Sharon (Meeker) Johns

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Sharon (Meeker) Johns

I must first let you know that if I could come, I would. I will be spending most of the month of August in a remote village in Alaska (Nikolai) where my daughter Lisa (age 41) and her family (husband, two sons, ages 5,3) live.

I spent most of the intervening 40 years teaching English in a local high school, a career that was both invigorating and challenging. My students were ones who struggled with staying in school, and mostly minorities. I loved their attitude toward life, the fact that school wasn't the most important thing to them, and that they responded to my teaching, for the most part.

In 1993 I went back into the Peace Corps, this time in a position similar to Dick Mastain's, then called Associate Director. The opening was originally for Ghana, but when I finally interviewed, that position had changed to Tanzania. When we got to choose another country back in 1967, David and I opted for the "missionary" life in Liberia, a difficult and needy country. But I always wanted to go to East Africa, where Jody and Warren had gone (I think they went to Uganda), and it was as if I'd gotten a chance to take the "road not taken" (in an ironic sense, since I always thought East Africa was much more developed and less in need of help!) It was, without a doubt the best period of my life. I don't know how you remember Africa, but from both West and East Africa, memories seemed to live in my heart. For about 7 years after returning from Tanzania, I would have something like holographic memories, in my heart, where I could see the details of a boardwalk in a little mall, or the road in front of me, or the Peace Corps office, and a thousand other places I went, fresh, clear, and heart-warming. No other memories, even from traveling ever showed up anywhere except in the fog of my mind.

I have two daughters (Lisa, 41; Genny, 34, also married, one son), and I spent 25 years raising them, joint custody with David after 1976. I still see David from time to time, he lives about a mile away. When Lisa and family come for the holidays we all get together for dinner.

I retired three years ago, and just in time to be a grandmother to three grandsons. My twin sister lived in Houston all these years (where I grew up); last September her house was ruined by Hurricane Ike, and she decided to come and live with me. It has made both our lives easier.

I didn't get a copy of the Nigeria 23 Training Directory. Can I get that online at that wikifon address? Please share this letter as my social contribution to the reunion. And please share with me any other stories that find themselves in writing. My email address is zenbeadist@hotmail.com.

Until later, Sharon Johns


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