Fort Smith High School
Sue McAlister

How does one summarize 45 years of life in such a short space? I have given this so much thought and it seems both overwhelming and irrelevant at the same time. But here goes:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the University … (with apologizes to Stephen Sondheim) After graduation I got a summer job at St. Lukes Lutheran Church in Ft. Smith as the church secretary to earn money for the coming year at the University of Arkansas from which I had received a scholarship. While working there I met a handsome soldier who was stationed at Camp Chaffee. He happened to be Lutheran and enjoyed spending his free time at the church being involved with the youth groups, as well as the several committees of the church. We got acquainted and like they say, the rest is history. We fell in love and were married in November of l958 – that’s right, almost 45 years together now. During that time, we have had some highs and some lows, like most people experience. First of all, after almost two years after our wedding, we were blessed with a son. Michael was born in 1960. We lived in Ft. Smith for a few years, but Lyle began to realize that he should return to the University of Minnesota and finish his engineering degree. We moved to St. Paul the following fall. In order to make ends meet, Lyle got a job with a trucking company and, once again leaving his degree in abeyance, worked there for 30 years. During those years we had three more children join our family; a second son Daniel, a daughter Julie, and lastly another son Eric.

My days were filled with working at being a mom and everything that goes with the title: running the house, taxi service to soccer, football, baseball, piano practice, band practice, ice skating and on and on. Whew! I don’t know how I ever got through those years. In 1971 we lost our only daughter. I can easily say that this was the worst time in our entire marriage. Nothing can compare to losing a child. I pray that no one reading this has ever had to experience such sorrow.

Our three sons grew up; all went to the University of Wisconsin, Stout and studied graphic arts management. They all showed signs of being budding artists and since we knew most artists starved and were only famous after death, we decided to direct them into the commercial side of art. Michael is now a Director with Carlson Companies, managing all brochures, literature, advertising production for Carlson holdings, such as Radisson Hotels, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, TGIFridays, etc. His brother, Eric, is making a very good living as a sale manager, selling film production commercials. Daniel decided art wasn’t his ‘thing’ and returned to college for another degree and is now employed by a law firm in Sacramento, CA., where he resides with his wife and two children. Eric has two daughters. Four grandchildren in all. All beautiful and, of course, the most intelligent of children.

When the kids were pretty much self-sufficient, and I had had enough of PTA meetings, Boy Scouts, and women’s clubs, I decided to once again head to college. This time I stuck with it and finished in 1982 with an economics major. After that I went to work for an investment company, first as office manager and later as a stockbroker/financial planner. While in school, I was co-author of a program for Financial Paraplanners. This program has just recently been awarded the rights to use “RP” as professional designation (as in Registered Paraplanner). Since I was instrumental in the idea, concept, and writing of this program, I was given the first “RP” designation. In l995 a large firm bought out our small brokerage firm. Since that time I have worked in the financial department of Carlson Companies. I retired last winter when commuting 40 miles a day in the ice and snow got to be too much for my nerves. Aw, that was wonderful and it lasted from February to June. It seems some of my colleagues at Carlson came up with an idea of producing an in-house credit card for all our employees throughout the world and they had me in mind to come back and run the program for them. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse (snow or no snow). So, I’m back on the merry-go-round once again. I’ll probably retire again someday, but not too soon. After Lyle retired from trucking, he stayed home for about six months and, being bored stiff, went to work for British Airways in their customer service department. It was our dream to retire and fly all over the world just for fun instead of work. It was a real shock to us to find out what traveling really costs if you don’t have your travel agent license!

I could list all the things I’ve done in these past years, but I’m listed in Who’s Who of American Women, so if you’re not bored by now, you can find the rest of the story there.

Thanks for the great memories of our high school years. I hope everyone is happy, healthy and prosperous and I look forward to meeting you all again.

Anna Sue "McAlister" Jacobson - 2003