Today is my birthday, and as I do every year, I update my obituary. It’s a good reminder to make every day count! I hope I won’t need one for awhile, but it’s best to be prepared . . . and I certainly wouldn’t leave writing my obit up to to these yahoos, er, um, loved ones, I live with. I’ll let them choose the photo.
This writing exercise was given to me by my very wise life-coach friend, Mary Ellen, and what it has shown me is not have much I’ve accomplished, but how much I still need to do. My life at 54 is still so incomplete. I hope to think WAY outside the box this year! So here it is:
Mary Elizabeth Koppen Vaughan was born on July 20, 1964 near Belvidere, Illinois where she lived surrounded by loving extended family. When she was ten years old, her parents moved her and her two younger siblings to the barren deserts of Tempe, Arizona. After several years of missing not only her family but the beauty of the Midwest, she embraced her new town, though she never lost her sense of melancholy over the absence of lilacs, peonies, and green fields stretching to the horizon.
She attended Marcos de Niza high school, where she thrived in gifted classes and the marching band playing flute. It was there she met Clifford R. Vaughan III, whom she would eventually marry in 1988, after she graduated with a BA degree from ASU in English Literature with an Art History minor. Cliff was her best friend and confidant. Their three children (Patrick, Eve, and William) were the joys of her life. She felt fortunate to stay home with them during their formative years, giving them a creative, fun-filled, old-fashioned childhood like she’d had.
Mary was always looking for adventure, whether it was between the pages of a favorite book, over lunch or beers with her many girlfriends, at her favorite beach in Mexico, or on one of the many family vacations to beautiful places around the world. Mary loved to cook and entertain, and hosted a large Christmas party each year. She loved movies and music and attended many concerts each year.
She loved to volunteer; she was happiest when being useful and surrounded by friends. She volunteered at her children’s schools helping in classrooms, serving on the PTO, and later on the high school marching band booster board. She helped with every school fair, festival, and fundraiser. She was a Girl Scout leader, served as secretary on the Boy Scout troop’s adult committee, and even though she hated it, was on the HOA board. She was a Phoenix Art Museum docent, delivered Meals on Wheels, and generally liked to pitch in when help was needed.
Mary had many jobs over the years including newspaper deliverer, ice cream server at Baskin Robbins, pizza deliverer, telemarketer, sales clerk, receptionist, secretary, editor, writer, and after her children were mostly grown, preschool teacher and teacher’s assistant. She thrived in the classroom, charming everyone with her humor and cheery smile. Her last teaching job was at the Awakening Seed School which she loved so much. She was proud of her self-published travel book on Amazon called Beach Dreams, and her “Cheers Darling” blog, but would always tell people the best things she ever created were her children.