About

Photo by Doug Deacy
Photo by Doug Deacy

Wilma Counts spent her formative years in Dora, Oregon, a location Germans would call a “dorf” since it was not, at the time, large enough to qualify as even a village. This was in the age of “Leave it to Beaver”, though television reception was not available that far out in the boonies. She attended high school in Myrtle Point, a logging-farming town twenty miles away. Later, she attended what was then known as Oregon College of Education in Monmouth, Oregon (now Western Oregon State University).

Armed with a BS degree in secondary education, she taught English for six years in Oregon (Bend, Astoria, and Gresham). Then she joined the Department of Defense Dependents’ Schools (DoDDS) in which she taught English, world history, and U.S. Government to military dependents, first for one year at the Navy base in Guantanmo, Cuba, then on an Army base in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and finally on an Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany. During this time, she also earned a master’s degree in International Relations from Alabama’s Troy State University. With the troop drawdown in the ‘90s, she seized the opportunity to retire early and returned to the States.

During her stint with the DoDDS, Wilma taught all levels of high school English as well as social studies classes, but most of her work was with 12th grade students. She was English department chair for several years. She especially enjoyed working with students in Advanced Placement English and U.S. Government classes—as well as working with those in the Model United Nations program. For about ten years she traveled every January with groups of 20-30 students to the International MUN conference in The Hague, The Netherlands. She loved her students (almost all of them), but found grading papers to be pure drudgery. She was twice nominated by former students to be included among Who’s Who in American Teachers.

Model United Nations trips was not her only travel with groups of high school students, She also led study tours to England, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Italy, and Tunisia. An exchange program with a school in Ivanovo, Russia, led to two important developments: (1) a humanitarian aid project that ended with American military communities in Germany donating nearly 80 tons of clothing and foodstuff to Ivanovo two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and (2) the Russian school’s involvement with Model United Nations which has since expanded to include schools in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Wilma has also traveled widely on her own: England and Scotland; most of continental Europe; India and Pakistan; Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia; and just a touch of the Far East—Burma (as it was then called), Hong Kong, and South China. Lots of weekend getaways to France, Belgium, and Luxembourg and The Netherlands. Travel remains a keen interest, though largely of the armchair variety in recent years. She plans a return trip to Germany next year.

You can take the teacher out of the classroom—but not for long! Shortly after retiring from DoDDS, Wilma took a part-time position teaching classes in freshman English at Western Nevada College in Carson City, Nevada. At the same time, she realized a life-long dream of becoming a published writer. Eleven Regency novels and two novellas (all with Kensington) are closely linked to her love of Jane Austen’s work. In addition, she has a novel set in WWII, In Enemy Hands, born of her love of modern European history. She is among the contributors to the ALWAYS LOST exhibition (currently touring nationwide), a tribute to the sacrifices of men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today, Wilma devotes her time largely to writing and reading. She loves to cook, but hates cleaning house. She has never lost her interest in literature, history, and international relations. She spends a fair amount of time yelling at the TV. She maintains contact with many friends from each of those lives mentioned above. She is an active member of Lone Mountain Writers in Carson City.

She considers herself to be the second most computer illiterate person in the universe, but she loves hearing from friends, former students, and readers so CONTACT HER at wilmacounts@att.net.

 

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