Recently I was invited to share ten things my friends might not know about me. Indeed, nearly everyone on Facebook has been invited to make such a list too, the posting is making the rounds. So this is not unique to me.
Funny thing is, however, journalist Nicole Nazzaro already wrote about this for me, in a pre-Boston article about me last April! So I suppose now I have to think of ten more things you might not know. Never mind that this idea became difficult enough once my memoirs were published in May. (Nicole’s article appears on this website on the page entitled simply ARTICLES.) Her article remains one of my all-time favorites written about me. One magazine editor calls her a brilliant writer! Indeed.
So where does this leave me with my own list of ten? I’ll have to go with some non-running-related events that happened before or after my memoir coverage, which is definitely not an autobiography, and covers only my running career.
Deep breath. Here goes.
1) At age eight, I nearly drowned in a lake, and as a result, I did not learn to swim until post-40-years of age when running began to look less and less like an option. No one guessed I could not swim because I had been teaching aqua-aerobics for years, but I was either in the shallow end or deep-water with a floatation belt. Once I learned to swim, I even joined a masters’ swim team and got my lifeguard certificate. Compulsive runner-turned-swimmer.
2) I rescued a red-tailed hawk. The hawk had its leg stuck in a gopher hole amongst some broken cement blocks and was thrashing about, damaging its wings. This was just outside the pool where I swam and taught. The on-duty lifeguard was calling 911 but I interrupted her to say she should call the park ranger instead. His response? “Jacqueline knows what to do, she’s a trained park docent.” So I did. There’s a longer story here, but did you know a red tail’s wingspan is up to 58-inches and have you seen their talons up close and personal?! After a successful rescue, I had a moment’s thought about it, and then I shook like a leaf.
3) Once upon a time I was a Job’s Daughter. I’ll leave this to your interpretation. People either know what it is or they don’t.
4) I was not born a “Hansen,” and though I rarely use the term, I was legally adopted.
5) I grew up next door to the actress and former Miss America, Lee Ann Meriwether. I was her babysitter for her children. She gave me a new sweatsuit to wear at my first Boston Marathon. We still remain in touch too.
6) This is sort of in the running category, but still likely not known: my tallest friend and shortest friend in life were, respectively, Wilt Chamberlain and Miki Gorman.
7) I’ve had one mountain lion-sighting on the run. This goes down, with my hawk story, as one of my favorite and frightful moments in nature. She (the mountain lion) just took one look at me, got up, and sauntered away in the other direction (thank goodness). No doubt hoping for a deer.
8) I have adopted three rescued cats, and I rescued one Australian shepherd dog. The dog is named Dipper, after Wilt.
(The dog’s arrival was the week of Wilt’s funeral.)
9) One time I ran from Hollywood to Las Vegas, in relay, but even combing through forty years of journals researching my memoirs, I cannot find a word about it. I suppose it’s because, as I recall, my teammates kept pushing me out of the motor-home every time our team fell behind, so I was too busy running to write in a journal.
10) Lastly, I played the accordion, yes, I confess. Why, you ask? In the third grade, I went to school with Myron Floren’s daughter. He was the accordion player on the Lawrence Welk Show. That simple. My dad mounted my accordion case on roller skate wheels so I could push it around since I could hardly lift it.
Bonus: that last one reminds me that I also used roller skate wheels for making my very own skateboards which I used to get around town. Yes I do know what a skate key looks like since I owned one. As a child, I’d say I could be summed up as two characters: part tomboy and part bookworm. I owned and read an entire series of famous women’s biographies and every Nancy Drew mystery book.