Those “faraway places with strange-sounding names” called me even as a six-year-old growing up on my parents’ ranch eight miles from Condon, Oregon, a town of 600 pop., which probably included dogs, cats, chickens, with goats thrown in for good measure.  Our only news outlet then was the Portland Journal tossed from the train that bisected our ranch. (My task was to run across Highway 19 to fetch the paper.)

Our radio also provided news after dark, when someone in Oregon’s expanse turned up the knobs on transmission enough that our radio received enough “juice” to work. Then we gathered around to listen to Walter Winchell, Drew Pearson, and clanking police stories like “Gangbusters.”  Additionally, we received about 40-50 magazines each month:  Time, Life, Look, Redbook, Cosmo (earlier ones!), Sat. Eve. Post, Lady’s Home Journal, etc. Nothing “explicit.”

Weekly trips to the Condon Library offered additional reading material, but the librarian refused to let me check out “grownup” books (not adult, as we use that word today) and I’d read all the kids books.  So my mother just checked out an additional 7-8 books (in addition to hers) each week and gave them to me.  There was no TV; seldom movies in town were considered “fit” to see. (My mother would have had a different kind of “fit” if she saw some films today.)

My high school of 63 students didn’t offer much challenge, so my junior and senior years were spent at St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, a boarding school.  I was graduated from Marylhurst University—yearbook editor, newspaper editor, and student body president—with double majors in history and English.

But I still hadn’t slated my desire to travel; that would come later.  But I will share with you places I’ve been, what I learned, and even some silly things that happened.  (As a retired teacher, I always want readers to learn something, so my writing, as in my Briana Fraser six-book series, will include what I think is “valuable information” as well as suspenseful stories.  Argentine Assignment is the first book in print and will be available for purchase soon.