"I started working for pay when I was 16 years old. My mom and dad broke up when I was young. It was my mom trying to raise us on a waitress's income, so we suffered some. My dad helped when he could. When I got old enough, I decided, 'You know, I'm going to have to help her.' I put schooling on hold and went to work. First though, I had to knock on a lot of doors around the city. I didn't care what they did as long as they would hire a kid with no experience. Whatever it was, I was there. I got plenty of NO's but finally, I got a few yes's. I found a job at McDonald's in Bell, but then I found another one at Der Wienerschnitzel in Huntington Park. So I worked both jobs. I even found another one for a while at the South Gate drive-in making pizzas. Ever since, I've always worked two jobs.
"A few years back I came out of a bad relationship. I told myself, 'I'm not going to date anymore. I'm just going to be single for the rest of my life.' I had been cheated on. It was just a bad situation all around. A little bit later, while I was teaching here at Downey Adult School, and I had a strict rule to never date a student, but here he comes. He spent from January to April in my class, one semester. We had talked a little bit, not much, but there was some things in common and definitely an attraction but more on a mental scale. All through the semester he would come, do his thing, and then go home. He never asked me out and I didn't pursue a deeper relationship. Then during the last week of class, it was going to be the last night he would be in my class, he came up to me and asked, 'Will you go out with me?'
"And we did. It was kind of cool. I'm a Christian and the relationship I was in before was bad. 'God wasn't in it' is the best way I can describe it. So, I prayed, 'God, I'm going to be single the rest of my life. But if you have a different plan, I have to know it's from you. He's going to have to be a Christian.' So, Shawn and I went out, I didn't know him that well, so I told him, 'OK, you have to meet me at a parking lot. You can't come to my house.' He thought that was kind of weird but I said, 'You have no idea what I've been through and until I know you, you're not going to know where I live.' So we went to Dave and Busters', shot pool and hung out. I kept my big purse at my side so he couldn't hold my hand. The cool thing was while we were driving in his car, he said, 'I want you to know right off the bat, I'm a Christian.' Nobody knew but me and God that that was one of my requirements. We've been married for a year and a half now and he always spoils me. I've got some good things planned for him this Valentine's Day."