Joyce Lippa Rothman

Deceased: 7/25/12

I am so happy that Jeff has taken it upon himself to bring us all together again. Who would have thought that 35 years later, we could start up where we left off.  Our class of 65 is unique in that so many of us started kindergarten together. As for me, I had friendships with some of you that started in 1951 and I’ll always remember them.

So, here goes my little history for all my old friends who might want to know what became of me! I left Sharon soon after graduation to become a RN. I went to a 3 year program at Boston City Hospital where I sustained a severe case of culture shock! Sharon to Roxbury - so close but so far apart. Most of my nursing school classmates were from ‘Southie’ and had never seen, let alone known a ‘Jew’ before. I had patients that were pimps and drug dealers. I use to cut out newspaper articles about some of my more famous or infamous patients - the stab wounds and gunshot wounds. I was so naive, eyes wide opened and mouth gaping was how I looked most of the time. Constant Adrenaline took its toll and I became hooked on excitement. Blood and guts - bring em on! I loved it. I worked ICU and ER for years until I burned out, big time.  Memories of life in Sharon started looking pretty good to me, but I never did move back.

I got married in 1968 to my high school boyfriend Les (from Mattapan). We lived in Tempe, AZ - he went to ASU and Karen, our daughter, was born there. The years there were filled with sunshine and laughter. Being a young mother with a child that I adored, in an environment where the weather and outdoor recreation ruled, made up for the fact that the husband wasn’t so great! Well, can’t have everything! Moved back, got divorced, ya-dee, ya-dee, ya-dee. 1975 - “I am woman - here me roar”, “Our bodies - Our Selves” - I had my ammunition - I was off...... I started adolescence at age 28. (I missed out at the biologically right time, because of my father dying and being forced to bypass it.) Well, I made up for it. I met the love of my life - a long haired, ex marine, Vietnam Vet. So unlike anyone I had ever met. I learned so much about life from a free spirited, grab life perspective and had a ball. Unfortunately, 11 years later, the ghosts of Vietnam caught up to him and my life changed again.

Karen was 16, we moved to Newton, and although I was still working as a nurse, I wanted to experience a different career. I had actually started a stained glass business a few years earlier - even sold some to gift stores. Spent all my free time for 4 years doing stained glass until I got stained glassed out. What to do next. I remember saying to my brother, who was then a salesman for Kayem foods (hot dogs), “what am I going to do with my life?” and he replied, “why don’t you get a hot dog cart - so and so and so and so are making money and doing great”. Well, I don’t know if it was from my years of pot smoking or what (had given it up by then), but I went on a mission. Within 2 weeks, I found, bought and was driving a mustard yellow, decrepit ice cream truck up route 128. It had a stove in it, so I figured I was ahead of the game - I could do hot dogs and ice cream. When I pulled into my driveway, realty hit me and I couldn’t believe what I had done. Well, if the occasion ever arises, I’ll tell you some of those stories. But for now, I’ll just leave it that by the end of my first season (luckily my only season), I was driving that truck with tears pouring out of my eyes. To this day, whenever I see anyone driving an ice-cream truck, I silently say to myself - you poor sucker!. That experience actually made nursing look better and I was burned out from that too.

1987 - 40 years old and for the first time in my life, I was alone. Karen was off to college and I was without a man. It was high time, that I got to know me. Always the caregiver without time for me. Who was I and what would I be when I grow up? I asked then and I’m still learning who I am and oh yes, I don’t think I’ve quite grown up yet!

I started another business in 1993 and I manufacture a line of gourmet cookies called My Friends’ Cookies. I had the belief that if I could be a nurse, I could be anything. Since I love baking, it kind of evolved and has been a long, slow and very hard road for the last 7 years. I had a dream and much to my amazement, incredible perseverance, and now the business is on the verge of doing really well. The cookies are being served on Northwest Airlines - 1st class and I have a new website where you can see and read more if you want - (Jeff, I think I might need your services). I’m still working as a nurse evenings, doing telephone triage, and working on the business during the day. Hopefully that won’t be for much longer.

Most of my adult life has been as a single working mom. Karen and I are very close and I’m very proud of her. We both worked on our separate dreams, kind of side by side and she got her MSW at Simmons and is a LICSW. She’s kind, funny, generous, beautiful, and is really the light in my life. So picky about men though. After many many frogs, I think she might have found her prince. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. As for me, I know my prince is out there, I just haven’t started looking yet. It’s coming though........