LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF HELEN SHEPARD
Although everyone knows me as Helen Shepard my maiden name was Helen Keller. You can imagine what it was like being introduced with this name! My father, G. Paul Keller, was a Protestant Minister who joined the Navy as a Chaplain when I was a teenager. Our family moved from place to place - from Southampton, Long Island to San Diego, California and we even followed my father all the way to Pago Pago, American Samoa. Eventually we settled in Coudersport, Pennsylvania where I graduated from high school. I spent my freshman year at San Diego State in California and received my B.A. at Penn State where I graduated with a major in Spanish and a minor in Portuguese. I met my husband, Sanford Shepard, when we were both teaching assistants there. Marcus, my son was born in New York during the time my husband was working on his Ph.D. from New York University. Miriam, my daughter, was born in Northampton Mass. She was only ten months old when Smith College assigned my husband to Madrid, Spain where for the next two years he was Director of the Smith College Junior Year in Spain. When we moved to Oberlin in 1961 all of us were speaking fluent Spanish. Oberlin College had a Summer Program in Mexico and my family went first to Mexico City and then to Granada, Spain every summer.
During my years of teaching Spanish at Lorain County Community College I organized several trips abroad for my students. Several trips were made to Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico and Peru. I became interested in the Mayan ruins of Central America and attended the Mayan Hieroglyph Weekends at Cleveland State where outstanding epigraphers like Linda Shele and Peter Matthews explained how they cracked the Mayan code. I took several trips to the Mayan cities in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras and returned with many slides and videos. My sister, Jody, has lived in Australia for many years and I've visited there four times over the years. I find Australia a fascinating country. I have returned to Spain and Portugal many times (both before and after my husband died) and have also traveled to Morocco with other faculty members from LCCC as guests of the University of Rabat. I spent three months on sabbatical leave traveling from Portugal to Spain, Italy Greece and Israel and more recently I've taken three cruises to the Mediterranean visiting Greece, Israel, Turkey, Italy, Crete, Rhodes, Malta, the French Riviera, and Barcelona, Spain.
I have served for two years as President of Spectrum, an organization with about 50 members who meet at the Oberlin Inn for lunch and presentations each week by a variety of speakers. In addition I have given several courses for the Center of Life Long Learning at Lorain County Community College on the Civilizations of Ancient Mexico, A Panorama of Spanish Civilization, and another on Morocco. All were slide and video presentations and I am putting some of this material on the web site for those who are interested in my travels and adventures.