AutoBioFile: Laurie Dickinson Trask Mann, 1957-

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Laurie
Mann, College Graduation Picture, Class of 2001

Abstract of Autobiography: Internet/computer geek, writer (though more of a photographer these days), reader, loves to travel, quasi-conformist, feminist, wife, mother, casual, attempts to be proactive to fend off being reactive but doesn't always succeed, Yankee.

Heritage

Ancestry: English, Irish, German, Scot, French (Canadian)

Genealogy: My American ancestry dates back to the mid-1600s when several English families emmigrated to Massachusetts. My family names include Shonyo (previously Chagnon from France via Canada), Crawford, MacLaren, Lang (Scotland), Fisher (German), Foley (Irish), Southwick, Fairbanks, Gerrish, Trask, Winslow, Terry, Greenleaf, and Dickinson (English) and Domag (either French or German).

Interesting Relations: Family legend had it that we were "close" to the Emily Dickinson branch of the Dickinson family. The Dickinsons were very procreative Yankees who started something like eleven different brances of the family the first generation they where in America. In reality, she was a very distant relative. We're part of "Nehemiah" line, the same line of Dickinsons as Henry Clay.

The relative I want to learn more about was a Colonial settler named Hannah Dustin. I'd heard she'd killed a bunch of Indians after they captured her. The story is even more prosaic, and I read about it accidentally. I was driving back from taking my daughter to camp in New Hampshire a few years back, and stopped to stretch my legs. One of those historic signs was by the side of the road and I walked over to read it. It was a sign telling the story of Hannah Dustin. She and her husband lived in the Merrimack Valley with their ever-increasing family. A few days after giving birth to a child, Indians captured them (the sign was unclear about how many were killed). The survivors were dragged into what's now New Hampshire. Within a few days, Dustin led a breakout, killed some number of Indians and brought the rest to safety. A few years ago, a book called something like "Wild Women" detailed her exploits and those of her sister. It turns out she's related to the Greenleaf line.

Other relatives from the distant past include Noah Webster (dictionary compiler), John Greenleaf Whittier (poet), Israel Trask (pewterer) and William the Conquerer (though I understand this is a pretty typical claim for English people!).

Geographic Heritage: Small town New England, mostly northern Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Religious Heritage: Congregational, Unitarian, Catholic.

Career Heritage: Farmers, writers, train conductors, educators.

Birth Family

I was born in Vermont in February 1957.

Laurie, Carrie and Jeffrey Trask, 1960

This is a picture of my sister, my brother and me back in about 1960. (I'm, naturally, the one to the left of my siblings.)

OK, to look at this picture, quick, who grows up to be the computer geek? the lawyer?

Our youngest brother wasn't around for this picture, so here's one from when he was about 14:

Terry Trask, 1978, photo by Laurie Mann

I graduated from West Boylston Jr-Sr. High School in Massachusetts in 1975. We had a 30 year reunion in the fall of 2005.

I attended college in Pennsylvania between 1975 and 1979.

I married in Massachusetts in 1977.

We had a baby in Ohio in 1980. She was in the Army for about a month after high school graduation, but was mustered out. Leslie attended ITT Tech long enough to earn two associates degrees and now has a job doing data entry/database/Web publishing work for a local company.

We all moved back to Massachusetts in 1982.

We all moved back to Pennsylvania in 1993.

We collect books, attend occasional science fiction conventions, and we really enjoy computers.

I returned to college and received my degree on April 29, 2001. Busy working as a volunteer on MilPhil for most of the summer of 2001, I couldn't find a full time job that fall or winter. I stayed with a pleasant part time job at Pitt. That turned into a long-term contract. After a change in management, it became the job from hell, so I fled to PennFuture. Funding for my job ran out, so I wound up doing some contract work during 2005, and completing my novel in 2006.

Our goal was to move out of Pittsburgh in early 2006, after Leslie graduated with a second Associate's Degree from ITT Tech. We hate to leave Pittsburgh as we've paid for our house and have money to travel and save. We can, roughly, afford a garage in Massachusetts given the inflated housing prices up there. But we're both having a lot of allergy problems and suspect we're allergic to Pittsburgh air. Eventually, when we retire, we want to live near a good college so we can take classes.

What we wound up doing was buying a large new house out in the country. Why did we do that, given Jim's hatred of commuting? Because he now works from home. He has a lovely office on the first floor. I have a loft area on the second floor, though I often grab the easy chair in the family room during the day. My allergy problems partially went away after Tigra (our cat) died in the fall of 2005. We still have some allergy problems out here, but not being on a busy street with constant traffic is definitely helping.

So after spending the summer of 2006 getting settled, doing a bunch of volunteer work and writing my novel (some, mostly cleaning a few things up, rewriting one early chapter and adding a few new scenes to the late chapters), I'm currently busy looking for a new job.

My Geek Code: GAT d@ -p+ c++@ l- u+ e+ m*@ s+/++ n+l-- h- f+ g+ w+ t+ r x+

Here's my Signature History.