Glad to catch up with everyone. Briefly, after graduating from SHS, I attended and graduated from Rider College in ’67.  Unable to get a job in my field (sociology), I began teaching at Dawnwood Jr. HS in Centereach as a Home Ec. teacher. Paul Leipold (North Babylon HS ’62) and I married in 1968 and by 1970 I was a stay at home mom with our daughter Carla and son Erich. We lived at 59 West Ave. in W. Sayville for a couple of years then moved to Sarasota Fl.

Judith Levy Leipold and Gris

In 1975 I returned to work as a social worker for Sarasota County Schools working with the pre-school handicapped Headstart program.  I received an MA in Rehab Counseling from USF in ’77 and four years later quit to become a park ranger at one of Florida’s premier parks, Myakka River State Park. It was during this time that our family went organic…we had a small farm where we grew 95% of our food with the exception of wheat, spices, etc. We had a wonderful Jersey milk cow that we milked for 10 years. While working at Myakka I fell in love…with the possibility of becoming a librarian.  Back to school I went. This time, I-75 was completed making my commute to Tampa an easier trek. In ’87 I emerged with another MA degree, this time in Library Science. That one counted!

I loved being a media specialist (a fancy word for a librarian).  I taught at all levels: elementary, middle, and high school.  I can’t say that I had a favorite level. I spent about 21 years teaching in a rural school district, DeSoto County, and built a home there (Arcadia) where I lived for about 20 years. I dabbled a bit with storytelling (“Imagine That! Storytelling) and writing children’s stories.  Everything I was doing only helped me as a media specialist and in my school library.

After a total of about 32 years of teaching, I retired early to care for my aging mom. After a year or so, my mom moved into an assisted living facility. I had a lot of time on my hands and decided to try writing an adult biography of a local cowboy, Hub Hubbell.  We worked together (almost on a daily basis) for about two years. Hub was 92 at the time, and full of ‘piss and vinegar’.  He never tired of telling me tales of the ‘old days’ or bragging about the other guy, never about himself.  He passed away in March, 2012. His biography is nearly complete… with only 3-4 chapters left to be written.

Once again, the Myakka called my name. In May I returned to work there, this time on a part-time basis. Anyone who doubts that Florida has seasons only needs to visit the park at different times of the year. The prairies and flatwoods are my favorite places, and when the river spills over into the hammocks, the beauty is spectacular.

Judith Levy Leipold in the garden

Judith Levy Leipold in the garden

When I am not working, I enjoy cooking, gardening and spending time with my grandchildren. Our dog, Gris (pronounced “gree”), a gray Catahoula leopard dog. keeps me busy with walks and wet kisses. Life is good!