First of all, I want to let you know, I’m not who you think I am. Second, I have a sneaking suspicion that you aren’t who I think you are either. Third, I will tell you a little of who I am.
Today, I am Maria Webb, my name is short, easy to sign and fits neatly in a box. Today I am an entrepreneur, investor, volunteer, wife and mother with two young children, James and Amelia. I went to a good school and I have a nice life. I have been married to my husband Jim, for over 10 years. Jim served in the US Army for 22 years and now works for CBP. All of this fits neatly in a box, and that is how most people see when they first meet me. What most people do not know, is that I am a mother to a 25 year old daughter, Alexia, a mother in law to LaMarr, a grandmother to 2 very spicy grandchildren: LaNiyah and LaMarr, and Jim is my 3rd husband.
When I was born, my name was Maria Jewel Vanderpool. My last name was long and didn’t fit neatly in a box and neither have I most of my life. I was the first of four children and about 25th of over 60 grandchildren. Although my maiden name is Dutch, more than ½ of my father’s brothers and sisters are Hispanic. I lived 5 miles outside the rural village of Kingston, MI , where there are more cows than people, everyone knows you and many are related in some way to you. Today I live in a 4 bedroom home with my husband and 2 young children, we have 1 cat a quiet home with lots of privacy. Growing up, I lived on a small farm, where my family had gardens and raised pigs, cows, horses and rabbits. I lived in a small 2 bedroom house with my parents, grandparents, and a rotation of aunts, uncles, cousins and rescues. My grandmother was a Christian missionary and was always on a mission to help someone. This meant growing or raising food to feed all the people there, more than 20 on any given day, for dinner. It was anything but quiet and there was never any privacy. In the summer, I worked in the garden and in the greenhouse. Every day I helped clean the house and wash endless amounts of dishes. Today, I refuse to have a garden, have large animals or large dinner parties.
The school I attended was small and competitive, I was in the top of my class academically in High School and student council president. What most people don’t know is I didn’t finish school there. I moved to Port Huron in the summer after my junior year with my 1st husband and graduated from Jefferson Adult Education in Port Huron ahead of my class and 6 months pregnant. I started college right on time at St. Clair County Community College but dropped out after the 1st semester when I divorced my 1st husband. I went back to SC4 after my oldest daughter started kindergarten and I loved it. I did internships, work study and tutoring while there. I transferred from SC4 to Walsh College, one of the most reputable business colleges in Michigan, where I completed a bachelor and master’s degree in management. I have always been successful academically and have always enjoyed school. What most people do not know is that I no longer believe in the academic system hype that getting good grades and getting into a good college will equal a good job or a good life or that if you are not successful in school you will not be successful in life. Being focused on the goal of getting a degree saved me from giving up on myself and my future when I was homeless and living out of my car. However, it did not automatically lead me to a good job, many times I have worked 2 jobs or more, even with a college degree because local companies could not afford to pay for my degree. Being versatile has led me to careers in logistics, medical administration, teaching and real estate. Being tenacious has made me successful in life and being adventurous led me to traveling the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany and Pakistan.
You see, I am not who you think I am. I also think you aren’t who I think you are either. I hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit about me and I look forward to getting to know more of who you really are as well.