top of page
  • Writer's pictureNancy Gene Giles

What a newly “repurposed” woman can do during a pandemic

Who saw the pandemic coming? Certainly not me! After turning ¾ of a century old last July, I decided that it was time for a change in my life. Who knew it would be so dramatic!

I was working for the past 12 years in the nonprofit arena and feeling like I could make a difference every day. I loved my boss who I had worked for and with for those 12 years. I planned to retire - no I prefer the word “repurpose!”

A party for my “repurposing” first, cruise over New Years, volunteer to support our event the end of February and then step away to work on a passionate project that I could never find the time to complete. I had not planned on being quarantined and being shut in my house.

About 8 years ago, I was invited to be on a speaker panel and the subject was career choices and opportunities for young women. There were 4 career women on the panel who had accomplished amazing things in their lives. There were about 300 female students attending. I walked in that day wondering what I could contribute. I have had such a variety of interesting careers but I thought that they would only be interesting to me and boring to others. That day I was shocked to learn that women did want to know about my unusual careers and my decisions to change when opportunities presented themselves.

That day the book was born. For the next 8 years I mulled it over, considered a possible title and bored everyone talking about my wanting to write even though I had never been confident about writing. I was traveling and involved in executive leadership and innovation for Evergreen Life Services social enterprise HEAVENDROPt.

Imagine my surprise when along came a pandemic where I was isolated for consecutive days in my home. So I decided that the Universe was telling me to WRITE the damn BOOK!

I started focusing on writing on March 14th and completed my first draft on June 9, 2020. I am so grateful for the time to write that the pandemic has afforded me. It has also been a way to avoid the news in our country to some extent. Since the book is about the 1960’s in law enforcement when I was a woman Deputy Sheriff, I found the daily news reflecting many of the issues that I was writing about. It was pretty creepy when use of force, racial riots, National Guard interventions and need for police reform surfaced. It was exactly what I was writing about in the book! The death of George Floyd put me into tears. Where had all the progress in police relations gone? Everything that was happening was suddenly relevant to my time as a deputy 50 years ago! Then as I was writing the chapter including the Kent State massacres, it was the 50th anniversary. The coincidence was inspirational and disturbing all at once.

The book talks about 1960’s racial issues, police training and improvement in crowd control. I am hoping that readers can see that more definitive action is need. Fifty years ago we said and tried to do all the things to promote change in Ohio. I was hoping that many women would read my book about my experiences in a male-dominated career. Maybe it would help them be flexible in their choices and follow their “gut” when analyzing their career opportunities. I wanted men and women to understand the history of the “me too” movement. Now the book has taken on so many more relevant issues that I did not see coming.

While finishing all the edits and additional steps and working through the book publishing process, I saw two books that were being published in 2020. I ordered early copies of them and was so surprised at the content being compatible with my story era and environment as they both are about Ohio during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Gratitude goes to the pandemic for helping me focus and make lemonade out of what could have been lemons. Writing the Accidental Deputy book while staying safe in my home has been a welcome diversion.

8 views0 comments


bottom of page