“Pretty soon I was able to think more clearly and remember things better.”
Marybeth isn’t just a survivor, although she’s every bit a survivor. She’s much more than that, she’s downright indomitable.
The particularly absorbing thing about this 70-year-old former teacher and cutting-edge educational consultant is that she has an amazingly forthright and occasionally entertaining way of recounting her life story, the good, the sad and the absolutely terrifying.
Now living comfortably with her daughter and son-in-law in a multi-generation house in Vancouver, Washington, Marybeth looks back with understandable pride on her career in education. Her work in classroom teaching and school administration led to positions with a then just emerging and now world famous high-tech company and an innovative learning products developer.
Marybeth’s rewarding life began taking some turns for the worse, first with a devastating car accident in 1992 in which she was nearly killed and ultimately forced into an early retirement and dependence on a walker. Her husband died in 2011, “so after 27 years of marriage I was a widow and it was quite a shocker to try to learn how to be on your own,” she says quietly before turning to the next shocker. “In 2015, when I turned 65, I found out that my identity had been stolen, and our entire retirement funding account had been broken into and cleaned out by hackers that were tracked to Romania but never caught and nothing was recovered.”
In 2016, Marybeth sold her house and moved out to California to be near her daughter and son. She settled in Paradise, which became the very center of hell just two years later. The Camp Fire, one of the most destructive wildfires in California history, engulfed the town of Paradise in November of 2018, killing 86 people, destroying 18,804 buildings, and causing more than 50,000 people to evacuate.
One of them was Marybeth whose home and all of its contents were burned to cinders. “It truly was like the end of the world,” she remembers, telling her horrifying story of the fire in an unflinchingly calm voice. She shares this about driving out of the inferno, “All of a sudden I’m coughing and choking, and the worst part was driving into those heat tunnels. 30-foot flames on both sides. And I just decided, you know, I’m just going to stay tough.”
So Marybeth stayed tough, survived and kept moving forward in her life, finally settling into her new home with her daughter and so-in-law in Vancouver, well out of Paradise.
She’s had to deal with the insurance claim on her now non-existent home and life belongings. Through all this, Marybeth has also faced, as many do with age, a memory that’s not quite as sharp or clear. She took the advice of a relative to try Prevagen to help her.
“So I started taking Prevagen in the fall of 2019 and pretty soon I was able to think more clearly and remember things better,” she says.
Which is a pretty good way to think of this unsinkable woman. She keeps her grip on the wheel and stays focused. And she survives.