I’ve been in the Keys for 30 years. I was pregnant when I came here, so I have a 30 year old son. He is an outstanding individual, just a great human being. I raised a good person and I’m proud of that.
I always thought the Keys were beautiful, and I had a friend with a houseboat down here. He offered to let me stay on it and pay him rent. I stayed there for a while and fell in love with the Keys and I’ve been here ever since.
The Keys have given me a lot of opportunities and I have been fortunate to have done a lot of things in this small area! That’s probably what has kept me here. Being able to think and work creatively and pull it off. For example, in the late 90’s I was working at a little radio station in Key Largo, but wasn’t very happy there. A friend owned a Mobil gas station and said, “Come work for me.” But, I didn’t want to always be just working, I wanted to be creative and have fun. So, I told her that I would work there, pump the gas, check oil, clean windshields, run the register back and forth... all while wearing roller skates. I would be a roller skating gas attendant. She loved it! It was a big hit and I had a lot of fun.
I also did promotional events on skates. I did the auto show. I’ve done some modeling. I remember I did a modeling shoot for the Manta Ray; as a matter of fact I’m on the box. On the application, I didn’t answer the question “Are you a good swimmer?” I just skipped it because I can’t swim at all. They never asked. Of course they put a life jacket on me, but with the Manta Ray, you’re in the water a lot. It goes up in the air, throws you off and the boat comes back and gets you. And all the while I’m just thinking that they have no idea I don’t know how to swim! If I had told them, I wouldn’t have gotten the job. And there I am on the box!
I spent 13 years with the Sheriff’s office as a reserve deputy. They are a great bunch of guys. I got further training in hostage negotiations, so I was on their team as the only female hostage negotiator. I also did crime scene investigation with the sheriff’s office as well as riding around with the deputies on their day to day calls. I’ve been with the volunteer fire department for about 16 years. While I’m not doing the active calls anymore, I’ve stayed on with the Upper Keys Honor Guard.
I have a funny story from back when I was active with the fire department. When the call goes out, everyone wants to get there as quickly as possible so you get to go on the truck. The truck only holds so many firefighters, and if you’re not there you don’t get to go. This one time I came running around the bend and the guys were on the truck and they were yelling at me to come on! And I slid, I kid you not, I slid like I was sliding into home plate, right up under the front of the fire truck. I was mortified! But, I got my gear and went on the truck.
I’ve done stand-up comedy and I love it. That’s a hoot, I can tell you! It is one time in life when it’s good to have an extra pair of underwear! It’s a scary thing to get up there, knowing you have to make everybody laugh at the same thing. And everybody is so diversified. It’s really something that I want to get into more. I write my own material, and that takes a lot of time. But, I love making people laugh. The world is so sad, and I just love it when people laugh.
I want to write a book. And now I’m doing artwork! I love to draw so I decided to try my hand at painting. Other than the huge mess it makes, I’m pleased with the outcome. It’s actually fairly good. There are so many art shows here in the Keys, I’m thinking of setting up a booth at an art show and trying to sell some of it.
I teach Sunday School currently at Coral Isles. I love kids. God is in my life, and I don’t mind saying it. He’s a big part of my life.
I’m happy to be married! I have a wonderful husband, Bill Bellian. He’s such a great guy. When he first called me for a date, I was so nervous. I had decided that I was happy by myself. So I didn’t go! But then the second time, I agreed to go but I met him at the place and I went packing heat. Maybe too many years with the sheriff’s office, or maybe I watch too many murder shows! But what a nice guy! He’s so consistent, in his love for me, in how he treats people. We are good for each other. I just bought us each a huge pair of clown shoes. We’re going to wear them! I’m a goof. Always have been. I was kicked out of kindergarten.
I think it’s important to be childlike. The saddest thing to me is to hear someone say they are too old for Christmas. Don’t lose that childlike magic of Christmas in your heart. I love the holidays. We keep our tree up year round. I think people should do something every day, so at the end of their days, they have a life. Don’t regret your life. So many say at the end of their life how they wish they had done this or that, well why not? It doesn’t have to be something big, do little things every day. Fill your life with memories. Treat people right. And love God.