Ann Anderson Evans

I grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, without any memorable traumas. I spent the summer of my 19th year with an Italian family. The landscape was soft and colorful, shown here. We are still in touch. What a gift.

After plodding pleasantly through a B.A. in French and Spanish and an M.A. in English from New York University, in the heart of Greenwich Village, I immediately left for Europe with $400 and no particular plan. I didn’t come back for 13 years.

I spent six months in Israel, three months in Spain, and months here and there in Germany, Austria, and Italy. During my 11 years living in Athens, Greece, I taught English as a Second Language and created my own line of skin care products, which I manufactured in my kitchen. Among the many places I traveled in Greece was the Gorge of Samaria in Crete. This is a picture of me at the bottom of the Gorge.

My first husband was an Australian journalist whom I met in Athens. We moved to the U.S., had two children, and got divorced. My second husband was a song-and-dance man turned computer programmer from North Carolina. We got divorced, too. My children had by then had enough fathers, so I didn’t date for the next twelve years.

Once my children were old enough, I took ballet lessons again, played piano, and made money. I have also sung with wonderful choirs in New York City, Hoboken, and Montclair, New Jersey.

At dinner tables, in the street, from books, and in classrooms, I learned French, Spanish, Greek, Italian, and German. I also edited a cookbook.

My family is sentimentally attached to the Adirondack mountains, where my great grandfather established a camp on Raquette Lake in 1896.

Africa was too dangerous, too far, and too different. But I spent a month in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2005: shopping, cooking, going to the gym — living like a Zimbabwean, up to a point. Africa did not entrance me; it saddened me. So much wasted potential, and scant hope that will change.

One photo is of the market in Mbare, in Harare, Zimbabwe, where thousands of people gathered every day. In 2005 it was razed. The recent history there has been a great and unnecessary tragedy for hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans.

From 2007-2014 I taught in the award winning freshman writing program at Montclair State University. My students come to me poorly prepared, and it was satisfying to see them learning to make a solid sentence, construct a cogent essay, and raise their rhetorical skills. They were and still are smart, motivated, and challenged by a difficult world. Teaching took too much of my energy, time, and passion to do the writing I felt I had to do.

Grandchildren have extended my grasp well into the 21st century. They touch my heart so.

Ann’s memoir, Daring to Date Again, was published by SheWrites Press. She is looking forward to her scheduled appearances.

 

February 26, 2015, 7:00 pm:  Hudson School Think Thursday series, 602 Park Avenue, Hoboken, NJ

March 14-15: On two panels at the Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson, Arizona

April 17th, 7:00 pm: Book Towne, 171 Main Street, Manasquan, NJ