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July 1, 2013

Jennifer Garcia - What I Learned from my Father

I was born Jennifer Forbes Arnone and took my husband’s name when we married twelve years ago, Jennifer Forbes Garcia. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince him to take my last name instead of me taking his. I like mine a lot better. I write under both names Jennifer Garcia and Forbes Arnone. Forbes was my fraternal grandmother’s maiden name and Arnone was my fraternal grandfather’s last name. I’m actually three-quarters Italian and one-quarter Scottish, and grew up in Boston until I was sixteen, when I moved to the Los Angeles area. 

I was born in the early seventies and grew up with my single mother after my parents divorced when I was three. My dad and I had such a strong relationship before he left and we maintained it while he was gone. So, from a very young age, I visited him in California every possible school vacation. 

My father taught me so much growing up. He was always a go-getter and an entrepreneur.  He was also a dreamer. Big plans and new ideas flooded his mind constantly and I’d be swept up in a new adventure during one of my visits. During those early years he lived in Northern California and at around eight years old, I’d go bike riding from Marin City over the Golden Gate Bridge, take the ferry to Angel Island and ride around there all day with the son of one of his girlfriends. 

Most girls would say they learned how to sew and cook from their mother’s but my mother is not the most domesticated person, when I was little she worked a lot. No, I learned how to do all of those things and many more from my father. 

As I said, my dad taught me many things: how to fish, how to gut a fish, how to sew, cook, clean, sand my thirteen foot Boston Whaler and get fiberglass stuck in my skin for days while it burned, and how to work hard. With all of his dreaming and adventures, he started an interior demolition business out of the trunk of his car for over twenty years. From a young age I did little jobs for him. 

First, I learned how to enter business cards into a computer system that created a digital phone book for him. Then I grew old enough to answer phones and file. The older I got the more responsibility I was given. Until I was sixteen and I began running crews for overnight weekend jobs. We gutted out almost all of the business buildings in downtown Los Angles, Century City, and high end stores in Beverly Hills. 

I’m not much of a dreamer like my dad, but I am ambitious and a go-getter. There has never been anything I wanted that I didn’t try to get. I am stubborn like my father and from a young age, as close as we are, we butted heads for years. But it all worked out because my logical side taught him to plan and think more clearly and he opened my creative side. Together, we are a force to be reckoned with. We currently own and run a Recycling and Scrap business in Long Beach and have survived the bad economy. 

My first real job was for a major airline and I was hired as a part-time administrative assistant. The high achiever that I am helped me make myself a valuable asset for the company and soon I was full-time. My ambition had me focusing on management and I worked for over two years learning every possible position I could to get the experience I needed to get the position I wanted. I interviewed for that position for a whole year. Every single job that opened, I was there interviewing. I never gave up even though I was told I wasn’t ready every single time. I heard, “No,” more times than I liked but I carried on. Finally, I did it and then I kept moving up. It was a wonderful feeling, working so hard for something and to have it finally pay off.  

My father’s determination to succeed in everything he did stuck with me and it gave me the confidence to follow all of my dreams. Even new ones that came late in life. At age thirty-nine, I decided I wanted to go to college for the first time to get a BA in English Literature. When I was forty-one, I decided I wanted to be a published author. I never hesitated once, I made a goal and went for it, ready for whatever life’s obstacle would try and stop me. Both things actually went well for me. My first ever manuscript entered was accepted and I graduated with an AA in Communications and am still working toward my BA. 

I learned to never give up. So, if you have a dream, go for it! Don’t let rejection stop you; allow it to help you get better. You’ll get there if you never quit.

About the book: Available July 2

Anela Alborn’s life is a lie. After growing up without the love of a father, her mother reveals his identity. Tragedy strikes and she sets off on an adventure that leads to more than she could ever imagine. Bumping into Christian Sivers distracts her from the real man of her dreams, her father. Will he live up to her dreams? And does she follow in her mother’s footsteps?
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