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Biographical and Family Notes

I was born in Toronto, Ontario, attended several schools there (K-6), and graduated in Niagara Falls, New York (6-12). I took Grade 13 at Branksome Hall School in Toronto, where I received the prize in English, and started in General Arts at Victoria College in the University of Toronto. I debated successfully in the student Parliament; participated as an actor, singer, and dancer in several productions; and chaired the Music Committee. I switched to Honours English, then had to quit due to illness in the family. When I returned, I became involved in several theatrical productions, failed Anglo-Saxon, forfeiting my year, and was back (at night and summer school) in the General English program with anthropology and philosophy “minors.” I financed my BA by working full-time at theatrical production and design at Hart House Theatre on the UofT campus, 1962-66, the venue for professional direction of actors and of production for design and other backstage students before the Drama Department existed. I worked at other Toronto theatres and for a season at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival as Design Assistant.

The following year I accepted a position as an editor of textbooks (K-12) at Holt, Rinehart, & Winston of Canada. Two years later, as the Senior Editor of the Humanities Division, I helped to develop an outstanding Kindergarten to Grade 4 reading program (1966-71). I moved into educational research at the Metropolitan Separate School Board, Toronto, as a research assistant, performing literature searches for new projects and helping to develop psychological and achievement testing instruments for schools. Within a couple of years I was helping to design projects as Research Associate (1971-75). I was a founding member of the Educational Research Officers of Ontario. I was active in my churches, sang in three choirs, studied wheel-thrown ceramics at George Brown College, and painted in oils. Through Woodsworth College I completed Honours qualifications in English literature (four courses) and finished the course work (four courses) for an MA. I left the thesis program in 1975 to marry and immigrate to the United States.

Richard Tallman (PhD, Folklore, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1974) has taught in five universities in the US and Canada. He has conducted field research in the US and Canada. Under Richard’s direction, we produced a monograph series in Arkansas, wrote Country Folks: A Handbook for Student Folklore Collectors, and collaborated on projects in Kentucky and Arkansas. After we returned to Canada in 1979, we began editing trade books and university texts for major Canadian publishers in our freelance business, Northern Light Books. Richard became a Canadian citizen in 1986. Since 1979 he has edited hundreds of books, including mine, and has made significant contributions to Canadian university textbooks in geography, sociology, Indigenous history and culture, Canadian history, Newfoundland and Labrador studies, politics, and climate change, among others. I have particularly enjoyed my contributions to books of logic, language, the sociology of medicine, and psychology. In 2008 we expanded our business to publish our writing.

Richard has a daughter by his first marriage and we have three sons and a daughter. The frustration of some of our children with their circumstances must be considered in the context of their families. Our children’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of the family are university graduates, some with multiple degrees and outstanding careers.

Richard spent 10 years with a mentally unstable woman who murdered the woman he intended to marry after their divorces were finalized. Madeleine was finishing her UofT dissertation in Florida, where he taught English and Folklore at the University of Florida. She was the sister of a close friend, so I met Richard at her funeral in Toronto. Her mother, who was nearby when her daughter was shot, subsequently co-founded Bereaved Families of Ontario, which became a significant social service in the province. The perpetrator was found “not guilty by reason of insanity from before puberty” and was released into the supervision of her partner on condition of outpatient psychiatric treatment: six sessions with a psychiatrist. Richard writes about our meeting in The Turning Year: a memorate.

Our two oldest children have multiple university degrees. Richard’s oldest daughter came out as a lesbian in high school, after battling her way to that decision under medication during a year she spent with us. Two of our children have had serious health problems. At least two developed substance addictions. After a heroic battle with our inadequate legal and social institutions, our youngest son suffered a drug-related massive left-brain stroke in August 2015. He continues to recover. At least four if not all of our children have abnormally acute hearing that makes them exceptionally intelligent, but also means some life experiences are much more difficult for them than is the average person’s experience. Such difficulties entail heroic efforts and are costly.

My interest in politics has revolved around big moral issues. My chemical engineer /physicist father, while he advised the Canadian government on nuclear energy, i.e., the atomic bomb, felt betrayed when what was supposed to be “a deterrent” was actually dropped on civilians in Japan at the behest of Harry S. Truman. He quit the National Research Council to work in the private sector of chemical research and development. As R&D was underfunded in Canada, he moved to work in an abrasives and chemical company in Niagara Falls, New York. My intense interest in individual human behaviour—as contrasted with human behaviour in the aggregate—was birthed by the differences between my brilliant, bipolar, scientist father and my balanced, intelligent, musical, teacher mother, who had a penchant for psychology and was spiritually gifted.

As I counselled both on the job and privately, the people who came to haunt me were the ones who could not be helped even when referred to psychiatric or other professional interventions. All of my life experiences funnelled into the discoveries I made while Daniel was being healed from very severe schizophrenia. The music therapy described here brings new hope not only to the mentally ill, but to all people.

 

 

©2012