Date: July 24, 2009 3:37:12 PM EDT
Joan Burkhart

Hi John and Classmates,
I thought I had my future all planned out in school.  Get a job as a fashion Illustrator and then marry about the age of 30.  Sometimes life takes you on a different path when you are not looking.  I met Paul Flynn (a '58 SHS graduate) in my senior year. Three months before graduation Joyce and I got excited about the fast growing aviation world.  We left for airline school in Hollywood, California a month after graduation.  I landed a job with Eastern Airlines later that year in Miami Springs and worked there until January 1961.
Paul and I married that month in Sarasota at St. Martha's Church.  We had a son, Paul, the first year and a daughter, Cynthia, followed two years later.  I was able to stay home with them until they were in school. It was a sacrifice at times but I only have to see what beautiful adults and friends they have become to know that it was worth it all. I got a job as a Travel Consultant and spent the next 36 years in that field.
We lived in Sarasota until 1978 moving a lot after that.  Ft. Myers,  Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta, Missouri, Amelia Island, and back to Ft. Myers.  We retired in 2002 and moved to a Del Webb community in Summerfield, Florida.  We built 6 homes (I think we are addicted) in that space of time. We went back to Sarasota in 2001 to renew our vows at St. Martha's church.
Growing up I hated exercise, but at the age of 42 I lifted my first weight and started running.  I still love the weights, however, my knees do not appreciate the running too much these days.  Five years ago I was asked if I would be interested in working at the Del Webb fitness center.  I've been doing that part time ever since.
After discarding my art all these years I started figure sketching again followed by doing portraits for some family members.  Not having a lot of willing models I knew I needed to find a better subject.  Remembering I loved using all those colored chalks in Mrs Clement's class I bought a set of 100 pastels (I have about 1500 sticks now) and started painting landscapes.
We love to travel in our RV.  We pack up one or two of Paul's guitars, my art supplies and camera and have a great time.  We love exploring historic sites, biking and hiking.  Our son and daughter love camping  so we try to make it a family affair at least once a year.
My life may have taken me on a different journey but what a great ride.
Looking forward to seeing everyone in October.
Paul & Joan @ Alfahouse