My Autobiography
October 16,1978

I am the middle child in a family of three. My older sister, Emily, is eighteen and a junior at Brown University. My younger brother, Ethan, is fourteen and a freshman at Southside. My family has always been very close. We've always taken trips together and talked together and joked with each other. I take special pride in my brother and sister; I think they are the greatest people in the world. My sister helps me with problems and talks to me. She is an athlete and is on the women's crew at Brown. My brother is big and strong and he plays every sport imaginable. When I came back from my trip this summer, he had grown to be five inches taller than me and his voice had dropped three octaves. I almost didn't know who he was.
My parents, who are high school teachers, and I have always gotten along well. They always help me with schoolwork if I need it. My mother and I go shopping together and we go out to eat once in a while. My father and I have gone to the opera together and he drives me an hour a week to my guitar lesson and we talk and laugh and sing on the way. In fact, the time I wanted to see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in Uniondale, at midnight, my parents came to see it with me.

I like being alone, although I have many friends, both boys and girls. I love to be by myself in my room. I can listen to tapes on my tape recorder and I have a large and assorted collection of records which I play on my stereo. I have shelves of books, some that I've read six times and others that I have to find some time to read. I can sit in my room by myself for hours and hours, just reading and playing the guitar.

This past summer, I went to Switzerland with the American Field Service/Americans Abroad program. I lived with the Ruelle family in a town in the French part of Switzerland called Fribourg. There were three girls — Anne, Veronique and Cecile — and they became my sisters. There was so much love between the members of that family that I was afraid that they would not accept me. However, they immediately took me into their family as one of their daughters. From the first day in their home, Mme. Ruelle told me to call her Maman and M. Ruelle, Papa, just like the rest of the children. After a few weeks, it seemed perfectly natural as though I had been doing it all my life. I still call them my parents when I talk about them.

Because the Ruelles spoke no English, I had to speak French in order to communicate. After three or four weeks, I could almost understand things people said and I could make myself understood. Whenever I said a wrong word or used the wrong form, Maman was always there to correct my French. During their vacation, we took a trip to Provence, France, where everyone speaks very quickly. I almost had to learn the language all over again. But by the end of the summer, and I hope I will forever, I spoke fluent French. I was able to understand everything that was said, even the conversations next to me on a bus, and I could say anything I wanted. My Swiss sisters and their parents plan to visit here within the next few years. I will show them my country the way they showed me theirs.

During the summer after my sophomore year, I went to California by myself, with my guitar. When I was eight, my family lived in Monterey for a year. When I went back that summer, I lived with various friends we had kept in touch with over the years. My mother had always thought California was the most wonderful place in the world. I must have been too young to understand or appreciate that then, but I agreed with her fully after the summer I spent there alone. Of course, California is the most wonderful place in the world, outside of Switzerland and Rockville Centre.

As you know, I am in both Choraleers and Madrigals and I have participated in everything these groups have done (including the trip to London) in the last three years. Frank Gerardi is a good friend and a very special teacher for me. Aside from choral and madrigal singing, I play the guitar and sing by myself. I started taking guitar lessons at Usdan, a creative arts day camp. I went there just to have fun for a summer and it really did change my whole life. After that summer, I took lessons from a teacher in Manhattan. Each week I would travel, usually by car, to East 68 Street to study guitar.

In the summer of 1976, I decided to go to the Guitar Workshop in Roslyn. I chose to go to the Workshop rather than go back to a camp which I had loved the summer before. I still take guitar lessons in Roslyn each week. I had started playing the guitar with folk and folk-rock music, but I have recently changed to classical guitar lessons. While this is much harder and much more work than folk guitar, I am enjoying it very much. This is partly because the teacher I have now is not only an excellent classical guitar teacher, but a nice man and a friend.

Whenever we have guests or my grandparents come to visit, I am always asked to get out my guitar and play and sing for everyone. Since I am not shy, I quickly run and get my guitar. For the last three years, I have performed for my mother's high school classes on days when I have no school. A day like that means singing for forty minutes, five times during the day and is exhausting. I also teach the guitar to two people. They are the daughter (age 12) and son (15) of a friend of my mother. That is how I get some spending money — $5 for a lesson.

I have a strong interest in government, politics, and law. I think this comes from listening to my father and grandfather discuss politics and also from reading newspapers. I developed a strong social conscience from the old folk songs and the protest songs my mother always sang and also from the secular Jewish summer camp I attended.

My interest in politics and diplomatic relations between countries sent me to the Model United Nations conferences for high school students in New York and in Boston. My sister had attended these conferences when she was in high school. The model U.N. was a great experience and a way to meet students from all over the country, all of them interested in government and politics.

For the past year, I have had a boyfriend, John Murray. He and I are very close friends and he is almost a part of my family. My mother likes him almost as much as I do. He knows the things that I like and where I want to go to eat and what upsets me, so that our relationship is very easygoing. John has helped me in many ways. He has taught me about real kindness and caring and loving someone. He is a very good friend whom I don't have to show-off for or put on make-up for, because I know he'll like me just as I am. I've helped him too. I helped him to care more about his schoolwork and about his own family. He's gotten better grades since we started going together. He and I sing together too. When the chorus went to Amsterdam, New York for a long weekend last year, John and I sang a song together while I played my guitar; the audience seemed very pleased with us.
Although I am not a very athletic person, I have always been interested in sports. My father and I watch sporting events on television together. I know all the rules of every professional game, plus I know the names and statistics about the player all the teams. I could easily win a trivia contest about ice hockey players with any of the boys I know; I guess they don't expect a girl to be as knowledgeable about sports as I am.

Because of my boyfriend, who is always riding his bicycle, and Switzerland, where my only transportation up and down the hills was a bicycle, I have become somewhat more athletic this year. I ride my bike the two miles to school every day and whenever I go out at night, I hop onto my bike.

I also like to write. I write stories and plays. In my room are many unfinished and unpublished works which only I will ever see. I also keep a journal. It started in Switzerland as a travel log, but now it is much more than that. However, as in Switzerland, my journal is still in French.

I like to be my own person. I don't take very well to people telling me what to do, as my mother well knows. Because I'm not shy, I say what I think, without worrying that people won't like me for it. I wear what I want to school. If the fashion is to wear expensive Frye boots, I will probably just wear my sneakers. While everyone has her hair cut short and blown dry or made into a permanent, I still wear mine long and loose and very wavy.

I have always gotten along well with people older than myself: my guitar teacher, my parents' friends, the kids my sister left behind at Southside when she graduated a year early. This year I miss the older kids, but the seniors are still older than I am because I was skipped when I was in the fourth grade at Hewitt School. At the time, my parents were wary of allowing me to jump to the fifth grade after the Christmas vacation although Dr. Long and my teacher recommended it. However, I am feeling very old and mature and I am looking forward excitedly to going to college.