Personal Stories: Beverly Titus
I learned to type when I was a sophomore in high school (1950). I became part of the school newspaper staff and as I look back I can see that I have always been typing for other people: newsletters, magazines, flyers. All of this back in the day when typing meant using a typewriter—a manual one at that! We didn't have all the electronic equipment we have now. Cut and paste meant get out the scissors and glue. It was into this era that the personal computer was born. Once I got past my initial terror of "strike any key to delete", I knew I had found my instrument of communication (1983).
In 1984 Gemini Word Pro was born. My first computer was a Victor 9000 and all computers since, have been Apple Macintosh. The major focus of my work involved Celebration of Life '84, '85, and '86, followed shortly thereafter by The Door Opener.
My business philosophy was pretty simple: charge a fee that everyone could afford. I felt that if I made my desktop publishing services available to the widest range of people I would be successful. I have never charged anyone to do a resume. I take pleasure knowing I contributed to helping someone find a first job or a better job. My business card said that my mission was to make you look good on paper.
Gemini Word Pro was retired in 2005. There was never any doubt that it was the right decision. I walked away from a lifetime of typing everyone else's words and began typing my own.
My Personal Journey
Born May 25, 1936, I joined my parents and brother in, what was then, rural South Windsor. I graduated from Wapping Grammar School in 1949; Ellsworth Memorial High School in 1953; and Hillyer College with an Associates in Science in Medical Technology 1956.
I started out in South Windsor, moved to East Windsor (Warehouse Point) in 1959, then Vernon in 1986, and finally back to South Windsor in 1994. I have at least one more move in my future but I don't know when or where that will be.
I have worked on farms mucking out stalls and handing broadleaf tobacco. Then I worked as a lab tech at Hartford Hospital, secretary/lab tech in a doctor's office, followed by teacher's aide in a middle school, credit clerk at J. C. Penney, secretary for a construction and building maintenance company, secretary to a lawyer, and finally a secretary at a natural gas utility. In between some of these jobs I worked for temporary agencies. The common theme that ran through my adult employment was either customer service or secretary—sometimes a combination of both.
In the mid-1960s I became interested in astrology and the occult. After my divorce in 1974, I was more free to seek. My four children (Anne, Paul, Kathy, and Andy) accepted, for the most part, the new concepts I was learning and talking about. It was during the 1980s that I saw UFOs on two occasions. Some of my kids also had experiences.
Right after my divorce things really got tough. I was working part time in the school system and we needed to go on welfare. Over the summers, when I didn't work, making ends meet was a challenge. I was lucky enough to get a non-paying job at a summer camp in Maine. My kids, our dog, and I would be given room and board for 8 weeks and all I had to do was work for no pay. This opportunity came out of the blue, as do most things that I need. There are no coincidences. We are always being looked after.
It took me those four summers to take myself apart and put my self back together leaving behind those pieces of me that I no longer wanted or needed. My kids and I grew up together over this period of time.
In my search for full time employment, I had four employment agencies working for me – to no avail. In desperation I called all of them and told them to take me off their lists because I was tired of dead-end interviews. After six weeks, one of them called me to go on an interview. I was furious. They calmed me down and said it felt like a good fit for me. So I went. I interviewed. The owner of the construction company told me that if I became indispensable, the pay scale had no limit. I told him to give me his most important documents and leave me alone for 2 minutes. "Why?" he asked. "So I can hide them and become indispensable," I answered. He hired me anyway and I was on the road to financial recovery.
In 1983 I went to the Maine Healing Arts Festival, and because of my circle of friends in Connecticut, I knew we could do a similar weekend of wholistic and spiritual seminars and games. I brought the idea home and the idea attracted a group. Thus was born Celebration of Life, a weekend of classes, new age games, workshops and gourmet vegetarian meals. What some people told us could not be done, we did for three years running, '84, '85, '86. Since that time, my personal motto has come from Garfield the cat: It's amazing what one can accomplish when one doesn't know what one can't do. Those involved in making Celebration a reality were Eileen Maddocks, Don Hayes, Bob Morse, Susan Jasinski Washburn, Elizabeth Eisenhauer, Larry Foley, Donna Safford, Jon Roe, and me.
Then came The Door Opener. Jon Roe and I published the magazine from 1986 until we both retired in 2005. We didn't really retire. If you're reading this you know with what Jon's been doing. What have I been up to? Good question.
After 55 years of typing the words of others, I suddenly had the urgent need to type my own. It took me that long to find my voice, and, more important, have confidence in that voice. I guess I got to the age where I had something to say and no longer cared if someone didn't like it.
I joined a critiquing workshop group for writers and poets with the beginnings of what I was sure would be the bike-touring book of the last and current centuries. I soon learned that my writing needed a lot more polish and between the group’s gentle guidance and the advice of my long-time friend and associate, Jon Roe, I realized the book wasn’t supposed to be a public offering. This was for my family. To further confound the situation, I came away from the workshop group a poet. I continue to write articles and stories for my family (it’s really difficult to get anything published these days), but poetry seems to have taken the forefront. I have read my poetry publicly at Wood Memorial Library in South Windsor, Wintonbury Library in Bloomfield, The Buttonwood Tree in Middletown and Faxon Library in West Hartford. I have also read at Peaberry Cafe in Simsbury and Magic Intent in Vernon. I have a poem published in Long River Run II, Fall 2006, The Connecticut Poetry Society; and another in New Songs from the Meadows, an anthology of poems from the Wood Memorial Library.
For years I vacationed on Cape Cod. I always feel renewed when I come back from bike riding its paths and back roads and walking the beautiful beaches. It’s the energy of the North Atlantic that recharges my personal batteries. I must go there every year, if only for a weekend.
Hobbies include bicycle riding, hiking and taking pictures where I ride and hike. In September of 2008 my daughter, Kathy, and I will bike ride the Erie Canal bike path from Niagara Falls to Albany, NY. This is a 9-day, self-supported bike tour. Hopefully we are still talking to each other at the end. If this relatively easy, 40 flat miles, average, per day tour goes well, I have a longer ride in mind—the East Coast Greenway from the Canadian border in Maine to Key West, Florida. A very big unknown at this time.
In 2006 my family was devastated by the death of my grandson, LCpl. Philip Johnson, age 19, KIA Sept. 3rd in Iraq. I plunged into my own Dark Night of the Soul. I was furious with God for letting this happen. It took me three months of agony before I understand I had to forgive, truly and honestly forgive or my grief and loathing was going to destroy me. I had to say the name of each person I held responsible for his death, and say, “I forgive you because you don’t know what you have done.” Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do.” Could I do less? Immediately I felt the agony and depression lift from my Soul. Out of this, came a poem and an essay. Perhaps I will post them on the web. I have been thinking about creating another blog where I can post poetry, articles, and thoughts of a spiritual nature. My writing has helped me come to grips with this traumatic time in my life.
This is a picture of my family before Phil went into the Marines. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will notice several “orbs”.
I used to write to Phil all the time, so to fill that hole in my life I now write to five Marines—two in Iraq, two on their way home from Iraq, and one will be going later this year. I write one letter and mail a copy to each of them every week to ten days. In addition to writing to my Marines, I have two on-line journals or blogs — Look What I’m Up To Now, which is my day to day adventures; and A Very Personal Journey, which is my spiritual adventures. I write about what’s going on in my life – whether it’s turkeys in my yard, raccoon footprints on the storm door glass, or Red Sox World Champions. Sprinkled throughout is some of my poetry. Even if you don’t read what I have to say, the pictures are pretty interesting.
These days I am content to be retired from my day job (since 2001) and my part-time business (since 2005). I rarely attend wholistic/spiritual classes. What I need to know will be given. Where I need to be will be shown to me when the time is right. All I have to do is stay out of the way and let the Universe do its work. Part of staying out of the way is to keep active. I have no problem with that! Oh, by the way, here’s my current business card.