Carol Priestley

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Member of the Silver Stringers
Contributor to the Melrose Mirror

Hi there! I am just a regular kid who grew up in Melrose through the 1950’s and 60’s. I was taught to honor God and the Ten Commandments in church, at home, at school and in the community. I didn’t always make a good show of it, but there was always an adult around to show me the error of my ways. Long before anyone heard the saying, “It takes a whole village to raise a child”, Melrose elders were on top of every game in town.

I have fond memories of skating and sledding at Mt. Hood in winter. I picked pussy willows for my mom in spring and played on the Melrose Common in summertime. My favorite smell is the pungent odor of burning, autumn leaves.

When I was twelve years old I was diagnosed with moderate to severe curvature of the spine. For the next four years I was physically encased in an ungainly, metal back brace. Being singled out as an object of revulsion by my peers and one of pity by my elders had a strong emotional impact on me. I developed empathy for people with disabilities and an unremitting spirit of independence. I quit Melrose High School when I turned sixteen years of age and entered the work force.

I worked everywhere in the local service industry including “Ma Bell” before landing a job at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. I was employed there for sixteen years in various clerical positions. In the meantime I obtained my GED and attended classes at Endicott, Lesley, U Mass-Boston, MIT, and Bay State Community Colleges.

At the age of thirty I was baptized into the Christian faith. This was a turning point in my life as my eyes were no longer focused upon myself, but turned towards others. I married and by God’s grace we were presented with two healthy, beautiful baby girls.

My husband and I moved our small family from Saugus, Massachusetts to the Upper Connecticut River Valley region when the girls were quite young. These past twenty years spent in the company of our children have been the happiest and most rewarding moments of my life. Monique is now a self-employed Web-site Designer and Graphic Artist. Ayla is a Substance Abuse Counselor in a rehabilitation facility.

For the past ten years I have been working with adults with developmental disabilities in their efforts to lead independent and productive lives within their communities. They now play an integral role in the local economy or serve as volunteers in various social service organizations.

August 10, 2008



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id 14707 Moving to the North Country...Part Two --Features 4/4/08
id 14833 Another tale from the North Country a> --Features 5/2/08
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'Angels among us' --Features 6/6/08
id 14999 How I fell in love... with words (Carol Priestley) --Features 7/4/08
id 15102 Global campus in Bradford, VT --Features 8/1/08
id 15208 The flatlnders guide to Vermont --Features 9/3/08
id 15313 Why pick on the Y generation? --Features 10/3/08
id 15519 The Christmas that almost wasn't --Features 12/5/08
id 15690 Valentine's Day memories --Features 2/6/09
id 156191 Birthdays have lost their meaning --Features 3/6/09
id 15884 The significance of Mother's Day -- Features 5/1/09


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