Our Family Had Big Dreams
From English Schoolgirl to Canadian Scientist, and Expanding Horizons in Retirement
Our Family Had Big Dreams is a multi-generational story about working towards goals while living and learning along the way. Written with honesty, humility, and humour, author Jennifer Murphy’s memoir starts with the story of her parents in England and their dreams, and then follows her life in Canada as a scientist in a field dominated by men. She reflects on how both journeys have also affected the next generation in her family.
Jenny’s inspirational story is about breaking traditional moulds and following one’s dreams in two different countries. Her story also provides an interesting insight into the hardships experienced in Britain after the Second World War, into lifestyles in England in the ’50’s and the “swinging ’60’s”, and the differences between cultures and educational systems in England and Canada. It is a story that also shines a light on attitudes towards women in the last 75 years. Jenny uniquely shares her latest adventure in life—returning to university in her seventies—as she continues her lifelong pursuit of knowledge and embracing whatever’s next.
Jennifer Murphy was born in England at the end of the Second World War and immigrated to Canada in 1976. While living in Ottawa, she raised two daughters as she pursued a career in a federal government department as a scientist in the Earth observation discipline of remote sensing. Today she lives in Ottawa along the Rideau River where she indulges her passion for rowing and kayaking while she pursues her third degree, a Bachelor of Humanities.
Our Family Had Big Dreams is Jennifer’s first book. Her motivation for writing it was to encourage young women to follow their own dreams in non-traditional disciplines. Jennifer’s parents provided encouragement and set their own examples through the hardships of the Second World War and subsequent decades. Her family helped create her beliefs that determination and perseverance are the most important characteristics for both young men and young women to accomplish their goals, wherever their dreams may lead.
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