Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page.
By Norma Jaeger
The seagulls came to the back yard. We didn’t live that close to the coast, Portland, about 80 miles inland. We had never had seagulls in the yard before, as best I recall. But there they were, drinking out of the bird bath, flapping around querulously, and generally making strident seagull noise, breaking the otherwise early Saturday morning quiet.
I had returned the night before from an intense, two-day job interview in Seattle. With the seagulls in the backyard, such gulls and their cries, being ubiquitous in Seattle, I knew I would be offered the job. Because I had become disenchanted with my job in Portland, I was pretty clear I would accept the job. What I did not know, but realistically what I should have considered, based on what I had always observed about government in Washington, was how the decision would ultimately turn out.
While I thought I was moving to Seattle, what was really going on was a short stop on my way home to Idaho – there, to an unclear future but one that became the best future of all – 22 years ago.
Birds, as ancient augurs, have always conveyed both positive and negative omens.
It takes time to sort it out.
Norma Jaeger spent more than thirty years managing and evaluating addiction and mental health programs in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. She developed programs for pregnant and postpartum women, children’s mental health programs, and several programs for individuals in the criminal justice system.
She was the Program Manager for offender programming at the Idaho Department of Correction for one year leaving to become the Statewide Coordinator for expansion and support to Idaho’s 70+ Drug, Mental Health, and Veterans’ Courts.
She served two terms on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, and received the Stanley M. Goldstein Hall of Fame Award from that association in 2018.
She taught for fifteen years at Boise State University in the Department of Criminal Justice.
She currently serves as Executive Director for Recovery Idaho, a statewide recovery community organization.
She holds a Masters’ Degree in Health Administration and is completing a dissertation for a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Boise State University, focused on procedural justice.
She is honored to serve as Executive Producer for “I Married the War,” a documentary film illuminating the stories of wives of combat veterans.
Believing that writing can be a meaningful pathway of support for recovery from mental health issues, addiction, and trauma, Norma organized “Poetry for Recovery and Writing for Recovery,” a successful online program.