Let me introduce myself to you--my name is Joan Douma and I am Secretary of the Board for Seedlings of Change, since its inception in 2009. Eveline Marie Smith has suggested to me that I write an article now and then for the newsletter based on the fact that we are a global organization, providing mini-grants to both local and international venues that align with our mission and intended manner of helping people to improve their lives and their community, in some cases, country (i.e., improving pollution conditions or contributing to new manners in which to provide sustainable daily living improvements to families in a variety of locations). As I have served overseas for over 16 years, before I retired, in 2000, as an Office Management Specialist in the Foreign Service branch of the U.S. Department of State, Eveline felt I have had experiences I could share that might be of interest to our readers, which I will attempt to provide in different newsletters in the future but for now I felt that I should simply introduce myself and give you a little history on my life up until now.
I was born in San Francisco, CA, on February 24 of 1935, moving to Berkeley, CA when one year old where I lived with my parents and my sister, Sharon (3 1/2 years my junior), attending Washington Elementary School through the 6th grade. My childhood in Berkeley was wonderful and I have such fond memories of, life in Berkeley then. When the entire world was safer for children growing up, walking several blocks to school and home, and to an ice skating rink where I enjoyed this activity so much with a friend, to movies up on Shattuck Avenue, or to Walt's Drugstore on the corner of California and University Avenue where I was treated to a 5 cent chocolate coke by my grandmother, and for a special treat? a banana split for 25 cents! Which was huge and delicious, and Walt’s had comic books, paper dolls, puzzles, and many other items which delighted a child as they are growing up.
When I was age 11 my family moved to Napa, CA, and we had a chicken ranch, "laying" hens and "eggs" was our business. So, I went from being a city girl to a country girl and I was in my element! My dad getting me a horse and I, thinking I was the "Roy Rodgers" of the day! I spent as much time as possible roaming the countryside and having adventures which I will never forget. I entered "junior high" in Napa at that time, 7th through 10th grade, and finished high school at Napa High School.
When I was 19 years of age I married my former husband and we had three children, my daughter, adopted, who we brought home from the hospital at 2 1/2 days old (now 58) my son, Danny, who I bore, and turned 58 on July 12, 2018 and my third child son, David, who is 56 years old. I have five grandchildren and one great-grandson. My work for the vast part of my working career was as a legal secretary here in Napa, it was a small two girl office, and I did this work until I divorced and moved to the San Jose, CA area, in 1979 where I worked as a Senior Legal Stenographer for the State of California. Then when I was almost age 50 I joined the Foreign Service and went off into the world in this new career. I will be sharing with you my experiences and travels in another article. For now, you know who I am, and I look forward to sharing more of my life in articles to come.