You remember that I joined Toastmasters, right? It's been several weeks since I joined. It's not so much just a club, but also a bit like a class.
They send you a massive packet of stuff to study and you have speech assignments. I have learned so much (Like the fact that I say "Um" a lot) and the people in my club are fabulous. Every age- Gen X'ers to old timers, and they're all good speakers.They're all working to get even better.
I have a mentor in the group. Her name is Ruth. She's easy to talk to and gives me great tips and advice. I really like her.
It's a fun club, and I look forward to Thursdays, even though I am terrified that they might call on me to give a " Table topics " quick thinking two minute speech.
It's actually a lot of work, learning to stop saying "Um" between words, and to be concise and not get off topic, and speak in front of people you don't know from Adam.
Tomorrow I am giving my first "real" speech at Toastmasters. It's called an "Ice breaker" speech and it it's 4 to 6 minutes long, telling about yourself. Sounds easy. It's not.
Anyway, it occurred to me that you might like to know a bit more about me, yourself. I mean, my background, in a 4 to 6 minute nutshell, which, by the way, is no easy task. (I had no idea I was so long winded till I wrote the speech and then had to scale it back)
So, get yourself a cuppa and have a seat. Here is my "Icebreaker". Oh, and you must have a title for your speeches,so here is mine:
The first in the series of "My not so ordinary life" -
I used to be June Cleaver, but I'm not sure who I am now
Mr. Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and guests,
My drivers license says my name is Tracey Buxton. I used to be June Cleaver, but I’m really not sure who I am now. I'd like to start off with a few trivial facts about myself-
I was born in
I always did well in school, and was seriously the most sought after babysitter in east
I never had a date or a kiss till I was 17 and a half.
High school graduation day came, and as was typical of the times, all of my girlfriends hoped and planned for jobs like teachers and legal secretaries or nurses. I not-so-secretly longed to get married, to “do crafts” and raise a massive brood of babies.
Fast forward 2 years, during which time I dabbled in a few college classes, went to
Fast forward another 6 years and 3 babies later. We couldn’t afford to buy a home in
My husband at the time was offered a transfer to Reno Nev-ah-da. "Absolutely not!" I said. I hadn’t been to
Wow. Real families lived here. Not a cathouse in sight. Heck, this place was as close to Mayberry as you could get! We returned home, he took the transfer, we bundled up our little family and moved away from the by now unaffordable bay area to Reno. We quickly learned to pronounce Nev-aaa-da and began life in paradise..
*sigh* I was in my glory, living out my fantasy life as the June Cleaver of the biggest little city. I had it all, and I knew it. I was married to the man of my dreams. I had a house with 2 car garage a yard, 3 kids and a dog. I was the head room mother, decorating the house and having couple’s dinner parties. Aah, life was good.
The years catapulted into decades and before I could blink twice, we were shopping for colleges for our third and last babe to leave the nest.
I remember vividly, one morning in November of 2002, when that third baby was a senior in high school, it suddenly hit me. I was being forced into a mandatory retirement. Not retirement from motherhood entirely, because I think that’s actually illegal, but certainly from packing lunches and monitoring curfew times.
I was headed for the proverbial empty nest stage of my life. It became clear to me that soon, it would be my dear hubby and I headed into the golden twilight years to sit on the porch in dueling rockers, and travel around all the national parks in a slow moving RV during summertime.
I had a light bulb moment that day.. Clearly, it was time for me to get a j-o-b. A job OUTSIDE of my home.
By the end of January 2003, I ended up after a long and painfully drawn out process with a real grown up girl job at EDAWN, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (but that’s a whole other speech for another time)
At the same time, I began a little home based craft business and later, a Blog online named "A cottage Industry", where I was able to dabble in a longtime passion of mine, creative writing, and share my crafty projects, along with entertaining, how to's and decorating tips.
You know, they say things happen for a reason and it's true.
Fast forward once again- A year ago on the last day of September, I came home to find myself suddenly single. Literally. Suddenly.
Single, after nearly 30 years of what I had gravely mistaken for wedded bliss.
After slowly coming to the realization that I wouldn’t be spending my golden years with that guy I thought was the man of my dreams, I found myself, along with my dogs, starting over at the mid century mark. Not at all how I had pictured myself spending my 50th birthday. After this shock wore off a bit, I realized just how grateful I was for this job. I was also grateful for my family and friends, both here and throughout my Blog readership. They were my lifesavers, they encouraged me to move forward.
It took a long while, but gradually I found my footing. Life returned. Slowly at first. Yes, it is different. Not better, not worse, just different.
In the year that has past since then, I have had celebrated my five year anniversary at EDAWN (I celebrated with a pair of Jessica Simpson stiletto heels and lunch out with my coworkers)
I've planned 3 weddings for my 3 children within the past 12 months. I continue to paint vintage furniture, recreate a home within my little cottage where I now live with my dogs and have coordinated a successful vintage craft fair.
These days, I’m not sure if I am June Clever, Martha Stewart, Erma Bombeck, or possibly Bob Villa. What I am sure of is life goes on whether we’re having fun or not, and we’re all about as happy as we make up our minds to be.
Thank you Mr. Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and guests.
Ok, that's the speech. I hope you feel like you know me just a little bit better!