Marilyn Baker: The past 50 years

After graduation from Classical, I didn’t follow most of my classmates to college right away because of my family’s financial situation. Instead I took the two-year secretarial course at Katherine Gibbs School. Who knew that this occupation would eventually become obsolete?

After Gibbs I worked mostly as a secretary in Washington, D.C., mostly for the federal government. Through night classes at George Washington University, I earned a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology. In 1967 I left my “wonderful” job at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to return to college. This time, it was full time. In the language of that era, I was “doing my own thing”, getting the music training I had always wanted. Armed with a Bachelor of Music Education from Eastern Michigan University, I attempted a career as a public school music teacher in Michigan and Rhode Island. During that period I earned a M.A. in education with a concentration in music from the University of Rhode Island. Although my teaching ended long ago, my singing did not. It has included community theater, church and temple choirs, and solo programs, and continues to this day.

Deciding that I needed more suitable and stable employment, I became a civil servant for the state of Rhode Island. I served stints as a secretary for the R. I. Defense Civil Preparedness Agency and the R.I. Department of Transportation’s Maintenance Division, and as a social service case aide at the Dr. Joseph H. Ladd Center (now closed). For the last 12 years of my state career I was a medical claims examiner for the Temporary Disability Insurance (T. D. I.) program of the R. I. Department of Labor and Training.

In 1999 I made the best career move of my life: I retired!

As the saying goes, I don’t know how I used to find the time to work. I am busier than ever with travel, singing, occasional temporary work assignments (name it, I’ve probably done it) and assorted projects I can finally get to. For instance, I’ve sorted and put into albums my mother’s collection of photographs, creating a sort of pictorial family history; and delved a bit into family genealogy; and gone on educational vacations with Elderhostel. In August 2004 I was Bat Mitzvah, a milestone many adult women who, like myself, didn’t have the opportunity as teenagers, are undertaking now. Now that my parents and many of my close relatives are deceased, friends and surviving relatives are increasingly important as I age. I don’t look backwards, but rather, health and the world situation permitting, look forward to greater fulfillment in the future.


Some Memories Through the Years 

At Great Falls on the Potomac River, May 1959, during the Washington phase of my life.
I finally did it! I graduated from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., February 22, 1965.
Fall foliage along Kancamagus Highway, No. Conway, New Hampshire, October 3, 1998.
Debarking from “Norwegian Majesty”, St. George, Bermuda, June 9, 1999.

Modeling in fashion show at Fashion Bug, Warwick, RI, March 23, 2002.

Singing in talent show presented by Alliance Francaise de Providence at Columbus Theater, Providence, RI, April 24, 2004.