My name is Keri Leaman. I was born at 5.30 on the morning of January 25, 1973, after about five hours of labor. My mom said she tried to hold me in until HER birthday on the 30th but she said I didn't want to wait anymore. Whatever possessed my mom and dad to name me Keri I have no idea (the name spelling wasn't popular back in the '70s--I honestly hated my name when I was little). My middle name is Sue after my mom's best friend at the time (Sue Spangler) and my mom herself.
My childhood was one of many ups and downs. The downs I won't get into (thats none of your business honestly), but the ups I shall. My dad always insisted on taking the family out on trips. I remember the camping trips more than anything. Through those my dad was able to instill a very deep love of Nature in me (THANKS DAD). In fact one thing that he taught me that I will honestly remember until the day I die is how to tell the difference between a fir tree and a spruce tree. It goes as follows:
Pluck a needle from the unknown conifer, place the needle between your finger and thumb and roll the needle. If it spins the tree is a spruce because spruce needles are round. If it doesn't roll it's a fir--fir needles are flat. I was told to remember that this way: Fir needles are Flat, SPruce needles SPin. I always thought that was the coolest, and still do. If I ever have any kids they will learn that as early on as possible.
So anyway I graduated from William Penn Senior High School in June 1990. In 1991 I was accepted at Millersvile University and proceeded to flunk out after three semesters (and in an ironic twist, I will graduate from the same institution in MAY 2002). Anyway that absolute failure plunged me into a very deep depression. For the better part of a year and a half, almost two years I wallowed and drifted. I am telling you about this because it was probably the most defining moment of my life. My family feared that I would never get back on my feet.
But get back on my feet I did. I got a part time job in April of 1994 and later on that year my dad did something that changed my life. He took me over to Gettysburg National Military Park so I could talk to the Supervisory Historian (bless you Scott) and some of the other rangers. I asked them all kinds of questions about their jobs and what I needed to do to get there. Back then I really didn't know if I had the talent to work for the National Park Service, but it sounded interesting to me (but more on the Park Service when I get to talking about my career). That lit the fire under my ass and in 1995 I applied to Penn State and got accepted at Penn State York. Eventually I was able to declare a major in History.
So in a nutshell since then my life has taken a drastic turn for the better. The fear of failure that I carried with me in the early '90s has vanished. One more semester of college and I will have a degree and a means of furthering myself. I feel successful and I feel as though I can accomplish anything. I look back on the early '90s as the turning point in my life--the lowest I could get. The only way I could go from there was up. I feel like a totally different person inside and now each day is bright for me instead of being dark.
Update November 25, 2002
Well, let me think a moment on where to start. Since I wrote this original page, I have indeed graduated. I survived the semester from hell and got the degree--Bachelor of Arts in History. However, life took an unforeseen turn after that. I didn't work for the Park Service this past summer and heck I didn't work anywhere at all for that matter. That was a very tough row to hoe and my confidence took a serious nosedive. For five and a half months, I struggled. The personal struggles never went away and I also had to deal with death in the family. My beloved grandmother passed away in July and since then we've been taking care of my terminally ill grandfather. But don't worry, a definite upswing has taken place. I am working again and no longer feel like a freeloading slug :) As for the Park Service, nothing has come through yet. I have made a lot of applications for the winter and nothing has come through yet. But patience is in order. That will happen when it is meant to happen.
Update August 31, 2003
Well, since I last updated this page, much good, and much sadness has happened. I have been working for the Park Service since the middle of May, at Martin Van Buren National Historic Site *big smile*. I am back in the loop and I feel that the career thing will flow much more smoothly now. But again I had to deal with death in the family--my grandfather passed away the beginning of July. That was the only hitch in 2003 so far. :)
Update April 3, 2004
Even more has happened since my update last August. I have been just about completely unemployed since I returned home from New York the end of October last. More bad news--I don't think I will get to work for the Park Service this year either. Because of budget cuts and staffing reductions, my need for an early departure will count against me. But I am more mentally prepared for the thought than I was in 2002. The good news? Early departure would be required because I'm starting graduate school in August. So I am content to stay home this summer as long as I find a job. I need something to fill in the space between now and school.
© 2001-2005. Keri Leaman. All Rights Reserved