For 20 years I had the best job in the world. As a sports reporter I got to cover some of the biggest sporting events in the country. In 2010 I became a mom of identical triplet girls. I began a new challenge in 2015, as I left television to pursue a PhD in Journalism Studies.
In my blog I talk about sports issues as well as tell stories of my experiences in sports media. I also share how as a working mom I keep my sanity.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
DOC STERN'S CABIN
REDISCOVERING MY PIONEER HERITAGE
The stress of my life was
beginning to overwhelm me, so I made a decision.For the last four and a half years it had
been all about my triplet daughters, my husband and my work.It was time for me.
Lack of sleep or any form of
relaxation was draining the life out of me.I realized if I didn’t take better care of myself I might not be around
for my children when they needed me later in life.I liken it to the announcement they make on
airplanes… “Please put on your oxygen mask first before assisting your
children.”For me it was a survival
decision.If I became incapacitated my
family would suffer too. A start to this
new attitude was letting my BFF, Sherry, whisk me away for a girl’s weekend
getaway last weekend to Sabino Canyon in Tucson, Arizona.Little did I know at the time that I would also
re-discover part of my heritage.
My mother was born and raised
in Tucson before being swept off her feet by my father and moving to California.
My maternal grandparents settled in the small dusty town in 1920, just eight
years after Arizona became a state.They
were true pioneers.
My grandfather, Al Sterns,
was a chiropractor… the first ever licensed in the state of Arizona.Back then most people thought chiropractors were
quacks.His patients were always grateful
for his treatments, but they couldn’t always pay.So my grandfather was often paid in chickens,
eggs or vegetables.Al and my
grandmother, Eunice, had seven children, two boys and five girls.My mom was the youngest girl.After having their first child their young family lived in
a tent while they built their first house by themselves… rock by rock.
In the 1940’s when my mother
was 11 years old, her family purchased a small piece of land on Mt. Lemmon,
just north of Tucson.Over the years
they hauled up rock and sand from the riverbeds down in the valley.The government was clearing land to widen the
road, which provided them logs.With the help of the Sterns kids and various relatives they eventually
finished their small summer cabin made of rocks and logs.I vaguely remember visiting the cabin a
couple of times as a small child.
My mom as a young girl
However, none of this was on
my mind as Sherry drove us south from Phoenix to Tucson.She had planned everything including booking
a lovely two-bedroom guesthouse.And it
was Sherry who suggested a day trip up Mount Lemmon the day after we arrived.It wasn’t until we were nearly to the top of
the mountain that I thought of my grandparents cabin.I called my mother but she wasn’t much help
with directions.However, my aunt who
still lived in Tucson gave us a general idea of where it was located.
Off the main highway we
bounced along a dirt road for several minutes.I recognized the cabin right away. It
looked medieval up on a hill amongst the pine trees… like a small rock
It had a For Sale sign out
front.The windows were boarded up.It had been neglected for some time.However, I was impressed with how sturdy it
was.Nothing was knocking this cabin
down.The walls were made up of large,
smooth river rock, beautiful quartz rock and a few logs.A large heart shaped rock sat in the center
of the fireplace wall.
I called the realtor on the
sign.Only two people had ever owned the
cabin, my grandfather and the current owner.Up in Mount Lemmon they still called it “Doc Sterns Cabin.”
Doc Stern's Cabin back in the day
I was enchanted by this
strong symbol of my descendants.I had
long admired my mom’s incredible strength and work ethic.Now I imagined her as a pre-teen hard at work
slapping cement between the rocks, scraping the bark off of the logs, attaching
tiles to the roof. She had passed this
strength onto me.
Doc Stern's cabin today
Even though at times my life
seems like more than I can handle, I knew right then I would find the strength
to stay strong... with the help of God’s grace and power,
my inherited fortitude and by keeping a big heart in the middle of it all.