“My grandmother wanted to help her, but my mother just couldn’t relate to her.”
With Nicosia struggling financially, Dunstan lived with her grandparents from age 9 to 11, a period that “opened up the world for me.”
Dunstan was back with her mother in the San Diego area when at age 16 she got the news her mother had died. Louise had been suffering back problems and a co-worker took her to a doctor who gave her a shot. On the way home. Louise got sick. She died later while resting on the co-worker’s couch, Dunstan says.
Dunstan was taken in by the family of the bookkeeper at the high school she was attending.
“No matter what happens, if you believe in your heart, you can overcome the odds. I always felt all you need is one person who truly loves you. I also learned that people step up and help you in the most unexpected ways.”
Someone else who stepped up was one of Dunstan’s coaches at her high school, who offered to pay for her tuition and books to attend San Diego State University. And even though she did not finish her studies at that university, Dunstan never forgot another lesson she learned from her mother.
“My mother used to say, ‘Your education is your credit card to life.’ She would say, ‘You don’t want to live like we are.’”
So after having followed her husband, a Marine pilot, from assignment to assignment, after having enjoyed her own career in real estate in Yuma, she resumed her studies at NAU-Yuma, ultimately earning a bachelor’s in liberal studies in 2005.
For one of her classes, she turned in a paper about her mother’s life, and her professor, Natalie Hess, in turn, scribbled a note on it.
“(The note said) ‘You have a story to tell, you need to write a book.’ She was one of my motivations to do that. Once I retired, I had the time to join the writers group, so I started writing.”
But within the pages about an orphanage and a train, the book relates another story about people chasing a dream in the early 1900s.
“It was an immigrant story — immigrants coming for the American dream ... not finding it, struggling to find it and, maybe after the third generation, finding it,” Dunstan said. “And that was me.
“I was very blessed: I had a fabulous real estate career. We have great friends. I am very blessed.”
DEAR DR. ROACH — Would you be so kind as to send me a copy of your recommended lowcarbohydrate diet? I have been trying to follow what I think it should be, but would like an expert diet on which to base my food selection. — K.H.
ANSWER — There is no specific diet I feel comfortable recommending for everyone. For people who want a lower-carb diet, I recommend eliminating processed starches, like white bread, pasta and rice, while continuing to eat vegetables and fruits. There is very good evidence that a plant-based diet, with no more than moderate amounts of animal protein, is a healthy overall diet for most people. Increasing fats from olive, nut and vegetable oils is reasonable, and there is some data to show this may
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