm glad you're finally happy! What a lovely happily ever after for a nice person. /hug

Bonnie said...

Thank you for sharing your life story with me, Sherry!! Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Sherry, Happy Birthday to you!

Lil said...

Happy Birthday Sherry! I loved reading your autobiography! =)

~Heather~ said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Wow what a story. You should be proud of all you have accomplished and over come. Here I am complaining about itty bitty stuff... Hope you have a wonderful Birthday!!!
(((HUGS)))
Heather

Kathy said...

Happy Birthday! As I started to read I wondered could this be about yourself. I was so saddened and the tears started. You should be very proud of your accomplishments. Thanks to God's tug on your heart you worked through all the struggles and are now at a time of your life actually enjoying your talent and helping others around you. I hope the next 35 will be everything you hoped for.

Carol Lawecki said...

Happy Birthday Sherry!!! I wish you much happiness and love and all the best in life. You deserve it after your rocky beginning! Have a great day!

Clyde said...

Happy Birthday Sherry. I believe that the most creative people come from abusive backgrounds. It is one hell of a price to pay but it just seems to be one of those things. I will share my story with you privately if you send me your e mail to cepage1ca@yahoo.ca. Congratulations on all you have accomplished and I know that there are many great things in-store for you. I too am grateful for tatting as it has helped me in my life and it brings great joy in all that I create.

Steph's (tat) Stuff said...

That was beautiful. I'm so happy that life(so far) has turned out to be rewarding and full of love.

Happy Birthday, Sherry!

xoxoxoxoxoxo

Tattycat said...

I am so glad I adopted you. I only wish I could have done it 35 years ago! I had no idea you had been through so much. However, without these struggles you wouldn't be who you are and you are very special. I appreciate you sharing this with all of us. I helps us to understand how blessed we all are - for ourselves and for having you. The next 35 years will have their struggles. My prayer is that you never have to struggle as you have already. Happy birthday Sweetie!

Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

Happy birthday, Sherry! Thanks for sharing your story. I see children similar to you every day. Your story is a good reminder to me that it is important for every child to feel loved by their teachers, and that teachers need to help all children find a way to feel successful, important, and cared for.

P.S. - You should receive a little something special soon!

Anonymous said...

May the next 35 be all that you wish for. Happy birthday!

TattingChic said...

Happy Birthday Sherry,
That is a very touching biography. I was just wondering last night about how you managed to get a kiln and start a pottery studio. It all makes sense now with your business degree. Thank heavens for that Great Aunt, aye? She really was GREAT! I'm glad you've chosen the path that you have as my life has been enriched by knowing you! :)
BIG (((hugs))) to you!

Thanks for the comment on my blog, sorry you had to read a strange story on your birthday, LOL! I cannot recall exactly where that creepy place was and I have no idea if it exists. "Somewhere near Kansas" is as accurate a location as I can give, LOL!

Denise Felton said...

You gave me tears and yet made me feel proud and uplifted. Happy, happy birthday to you.

Grizzly Mountain Arts said...

Happy Birthday, Sherry! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Marty said...

You are at the head of the ranks of the tough chicks! Congratulations on making it through your first 35 years. May the next 60 or 70 be easier, but just as filled with love. Happy Birthday, Sherry!

Jane Eborall said...

Well the next 35 can only get better!!! Happy B'day and long may you rain (sorry, reign) in all you do.

SY said...

Happy Happy Birthday Sherry! Thank you for giving us a glimpse into "you." God Bless you and keep you and GODSPEED! sy

Susanne said...

Happy birthday Lady Shuttlemaker and I hope you have had a great birthday. It was very kind of you to share your own story with us, and it is so good to know you have found happiness and your path in life. And you also know how much you mean to us tat-bloggers.

Jeff Hamilton said...

Happy Birthday, Sherry!!! Thanks for sharing your story with us. It is very touching. I will be watching for all the awesome things you will create in your next 35 years and beyond.

The Hussy Housewife said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CUZ!!! You are a true warrior, and you deserve all the success that you have created for yourself! Despite your beginnings..you found a great hubby and made your life better.

LOVE YA!!

Keep taking the high road.....

connieangeline said...

That seems like a hard story to tell and I thank you for telling it. I admire your resourcefulness.
My wish for your birthday is Health. It seems it's all you need.
I am glad to "know" you and am richer for it.
I am close to a child whose mother has essentially abandoned her,I am grateful for the hope you have just given me that she will grow up a happy adult.

zarina said...

Happy Birthday Sherry. I always say the gold is at the end of the rainbow (that is roughing out at the beginning to climb the rainbow). I am very much honored to be part of your world.

(and my word verification is very close to mercy, SIGH)

MimiD said...

Happy Birthday Sherry. Your threads bring me almost as much happiness as your friendship. Shorties unite :)

Sapna said...

Happy Birthday Sherry!

I am too young to be advising you on anything, but all I can say is you truly are an inspiration - I sometimes worry a lot cos certain whishes/ dreams aren’t getting fulfilled, some hopes are shattered certain aspirations are crushed but always find a small tiny silver lining all the way which makes life worth moving! I am glad you found yours and nothing like a feeling of content at the end of the day. We all have a long way to go, and I pray that you get everything that you dreamed or whished for in life!

Love you and sending you a bear hug on this very special day.
Sapna

snowy said...

Dear Sherry, I listen to a lot of tough stories with the alcoholics, and I wanted to tell you how the best thing in your story is you haven't allowed yourself to become a victim, (I'm so unlucky, everything always happens to me) but have always managed to fight back, and take control, even in the crappiest situations. That takes real courage and objectivity, and I am sure there are good times ahead!

JaneB said...

Happy Birthday for yesterday. What a life story. I hope the next 35 years will bring you all you wish for. I am glad to have been a customer of yours.
Jane

victats@gmail.com said...

Happy Birthday! Wishing you many years of health, wealth, happiness, family, and friends.
Lots of cake too!
Vicki

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

Thank you everyone for your kind and supportive comments. I am a lucky girl to be a part of such a loving community! I was able to thank everyone privately except for connieangeline (I do not have your email). So thank you Connie, your comment means a lot to me!

BJ said...

Words Fail. It always surprises me how many in our world of Arts have had to survive and thrive after difficult, challenging, and often frigtening childhoods. I pray you had a happy birthday; just don't look in the rear view mirror too often. It's a bummer; I can relate. Growing up with fear helps one to be an overcomer, creative,and more sensitive to the needs of others. But, as Clyde says, 'it's one hell of a price to pay."
What I do know is that we who fall into that Thriver group, appreciate so much your lovely threads and shuttles ~ and we celebrate YOU.
HUGS AND LOVE from a 72 year old who has walked that road of being unwanted, neglected and lived in fear of abandonment.

bj aka Ridgetatter

ps I have 2 granddaughters (where abouts unknon at this time) who've grown up in a similar atmosphere; and, I hope someday to know they are able to become overcomers.

Randi said...

Sherry, Happy Birthday! I too was born on 10/29 some years before you! In fact, my oldest child was born 10/14/73. Thanks for your inspirational life story.
God does provide the 'perfect' solutions we need, doesn't He. Tatting is helping me 'resurface' since losing my father last year. Its beauty of design and color gives such joy!
Continue your wonderful, creative efforts...they are a blessing for all of us in the tatting community.

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

Thank you Randi! A very HAPPY belated birthday to you!

nutz2tat said...

Hey Sherry, Happy Belated Birthday!

I only managed to check out your blog today and realised you celebrated your 35th BD. May God bless you today and every day.

Luv,
Valerie

yarnplayer said...

Just caught this post today - a belated happy birthday to you, Sherry. You are a courageous young woman and a great inspiration to many! I wish every good blessing for you, and may all your days ahead be filled with happiness and fulfillment. God must be so proud of you!