AUTOBIOGRAPHY by SHIRLEY STINEBAUGH

I was born and raised in a small town in southern Illinois. My mother came to the U.S. from Sweden when she was 10. My father, the baby of his family, was born in Kansas, but his parents and siblings were born in Russia. My only brother, who was 9 years older than me, joined the Navy and was stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. So, I grew up during the depression and World War II years almost as an only child, and of necessity learned to do and enjoy a lot of things by myself.

Living in a very small town there was not a lot to do, and I loved to walk in the woods and along the river, find a quiet scenic place to sit and write stories, mostly about the “old country”, I had heard from my parents. I got my first rejection slip from a magazine at age 9.

In this small town, everyone knew everyone and their business, and my father had a reputation for having an “awesome” temper. One of my earliest teenage “dates” was with this super guy to go roller skating one Sunday afternoon. At precisely the same moment “Super Guy” pulled up in front of my house in his car, my father remembered something he needed from the store and went running out the front door and down the steps. Well, “Super Guy” didn’t even stop; he pulled back into the street and just kept going. Oh well, we probably weren’t compatible anyway. But I think I knew then, if I ever wanted to marry, I would have to leave the State to find someone brave enough to marry into this family.

So, I moved to Houston, Texas after graduating from high school. I worked as a secretary for The Fluor Corporation, an engineering company, and went to the University of Houston at night. I married in Houston and we moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where our two sons were born. It was in Louisiana that I became a court reporter. Several years later, we moved to Dallas and I continued court reporting in Dallas. We moved again to Houston and that’s where I was that fateful day President Kennedy was assassinated. Then Jack Ruby shot Oswald. I was asked to return to Dallas and report the Jack Ruby trial.

By that time, my marriage was kind of unraveling. So, I took my two boys, Doug and Phil, and returned to Dallas, reported the Ruby trial, and got a divorce. I worked as an Official Court Reporter for the Criminal District Court and then for a Civil District Court for several years.

It was then we started skiing, Doug, Phil and I, and many times a carload of their friends – Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Doug, my oldest son, was killed in a biking accident during his freshman year at college in San Marcos, Texas. Phil, my youngest, lives in Mill Valley, California with my two wonderful grandchildren, Sammy and Elsa.

In 1979, I was the court reporter for the Federal Grand Jury in Dallas, and decided to go into the travel business as well.

Needless to say, I developed many travel clients around the Federal Court House. In fact, one “wag” commented “it’s got to be illegal to run a travel business out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

By 1993, the Grand Jury job and the travel job were both very heavy and I decided that was all the fun I could stand. I gave up court reporting, but continued in travel, which is where I work today.

I enjoy tennis, walking, traveling, reading, writing and keeping active.

In February 1997, with the help of Diane and Dick Reed, I started the Dallas Chapter of the Over The Hill Gang. If that’s not the best thing I’ve ever done, it’s certainly very near the top. It’s given me a lot of great friends to share all my favorite outdoor activities and ski trips with. And most of them even laugh at my jokes. How much better can it get? It’s been a really fun 5 years, from our beginning with 9 members up to about 70 now – and growing.

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