Born and raised in a steel town in Southern Illinois, I’m the youngest of 5 children born into a big, loud, Polish family. A “surprise” baby, I’m born 19 years after my oldest sibling.
Raised just 30 minutes east of St. Louis, I’m born and raised a Cardinals baseball fan and love watching the greats like Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee play in the “old” Busch Stadium.
For 13 years, I perfect my polka as member of the P.R.C.U.A. dance troupe. We travel the Midwest performing for crowds both big and small and even perform at the Illinois State Fair for former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar.
In 2001, I spend my fall semester “Living, Earning, and Learning” in the most magical place on Earth: Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I'm working in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom as part of the Walt Disney World College Program when terrorists attack the United States on September 11th, 2001. The parks close for only the second time in Disney history and many of my fellow interns leave the program and head home. I decide to stay, though, a decision I'll never regret.
In February 2013, I log into Facebook to see a notification for an upcoming reunion of my high school marching band. In the late 90's I was a member of the Color Guard of the award winning Marching Warriors. This isn't what catches my attention, though. It's a response from my old high school sweetheart, someone I haven't spoken to in 15 years, that does it. He's living in Las Vegas and unable to make the reunion. If anyone is ever in Sin City, he writes, and wants to catch up over drinks to let him know. In fortuitous timing, I'll be in Vegas for a work conference the next week. We agree to meet for dinner. As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
In April 2015, we’re married in front of 250 family, friends, and accompanied (of course) by a live Polka band.