Being born a middle child in Buffalo, New York in the 1950’s was for the most part pretty good, but it did have a downside. Growing up between an older sister, Sue, and a younger brother, Russ, I felt I always had to prove myself and make my presence known. It seems I was always trying to raise my hand and say look at me, remember me, I’m here too. Typical middle child.
Our family was like a tribe of nomads. Always moving as my Dad searched for the perfect job and the good life. Buffalo, Miami, Arizona, Buffalo, Hollywood (Florida), Buffalo. Houses, duplexes, rentals, and grandparent’s home. See a pattern? In the 1960’s we finally settled in the Town of Tonawanda. I remember a life that was uncomplicated, fun and easy. Filled with summers of singing songs by Petula Clark, Rolling Stones, and Beatles, afternoons at town swimming pools, bike rides, and camping trips in our family trailer. My working life started at about this time. My grandfather owned a dry cleaning business and we had huge rolls of plastic bags that my siblings and I would divide into sellable units and go selling door to door to make money. I also began babysitting and became hooked on having my own money. At the age of fifteen, my first “real” job was at a short order restaurant where I took the orders, cooked the food, served it, cleaned up and then was forced to hide my tips in my shoes because of course, I was already getting paid enough ($1.50/hour).
And then the 1970’s came along with my high school years at Sweet Home High School. I graduated in 1972 with 432 other kids in my class and I think I knew them all. I was a “good” kid, always involved in student council or some other leadership role, drank occasionally, but would never smoke cigarettes or pot (only the “hoods” did that). I also graduated without having any idea of what I wanted to do.
That changed a bit when I went away to college at Edinboro in Pennsylvania. Getting elected as President of the freshman class, President of my dorm, and pledging to become a Delta Zeta all made my freshman year pretty great. My sophomore year I became a Resident Counselor (helping to pay the high out-of-state tuition) but also made the choice to transfer back home to the University at Buffalo. I had decided to major in business and Edinboro didn’t offer a business major. My parents got divorced at the same time I started as a junior at UB majoring in business but, working as a bartender and cheerleading for the UB Bulls Hockey Team made the transition home much better. After graduating from UB in May 1976, I moved immediately to NYC where I became an assistant buyer for A&S department store in Brooklyn.
It only took a year to decide that retailing was not for me, so I moved back to Buffalo to earn my MBA at UB in 1979. I interviewed for my first pharmaceutical job with Abbott Labs and began my professional career about the same time I said, “I do” to Bob Gower, my wonderful and devoted husband for 37 years. Bob has always been a rock and made my life much more stable than it ever would have been without him. Three wonderful, life-changing children, Megan (1982), Brad (1985) and Emily (1988) made life fulfilling, complete and chaotic at the same time. Doing my best to balance motherhood and a career, I worked full time, part time and took one year off totally (the walls came in on me). My career soared in the pharmaceutical industry as a Sale Associate, Professional Education and Research Specialist, and Senior Account Manager. I travelled extensively, made great money but was never truly satisfied. Always looking to make a change and believing more and more that our health and wellness is primarily a result of our lifestyle, I pursued a passion and took an on-line course to become a health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
In 2014, I took a leap, left the lucrative pharmaceutical industry and became owner and publisher for Buffalo Natural Awakenings, a local health and wellness magazine. Continuing to follow my passion, I devoted much time and energy to spreading the word. After a successful and rewarding year and a half in publishing, I moved on again and enrolled in Cornell to receive my plant based nutrition certificate on-line. I have not eaten meat for many years now, and eat mostly a plant-based diet with just the right amount of wine included. I started Eat Well Buffalo in the hopes of making a difference in the lives of people who live in WNY. Helping others eat healthier and be healthier. We are what we eat!
I am moving forward in all areas of my life but my largest accomplishments have been my (mostly) wonderful marriage, my three loving and crazy kids, and my Mom, Sister, Brother, and grandchildren. They make my life good.
There is so much more to come. I am on chapter six of my ten-chapter novel. One chapter for each decade. My favorite things in life are music, cooking, exercising, biking, walking, dogs, travel, holidays, my grandmother, wine, great coffee, and time spent at our Lake House (Conesus Lake). Lots of other things too- I guess I really love my life and look forward to all the wonderful living I have left to do!