A Little About Me...
Books have been a part of every day of my life. I have always read everything I could get my hands (or eyes) on- books, magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, signs along the highway. I'm sure my love of reading is all because of my parents. They encouraged reading by taking books away from me as punishment when I got in trouble. They spent endless Saturdays begging me to "Quit reading and go OUTSIDE and PLAY!" And they insisted that reading while walking home from school was just plain dangerous. Okay, there they may have had a point. But I am living proof that reverse psychology does work.
I loved absolutely everything about school. My teachers, my school supplies, the smell of the school, the first day, the last day, and every day in between. Except, that is, being last at everything. My elementary school was Alphabetical-Order-Obsessed, and since my name growing up was Boni Winter, I was almost always last. Last to choose special classes, last to get to read out-loud, last desk at the back of the room. My last name now is Ashburn, so I'm finally at the beginning of the alphabet! Unfortunately, grown-ups don't do much of anything in Alphabetical Order.
I grew up in a "normal" nuclear family- two parents, two kids (me and my little sister, Teri) and a dog. We moved a bit, so I grew up in four different states–
Connecticut, Ohio, Illinois and Colorado.
No matter where we lived, though, I always felt at home at the library. Any library. I spent a LOT of time at the library. By "a lot of time at the library," I mean my parents frequently forgot they even had two kids. But I managed to be present for most of the crazy "family activities" we did, which there were a LOT of, which is a good thing, because I had a LOT of fun growing up. We are not, however, Irish.
I was fortunate growing up to spend time with my grandparents. My mother's parents were the "fun" grandparents, always on the go and spoiling us rotten, but my father's parents (here) were more quiet and shared my love of reading and words. We read books and letters and played Scrabble and talked about Shakespeare. Both sets of grandparents always encouraged me to be "me." I'm not sure if I've succeeded, but I know they'd all be proud of me anyway.
I dreamed of being a librarian, or a teacher, but never a writer. Reading was easy, but writing was hard! In high school (Go LAMBKINS!), I joined the school newspaper, drawn in by new-found dreams of being a famous reporter. Exotic, right? Wait a minute- what? Reporters WRITE? After one issue, I took the advertising manager position that no one wanted.
I went to college (Go BUFFS!) because my parents expected me to and because everyone I knew went. After a few false starts (do you know how hard it is to learn Chinese?!), I settled on an English degree because it allowed me to do the most reading. I had to write, too, which I still didn't like much, but at least I was writing about what I loved- books!
I graduated and went to work for the family business.
Never used that English degree. But then, several years ago at the age of 37, after reading the millionth picture book to my kids, I realized that reading a perfect picture book brings me joy like nothing else. I set out to write one myself, and to my surprise, it was easier than I thought it would be!
Well, that's because it wasn't a very good picture book. But the next one was better, and so was the one after that and the one after that...
And I discovered along the way that I actually LOVE to write! Who knew?
Semi-Interesting Facts About Me:
My favorite food is pizza.
I think “funnest” should be a real word and I overuse the word "coagulate."
I’ve had the chicken pox twice.
I'm half Finnish (my dad's side) and half
(My mother would say "Mostly German, some Swiss, some other stuff.")
I have only won ONE contest in my whole life–
First Place, Dessert Category, Sixth Grade Baking Contest.
I can’t smell skunk.
I’m a pretty good “living room” Scrabble player.
My highest-scoring single play ever was 194 points. Yep. One word.
My Favorite Joke of All-Time:
If you’re an American outside the bathroom, what are you inside the bathroom?
<wait for it.......>
I can’t type– I hunt and peck with my two pointer fingers. But I’m really fast!
I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which is not in the "mitten." Our seasons, some people say, are a little different than the rest of the country- we have summer, winter, winter and winter. We usually get 200-300" of snow every year. That's 16-25 FEET, by the way...
All photos this page by William Winter (my dad!)
except the last one, which is by Jack Ashburn (my son, age 10)
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