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In graduate school I married Bill Dengler ten weeks after we met. You know those things never last. He died in 2014 at age 75, a month short of our 52nd anniversary.

He had served 36 years in the National Park Service, an excellent fit for me the nature lover as well as him the naturalist. I am ADHD and in the 40s, when nobody knew what it was, my mom had no idea how to channel me, so she turned me loose. I spent my childhood in the woods and meadows of rural Ohio, learning about myself and about nature. I am still at home and comfortable out in the wild. But what I really dreamt of doing was to dig up fossils. In the 40s and 50s, however, little farm girls simply were not paleontologists.

As our two girls were growing up, I developed my career as a freelance writer. I could do it at home. More importantly, I was not tied to a locale.

I’ve enjoyed over forty years of success. If writing paid well, why did I not keep writing? When Bill retired and we lived in Oklahoma, I volunteered my help building the Ancient Life gallery displays in the brand new Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, working with paleontologists. One thing led to another and I put aside my writing career to earn my PhD in paleontology. I am a paleontologist.