As a person who spent seven summers traveling in Europe, one of my great interests was exploring the sites mentioned in literature. I loved exploring the famous and not so famous castles of Europe, along with all the beautiful cathedrals. It was fascinating to visit all the places I had read about in novels throughout the years. My interest was piqued when I was in the second grade and read Heidi. I told my mother one day I would travel to Switzerland to see where Heidi and her grandfather lived, and I did. When teaching theatre in high school, I directed the musical Sound of Music. One summer, while walking down a mountain in Kuul, Austria, three ladies in front of us sang, in three-part harmony, “Edelweiss.” Those types of experiences were what made my memories of Europe special. Because my travels have taken me to many different places, both in Europe and the United States, these experiences often surface in my lectures.
Another major interest of mine is researching the 101 Ranch, which was close to Ponca City, Oklahoma. My great uncle worked for the Miller Brothers, and I have become an avid researcher exploring both the myths and truths about the greatest ranch in America at the turn of the century. I have presented several papers both locally and nationally on the various aspects of the 101 Ranch.
I have always been an avid County music fan because my grandfather was good friends with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, who visited him whenever they were in the vicinity. My favorite county artists have always been the Judds and Reba. When Reba and Kelly Clarkson did the Two Worlds Two Voices Tour in 2008, I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly at the Kansas City concert, and meeting Reba and Kelly at the Little Rock concert. I was impressed because Kelly was just as sweet and genuine as she appeared on American Idol. In August another one of my bucket list items came true when I got to finally see the Judds in concert. I was not disappointed. They are still very good.
Throughout my life, I have had a wide variety of experiences, and my interests are ever expanding and changing. These interests and experiences are what, I think, make my classroom an interesting place to learn.