Anne Reiche Kells

After graduating from SHS, I headed for Boston and went to Katharine Gibbs School (secretarial school)  I put in my one year there and went to Hartford where my father and stepmother lived.  Soon I moved into an apartment with a schoolmate.  We were 19 and didn’t have a clue about living on our own, but we managed.  One year there and it was “Bright Lights, Big City” for me and on to New York. 

Had a great five years there, had some interesting jobs, and on the personal front, got engaged and un-engaged (loved the ring, not so much the guy).  Then on to Houston, Denver and St. Thomas, USVI (and somewhere in that time a second engagement, which also didn’t pan out).  In Houston I worked for a cardiovascular surgeon who headed up the artificial heart project, pretty exciting stuff then. 
In St. Thomas I worked front desk at a hotel, a total change and lots of fun, but one year of island living was plenty.  On to Miami.
In 1976 I married a widower with two teen-aged sons so I became wife and stepmom on the same day.  Talk about a challenge!  My husband worked for Pan American World Airways, and in addition to traveling around the world, we were fortunate to live in Rome, Italy; Washington, D.C.; and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.  I wish I could state that I speak fluent Italian and Portuguese, but that is hardly the case.  My “language gene” went missing.  We got both sons through college, one through graduate school and one served three years in the Marine Corps.  We ended up back in Miami in 1985.  I worked as an office manager for a plastic surgeon for many years and ended my career as an office manager at a retirement community.  And in 1989 I received my bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Barry University  --  after 25 years of fiddling around at various schools.  Both of our sons are married and courtesy of our younger son and his wife, we became grandparents (I am “Granny Annie”) to three wonderful children.  My husband died in 2008, which turned my world around, to say the least, and seven months ago I sold our house and moved to Winter Garden, six miles from our older son and daughter-in-law.  Life here is much quieter than in Miami, for which I am grateful.  I am a volunteer patient advocate at a local hospital, which is very rewarding, and I spend entirely too much time getting “beaten up” by a trainer at a nearby gym; but that’s a necessity, since I have a pesky autoimmune syndrome which affects my balance, but I won’t elaborate on that.  Life has been very interesting with its twists and turns and ups and downs, and I wouldn’t change any of it.

My education was slightly schizophrenic. Private schools and public schools. Started out at Out of Door School on Siesta Key, on to Southside and then to Central. Central will forever stick in my mind because the one year I spent there was a nightmare. I had the teacher from hell. I could not master long division and this evil, evil lousy excuse of a teacher (I STILL get mad when I think about that experience, which, fortunately, is not very often) made me stand at the blackboard for a very long time until I could solve a problem. Didn’t solve it. She was not even subtle about her “pets” and I hated her with a passion -- well, as much passion as an eight year-old can muster.

On to Alexandria, Virginia, and D. C. and then Stonington, Connecticut, and one year of boarding school in Providence, Rhode Island. I ended up at Sarasota Junior High in the ninth grade where I was referred to by one teacher as a “snowbird.” Thanks a lot whatever your name was. Bad enough I was a new kid but did you have to label me? And, of course, that was followed by my less than stellar academic “career” at SHS. I never flunked anything but came dangerously close with my last Latin class. Why on earth did I bother with that? I do remember the shorthand teacher, Miss Chatfield, who was a real character but who ended up being a mentor of sorts.

I always envied kids who lived in the same place while growing up and whose classmates were the same year in and out. I hated being the “new kid” so many times and I’m not much of an extrovert to begin with, so it was doubly hard for me. But I weathered the storms and in the end all that moving around and changing schools was probably a mixed blessing because as an adult I have been able to be a bit of a chameleon and adapt to new situations relatively gracefully.

So that’s it. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!