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Melissa Upp Nelson
“What a long, strange trip it’s been.”
I interspersed LFC with Connecticut College for Women and Dijon, France, resulting in on campus presence only sophomore and senior years. Three schools five times in four years - why should I think my life after college would be any less traditional?
I’ve survived three major careers – corporate editor, writer, photographer for five years, stock broker and investment banker for 15 years and Executive Director or consultant for several nonprofits (dealing with at risk youth, Cystic Fibrosis, gun violence, Mesa Verde Foundation, dyslexia, and Colorado rivers) for 24 years. I also interspersed two years as Colorado Finance Director for one of the political parties, finally retiring from paying jobs in 2014. During those professions I renovated or built 14 homes, bought and sold art internationally, rode my bike across Siberia with disabled athletes as the USSR was dissolving, lived on a converted mine sweeper in the south of France, took post graduate courses in diverse fields of study and travelled extensively.
I now live in Eagle County, Colorado, home of Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts, where I also taught skiing for several years and finally, in 2013, married the man I dated 21 years ago. I happily re-inherited his two children, the daughter now a veterinarian and the son in the oil business like his dad.
We commute weekly between Denver and the mountains where I am on several Boards including our fledgling Vail Valley Art Guild. I am now primarily an oil painter, have been in several shows and actually, to my surprise, have sold numerous paintings. Our mountain home backs to US Forest Service land where we hike/snowshoe daily with our dogs, successfully avoiding back yard coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, hunters and, as my dog thinks, the occasional attack deer. I still ski, hit the gym and bike thanks to replaced shoulders, knees and a fused neck. Someone said that my body (life?) is like a slow motion car wreck but, as we grow older and things seem to be speeding up, I am hoping it will slide into the finish line at high speed.