Spotlight: Lin Vosbury (plantladylin)

By Nancy Polanski (nap) on January 17, 2011

The first Spotlight of 2011 is on Plantladylin! Lin has impressed me by the kindness she exhibits in her posts here on the Cubits website. What I have come to learn about her through this interview is just how genuinely sweet she is. In fact, I joked that if you look up the definition of 'sweet' in the dictionary, you will probably find a photo of Lin Vosbury.

Nancy: Welcome to Who's Who Spotlight, Lin!

Lin: I'm not really a good candidate for an interview. My life has not been all that interesting and definitely not real exciting. I will give you a little history and let you decide if there's enough information to merit a question/answer type interview.

Nancy: Okay, that's fair. Where would you like to start?

Lin: A little about my life: My given name is Linda Jeanne but I've had the nickname of Lin for most of my adult life. I was born in Virginia in 1948 and lived in coastal VA until the family relocated to Florida. There were six children in my family; mom had all six of us by the time she was 30 so we were all pretty close in age. In fact, my oldest sister is just nine months, three weeks older than I am. I will turn 63 in March and she won't turn 64 until May. It's interesting to see the quizzical looks that some folks have when we tell them we are the same age, we are biological sisters ... but we are not twins. My mom always called us her Irish Twins, and she called me her "miracle baby" because I was actually born two months early. I've been told that back in those days it was unusual for preemies to survive.
I met my husband when my family moved to Florida.  His family lived next door to my Aunt and Uncle for many years. We were married in 1969 when I was 21 and he was just shy of his 20th birthday. That was during the Viet Nam era when many were getting married young. He received his draft notice, joined the Navy and spent four years in the military. During those first four years of our marriage we were separated a total of almost two years because his squadron was deployed on an Aircraft Carrier and out at sea for six month stints. We've been married 41 years and were never blessed with children but we've been close to our nieces and nephews, and our friends' children over the years. We've also had many furry four legged critters in our lives!

Although my husband has both bachelors and masters degrees, I never attended college. I can't really say I ever had a "career,"2011-01-16/nap/6ba89e so to speak. It's been 18 years since I held a job, and during those working years I was in the clerical field, first in telephone sales, then as an Accounts Receivable clerk, and later as a loan data processing clerk and secondary marketing clerk in the mortgage department of a Savings & Loan. When the bank closed down years ago, I figured I would take a little time off before searching for another job, but plans change and I always feel things happen for a reason!

Shortly after my last job ended, my dear mother in law (89 at the time) who lived about 45 minutes away, began having some memory problems, getting lost when driving to church etc. We all sat down and talked to her and she made the decision to move into Assisted Living. She had been head RN at a nursing home for many, many years and she always said she knew how difficult it was to care for the elderly and refused to live with any of her children. Even though my husband an2011-01-16/nap/b67668d I had no children, we could not talk her into moving in with us. When she sold her home she decided she wanted to move to a little town about 30 miles away. We didn't think it was the best idea since she didn't know anyone there but she was still capable of making decisions for herself. We knew she would be okay because it was a safe and secure Assisted Living community. I was driving over there every day and after about two months she became quite confused, not knowing where she was and wanting to go home. So we moved her to an ALF a few blocks from our house. She lived to be 97 years old and I feel so blessed to have had those last eight years with her! We'd play Bingo or I'd pick her up to go to lunch, or we'd come to my house and just sit by the pool and chat. Sometimes she'd be perfectly happy to sit and watch me mow the lawn ... and she loved when I took her for rides on the beach so she could see the Pelicans! I got my love of gardening and plants from my mother in law. She was an avid gardener and was composting long before it became the popular thing to do! She grew vegetables and fruit and landscape plants and always had the prettiest yard on the block!

Over the years I've heard many mother in law 2011-01-16/nap/c143cchorror stories, and I feel very grateful that I could call my mother in law my friend. She was such an inspiration to me ... a single mother who raised four sons and put them all through college on a nurse's salary, which back in those days was a pittance. I remember her telling me that the most she ever earned as an RN was $6,000 per year! My husband was her youngest child but he never knew his father because they were in a car accident when his mother was pregnant with him and his dad did not survive. She was a strong, independent woman and had the most positive attitude of anyone I've ever known. 

I was very close to my own dear mother too. During the last few years of my mother in law's life, my own mother was diagnosed with recurring breast cancer. I was going back and forth to South Florida spending time with her until she passed away at the age of 78 in early 2005. My sisters and I would take turns staying with her, taking her to her chemo treatments etc. Mom had been fighting diabetes for years and had difficulty controlling it with diet and insulin. With her chemo treatments and infections due to the diabetes, she was in and out of the hospital the last 18 months of her life.

She got a foot infection at th2011-01-16/nap/ece761e same time she was undergoing chemotherapy and a nurse had to come twice a day to administer strong IV antibiotics. I think the combination of chemo drugs and antibiotics were canceling each other out and that's why they had such difficulty controlling the infection. She decided to quit chemo while they were trying to get the infection under control but they ended up having to do partial amputation of the foot. The operation went smoothly and all infection was gone but she dreaded returning to chemo and the terrible side effects it caused, so she decided to forgo any additional treatments. I'm grateful that my sisters and I were there for mom and each other.  It was a gift being able to spend those precious last months with our mother.

Life sometimes throws us curves but we must carry on. I have never thought of myself as a religious person as I don't attend church, but I do think of myself as a spiritual person and I don't know how I know, but I know that there is a plan. We are each here for a purpose, whether we realize what that purpose is or not, and all we can do is try to live our lives to the fullest and treat each other with kindness and respect.

Well Nancy, now you almost know my entire life history ... 2011-01-16/nap/c5952b

Nancy: Yes, and thanks for sharing some personal and probably painful memories with me. I appreciate your thoroughness. Can you tell me something about your hobbies? Interests?

Lin: Interests and things I like:

Photography - I like taking pictures I don't have the patience to learn about all the intricacies of my camera but I still like taking pictures!  I'm really technically challenged when it comes to cameras and computers but I love taking photos of sunrises, sunsets, plants, birds etc

People - I love getting to know people, hearing about their lives and chatting about gardening, plants, family, pets etc.

Cubits - I'd never chatted on-line before joining Dave's Gard2011-01-16/nap/0b56c3en in the fall of 2006.  This on-line stuff was all so new to this ole' gal. I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting and learning from everyone on these websites and I truly appreciate the folks who've shared their knowledge with me, whether identifying a particular plant or bird, sharing ingredients for potting medium and growing methods, or just chatting about the weather in our different parts of the world.  It's really a lot of fun!

Plants - I've always said "Playing in the dirt is my therapy, and I'm in therapy a lot!" Of course the way my yard looks right now doesn't show that I've been in therapy much lately! Our yard took a huge hit last winter with Florida's record breaking freezes and we haven't yet replaced any of the the plants that were lost to the cold. We've already had a couple of unusual freezes this year which have done more damage, but once spring arrives I have plans for some new landscaping! I enjoy digging and planting, watering and watching things grow ... but I'd be lying if I said I still enjoy mowing the lawn! I enjoy growing many houseplants, from African Violets to Orchids, and I spend a lot of time in our pool area where 2011-01-16/nap/6d9658my many plants are located. I call the area my Playground because that's where I'm usually playing. Sometimes I grumble because something always seems to need re-potting, watering or fertilizing, but I'm in a world of my own when I'm out there working.

College Basketball - My husband is a college professor. He's been teaching for 35 years at an Aeronautical University here in town and we've been attending home and away games for years.

Boating - We have a small boat and enjoy taking it out on the waterways during the summer months ... just for a lazy day of relaxing, stopping at a restaurant along the way for lunch, or anchoring and watching the dolphins and sea birds. In his younger years my husband liked water sports (skiing and wake boarding) but me, I'd rather be on board the boat than in the water! 

Travel - Although we haven't had a lot of time to travel over the years, we look forward to his retiring in a few years and hope to either get a larger boat to travel the waterways or a motor h2011-01-16/nap/3742e6ome to travel around the continental U.S.

Music - I always wished I had taken piano lessons and who knows, maybe I will still take it up some day. I loved hearing my mother play piano. She read music and also played by ear and in her later years, with arthritic fingers she would laugh and say she "played between the keys."  She was still playing her piano a month and a half before she passed. When my mother was 17 years old she received a scholarship to Julliard, which unfortunately she was unable to accept. She was born and raised in Washington D.C. which isn't really that far from NY, but I guess back in those days her parents thought it was entirely too far for her to travel at that age. I truly believe she could have been a concert pianist and I think in some ways she regretted not pursuing a career in music, but she always said if her life had taken a different path she might not have had us children. I do sometimes think our path in life is planned long before we travel it.

Birdwatching - I've always loved watching and listening to t2011-01-16/nap/fd00a5he birds. I have about a dozen feeders in the yard and love trying to photograph the birds who stop by for a treat.

Animals - I am an avid animal lover and although we are down to one senior kitty in the family at the moment I hope to adopt another dog at some point. I try to visit our local humane society every month or so to take donations of food and supplies which are always greatly appreciated.

Baking/Cooking - Well ... actually I enjoy baking more so than cooking, LOL. I used to be known at the college as "Cookie Lady" because I was always baking cookies for our basketball team, cheerleaders, pep band and fans. I don't find the time to bake so much anymore but I do enjoy it on occasion. Over the holidays I usually bake a couple of types of breads and cookies for neighbors, family and friends. 

My dislike is negativity - I've learned that life is just too short for negativity. I realize that we all have ups and downs in our lives, circumstances that cause us despair and unhappiness. There are many days when I have to give myself a good talking to and get myself back on a positive track. I know that sometimes situations are going to be negative and we can't be happy every se2011-01-16/nap/8cb404cond of every day but I try to keep a positive attitude as much as possible. I have a little plaque that my mother in law gave me that says: "Most People Are About As Happy As They Make Up Their Minds To Be" ~ Abraham Lincoln. I try to make up my mind each day to think positively, which in turn leads to being happy!

Nancy: If you could spend time with anyone you'd like, who would it be?

Lin: Hmm ... That's a difficult question, but I think number one on my list would be my maternal grandmother. She died when I was just three years old so I never got to know her. I think I'd really like to have an entire day with both my maternal and fraternal great or even great-great grandparents to hear about what their lives were like.

Nancy: You love to travel. You mentioned future plans to travel the waterways or roadways.  Anyplace specifically you have in mind? How about the rest of the World? Which places do you wish you could visit outside of this country?

Lin:  Well, I've had a few opportunities to travel to Europe and Hawaii in my lifetime, but passed them up. The thought of being on a2011-01-16/nap/06436c plane for an extended period of time hasn't appealed to me. When it comes to traveling by car or by plane, I will take a plane any day, but I prefer flights of short duration. Unlike many people, I like airport layovers! It gives me the opportunity to walk around, people-watching between flights. I do hope someday to muster up the courage for the long flight to Europe.  There's just so much history there! I love the architecture of old buildings and would love to spend time wandering around some of the European cities. I've always had a yearning to visit Ireland because my mom's grandparents came from County Cork. At one time my youngest sister and I talked about taking our mom to Ireland but unfortunately mom got sick before our plans could come to fruition.

We've been vacationing in the Smoky Mountains for 30+ years and I always feel like I've come "home" when we visit those wonderful mountains. The serenity and beauty of that area2011-01-16/nap/15ecc1 just tugs at my heart. A nephew who lives in upstate N.Y. once told me I'd love the Adirondacks, and hopefully someday in the not too distant future we will have the chance to visit that part of the country. When my husband retires and we travel a bit we want to visit Alaska as well. We have friends who, since retiring, have traveled in their motor home throughout Alaska.  The photos they've shared of their journeys are amazing.  There are many areas of our beautiful country that await exploring! Aaah ... places to go, people to meet!

I'd also love to visit the beautiful islands of the South Pacific. I know I'd love the tropical plants and the warm, friendly people! Another destination on my travel map would be the beautiful country of Canada, and hopefully in the next couple of years that trip will be in the making ... in the summer time of course!

Nancy: And one route into Canada is through my city, Buffalo NY. I'd love for you to stop and see me on your way. Lin, it's been such a pleasure talking to you. I'm so glad that you agreed to chat with me, and I think you have proven that you have quite enough to say to make this a great interview. Your doubts have been put to rest. Thank you again.

And dear readers, if you have enjoyed meeting Lin today, please feel free to chat with her in the threads following this article. You can hover over her photos to read about them, and click on them to see them full size. Please come back next week to see who Sharon will have as her guest.

Related articles:
biography, Florida, garden, interview, spotlight, tropical

About Nancy Polanski
I live in Western New York. I'm retired, after working for 30 years in the Microbiology Labs at our county hospital. My time now is spent mostly with the Karen refugee population in Buffalo, advocating for them, teaching, helping and enjoying them. I've twice traveled to their camps in Thailand and experienced their culture. It seems they have taught me more about life than I have taught them.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
loved the interview kaglic Jan 30, 2011 5:49 PM 1
Hi Lin!! Sharon Jan 24, 2011 12:28 PM 28
Great article! ivyplantsnyc Jan 21, 2011 10:10 PM 4
You are the sweet lady! Sunshinesw Jan 20, 2011 4:29 PM 1
Love it! Trish Jan 18, 2011 7:07 PM 3
Worrying about being interesting? Well, don't! weeds Jan 17, 2011 4:49 PM 2

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Who's Who Spotlight features weekly quotes of inspiration, information and humor. We also have a collection of interviews with various Cubits members.

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