Jane Collins' Updates

Let's see if I can sum up 50 years quickly. I've been living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the past 23 years, working at Louisiana State University for 20 of them. I retired 3 years ago after teaching, doing research, and serving as chair of my department, associate dean of my college, and dean of my college. I love Louisiana with its outrageous politics, terrible hurricanes, interesting people and fantastic food.

I moved to nice, hot Louisiana from Iowa. I spent a total of 10 years in Iowa, both as a doctoral student and as a faculty member at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Every year I swore it was my last because I was in pain from November until May from the cold. The right job finally opened up, and I had the chance to move back to the South.

Nashville, TN was home for a while, too. I went to Vanderbilt University as an undergraduate, majoring in mathematics and learning how to play. Some of you may remember how strict my parents were…well, Vanderbilt seemed like total freedom to me, although my classmates complained about the rules we had to follow. I graduated early and stayed on in graduate school for another year. Many years later I returned to teach in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. Nashville is a beautiful city with lots of trees and lovely parks. Baton Rouge reminds me a lot of it, but the food is better in Baton Rouge.

Other places I've lived over the past 50 years include Madison, Wisconsin (also too cold for me) and New York City (fun for 3 years, but that was enough). When I was in New York I did everything folks should do there-I went to plays, to the opera, to the ballet, to the museums, to concerts, spent Sundays in Central Park people-watching, saw famous people, walked 40 blocks to work during a transit strike, and learned to hail a cab. I left when I realized I was deadly tired of being crammed into elevators, buses and subways, touching people I didn't know and didn't want to know.

Always having been an animal lover, I ended up breeding and showing dogs after I moved to Louisiana. Now, the retired show dogs and I share my house with two wild, young Chihuahuas given to me by a friend. The little guys are definitely in charge.

I never married, but my sister's children are like my own, and their children are like my grandchildren. My sister, Ann, lives in Montana, as do one of her daughters and her only son. Her other daughter lives in Connecticut. There are eight grandchildren-one girl and seven boys. The two oldest graduated from high school this year, so I went to Missoula for those events.

I'm enjoying retirement. I take cooking classes now and then and cook a lot for friends. Since retiring I've gone to China and to Italy. I don't have any other big plans for travel. It's nice to just stay home and enjoy my dogs.

Has it really been 50 years?