Life Since High School

Marcia Purse

Marcia Purse in 1968Funny how life can be ...

I wanted to be a famous actress, singer and/or writer. I got glimpses of the professions, but no fame, and maybe that's just as well ...

As the Fool in King Lear‣ I did a fair amount of acting in Des Moines, Iowa, where I lived from 1974 to 1997, in plays such as King Lear (the Fool), The Odd Couple, and Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians and The Mousetrap. I finally realized I couldn't rehearse and act all evening while working ten-hour days without getting really sick at the end of the play's run, so I retired from theater in 1987.

‣ In college and in Des Moines I did a lot of folksinging for many years but eventually ran out of audiences - and the fingertip calluses necessary for playing 12-string guitar aren't there anymore.

‣ I wrote two (good, I think) books, never published, and have had writer's block since about 1978.

Richard Wulf as TevyeI wanted to be married. In King Lear I met Richard Wulf (shown left in his signature role as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof), a professional actor with incredible talent, much older than me, and we fell in love. After 11 years together, we decided we'd finally marry - and he died suddenly a month later. It was the worst shock of my life, but now ... he'd have turned 81 this year, and I am just 58. The age gap, not so important when I was 31 and he was 54, would be immense today.

But while I didn't get any of the things I wanted when I was younger, I've found and learned things that are of equal value ...

I learned I had bipolar disorder.
It explained the depressions I've had since childhood. Medication has helped me enormously. This also gave me the opportunity to get a job with running their Bipolar Disorder website along with my good friend Kim from Florida. We've been doing this site for 10 years now.

Part of my garden in spring 2008I learned to grow plants from seed and design gardens.
Although most years I drive myself over the edge by buying and growing too many plants, there's no doubt that gardening gives me deep satisfaction.

I learned to make websites.
My 11-year-old web design business is still very small, but I love the creativity. Redesigning this NTW site this year was a joy to do.

I learned how to stick to a budget.
When I bought my first house in 1979 (for $18,000!), I found myself deep in debt. By sticking to a no-toys budget, I pulled myself out of it. I'm as proud of that as of anything else I've done. And the experience is going to stand me in good stead now, because I will have to move this summer and things will be very tight again.

So while there's no fame and fortune for me, there's personal satisfaction. I may not be producing great fantasy novels, but I do a lot of writing for I may not be married, but I'm comfortable with myself. And after living in my mother's house for 11 years, I'm really looking forward to having my own house again!