11/13/47 - 11/06/03
Life since high school:
(March, 2002) I'm married (20 years now) -- Mike Giosso is my husband. I live in Hayward (Hayweird, if you live here long!). I'm currently unemployed, but living well on my severance package (from Lucent). I've been ultra high-tech for years, but thinking seriously now about just sewing for business women. I have one kid -- she'll be 30 in May (graduated from UCSC and is living in Cambridge with a Dr. of genetics...). My life is good -- a few years of craziness -- but all is pretty normal these days. I wish I weighed what I did in school, but I'm about twice that now... (must be a genetic thing!).
(September, 2003) I went to the Pescadero Arts and Fun Festival a few weeks ago and saw the Palm Reader. She looked at my palm and said, "You know, you're leading about five lives all at once." And you know, she's right. I could give you a bio about "my life" that my mom wouldn't recognize. And I could give you one that my clients and former work mates wouldn't recognize. And one my best friend would be surprised to hear. But I guess that's really true of everyone's life -- we have complex and complicated lives that are practically impossible to sum up. Mine's not all that special, but I'm generally entertained by it -- and I do have plenty of interesting stories to tell.
But just for fun, I'll do a short recap of the highlights.
1965-1971 Went to USF for a couple of years (finally returned in the 70's). Found the Haight just around the corner and realized I liked being a hippie much more than going to school. After hitchhiking across the country, I helped start up a little restaurant that is still on the corner of Haight and Masonic called the Psalms Café. In the process of starting up the restaurant, I became involved in the SF Food Conspiracy. I eventually became the treasurer, handling over a million in food stamps a year.
1972-1975 In '72 my lovely daughter was born. Her dad was a musician. He was the love of my life for a minute and a half, but we were always good friends. (He died in '96, with our daughter at his side.) After my daughter was born I went to live in a commune in Southern Oregon. It was a 200-acre parcel in Takilma, Oregon. I had a 10'x10' cabin with no electricity or running water. It was heaven on earth. One winter I got pretty sick and returned to the Bay Area to recoup and never returned. By then I had run out of savings and had to find a job. I moved back to Haight Street and worked downtown at Crown Zellerbach. Backpacked my kid from Muni bus to Muni bus to the babysitter's and home. It was OK for a while, but I needed more comfort! I moved to 45th Avenue with a couple of girl friends, bought a new Corolla and life was good.
1976-1982 In '76 I quit Zellerbach, moved to Marin County and went to work for my good friend, Jack Klein who owned Magic Mountain Tea Company. The business did incredibly well, since our good friend Andy Berliner (now owner of Amy's Frozen Foods) stepped in and promoted the teas in the super markets. Jack sold the business to Arrowhead Mills, and they sold it to Lipton Tea -- and I needed a job. I had been Jack's bookkeeper, and he referred me to another of our friends, Jimmy Rosen. Jimmy owned a little restaurant in San Anselmo called Fantastic Falafel. So I was Jimmy's bookkeeper (and did books for lots of other little health food companies). Jimmy turned his great recipe for Falafel mix into a huge business called Fantastic Foods. By the Fall of '77 Jimmy needed a dedicated bookkeeper, and I had decided to go to India for about 6 weeks, so I gave up that account. I spend 6 weeks in India and wished to make it an annual sojourn (which finally became a reality in 1995). When I returned, I decided to automate my business (I had about 130 accounts), so I bought my first multi-user S-100 bus computer with a dozen Soroc terminals and hired on a bunch of operators and had a data processing business. Before the third year was out, I'd bought out one of my competitors, the PC had been introduced, and I was pretty much bankrupt. I salvaged all I could by selling computers to clients with years of data already on board, and started training people on how to use computers and I started writing books on databases, networking protocols, etc.
1983-1992 In the throes of going bankrupt (just in numbers, not in court), I met my husband. I was selling all my belongings in a garage sale, and his mom moved in next door and parked her moving van across my driveway. We actually became friends and she bought lots of my things -- and Mike came and picked them up -- me with them. We were married a year later and I moved to Hayward. Oh my gosh, he had a shambles of a house on an acre of gorgeous land that was pitifully wasting away. After 5 years, the house was rebuilt, and 3 little rentals were built from the out buildings. Plus, we put in a pool and lots of nice amenities. I was so close to Silicon Valley, that I just happened to start getting high-tech writing contracts. We bought lots of Apple Computer stock and more rental properties. By '92 my daughter was in UCSC.
1993-now Lots of high-tech jobs later I got a job at Ascend Communications (where Cliff Rather was also working). After the Lucent acquisition and a roller coaster ride to the bottom of the heap, I was laid off in August of 2001 with a huge parachute. I decided to do what I've always loved doing -- make clothes, so I started a custom clothing business (which is still in start-up mode). The kid is doing well - living in SF, earning her living with a little web business. Mike is happily working at Bell Plumbing. Life is pretty good.
Note from Jean Barnhart - August, 2004: I am so sorry to have to tell you that our previous webmaster, Joyce Reed Giosso, has passed away. I will paste in below the message from her sister, Cathy, class of '64, in answer to a query from Lynn Staley Bendik, class of '64. I am so sad to hear this news. I am very happy to have had the blessing of a happy visit with Joyce at the last reunion in 2000. She seemed very healthy and happy at that time.
"Joyce passed away on Nov. 6, 2003 of complications due to ulcerative colitis. It was unexpected to me and to all of us--we couldn't believe it, because the doctors kept saying 'you don't die of ulcerative colitis,' but she did.
She had been sick about 10 weeks that we knew of, but it had actually been going on undiagnosed for about 2 years."
I am sure we all offer our deepest sympathies to Joyce's family and hope she is up there somewhere designing and sewing her sweet heart out (Joyce was a high fashion designer).