of 1961 Alumni Page
BARBARA O'CONNELL (LAWRENCE)
graduation I entered Hofstra College (later University) , majored in history
with a minor in secondary education and prepared myself, as well as one can, for
the experience of teaching high school students. I began teaching at Mac Arthur
High School in Levittown in 1966. In 1968 I married my college sweetheart, Trent
Lawrence, and when he returned from Vietnam in 1969 we lived in Point Lookout.
Until 1971 my husband spoke about how much he had loved living in the Virgin
Islands which he had done for a few months after his college graduation. With
some reluctance I agreed to take a leave of absence from Mac Arthur and give St.
Thomas a try. We both loved St. Thomas and are still here thirty five years
I was able to get a teaching job at a local public High
school and kids being kids enjoyed that job. I did have to go back to school
to learn Virgin Islands and Caribbean History but fortunately we have a good
college (now university) here.
We had a 26’ wooden sailboat that we used on weekends to “
get away” and took more extended trips on “ Xanadu” when I was off from school
for holidays. Because my husband owned a bar and had a partner we were able to
get away often. Sadly the lease ran out, the bar closed and we had to go back to
weekend sailing. To make life more interesting we bought and moved onto a
houseboat in 1977. We eventually moved it to a small island at the mouth of St.
Thomas harbor and enjoyed life on Hassel Island , population approximately 40
people. At that time I was commuting to school in a 12 ‘ dinghy which was fun
unless it rained. From 1978-1982 I took a break from teaching and with a partner
opened a screen printing business which never made much money. Since I was not
quite ready to go back to teaching I became a marine radio operator for a year.
In 1989 hurricane Hugo blew the houseboat apart but did not do much damage to
the apartment we had evacuated to in the nick of time. This time we stayed on
land. We built the house we live in today in 1991 and have become land lubbers.
I retired from Charlotte Amalie High School in 2004 and found
myself well suited for the life of a retiree. I fill my days with reading,
tennis and six months ago got an opportunity to exercise a retired race horse.
So I am back to my first love, horses. My husband is going to work for a few
more years so travel will have to wait. I do fly to Florida frequently to visit
with my 90 year old mother.
Taken outside our house
This is Galahad, the retired race horse that I exercise.
The view from our deck. Our dog's name is Sugarfoot
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