by Alice B. Clagett


About Alice B. Clagett

Image: "Self-Portrait," by Alice B. Clagett, 2016, CC BY-SA 4.0
This is a little of my personal story, for those who have an interest in it.
I was born in rural Maryland, in the USA, just after World War II. My mom, Katherine Howard Berry Clagett, was a homemaker for me and my 4 siblings. Mom got a teachers scholarship to college, and she inspired me and my siblings to lifelong learning. She taught us homemaking: cooking, cooking, canning, flower arranging, and many other things.
My mom was a Daughter of the American Revolution. Her first ancestor of record in the New World was James Berry, who emigrated to Virginia in 1640. He owned several large land grants in Maryland. (1)
Mom's family, the Berrys, claimed descent from the French ducal house of Beri. Silver plate at my grandmother Berry's house bore the "Arms of Berry". Here's a description of the Arms:
ARMS: ERM (a white field with black spots); on a bend (diagonal band) engrailed (lines consisting of arcs whose joined edges point outward) SA. (this may mean 'sable', or black), 3 fleur-de-lys OR. (gold) Crest: A griffin's head erased (meaning that the head of the griffin looks as if it has been torn off, leaving a jagged edge), indented (meaning a zigzag line) per pale Arg. (silver) and Gu.(red). The motto is: Nihil sine labore (which means 'nothing without labor'). I remember trying my artistic hand, as a child, in drawing and coloring this coat of arms, and that of my father's family.
Mom's family home was Concord, District Heights, Maryland; this plantation home built in the 1790s, and now owned, as I recall, by the Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. For more on her family home, which I knew in childhood as my Grandmother and Grandfather Berry's home, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concord_(District_Heights,_Maryland)
My father, Hugh Caldwell Clagett, like my mother, was of Norman stock. (1) He traced his ancestry back to a progenitor who was a follower of William the Conqueror, and to the Battle of Hastings in England in 1066.
The first Clagett of record to emigrate to the New World was Rev. John Eversfield, who was born around the year 1701. The family coat of arms was assumed in 1104 by a person known as Clagett of Houghton in a county called Cambridge, in England. The arms since borne by the family were:
ARMS: ERM (a white field with black spots), on a fesse (or broad horizontal band) SA. (this may mean 'sable', or black), 3 pheons (broad arrows) OR. (gold) Crest: An eagle's head erased (meaning that the head of the eagle looks as if it has been torn off, leaving a jagged edge) ERM. (a white field with black spots) ducally crowned OR (gold), between two wings SA (this may mean 'sable', or black). The motto is: Gratia Dei Grata (which means 'the acceptable grace of God')
A famous ancestor of my father's was Bishop Thomas John Claggett; he was consecrate an Episcopal Bishop in 1792. He was the first Episcopal Bishop to have been consecrated in the New World. It was Bishop Claggett who founded Trinity Church of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, the church where my mother was active in her later years.Here is some of the history of Trinity Church: http://trinityuppermarlboro.org/history/
My father's family's country home was Ingleside, located on a farm outside Upper Marlboro, Maryland. It was adjacent to Keokuk, a larger farm and historic plantation house built around the 1820s, and slowly improved upon.
When I was young, my grandmother and several of her 7 sons lived at and farmed Ingleside. Another of her sons lived with his family at Keokuk, and farmed that land. These farms were an easy walk across the state road from my family's home, that my father built on 7 acres he bought from his mother.
Both Ingleside and Keokuk were since sold for a subdivision; my grandmother's home burned down after the sale, but Keokuk, insofar as I know, is still standing, and in use as the headquarters of the subdivision company, which has planned the buildout in stages.
My father was a veteran of World War II. As a member of the Navy Seabees, he saw service on the beach at Normandy. After the war, he became an architectural engineer at Mills, Petticord and Mills in Washington, DC, USA. He would take us on long walks through the fields, and he taught us to be handy with gardening and tools.
Here is a photo of our family from early days ...
Image: from left, clockwise: sister Kathy, brother Hugh Jr, Alice, sister Peggy, father Hugh, mother Katherine, sister Betsy
I went to St. Mary of the Assumption grade school in Upper Marlboro, MD, USA, and graduated in 1961. 
I recall my first communion, a very big event in my young life ...
That's me on the left; my sister Peggy is beside me, and my sister Kathy, quite a lovely smile on her face, in front.
I went to high school at Holton Arms, Bethesda, Maryland, a school with a number of notable alumnae; for their names, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holton-Arms_School
My father was one of the partners at the firm that designed the school's Bethesda campus. 
I graduated with honors from Holton Arms in 1965; I got a very nice note from the headmistress, Miss Sallie E. Lurton, on graduating ...
I went to college at Mary Washington College (now a University), Fredericksburg, VA, USA. I majored in English Literature with a minor in Chemistry, was a member of a scientific and an academic honorary society, and graduated with a BA, and with top honors, in 1969. At the graduation ceremony I received the Darden Award for Scholastic Achievement. Here's the newspaper article ...
My first fulltime job, which began in 1970, was for Continental Insurance Company in San Francisco, California, USA.
After about a year there, I got a job with Joint Publication Research Services (JPRS), a unit within the Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA), which is under the auspices of the Department of Commerce. I was working at the CIA office in San Francisco, where I was an Editor on the Russian and Chinese Desk. Here's more on JPRS: http://www.readex.com/content/joint-publications-research-service-jprs-reports-1957-1995
I worked at JPRS from 1970 to 1973; my job was fun and at the same time challenging. While I was working there, I married a nuclear submarine operator named Wilbur Monroe Mason. Here is our wedding announcement ...
Bill and I were together for only a few years, but our time together was really very nice. It's great to look back on old memories, although he in recent years he has passed on. Here were some of our first photos, along with a photo of my first car ... my Lilac Cadillac ...
While I was married, my name at work was Alice Berry Clagett Mason. In 1973, as a cost-cutting measure, the San Francisco branch of JPRS, CIA, closed down, and they consolidated back to their headquarters at Langley AFB in Virginia, USA. Though this news was unexpected, I was pleased to get a good retirement settlement, and a very nice letter of recommendation from my boss, Mr. Kyuma Mano ...
In the following years, I became a freelance writer. Under the pen name 'Cricket Clagett' I co-authored several 'how-to' books put out by national publishers. These were:
"1001 Ways to Be Your Own Boss"
"1001 Ways to Stretch a Dollar" and
"1001 Ways to Avoid Being Mugged, Murdered, Robbed Raped and Ripped Off"
I see these books are still offered on Amazon.com (but not by me).
Vivo and I had lots of adventures together; we travelled here and there in the United States, and also had a photography business for a while, which was where I began to pick up photographic skills. In the 1980's, Vivo and I parted, with good feelings about our time together.
For about 6 years after that, I studied studying yoga and meditation with 3HO Organization in San Diego, California, USA. There I co-compiled, along with Elandra Kirsten Meredith, various manuals on yoga and meditation. These included:
"Yoga for Health and Healing: From the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D."
"Survival Kit: Meditations and Exercises for Stress and Pressure of the Times"
"Relax and Rejoice A Marriage Manual" (volumes 1 and 2)
"Yoga for the Aquarian Age" and
"Harmonious Communication"
Along with Bhai Sahib Guruliv Singh Khalsa, I co-authored "Japji of Guru Nanak: A Complete Annotated Word-by-Word Translation." I also did editing, illustrations and proofreading for Kundalini Research Institute.
During that time, in November of 1979, after a long illness that he bravely bore, my father passed on of cancer. I remember, before he passed on, he and mom treated all of us children to a Caribbean cruise, so that we could be together as a family one last time.
I prefer to remember my father young and full of hope. Here's a photo of him at his office in Washington, DC ...
  It was about that time that I began studying karate with Shotokan Karate of America (SKA), founded by Mr. Tsutomu Ohshima. I studied this art for over 10 years, and eventually got a black belt ...
Karate meant a great deal more than physical conditioning for me. I developed self-confidence, and made friends with some of the finest people anywhere. One of these was realtor Deke Keasbey, who taught me about investment and real estate.
At home I have photos of the karate group from about 30 years ago, taken at the end of over 20 special trainings I attended. At just about every one of these, Deke was there as well, leading by example as one of the senior black belts, and encouraging everyone to excel. It's funny ... I remember those times as if they were yesterday ...
I remember that Deke was a great hiker; I went with him on some pretty ambitious hikes ... including a couple of grueling day hikes up Mount Whitney and back.
Here he is on a hike at Boney Mountain in the spring of 2001, two years after our girlfriend/boyfriend relationship ended. At the same time, in 1999, I had stopped practicing karate, so that was a year of changes for me ...
Some while prior ... as I recall, it was a few years before I met Deke ... I began my career at the University of California, from which I eventually retired. I started out as a secretary for Rick Firtel, Cell and Developmental Biology, UC San Diego, California, USA, http://biology.ucsd.edu/research/faculty/rafirtel ...
Then I moved to Los Angeles, California, USA, for a promotion to Administrative Assistant (AA). The most memorable of my AA jobs at UCLA was with C. Fred Fox, PhD, in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, UCLA.
After that, for about 7 years, I was scientific editor and librarian at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA School of Medicine. In that capacity, I worked with about 600 MDs and PhDs associated with the Institute. I put together their annual reports, and supervised about 10 wonderful library volunteers.
Here's a photo of my work-a-day world back then:
When I left JSEI, I received some heart-warming letters of ecommendation from the faculty. Here is the letter I received from Dr. Bartly Mondino, Chairman of the UCLA Department of Ophthalmology and Director of the Jules Stein Eye Institute ...
For about a year after that, I did freelance website design, which was enjoyable, artistic work. Cross-platform compatibility was an important feature of that work back then. This was one of the sites I designed:
Tierra Properties, http://www.tierraproperties.com
After that, I went back to work at UCLA ... first for a year as Managing Editor of the "World Journal of Surgery" with Ronald K. Tompkins, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Surgery and Editor-In-Chief of the journal.
When Dr. Tompkins retired from his position of Editor-in-Chief, I went back to work for my prior boss, Dr. Fox. In addition to managing a grant and being the managing editor of a scientific journal he headed, I designed this web page for him:
C. Fred Fox, Ph.D., Professor,  https://www.mimg.ucla.edu/people/c-fred-fox-ph-d/
I was abruptly called away from that job by the unexpected fatal illness of my sister Peggy, in Maryland.
Peggy loved horses, and I remember fondly this very typical picture of her with one of her two horses, next to the barn that she designed and had built:
During that time, my mother also began a slow decline. I spent 7 years helping care for her and for her home and land in rural Maryland. This was a very sad time for me, but it was wonderful to be able to spend some time with my mom during those days.
Mom was cheerful and courageous till the very end. This is one of my favorite photos of her, taken some years earlier ...
Mom passed on in May of 2009; I still miss her. Life goes on. I moved back to my apartment in Santa Monica, California, USA, where I had lived for 20 years.
Then later that year, I bought a home in the San Fernando Valley, at the northwestern tip of the City of Los Angeles, in California, USA. My home has some beautiful trees in front, and some very warm days in the summertime ...
For a few years, after I got the house together, I spent the summers in southern Colorado, USA. I made lots of friends there. It's quite a different sort of place! Really rugged scenery, four well defined seasons, roads with very little traffic on them, and friendly, straightforward people. I'm glad I had a chance to spend time there, but in late 2015 I realized that home is where the heart is.
So, in early 2016, I came back home and settled down to life in the San Fernando Valley ... friends, church, exercise classes, hikes with the Sierra Club and the Lost and Found Gang, yard work, and the joys of retirement ... which have included, over the years:

Images: Left: Alice leading a springtime stream 'hike and float' with the Lost and Found Gang, 2009; Right: horseback riding in Colorado, 2011 (reminds me a little of the horse I owned, and the stable I helped build in childhood)

Image: Alice on a Lost and Found Gang hiking trip to Two Harbors in Catalina a while ago.
Thank goodness for the seasickness medicine! We hiked with wild buffalo!
Well, now you know something about me!
I know there are people that put up fake credentials online, and that makes it hard for folks to know whether they're looking at a true story or a fake one. If you have any questions about these highlights of my life, do get in touch. For the doubting Thomas, I would be happy to offer further substantiation.
In joy and love and light,
Alice B. Clagett
PO Box 10794
Canoga Park, CA 91309
(1) The Berry and Clagett ancestral information on this page is from the book "Across the Years in Prince George's County: A Genealogical and Biographical History of Some Prince George's County, Maryland and Allied Families," by Effie Gwynn Bowie, copyright 1947 by the author. Copies, both new and used, can be found on Amazon.com

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