My story begins when I was born on August 5, 1951, in the base hospital at Ft. Gordon, Georgia. My Mom, Daisy, had joined the Army and was working there as a telephone operator when she met my Dad, Daniel Watson, two years earlier. They had married early in 1950. Daddy was from the Ozark Mountain area of Arkansas, had been raised in a single-parent family of four, and had enlisted in 1944. Mom had been orphaned as a young child, but was later adopted by our loving grandparents in Rhode Island. Yes, Daddy was a rebel and Mom was a yank…J
I am the oldest of six Watson children: Debbie (1954), Patty (1956), John (1958), Lori (1961), and David (1969) followed. We were all born on different bases around the world including Germany, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C.
Daddy always worked in Personnel, was career military and retired after 30 years of service as a Master Sergeant. Mom worked part-time nights on base, usually at the nursery. Like most military families, we moved around a lot. At age 8, Dreux was my 5th school. I loved the time we spent at Dreux. I attended 18 different schools before graduating from Burrillville High School (RI) in 1969. My ultimate goal was to go to college to become a teacher, but I didn't have the money. So, to that end, I worked two jobs for the next three years and saved. My day job was in a local college library, and my night/weekend job was as a waitress at a nearby creamery just off the interstate. The latter was the best job I have ever had, despite the fact that it paid the least. The tips were good, I met loads of interesting people - especially the truckers, and learned so much from that single experience.
I was thrilled to be awarded a full academic scholarship to Barrington College, Barrington, RI, where I began studying in 1972. Three years later I graduated summa cum laude, 3rd in my class, with a double major in American History and Biblical Studies. Since I was the first Watson ever to graduate from college, I am still very proud of this achievement. During this period I had met my husband, Don, at church. One Sunday I attended a different church with my Gram. Don was the usher that morning and we were the usherees…the rest is history. We were married in 1973. Don was a teacher studying for his master's degree at that time.
My first professional position was at Brown University where I worked for 3 years. Their tuition reimbursement program afforded the opportunity to work on my master's degree nights and summers. I earned an M.L.S. from Simmons College, Boston, in 1979. Don received his Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Connecticut in 1983. I went on for a second master's and ABD in Education at Simmons College, 1990.
In the meantime we had bought 2 acres of woodland in Douglas, MA, cleared it ourselves, and built our own New England saltbox house.
Three years later we added an attached barn and built stone walls surrounding our home. Don joined the USAF Reserves and served 21 years, retiring as CMSgt. We taught in different school districts for the duration of our teaching careers. Don advanced to a high school guidance counselor in a large school, while I taught at the middle school level in a smaller school. The highlight of my teaching career was a 2-year assignment at an American School in London in 1998. My classes were full of students from around the world and from all walks of life, particularly from embassy families and those involved in every aspect of the London theater scene. We both retired from education on June 21, 2006.
It had always been our dream to retire to Ireland, after having visited Don's relatives there many times on vacation.
These days we are active in our church and love to travel. We go back to the states at least once a year and have met up there with Chuck Sibert and his wife, Lisa, twice now.
We make an annual trip over to England to Lakenheath AFB where we stock up at the commissary there with good old American foods that are not available to buy here. Items such as Skippy Peanut Butter, saltines, molasses, and chocolate chips are rationed in this house. It really is the little things that make the difference! I enjoy any aspect of the 1940s era - big band music, the dances, the styles, etc. Growing up with the Lawrence Welk Show and Sing Along with Mitch program have had their effects on all of us kids in that regard.
My favorite hobby, however, is to spend time with my fellow Dreuxites on this wonderful website. Dreux was such a special place for so many of us!