Joan (center) in a recent picture with her dad and her sister, Ellen
I met Joan in Southern California, in the early 70s, when my family moved there for a few glorious years. We became fast-friends and found wonderful things to do in the California surf and sun. In fact, Joan and I were part of a club, which I will remember forever as one of the highlights of my youth. I think of Joan as a typical California beauty, with long, brown hair, sun-kissed cheeks and a wide-smile that says, “I am ready for adventure!” I moved back East way-too-soon, and Joan and I kept in touch for a while, but we eventually lost touch. I had heard that Joan moved to Alaska, had married and had a son, but that was all I knew. So, when I discovered her on Facebook a few years ago, I was delighted to re-connect with my childhood friend.
Just as we reconnected, I discovered that Joan was diagnosed with cancer and was about to begin her treatment. I was too far away to be of much help, except to share words of love on Facebook, and follow her news and progress. Today, Joan has completed her chemo treatment, and I hope, is feeling better and more of herself again. Joan talked to me about the experience, how it has affected her, and ultimately, what true beauty means to her, now. I am forever grateful to Joan for sharing her story. Here is Joan, on the meaning of true beauty …
MKG: Joan, it is so kind of you to spend time talking about this very personal journey. Thank you. Let’s go back for a moment: would you describe how you saw yourself as a child and a young woman? What did being a Southern California girl mean to you, in terms of health and beauty?
JOAN: I feel that I was very lucky growing up to have had the foundation of a loving, fun, and humorous family. Our upbringing was a balance of respectful politeness, while, at the same time, being empathetic and ‘down to earth’. We were reminded (especially during our teen years) of how lucky we were to have what we did. Continue reading