downtown White Plains, anyway, that was a trip. In fact, it’s an
interesting story I’ll tell you and you can leave this out (ha, yeah
right). 15 years later, when I was pregnant with my second daughter,
Jamie, we were still doing mechanicals by hand and I had a
96 page booklet come in for the YMCA. I had hired a freelancer to
cover for me, but when I came home, the freelancer didn’t show.
So, since I couldn’t do stairs because of having my tubes tied, and
the business was downstairs, I worked in my living room on the
mechanicals for the printer. We were on deadline. That’s what you
do when you have your own business. God, I’m always on deadline,
Jen: Oh, yes, don’t I know it. I cooked food for 200 people with
staples from a C-section and a nursing baby the day I got home
Jet: Ugh, see? The job has to get done. End of story. There is no
Jen: Now, wait. What was this business called?
Jet: Oh, this was called Type Images, Inc. It did very well until
desktop publishing came along. That destroyed everything. You
print shops began putting in their own “desktop” computers. They
learned how to do basic layout. The work was horrible. The bigger
ey. They started pulling back on sending
us jobs. I knew what was happening. A
lot of the typesetters invested hundreds of
thousands of dollars in newer equipment,
but they lost it all. They thought they
could keep going. It was the end of an era.
We closed that business. You know you go
through it. Then divorce.
Jen: What did you do after that?
Jet: I went to work for a woman’s
newspaper called Women Magazine in
Jen: What kind of things did it cover?
Jet: It was similar but not the same as
what we do.
Jen: Well, times are a little different now. A woman’s role is
much different now.
Jet: That’s right. That was the early 90s. So, I worked for them
for quite a number of years doing ad sales, but they loved me because
I knew layout. They were still doing things a little old school,
and would hire people with no experience, but they would leave it
up to the sales rep to design the ad.
Jen: What made you go from layout and design to sales?
Jet: Because I knew sales. I always did my own sales, I mean,
that is how I grew my typesetting business. Anyway, that paper
closed. I was going through a divorce and I needed a job. Jamie
was now about 5. Melanie was already in her early twenties. She
was out of the house and now I have this second child, no work,
so I went to work at an ad agency. They hired me because I still
had a couple of accounts that followed me. I was print brokering
part time because I still had accounts that I serviced, but it wasn’t
enough to support me. The ad agency was small, a father/daugh-
with their accounts because I knew the industry. I stayed with
them for ten years. I met Keith in Connecticut. I was sitting home,
lonely, depressed. Working for somebody else, which is very different
after having your own business after for all those years, and
all of a sudden that freedom is gone. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t doing
what I loved. One day my niece called me up and said, “Aunt
Jet, why don’t you come out and have coffee with us?” She nagged
me more than once. So, I went just to shut her up. I didn’t want to
go because it was night time, and you know I don’t like to go out
Jet: Jamie was still young, but she was with her father that
weekend, so I went out and I met Keith. After, we met for coffee
for weeks. We got to be the best of friends. I was in a dead end job,
working for a father/daughter team, small, and they didn’t have
any interest in growing. There was no place else to go in that job
and I was limited with my income and I wasn’t happy because I
wasn’t allowed to be a part of their creative process. I couldn’t go
out and sell. I was stuck. So hence, the move to Florida. Jamie was
older and by that time she went to live with her father in CT. We
co-parented very well, so we gave her the option to stay with her
father in Connecticut. I didn’t want to force her because she is like
me, hard-headed. I am down here still without her, but my older
daughter is here. She moved here just before Keith and I did in ‘04.
Keith and I weren’t married at this point, but we were together.
At this point Jet looks stops talking and looks at Jen. She leans
in and whispers.
Jet: I think I am really drunk. (note: she had not even had half a
glass of wine, at this point)
Jen, whispering: I like how you’re
whispering like someone is going to hear
Jet: You aren’t going to put this in, are
Jen: I think we might leave in the choice
parts. More than you would like, I bet. The
two break into laughter again.
Jen: I imagine Florida can be a gardener’s
delight. And, you are one hell of a gardener.
Jet: That was my tradeoff for the heat.
Leaving Connecticut was more of a “why
not?” I really needed a change. We pooled our resources and got a
house here together.
Jen: Of course.
Jet: Keith was my best friend, and I loved him.
Jen: So, once you came to Florida, did you immediately seek
work in this industry or did you still have that burning desire to
be an entrepreneur?
Jet: Well, one thing is, I hated not working. Coming to Florida
culture shock from Connecticut to here.
Jen: I bet.
Jet: There are still things here that I am not used to. It was an
adjustment. I was bored and looking for something to do and I
knew no one down here, other than my daughter, Mel, and Keith’s
mom, which is how we ended up in Zephyrhills. I found The Begonia
Society one Saturday. The advertised: “Come to a meeting
and you get a free plant”, that was all I needed. I went and was
hooked by what I saw. It was not the common begonias at the big
box stores, these were beautiful from all tropical areas. I became a
member right away and I have been a member ever since.
Jen: You’ve been a board member with them before, right?
Jet: I have almost always been on their board in one way or the
813.682.9364 MAY/JUNE 2019 • 7