Susan Smith Susie Smith Tracy at the 45th reunion

Susan Smith

Mailing Address:

     2123 Wedgewood Dr SE
     Olympia, WA 98501-3859

Phone:    360-701-4089
Susan Smith Tracy

Spouse:  Mike Tracy

After high school, I started out doing all the normal things -- graduating with a degree in Journalism from the University of Idaho (in 1968) and marrying my high school friend and sweetheart, Jack Porter. I still have the degree in journalism but the marriage was harder to retain. Before going our separate ways, Jack and I had a great life in the San Francisco Bay Area, spent some time in the Peace Corps (Southeast Asia) and became parents of two incredible girls, Jennifer (32) and Heather (26). (You can look at Jack's bio to view a picture that shows how lovely they are!)

Grandaughter Claire - 16 months
Grandaughter Claire - 16 months

Jennifer has just built a beautiful home in Renton. She teaches middle school (and that alone makes her a hero in my book) but mostly is the mom of a 16 month old daughter, Claire. (Jack is right -- our grandchild is definitely cuter than yours, and I am providing a picture to prove it!!) Being a grandmother is the most amazing thing; I love it. Heather is a registered nurse doing pediatric care in Santa Barbara, CA, and I am longing for the day she moves back to the Northwest. Both their husbands are great. Who could ask for anything more.

For six years, I worked in U.S. Senator Frank Church's north Idaho office, a job that really started the process of opening my eyes to the real world. After the divorce, I moved to Seattle, where I began a career as a lobbyist, a job I have largely loved for the past 24 years. I own a successful business (Northwest Advocates), where I lobby for a variety of clients. Most of my work is medically-related (doctors, ambulances, oral surgeons, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, and blood banks), but I also do work for the arts, airport mangers (Robb Parish is one of my clients!!), REI, public transportation and other projects off and on. In spite of what the press may convey, lobbying is a very honorable profession -- I don't sneak into legislative offices with bags of money, booze, or the like! But it is also very stressful and difficult.

Daughter Laura - age 18
Daughter Laura - age 18

I married a fellow lobbyist, Mike Tracy, and we moved from Seattle to Olympia, WA in 1988. We have a daughter, Laura, who is 18. She is a lovely young woman who had serious adolescent struggles. At 15, we sent her to an emotional growth boarding school in central Oregon, a heart-breaking but absolutely necessary decision. She graduated from that program after 18 months, and went on to attend Idyllwild Arts Academy near Palm Springs as a dance major. (She had been an extraordinarily talented dancer before she lost her way.) After a year there she returned home to complete her high school credits at the local community college. While her high school years broke my heart, the growth both she and I achieved as a result of her difficulties has served us well. She is continuing to take college credits and changes her mind daily about what direction she will go next. (You will see from her picture that she has the same "beautiful" genes that her sisters do, so don't give Jack too much credit for his lovely daughters!!!)

Besides my kids and my real job, I have developed a huge passion for creating art. I am most happy when I am surrounded by ink, paper, glue, rubber stamps, fibers, and beads. This addiction started out with a few corny rubber stamps about 15 years ago, and has emerged into a side business, where I sell cards, journals, and the like, and teach classes such as book-making and book-binding. Last year, with a long-time friend I opened a business in Lacey, WA called Art 'n Soul (partly so I could get a respectable discount on all the art supplies I was buying!). It's a good thing the business was started as a labor of love since I will definitely not be retiring anytime soon with its help, but it has been a great experience, and I have found that I really enjoy retail work (which is, perhaps, not very different than lobbying!).

Many wonderful things have happened to me over the years, but a Christmas time trip to Paris several years ago was perhaps one of the most significant highlights. At the time, Jennifer was teaching in Egypt and I didn't have a strong desire to spend Christmas in Cairo, so we "split the difference" and met in Paris. On that trip Jennifer became engaged (and did not return to Egypt), Heather desperately missed her significant other, and Laura became entranced by the City of Lights. For a whole lot of sort of odd reasons, the experience changed my life.

Many of you seem to be retiring or will be soon. I think I will be working for a significant number of additional years, and expect my life will take other interesting turns before it concludes.

I have few friends who look back on their high school years with fondness, but I loved those times. Reading the accounts of how you have lived your lives over the past 40 years makes me realize how far we have all come, but also how lucky we are to have begun together in such a great environment and time. I'm really looking forward to seeing you, even tho I no longer wear size 3.

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