At the age of 40, just after ending a career with Hewlett Packard, my life changed. I married a man who wanted to go sailing. We purchased a boat and sailed the Caribbean. After, I began working on sailboats, mainly as a chef. However, my analytical skills helped me gain seamanship knowledge. I was able to travel and work aboard boats as far north as an oceanographic research vessel the Arctic Circle and as far west as the Amazon River where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. I went up and down the New England coast as a yacht chef, through the Caribbean Islands on sailboat charters, and into the Gulf of Mexico on ships. I attained a 100 Ton Captain’s license and 200 Ton Mates’ license. I voyaged thousands of miles at sea. My dream was to captain/mate on the bridge of a 250-foot ship. At 62 years of age, there was a slim chance of making it that far up the “Jacobs ladder.” Twenty or thirty years earlier, there would have been no chance. It was an adventurous goal for a baby boomer who came up through the “hawsepipe” instead of out of a maritime school.
I’d like to say I attained 1600 Ton Mate, but I didn’t. It’s a man’s world out there in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a tough climb. I tried very hard. Who better than me, I thought. I would say to generations younger than me the following: Go crack a ceiling. It was a difficult climb, but I guarantee you I left a big crack before it was over. For years I fought as hard as I could. I had those good ol boys on their toes. Go for your dreams. It’s hard, it’s tough, but from those like me who have fought to make a difference and left opportunities in our wake, it would be a pity if you didn’t jump aboard and make the climb.