An Uncommon Education
by Bettye Johnson
Living Free Press

"I have learned that life is a journey of discovery."

Bettye Johnson has led a remarkable life. Born in 1929, she grew-up in Texas against the backdrop of the Great Depression and World War II. Studying to become a librarian just wasn't that appealing to a young woman who dreamed of traveling around the world and soaking up all that life has to offer. The decision to interview for a clerical job with the Foreign Service put her dreams in motion.

In 1952, the State Department sent her to Paris as a code clerk, encoding and decoding secret messages. It was a heady time in Paris and the rest of the world. Europe was recovering from World War II as the Cold War began ramping up. Bettye decoded the message that informed the world Stalin had died. However, her work is only part of the story. Bettye took every opportunity to explore the sophisticated city of Paris, enjoying the clubs, fine dining, and incredible history. With holidays to Germany, Italy, London's famed landmarks, and Holland's tulip festival, she made her dream of traveling come true and learned more than she could have imagined.

Her memoir of these times is beautifully written. Bettye shares letters she wrote to her mother along with some lovely photographs to help tell her remarkable journey to becoming a sophisticated woman. It's an infectious read, with her enthusiasm for life shining throughout the pages. Readers can't help but feel the fascination and excitement Bettye must have felt as she lived and learned in one of the world's most vibrant cities.

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