About Me

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Born in Santa Monica, California, I was raised in the small bedroom community of Sunkist Park that borders Culver City, Playa del Rey, Mar Vista and Venice. I attended Venice High School, West LA Community College and California Institute of the Arts. My studies included English, English Literature, Poetry, Creative Writing, Choir, Classical Voice, Shakespeare, Musical Theater, Television and Film Acting and Art History. In 1980, I relocated to the Pacific Northwest and in 1982 I married Kurt Wolf in Corvallis, Oregon. During the course of our long journey together, I have remained devoted to not only my husband, but to my friends and family, and the arts. What defines me most is my passion for expression through art. I’m an avid reader, writer and poet.I also enjoy painting and photography. Additionally, some folks consider me a pretty good cook.

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If you have any questions about "New Prairie Woman", "Saving Susie", my "Phoetry", Montana, or writing in general, please email me directly at: GrumpySusie@msn.com — Looking forward to hearing from you. I hope you enjoy "New Prairie Woman". ~ Susie

Friday, February 11, 2011

00.04 Prologue, Finale'

           When we arrived home I carried the poster board into my bedroom and hung it with thumb tacks to the wall directly across from my bed. From that day on every time I would lie on my bed I gazed directly up at that school project and fantasized about Montana. The notion of living in a log cabin out in the wilderness where the buffalo roamed endlessly across the land filled my heart and mind with thoughts and questions about my own life in the city. I felt a soulfully powerful connection to the prairie and I questioned my faithful allegiance to my ocean. Why was I born at the Pacific Coast in this time rather than be born in the country in the early pioneer days or come to the country across miles of open grass land in a covered wagon? What fate would bring me to this now so boring place? The once exciting MGM Studios, FOX and Paramount that were all in my back yard seemed to pale in comparison now after reading about Montana and the women of Montana, the truly exciting lives they lived. What would it be like to live in a sod house out on the prairie where the grasses went on for miles and miles and miles and you lived day after day after day without ever seeing a neighbor? What was it like to be a trapper in the early days, who lived out in the wilderness in the most extreme weather and under the most extreme circumstances? I thought about the hunters killing their elk and deer to feed themselves and their families for the winter and wondered what that meat tasted like. What does a moose taste like? What would it have felt like to tend the soil, plant wheat with your bare hands? Or even more intriguing, what would it have felt like to come in after a full day of walking behind a mule while plowing, before tractors had been invented? I could only imagine trying to plow up a field with a piece of wood attached to the back of a horse or mule to grow crops and feed my family. I could only imagine it, particularly when walking into the grocery store each weekend with my parents to buy our food for the week ahead. A new appreciation for the ease of our daily lives began to swell within me.

          Those early pioneers must have been exhausted.

          I imagined being there. I wanted to so badly. To see this big sky state under the stars so bright. So many stars in the gigantic sky it was like looking up at the heavens filled with millions and millions of electric lights all glittering with energy and promise. I wanted to go there. So, I began to save my money. Every quarter dime nickel or penny I found earned or borrowed, I glued to the map of Montana on the poster board hanging from my wall. When Papa came into my room and noticed the change money on the map he asked what I was doing. I explained to him that I was saving for a trip to Montana. He then offered me a wonderful deal. He said that for every dollar I saved on the map he would match it and take me on a vacation to wherever the money would take us, as far as it would go.

          Four months later school was letting out for summer vacation and nearly all the space on my poster board map of Montana was filled. At that point I was willing to do whatever it took to fill the map. I washed extra dishes, washed the car, did all the laundry, mowed the lawn, took out the trash every day and night with great enthusiasm which was highly unusual for me. My grandmother hired me to polish her white nursing shoes and my brother hired me to polish his black patent leathers. I raked leaves and cleaned out the fridge. Finally the board was filled up with enough change to hide all of the color in the background, which was purple, of course.

          On Saturday, my father sat down with me at the kitchen table and carefully together we peeled off all of the change money and put it into neat little piles of dollars. Nearly the entire table was covered with change. Pop got out his huge stainless steel salad bowl and one by one counted off the piles of dollars as I recorded each one in my notebook and then placed the coins in the bowl. At the end of the count I had saved a total of $64.00. Not too bad, but even with Papa matching that, it was nowhere near enough money to get to Montana. I was disappointed and yet distracted by the offer of going on a trip to a more affordable vacation…all the way to San Francisco. San Francisco? The thought thrilled me only because I had been north in the past with my parents and I adored riding the cable cars and visiting the Fisherman’s Wharf. Although it paled in comparison to my Montana I thought the trip to San Francisco could be fun, and after all, I had worked very hard for it.

            Our trip to San Francisco that summer was the stepping stone to a wanderlust within me that continues to thrive to this day. But it was the thought of Montana where the fire Originated. That seeded the burning desire, that grew to lust to witness God’s majestic work in the mountains the rivers the prairie land. As I grew and lived and experienced life as it should be, witnessed life in many forms textures angles and perspectives Montana slipped further and further away. Every once in a while though, when the national weather report would mention the current blizzard conditions in Montana due to an arctic front I would fondly remember sitting behind Eva Yamamoto in Saint Gerard’s Catholic School and I could still see in my minds eye Sister Carmel Mary standing at the head of the class holding that basket. I would shiver when images of frozen rivers and miles of snow covered wheat fields would appear on the television news cast. But to me it was so beautiful, those images, and still. So quietly still. When mentioned, when reminded, the fascination continued to tug away at my sense of adventure. And watching stories of the pioneers settling in the Montana prairie land in some old movie would stir my deep seeded admiration for the brave women who once paved the way for many more women to follow. My sensibilities always spoke to me when thoughts and fantasies of living in Montana would creep into my consciousness but buried in my heart remained a soft and gentle whisper luring me, teasing me and taunting me with an invitation to become…

…a new prairie woman.

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