Life got more rigorous when
my family moved to a small farm on 202nd Street, where we
raised Angus beef and a few pigs, thus the pig slaughtering
episode in my young-adult novel The Turning.
After graduating from Gresham
High School, I attended the University of Oregon in Eugene,
where I started out majoring in English literature. But I spent
my sophomore year in Pavia, Italy, a life-changing event,
as most study-abroad experiences turn out to be. Some of my
adventures abroad were fictionalized (with an occasional touch
of the Decameron) in my first novel, In
Medieval Pavia Duomo
(3rd largest cupola in Italy
University (my room
overlooked these towers)
Visconti Castle, Pavia
(all photos by Ron Terpening)
I switched from English
to Italian literature, and, after living
for six months in Mexico City, where my girlfriend, Vicki,
was attending the University of the Americas, I returned
to Eugene, married Vicki, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in
wife and I traveled abroad, then moved to Berkeley,
where I entered the graduate program in the Department
of Italian. I earned my Master's degree and Ph.D. from
Vicki and I lived in Florence,
Italy, for a year, while I wrote my dissertation. We lived
in an apartment overlooking the Loggia de' Pesci and the Antiquarian
Market, neither a major tourist attraction!
city in Italy depends on the season. In the late fall, I
prefer Venice, when the rain fractures the reflections of
the lights in the canals. But I've traveled throughout the
country from top to bottom, and there's not a village that
lacks its attractions.
Gondolieri, Venice Vicki,
After graduate school, I
taught for four years at Loyola University of Chicago's
Since then Vicki and I have
lived in Tucson, where I taught Italian at the University
of Arizona, until retiring early in 2008 after thirty years of teaching.
In 2016, we moved to Eugene, Oregon, where we live on a ranch of 18+ acres. We're now down to two horses and two dogs.
Take a look at the photo galleries for other scenic
here or next page for "My
life as a writer"