I was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and lived most of my first ten years in a house built in 1830 (described in the Civil War story in  Mary Christmas).  On just three acres of land, our family raised turkeys, chickens, cows, bees, ducks, and a goat named Jerry Brown, for which my dad made a saddle so I could ride.

I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in Russian language and literature. Why Russian? My dad's family were from Russia, and it was my choice for fulfillment of the foreign language requirement at Pitt. By the end of the first week of classes, I loved it and wanted to devote my life to my government :-)

I worked for the Defense Department after graduation and later got a Master's in Library Science from Rutgers University. Marriage took me to New Orleans, where I worked for New Orleans Public Library, and later to San Diego. I was on the library faculty of Southwestern College 1989-2013.

I've been married to Bill Gustafson, a retired transportation planner, since 1973. Our son lives in San Jose with his wife and their two sons. 

My hobbies are reading, playing trivia games, traveling, writing fiction, and playing the fiddle and percussion instruments.