On Aug. 22, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan I emerged as the first and only child born to Beverly and Frank Ayer. By the time I started kindergarten I was a cute little towhead with curls that reached the middle of my back. My mother proudly dressed me in immaculately ironed fancy little dresses. However, growing up in a neighborhood of mostly boys, it didn’t take long before dresses became inappropriate attire as I was usually climbing trees, playing touch football in the street, catching bugs, shooting peas with a pea shooter and playing other games such as baseball and ice hockey. Instead of being inside the house helping Mom with the house cleaning or cooking, I would be outside helping Dad with the yard work, or in the alley hitting stones into a vacant field. To this day, cooking is not one of my strengths. In fact, among my friends, I’m known as the “nuclear cook” since nearly all of the food I prepare goes directly from the freezer to the microwave.