Monday, July 30, 2012

Author Spotlight: Patricia Yager Delagrange

Brandy Chambers was looking forward to the birth of her first child.  She and Weston move from San Francisco to the small town of Alameda to start a family, she’s writing her second book, and Weston has a fantastic job working on the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge project.  Having this baby would make her already-wonderful life perfect.

But when the baby dies after a difficult birth, Brandy’s perfect life blows up in her face.  Stricken with grief, she and Weston pull apart.  This new distance leads them both to disaster.  Not until a chance encounter with her high school friend, Edward Barnes, does Brandy pull herself together.  Brandy and Weston agree to recommit to each other, striving to forgive infidelity and recreate their previous existence.

Everything is once again going according to plan--until Brandy discovers she’s pregnant.  While she struggles to cope with this new obstacle, Edward Barnes returns to town and discovers she’s having a baby, while Weston is torn between his love for his wife and his anger at her betrayal.  Can Brandy manage to keep her marriage to Weston together?  Will Edward be a part of Brandy’s life if she and Weston separate?

My Favorite School Memory

When asked what my favorite school memory is, I wonder whether it’s possible to have just one favorite memory during so many, many years attending school.  The answer is definitely not.  Why?

What part of school would I write about?  Kindergarten, when I was five years old?  Grammar school from grade 1 through grade 12?  Or how about my four years of college for my Bachelor’s degree then two years at university for my Master’s?

So I will try to wheedle this down to one memory per school time period and hopefully it will give an overview of what I found memorable during my life as a student.

In kindergarten my mother forced my older sister Kathy to take me all the way to the door of the classroom and wait until I entered.  Need I say how very much she hated doing that?  I was such a mommy’s girl, I hated being away from my mother at all.  I’d cry and cry and my sister said she was so humiliated she wanted to die.  Thanks, Kathy, for doing that under duress!

Throughout my grammar school days I was absolutely and unequivocally intrigued with the nuns who taught me for twelve years.  I recall we all wondered if they were “normal” people like the rest of us.  Can you imagine?  They were covered in layers upon layers of thick black fabric, along with the white wimples that dug into their foreheads and the sides of their faces, keeping their hair hidden.  But did they have hair, we wondered?  Did they actually go the the bathroom like the rest of us?  Did they eat the same food as we did?  I kid you not, we saw them as direct messengers from God and we placed them so high on a pedestal, it’s no wonder they ultimately feel off somewhere during my high school days.

My junior year abroad at the University of Madrid was an indescribable experience for someone so young.  I was in the Courses for Foreigners Program and there were people from all over the world who attended these classes - the same classes that the Spanish students were in, taught by Spanish teachers who knew not a bit of English.  It was total immersion.  During that time I lived in the dorms and ate with the other Spanish students as well as those from different countries, and we only spoke Spanish, since that was the language that tied us together.  I made best friends with a Canadian girl whose parents came over at the end of the school year and took us in a car throughout Eastern Europe - something I would never have had the opportunity to experience if it weren’t for them.  We went to Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Austria and saw so much of the countryside and churches and buildings and people.  It was amazing.

I ended my school days at Oregon State University and hated the rain so much, I was horribly homesick for California.  But I made a best friend from Southern California with whom I am still friends, and got my Master’s degree which opened quite a few doors for me in the working world afterward.

Did I have a favorite school experience?  I’d have to say that traveling around Europe and learning about cultures made me more open-minded than I already was, having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I learned that the United States isn’t “the world” and that most Americans are horribly ignorant of other cultures and religions.  I’m so glad I had my eyes ripped open which made me more understanding of our world’s brothers and sisters.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I attended St. Mary’s College, studied my junior year at the University of Madrid, received my B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get my Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University.  I live with my husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and her son Jack.
My horse lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.


Twitter: @Patti Yager

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