Circuitous Path

Circuitous Path

By Sarah Ellen Rindsberg ’81

I always said I’d never go back to work after the birth of my children. Various factors contributed to this thinking; discrimination against mothers in the workplace, being a member of the sandwich generation, and most importantly the opportunity to witness babies’ first steps.

And although I still wasn’t contemplating a return, one day I was unwittingly drawn back in. After shepherding my offspring into Hebrew school, I saw a flustered educational director in the hall. “Are you available to substitute teach today?” she said.

Unencumbered, I responded “yes” without a moment’s hesitation.

Thus began a pretty steady gig of substitute teaching which happily continues to this day. A few years later I yearned for additional income, financial independence, and increased job satisfaction. While contemplating the future at my 25th college reunion, a perfect volunteer opportunity arose when I was elected class scribe. I poured my heart and soul into this position; diligently editing and reporting news from my classmates.

Kathy Gray, my most supportive friend and classmate, enjoyed reading the class notes and encouraged me to expand my horizons. “You can write!” she exclaimed. Soon afterward, I ran into a fellow mom at a pancake breakfast in town, who happened to be the editor of the local magazine Inside Chappaqua.

I inquired whether she knew of any part-time writing opportunities.

“With your educational background, you are certainly capable of writing,” she said. “The next time I’m looking to assign an article, I’ll let you know.”

My interest was piqued. When no word came after a month, I composed a piece about the local Caramoor Music Festival and sent it off.

“I can use this,” came the editor’s prompt reply. I have been a regular contributor to the magazine ever since.

In 2010, I contacted the editor of the Chappaqua-Mount Kisco site of Patch.com and became a bonafide freelance journalist. Currently, I am writing one weekly column and covering local events.

With my daughter happily ensconced at Wellesley and my son in his junior year at Horace Greeley High School, I realized my dream of taking a journalism course by signing up for one online through a university.

As luck would have it, my son fell ill on the first day of the class.  I had an assignment to cover an antiques event, my regular feature was due, and I was scheduled to teach at the temple. Still, I persevered. I  made my son some chicken soup, wrote the two articles, and led my Hebrew school class.  When I logged into my journalism class the following day, I felt content, knowing I had found the path to a fulfilling career in which motherhood never takes a back seat.

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This entry was posted in Why We Write, Writers & Readers: Community Forum and tagged , by Sandi Sonnenfeld. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sandi Sonnenfeld

Sandi Sonnenfeld is a fiction writer and essayist. Her memoir, This Is How I Speak (2002: Impassio Press), which recounts how her views about what it means to be a woman in contemporary America changed after suffering a dangerous sexual assault, was a Booksense 76 finalist. With the memoir’s publication, she was named a 2002 Celebration Author by the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, which recognizes writers whose work merits special notice. Sandi has published more than two-dozen short stories and essays in Sojourner, Voices West, Hayden’s Ferry Review, ACM, Raven Chronicles, Necessary Fiction, Perigee, Revolution House and The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review among others. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sandi holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Washington, where she won the Loren D. Milliman Writing Fellowship. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and the world’s most perfect cat.

One thought on “Circuitous Path

  1. Sarah Ellen: I enjoyed reading this piece and appreciate the message that we can foster all aspects of our identity. It is inspiring to hear how you built your career over time through initiative and community connections.

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