It is really hard to compartmentalize my life….there’s been so many years. Can’t believe that it’s been 50 years since graduation and that I will be 68 on October 5. It is nice of the class to hold such a fun birthday party for me. Where to begin? …….After EHS it was on to Oklahoma University to become a Sooner where I stayed until ’62 graduating with a Masters in education; Picking up this degree as added insurance never really thinking I would be an actual teacher. The next phase was the “Air Force years”, having children, and living the good life as an AF wife.
Then, the “early Kansas years” which included having another child and getting the 3 into school. I divorced and started “the teaching years” which lasted almost 25 years. My husband Vern Johnson and I have been married 25 years blending five children together in 1982. I survived teaching ninth graders for most of those years and loved the subject that I taught, World Geography. Guess I caught the travel bug when I visited my father in Iraq after my ninth grade year. Some highlights of the teaching years: attending a five week seminar in Washington D.C. sponsored by National Geographic (for a geography teacher, that’s like going to Mecca), attending a two week geography institute in Japan, getting the Kansas Geography Alliance started and other school related events.
I have been blessed with three children and five grandchildren. My husband fathered 2 children in an earlier marriage but we lost one, a son, at age 39. Vern has another 3 grandchildren, whom I consider mine. Vern’s other child, Kristen (41) is a pharmaceutical representative for Glaxo Kline Smith Beecham. My son, Mak Knighton, is a computer 3-D animator and lives in London. Amanda, my youngest, is a stay at home Mom expecting my sixth grandchild in January at age 39. She has been a producer-writer for Universal Studios in Orlando before starting her own family. Kelly is my middle child and a very special blessing in that she often reminds me to trust God for direction rather than to lean on my own understanding.
Vern and I have entered “the retirement phase of our life” and do nothing better than anyone we know. Actually, we travel quite a bit both nationally and internationally. Our children and grandchildren are scattered across the country and my son lives in London which takes us across the pond every few years. We live in Overland Park located in NE Kansas and is considered part of the Kansas City, MO metro area so we cheer for the Chiefs and the Royals, but I have never forgotten my Sooners and am looking forward to another great football season for OU. I must confess that I have been indoctrinated into loving KU basketball. Looking forward to seeing all of you.
PS. Look for a blonde Braithwaite