Meet Gail Cushman
Is people-watching a lost art? Gail would give a resounding “No!” She can watch an event and turn it into a story, sometimes an adventure, sometimes a mellow description, but you can be sure it will be worth reading.
She is an Idaho girl, a widow, but recently has moved to Montana where she enjoys sunrises, sunsets, wild animals, and quiet days with her cowboy friend, Robert, AKA Cowboy Bob. She has two grown children and four teenaged grandchildren, two in Idaho and two in Alaska.
She writes a bi-weekly blog “Wrinkly Bits” on Facebook and gailcushman.com, about nothing she says, and her readers have compared her to Erma Bombeck, Seinfeld, Paul Harvey, O’Henry, and recently Ivan Doig, another Montana writer.
Small Town Girl from Idaho
Gail loves the small-town life and has lived in rural America all her life. She enjoys the quiet ambiance of living, knowing the postman, milkman, and meter reader. She was active in church and school, knowing a little bit about everything and made life-long friends in those venues.
She filled her summers with church camps and teaching kids to swim at the local pool. After-school jobs of waitressing and office tending for her father paid for college and gave her a strong work ethic that she still maintains today.
She enjoyed high school, liked college, but loved the Marine Corps and spent three years as a disbursing officer, paying young Marines as they headed home. It was a dream job. What 22-year-old female wouldn’t love having a couple hundred Marines lined up to see her several times a week?
Teacher & Principal
Along her journey, she picked up a teaching certificate and taught high school in her hometown of Emmett, Idaho, followed by a move to another rural town of Gooding, Idaho. She taught composition and whatever else the administration assigned her for nineteen years, then became a high school principal for another seven years, gaining merit status in each of those schools.
Prison- educator not resident
Gail saw a need for those who had left the public school system without completing their education and joined the Idaho Department of Correction as the Director of Education for the prison system. It was a rewarding position, handing out earned GEDs to those who had been left behind by the public schools. In the seven years she was there, about 3,500 prisoners received an education and earned their GED certificates. It was a different gig but rewarding…and had the added benefit of no dances or ball games to chaperone!
Traveler- following her grandmother!
After retirement in 2010, Gail and her late husband Tom wanted to travel, and travel they did, with twenty cruises, visiting all seven continents and over sixty countries. She says she’ll keep going until she’s seen them all. Gail likes to tell the story of her grandmother… Grandma J, who lived with their family for a few years. Every now and then, she would appear in the kitchen with her suitcase, packed and ready to go and say, “There’s a bus leaving later today, I might as well be on it,” and off she would go to visit one of her children or grandchildren. Gail feels the same way, “There’s a country I haven’t seen. I might as well see what it’s like.”
Between trips, Gail began to write and has penned ten books, with two more in the works. She says it keeps her mind active and out of trouble. Her writings cover subjects such as the hijinks of a merry band of seniors as they adventure on the high seas to a serious murder mystery series, still unpublished, the Breaking Barrier series. Her stories are easy reading and fast moving with excellent background. Her past of being a lady Marine during Vietnam, a high school principal in the Mountain west, the chief educator for the Idaho prison system and her extensive travel experience gives her plenty of fodder for her colorful tales.
She is co-authoring a book about online dating as a widow with Robert Mitchell. It is humorous yet takes a serious look at a very popular way for seniors to meet people.
The song “is that all there is” suggests that there is more to life than lying on my sofa with my bon bons, crossword puzzles, and blanket. When my husband of over fifty years passed away after several long years of illness, I decided to look for a little adventure, but what would it be? I decided to take a risk and look online and found interesting people who made great conversations and offered a wide range of possibilities. The sounds of silence that reverberated in my house disappeared and the new voices helped invigorate my mind, starting with smiles and moving into thunderous laughter with new friends.