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Occupation: I’m a speech language pathologist. My company is called Gift of Gab Speech & Languages Services. I am primarily a pediatric speech therapist, so I work with children as young as 2 years old, sometimes younger, through adolescence. I occasionally take adult patients, as well. My practice covers the wide range of all speech and languages services from evaluations, therapy, to social skills groups for children on the autism spectrum.
Family: I am the mom of two boys. My son Benjamin is 22 years old and in dental school at Boston University. He will start his second year in the fall. My son Paul is 18 years old and just graduated from high school. He will go to American University in Washington, DC, in January. Before that he is going to go to school in Bath, England, for a mentorship, in September. I grew up in a small town in Ohio, right on Lake Erie, called Ashtabula. I am the youngest of four children. I’m very close with my parents, two brothers, and sister. We vacation together, spend all our holidays together, and really make an effort to see one another.
Pets: We have a 10-year-old red-ear slider turtle named Leon, and he is going to move to the office this summer where he will get more attention. There are a lot of children that come in who will enjoy having him there.
How long have you worked in Newtown? I’ve been a speech therapist for 29 years and have been in Newtown for 18 months.
What do you like to do in your free time? I love to work in my garden. It’s my therapy. I lived in Georgia prior to here and had become a master gardener, which was something that I had always wanted to do. I was able to bring those skills here to a new yard. My other passion is cooking. I’m Italian and will try to make just about anything. Also, I enjoy walking, hiking, kayaking, and reading.
Do you have a favorite book? I recently read Cutting For Stone. There’s a lot of medical background in it about primitive surgery and medicine in a very remote village. It’s a wonderful book.
What is your favorite travel destination? Italy. I had the opportunity to go four years ago when I was traveling with a friend for her birthday, and we went to Rome, Florence, Venice, and Lucca. Everything was so beautiful. I felt a real connection there and would go back any day.
What is the best part about Newtown? I really enjoy the people here. I think they are caring and genuine. There’s a nice sense of family and community here, too.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My older sister, Lisa. She’s my cheerleader, she really is. No matter what — good times or bad times — she’s always there to say “You can do this” and is excited for the little steps in life. Not only that, but she’s just a beautiful person, wonderful mother, and I couldn’t ask for a better sister. Also, my tribe of girlfriends — Lisa, Karen, Debby, Elaine, Ruthanne, and Leigh — are some of my greatest influences.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? I’d want to meet Johnny Carson. I grew up watching him and found him very funny. Also, Chef Ina Garten. I’d love to plan a menu, go to the market, and be able to cook with her.
Who is your favorite musical artist? I love David Gray. I also love Motown and 70s rock like Stevie Wonder; Earth, Wind, and Fire; Van Morrison; Steely Dan; and Eric Clapton.
Do you have a favorite TV show? I watch Survivor with my son. Also, I love Game of Thrones and cannot wait for the next season.
What are your favorite foods? My mother’s gnocchi, seafood fra diavolo, and linguini with white clam sauce.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? To be true to yourself. My parents instilled that in me and have been very supportive of my endeavors.