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Rochelle and I last week when she first arrived back in town!

This is a beautiful piece written by one of my favorite students: Rochelle!
 
Tammy Coia
 
I met Tammy Coia about three years ago when I answered a small ad in the Desert Sun newspaper: Womens’ Writing Group, Write Your Memoir, Tell Your Story.  There was  a phone number and address which was conveniently near our home.  Bingo!  This is for me.  So I called and signed up.
When I walked into the conference room, I was greeted by a radiant presence, a 5’2″ honey blond with a natural tan.  She was not skinny like some California girls, but more athletic, solid and REAL!  She put out her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Tammy” and then introduced me to the other women in the room.  Her face was wreathed in welcoming smiles,  her sparkling eyes promised fun and a writing adventure, and the promise was kept.
She always prepared diligently for her classes with excellent handouts, inspiring quotations, examples, outstanding prompts, and motivational material.   We would write and share, listening to each others life stories.  And what a collection of stories: remembrances of parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, first loves, marriages, broken hearts, divorces, career successes, overcoming obstacles and learning from defeat.  It was a time of sharing and connection.
Tammy offered many classes which I enrolled in which focused on finding your voice, making your writing real, authentic, more vivid.  We concentrated on telling our stories so we could leave a legacy for our families.
We telescoped the past to the year we were born and saw a panorama of world events.  We prodded our memories with gentle nudges and used a mental spade to unearth childhood stories.  We googled our childhood homes and relived our past.
Tammy organized graduation lunches for those who had completed a series.  We were congratulated and applauded for our efforts and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of fun and comraderie.
In Addition, Tammy wears many other hats.  Last year she organized an all day conference “Women Inspiring Women” which was attended by nearly 100 women.  And another one is in the works for January 2012. 
She also has other activities.  Tammy is a walking, talking, living community center with so many fun things she dreams up to do: a hiking group, a no-gooders golfers golf group, happy hours, coffee klatches, tours of wineries in the area, docent led museum tours, and outings to the the spring blooms in the desert.  She is an organizer par excellence and an outstanding teacher.  Tammy’s classes give meaning to the past, clarity to the present and direction to the future.
From a small ad that I answered, a garden bloomed, filled with new friends, a lot of growth, and a very special friend named Tammy Coia.
Rochelle Sturman
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"Thank you for sharing this page" ~ Tammy