My First Day of School at Age 55…

» Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 in Personal Stories | 13 comments

My first words on the first page of my very first blog website.

morning coffeeI am sitting in my beautiful craft room- slash-creative office with my morning coffee, trying to find a unique and totally “me” way to begin this new chapter of my life. According to my friends and family, it’s been a long time coming and I am excited to open this book and embark on this rather scary journey of blogging.  But I’m also a bit nervous.  It reminds me of the first day of a new school year.  I agonize over so many questions. Will I do the right things?  Will I say the right words? Will they like me?  Will they be my friend?  Fortunately, the one thing I don’t have to worry about is what to wear, which I remember was very high on the list of stress conductors as the first day of school approached.  No, I can pretty much sit here in my sweat pants and a comfy t-shirt and slippers and realize that you are most likely dressed in a similar manner while you read this…and we’re OK.  No stuffy shirt and tie formality in this blog will be allowed. So here’s how the dialog will go on our first school day. It’s a time honored tradition that must be taught in all universities for “Teaching 101.” Our teacher will begin by asking us to share our name and a bit about our self.

I have the answer to that. I raise my hand, swinging it wildly hoping, hoping, hoping that she’ll pick on me.

My name is Connie Nice (Maiden name Durham which you will hear more about in the Family Treasures blog).  I was born in 1950-something, in the beautiful Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon.  I moved to the Willamette Valley in Oregon right after my high school graduation. There I met the love of my life David. We have moved a bit over the years from Sweet Home, Oregon to the Tillamook coast, and now to one of the most beautiful places on earth…the Columbia River Gorge.  I am the mother of one son (Aaron) and one daughter (Rachel); who I am immensely proud of and who have over the years provided me many interesting family and life experiences to share. I am also honored to be “Grandma” to a very special little boy in my life (little Aaron). I love music, travel, the outdoors, teaching and encouraging others, cultural and community heritage, and writing; all of which will lay the basis for what I share in Connie’s Corner.  And I’m glad to be here.

That went pretty good. Take a deep breath.

“What did you do over the summer?” is the next typical question asked on the first day of school.

Oh my, I have so much to share about this past summer starting with a family getaway to the Oregon Coast to lots of Saturday adventures with the little guy.  But I also want to share about last summer and the summers, winters, falls and springs that go way back to the beginning of my family tree.  Telling stories of our families and passing them on to the next generation is so important in today’s “instant 144 character” world.   So we’ll let the answer to this question evolve as this blog continues.

And then the last question. The one that is always asked and I still can’t really answer. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Like every little girl, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Who doesn’t want to help sick kitties and puppies? Then later in middle school, I was heavily involved in music and my life goal was to become the first woman orchestra conductor.  At some point, I will write about how I worked towards that dream and what happened in my life that changed my trajectory.  Now more as an adult, I want to be a wonderful wife and great mother (and Grandmother). I have a job that I love as the Museum Director at our small community museum in Hood River, Oregon (The History Museum of Hood River County), but when you look at this list it shows services or actions that I want (or wanted) to do for others.  I think we need to dig deeper.  What do you want to be?  I want to be kind to others and empathetic to their needs.  And I want to have the resources and ability to step up and help when I see a need.   I want to be loving.  Loving in a way that crosses over cultural lines and does away with prejudices. Love that results in actions even when I may not agree with or totally understand the other person.  I want to be hopeful.  In today’s world there just too many “gloom and doom” messages out there to steal our hope and our joy. I won’t be spreading a “downer” message in Connie’s Corner. I want to be a “light”.  Someone who can bring all these…kindness, love and hope to others around me.

And in the words of Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, “I really do want World Peace!” I want to be remembered. Don’t you?

There!  I made it.  The first day of something big and new for me.

Who would have thought at my age that something so exciting and new would present itself as an opportunity?  In closing, I would invite you to share this blog with your friends, and be sure to visit often.  We’re going to talk about lots of wonderful thought provoking things and maybe we’ll learn a little bit as we go along. In my corner there is room for you to pull up a chair and join me….and be whatever we want to be.


  1. Miss all you guys from Pinecrest so much so this will be a great way to keep up with your family at least:) love you and loved your first day….

    • Sonia, you are so sweet and thank you. We miss you guys as well but I do enjoy reading about your family and your mission there in Harrington. I hope you will come back often. Maybe I can come up sometime and do women’s retreat. Give my love to all at your house.

  2. Connie’s Corner… A comfy place I enjoyed sitting in my jammies, whilst sipping my Decaf Cinnamon Mocha, and nursing the little one.

    It’s never easy to put yourself out there, at any age, and you did it!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. You’ve got a friend and fan in me. Can’t wait to see more!

    • Cresta, You totally embraced my whole feeling and purpose by kicking back and relaxing while you enjoyed the stories. Your encouragement is welcome and it helps me to keep working to create stories people will enjoy reading. Give a hug to everyone in your house for me.

  3. I am so proud of you! This is an exciting step. Can’t wait to read more and join in on discussions!

    • Thank you so much. I truly appreciate your words of encouragement. There is much more coming….

  4. The way I see it,Judyafter reading your first “chapter”, you’re already on a roll & I will look forward to all the future chapters to come.

    • Judy, thanks so much for your kind words. I truly appreciate your thoughts and your support.

  5. I enjoyed your first blog, Connie. Good luck in this adventure.

  6. Wonderful words. I like the idea of changing my mind set of “what I want to be when I grow up” to being kind and loving as opposed to a job.

    • Sally, my friend, your words warm my heart. I hope you will visit Connie’s Corner often and ….we really do need to do lunch soon!

  7. Wow! I am so proud of you! This must have taken a lot of reflection and soul searching – both good activities that we rarely make time for. Looking forward to reading your Treasures, and how you do them. I’ve been thinking that I need to write down some family history or all of the “greats” won’t know about it. I’m surprised at the things the “grands” (ie: my kids) don’t know. I’d better get on this while my mom is still around. Once again, you inspire me!

    • My friend Debbie. Thanks so much for the comment. Yes, I have been spending a lot of time thinking and researching and writing…but I am finding it very good therapy. It has made me really slow down a bit and reflect on my life and what purpose and value it has to myself and others. I will be posting more “how to” articles, especially in relation to capturing our family stories and preserving them for the next generation.

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