About the Author
I was overweight as a child for as long as I can remember. In school, children can be cruel. I remember standing in the school parking lot (which doubled as our playground) as one of 40+ children in my class, waiting to be chosen for the baseball teams. The team captains took turns making their picks, calling out names. I stood in that line in anguish knowing that I would be one of the last, if not THE last child chosen. It became very lonely, that line of one, only me. I was also the second tallest person in the class – only Robert C. was taller. As a tall overweight girl I just wanted to be liked for the person imprisoned inside my awkward body.
Looking back, I am grateful that I had a Mother who sewed flattering dresses for me made from fabrics I loved, grandparents who took us for car rides to look at all the cows, sheep and gardens in the neighborhood, so I could sit in the back seat and sing to my grandmother as we drove along. My younger brother sat in front to help Grandpa drive.
It was that praise of my singing, first by my Grandmother, that changed my world for the better, giving me self-confidence to achieve and create a life, to rise above being overweight, and yes, to even being liked by my peers. It was that singing that began my affinity for the spiritual as well. I sang my first communion songs to a new third grade class in a new school and suddenly you could hear a pin drop in the room. Then the teacher was asking me to write the words on the black board and teach the class the songs. I can sing those songs today.
I entered the convent after high school with guitar in hand and a repertoire of 1960’s hootenanny style folk songs in my head and heart. In the convent I found peer acceptance, appreciation of my musical talents, friendship and the spiritual direction I was seeking. The added values were the personal development, life direction and weight loss.
I left the convent and the extra 50 pounds behind and I headed to New York and Broadway. My singing plus new face and figure helped me land roles in the likes of Pirates of Penzance, No, No, Nanette and Brigadoon. A move to LA brought a bit of TV work as well. As I sat in the green room one day, waiting to go on the General Hospital set to say my under 5 lines, I remembered the Peggy Lee song titled, “Is That All There Is?” Besides, the trays of donuts setting around were just too tempting. I knew then I had to do more with my life.
Thus began my over 30 years in the insurance and financial planning business. I became a Certified Financial Planner and am still working as one, helping people, as was my goal when I entered the convent. I went from Broadway to Wall Street so to speak, but always following the convent path of helping people.
Additional Bio notes:
Mary Lou has given many seminars, written financial articles including a by-lined column in the Northeast Newspapers, and has appeared as a financial expert on TV. She has raised money through her seminars for numerous charities including the Arthritis Foundation, St. Joseph and Holy Cross Hospitals as well as the Autry Museum of Western Heritage. She has also raised funds through marathon walking over a ten year period for the American Heart Association. In her spare time, Mary Lou takes clogging dance lessons every Tuesday and yoga classes once a week. Her husband, John, is her biggest fan and her number one ͞reason d’etre