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It's difficult to put into a few words the experiences of the last 50 years since graduating from Fr. Lopez. I will endeavor to try my best.
After graduating from Daytona Beach Junior College, I attended University of Florida where I met my first husband. (Yes, I've been married more than once. That is something I would never have been believed possible on graduating day in 1962.) We moved to Honduras where we lived for 2 years. I taught ESL (English as a second language) there. Of course, I spoke no Spanish to begin with. I had studied French! While I was living there, two events stand out. One was having a machine gun pointed in my face by the military and the other was experiencing a war. Needless to say, both events influenced my feelings against war and the military.
We returned to UF where my husband finished his doctorate and I finished my degree in Library Science. When our studies were completed, we had a baby son by then, we moved to Maracaibo, Venezuela. My husband taught at the university there. After living there for 3 or so years, I returned to the workforce as a librarian (Media Specialist) at the American School. We had children from 28 different countries at the school. It was a wonderful experience. Unfortunately my marriage failed after 21 years and so I returned home to Daytona Beach.
I worked at the News Journal for 1 year and realized I much preferred working with children. I then taught at St. Paul's School and after 2 years resumed my career as media specialist. While there, I worked on my Master's degree.
One night in May of 1992, my girlfriend and I went for dance lessons at Our Lady of Lourdes. It was great fun and we met many lovely people there. I actually met my second husband at class, and 10 weeks later we married. He retired from the Air Force after 22 years. It's ironic that we are together because I protested the Viet Nam War while he was there (unknowingly to me). I always tell him he'd still be there except I helped to get him home. All my military experience was with Latin countries and it is quite different from the U.S. Military. For the past 20 years I have been the happiest and most satisfied person. We really are soul mates and I thank God everyday that He put Charlie in my life. By the way, we still ballroom dance twice a week. After marrying, I stopped working. Charlie was still at Embry-Riddle but retired 6 years after our marriage. He retired after 25 years as a professor and was honored with Professor Emeritus status.
My family now consists of 3 stepchildren and 1 son. They are all scattered about - Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles, CA, Atlanta, GA, and my son lives in Cologne, Germany where he teaches English. We are blessed because they all get along and are "there" for one another.
We have traveled somewhat in the USA and England, but since both of us have lived overseas for many years (my husband while in the military and me in Latin America), we have since been satisfied to stay at home. I started a Gourmet Cooking Club that lasted 12 years. We like to entertain by having Murder Mystery dinners with our friends. I do decorative painting. Of course, we ballroom dance.
We both volunteer at Family Renew Community. It's an organization that provides transitional housing for working, homeless families with children. Please ask me about it and I will give you more information about this fabulous program. We are active in our parish (Our Lady of Lourdes) and all-in-all are very happy.
I'm looking forward to seeing those who attend our reunion and from hearing from those who can't make it. Blessings.
Margaret Novak Otis
In preperation for the 1989 Lopez "Early Years 1960-1965" reunion, the following survey was sent to all class members.
Name: Margaret A Novak Ventura
Address: 44 Springwood Square, Port Orange, FL
Date of Marriage: 19 Aug 1967 (Annulement 19 Aug 1988)
Names of Children/Dates of Birth: Kevin/21 Apr 1973
Occupation: Media Specialist
Mrs. Margaret Novak Otis
39 Woodlake Dr
Port Orange, FL 32129-5223