Lacy Crider Holtzworth
The Wild Child: My Story
June 1962: Life began in a small Kentucky town, a wedding gift for college bound sweethearts. Dad quickly distinguished himself in the field of wildlife biology. With Mom’s coursework sidelined, she became his assistant. We spent my first decade collecting data for waterfowl conservation in complex wetland ecologies from the Canadian border to the Andean flood plains. I slept in pop-up campers and ate sardines and crackers in the back seat of a jeep with a Labrador retriever and siblings. I missed a few years of traditional schooling. Instead I learned Spanish, rode Gaucho ponies, and scouted for duck nest from the Florida Everglades to Argentine Pampas.
Domestic Struggles: In the 70’s we settled in a university town in northern Florida. Dad, enlightened by scientific findings, picked up his guitar and began a new life writing and singing environmental folklore. When he built us a home out of driftwood above a vast swampy lake, Mom moved to town and finished her degree. They both began new families. Soon I was the oldest of 8; resources were scarce. I had intrinsic knowledge in natural systems, honed observational skills, understood the value of aesthetic communications, and could sketch a convincing spacial perspective. This did nothing for me in high school, but showed promise for continuing my education; unfortunately, I severely lacked discipline and direction. I found those qualities in a boyfriend whose own hard knock story was survival thru self-motivation. I fell in love at 18.
Setting Course: In the 80’s with Tom at the helm, we loaded our pick up and set sail for Santa Cruz, California. He landed a job as an Engineer and I finished my degree in Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Davis. We married, and I began my career as a Park Planner for Santa Cruz County.
In the Groove: In the 90’s, I found my professional niche: working with sensitive natural resources along the Pacific coastline, and developing recreational opportunities for underserved populations in agricultural valleys. I traveled, drove convertibles, and sailed the Monterey Bay, until age 36 when my biological clock began to tick. Among my Kentucky lineage, real women were mothers, I had our first baby, and priorities changed.
Reproductive Fitness: The new millennium found us down the road, through the woods from grandpa in his driftwood house. We quit our jobs, liquidated everything and moved back to the wilds of Florida. At 40, I was pregnant and barefoot with our second child. Forfeiting a mortgage, we bought an old house trailer on 15 acres of brush and trouble. I spent the decade, nurturing that tin can into a home with a heart, that troubled land into a garden of delight, and with Tom raised 2 beautiful children into their teens, and still growing; steeped in creativity, and nature’s wonders.
Finding Balance: At 50, still following my instincts, I see my role changing from the dutiful mother to wizened mentor. It is my family, friends and my clients that I assist with finding balance: I try to help folks value and understand the wild and the domestic, the science and the arts. It is a life long endeavor to balance dreams with responsibility, as well as retrospection, and it is important to get started. In nature there is no excess, there is no waste, nature seeks a balance, and it is a constant adjustment.
Favorite Reads: Anything by Barbra Kingsolver; “Pattern Language”, by Christopher Alexander is my design bible.
Favorite music: I love it all, but tend towards folk… Tim O’Brian, Laurie Louis, and all the old stuff from Chuck Berry to Janis
Good for the Soul: Mentoring our youth, respecting our elders.
Good for the Body: Green Gardens and lots of Garden Greens.
Good for the Heart: Sunshine and sweat, then a long soak in salt water.
P.S. The dress was found in my stepfathers great aunts attic. It was given to me because…. I would wear it.