When I Grow Up

When the Wednesday Writers picked “What you wanted to be when you grew up” for our May topic, my first thought was That was decades ago—I don’t remember. My second thought was Am I there yet?

WW May 16

Back then, in a previous century, the big three choices for girls were Teacher, Nurse, and Secretary. None of those really did it for me, although any of them would have pleased my mother, a very intelligent woman with a high school education, whose work experience was limited to the years during World War II when all the men were away. My dad, on the other hand, was convinced I could be whatever I wanted to be, and told me so.

I did at least think about teaching, briefly, and about following my dad into the advertising business. A well-traveled journalist neighbor encouraged me to study foreign languages and aim for the Foreign Service, and I took Spanish, French, and German in high school.

I went off to college with no particular target, took more Spanish and French, and somehow wandered into an anthropology class. Next thing I knew I’d majored in anthropology and archeology, moved on to grad school, married a fellow archeologist, and gone into the cultural resource consulting business.

Somehow there was a thread running through all the detours. Remember my dad in the ad biz (in Milwaukee and Miami, thank goodness, never Madison Avenue)? He was there because it was one way he could make a living while writing, and I caught that from him. By the time I was twelve I was writing fan fiction (although that wasn’t a thing back then, and there was no way to share it). In high school I took honors English and creative writing, and wrote chunks of a totally unauthorized senior class satirical yearbook (I think I still have a copy of that somewhere, but thankfully not of the fan fiction).

I happily wrote term papers through college and grad school, and when Jack and I did archeological work I wrote the reports. And eventually I realized that what I wanted to do when I grew up, and what I’ve been doing under one name or another all my life, was write.

Here’s my dad at his desk in 1946.

And here’s my desk in 2016. Big changes in equipment, same love of the written word.

Desk 2016

This month my fellow Wednesday Writers are Tamra Baumann, Carol Post, Priscilla Oliveras, Sharon Wray, and TL Sumner. Pop over and find out what they wanted to be when they grew up.

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Priscilla Oliveras
    May 11, 2016 @ 08:42:23

    Kay, how awesome to see the pics of your dad at his desk next to your modern day desk! It’s uncanny how we develop passions for different aspects from our parents. And how much of an influence our parents can be on us– without even realizing it.

    You mentioned writing the reports for the research you and Jack did together. I remember back in high school biology I did not want to have to cut into a frog or any other kind of animal. So I teamed up with a football player friend who didn’t care much for writing the reports. We were a match made in honor roll heaven– when it came to biology class anyway. 🙂

    I’m sure your dad is amazingly proud to share his love of the written word with you. It’s a beautiful thing!




    • Kay Hudson
      May 11, 2016 @ 10:11:31

      Alas, my dad has been gone a long while now. He died before I got my first computer, back in the early 80s, and I’ve always been sorry about that–he would have loved computers!



  2. Carol J. Post
    May 11, 2016 @ 09:38:39

    Great post, Kay. I loved the comparison between your dad’s desk and yours. A lot has changed in 70 years!

    It’s funny how often we writers gravitated toward writing before we even realized we wanted to be writers. As a kid, I loved doing book reports and research papers, and as an adult, I often took on projects that involved writing in some way. I even did a short stint writing advertising and skits for a local radio station. I guess it’s in our blood, but for some of us, it takes a little longer to come out than for others.



  3. tamrabaumann
    May 11, 2016 @ 10:57:00

    Loved the pix of your dad. Can you imagine giving an employee a wooden chair to sit in these days? And it’s neat you found a way to write as you worked. Great post!



    • Kay Hudson
      May 11, 2016 @ 13:39:02

      I don’t know, some of those old wooden chairs were pretty comfortable. With a seat cushion, of course. I do love that picture. Dad must have been about 26 when it was taken, home from the war and at work at the ad agency.



  4. Sharon Wray
    May 11, 2016 @ 15:52:17

    What a great story, Kay. I love the picture of your dad and especially love how he gave you the space to follow your own path.



    • Kay Hudson
      May 11, 2016 @ 21:43:23

      It is a great picture, but I notice that his desk was oddly bereft of stuffed animals. I like having my cheerful little friends around. And then there’s the cat climbing into my lap . . .



  5. T. L. Sumner
    May 11, 2016 @ 20:03:50

    I love the picture of your dad working in his office. How cool that you are an archaeologist! My daughter is taking World Anthropology this semester… Anyway – loved this post and how writing was always a common thread in your life.



  6. Cheryl Bolen
    May 12, 2016 @ 13:02:47

    This was another fabulous post. I loved seeing that picture of your dad. What a treasure to have that! And while I do write in a Herman Miller Aeron chair, I think my next choice for good back health would be wood.



  7. Leslie
    May 13, 2016 @ 19:23:23

    Reading this reminded me of things I wrote throughout school, like satirical Dick and Jane stories in junior high typing class. I love the picture of your dad. He looks a little like Jeff Goldblum.



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