Carol Lee Benett
When I graduated from Cap I hoped to attend San Jose State to become an Interior Designer. That dream was short lived due to the fact that my mother didn't want me to attend a "Party" school and I couldn't afford to live on my own and pay for college. End result was a change in career paths but to what I didn't know at the time. In later years while living in Laos I did take an extension course in Interior Design and received a Certificate for taking and completing the course with high grades. Over the years I have used what I learned from the courses when decorating and designing our various homes. I have also used this knowledge in helping my friends and family decorate their homes.
After graduation from Capuchino I went south to attend school at Pasadena Nazarene College. I graduated from PC in 1964 with a degree in Education with a concentration on the field of Home Economics. I taught 7th, 8th and 9th graders for Sacramento City Schools for 4.5 years including summer school.
In 1969 Cliff accepted a job with USAID "United States Agency for International Development" which is the USG's foreign aid program. We moved to Nairobi, Kenya in 1969 and lived there for 4 years. Cliff's job was Regional so we were able to travel extensively throughout East Africa, (18 countries to be exact) before moving to Vientienne, Laos in January 1974 where we lived until May 1975 when the Laos Government "invited" us to leave their country. After the Fall of Vietnam and Cambodia, Laos was the next country to fall to the Communists.
After the fall of Laos, we lived and thrived in Bangkok, Thailand for 8 months when once again the host government asked Cliff's USG office to leave the country. At this time we moved to another new home in Manila, Phillippines where we lived for 2 and a half years before moving back to the U.S. We had three homes in 8 months (Laos, Thailand and the Phillippines) was definitely a hardship for our family but we survived it all together. We lived our next 20 years in Vienna, Virginia and raised our children there.
Once we were settled in Virginia and Carey entered the 6th grade I went back to work full-time for the Department of State in the office that at that time was known as the Office of Foreign Buildings. I began working on a computer development program, Real Property Management, which is now being used by all of our embassy and consulate offices around the world. Fortunately my position allowed me to travel overseas to install the software program and train the users to many USG offices around the world. One of my trips took me to Moscow, Russia. Cliff had retired from the USG by then and he went with me. While we were there he was offered a position with USAID and we made the decision to leave the US and take an assignment in Moscow. We lived there for three years (1998 to 2001) and enjoyed every moment of it, the work was OK too. If you ever have an opportunity to travel to Russia "Do Not Hesitate" you'll have a wonderful adventure.
We now live in the Town of St. James near Southport, NC. We had our home built there while we were living in Moscow and have enjoyed the community. We live 40 mins. South of Wilmington, NC and 1 hour north of Myrtle Beach, SC. If you are ever in our neighborhood stop by for a visit.
I've been married to my Best Friend Cliff for 45 years. I met Cliff at church camp when we were 16. We attended my Junior and Senior proms at Capuchino and we also attended each otherÕs All-Nite graduation parties, his was in Sacramento. After high school graduation we went our separate ways for our college years. We became engaged the summer I graduated from college in 1964 and married the following summer in San Bruno Church of the Nazarene, 17 July 1965 then lived in Rancho Cordova, CA for 5 years before moving overseas to Nairobi, Kenya in 1969. We have not lived in California since then but we do return to see family and friends as often as we can.
We have two children who were both born in Nairobi, Kenya. Gavin Lee is the oldest, 40 in December 2010. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1994. Currently he lives in San Diego and works in the computer engineering field. He is still single which is a shame because he is definitely a warm, wonderful, fun loving young man and would make any woman a wonderful husband. Our daughter Carey Lynne married Blake in July 1994 to Blake and has three children. The first, a girl named Morgan, is 14 and attends Battlefield High School in Haymarket, Virginia. Jake, our second grandchild, is 9, born on THE September 11, 2001 is now in 4th grade and loves playing football. Cole, the youngest, is 5 yrs. old. He was born on February 2nd, but is anything but a sleepy groundhog when it comes to getting up and getting on the move. He is clever and could even be President one of these days.
I enjoy life in general and am thankful for every day that I am given. I love to travel abroad and in the U.S. There is so much to see and so little time to see it all. I love to read, sew, quilt and knit so I guess you could count these things as interests AND hobbies. I also do volunteer work in my community and in the schools in our area of NC. Cliff is an extremely talented artist. Among his many talents are photography, Chinese Brush Painting, matting and framing photos and various pieces of art. He is also an avid reader and enjoys every moment of travel we can fit in to our lives.
Civic organizations include WomenÕs Service Club in St. James, NC; Alzheimer's Association; and I support Cancer Research
In my younger days we both enjoyed playing tennis and were really quite good at it. Once we moved back to the U.S. and the children became involved in sports and band activities we spent more time supporting those activities than we did play tennis for our enjoyment. Sound Familiar?!! For exercise we walk and ride bikes whenever time permits. We watch football, tennis and bike races in person and on TV. The Bennett's like dogs and we've had three dachshunds over the years but at this time we don't have any pets.
Five favorite movies of all time include Ben Hur; The Breakfast Club; Pretty Woman; Scent of a Woman; West Side Story (not very excited about the genre of movies today - too much murder and mayhem)
I attended Pasadena Nazarene College (now knows as Point Loma Nazarene University) from 1960-1964. I graduated with a BA in Education with a Major in Home Economics. I enjoyed my college experience and made many lasting friendships. I haven't taught full-time since we moved to Kenya in 1969. I attended Sacramento State for post graduate classes but did not pursue a Masters Degree.
I retired from the Department of State at the age of 62 and haven't looked back. My biggest problem when I retired was changing from a regular schedule to a "do as you wish when you want to do it" lifestyle. It was hard to get past the idea that I Had To Accomplish specific tasks each day. Cliff and I travel as often as we can. We have taken two three-month road trips here in the U.S. in the last 4 years, and we have traveled overseas to Italy, Austria, and Hungry in the last three years. Fun, Fun, FUN! we'll keep traveling until we can't do it anymore.