Life in Babylon
by Theresa M. Santmann

"It's about time that God, my friend, pulls another rabbit out of the hat."

Theresa Patnode was born on a struggling dairy farm in northern New York State. Work and perseverance are learned early. After high school, dreaming of college, she took jobs in a restaurant, then a laundry, and finally at RCA as a clerk. At a party she met her future husband. A life of high-flying ups and breathtaking downs follows.

John (Jack) Santmann worked two jobs to support a wife and two children while pursuing a PhD in experimental psychology. Theresa cared for her home and family. But it gradually became apparent that Jack was growing physically weak. Lightening his schedule, he accepted a job as a human factors engineer and they moved to Long Island, but Jack's condition continued to deteriorate. Soon this job was no longer an option. Theresa discovered years after the fact that Jack had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.

Attempting to get Jack cured, keep the family together, and live on Jack's Social Security and Veterans Benefits, Theresa realized she must do more to secure their future. The couple began the long process granting them permission to create not one, but eventually two, adult care facilities, Little Flower Nursing Homes.

Adversity swirled around their business. Tension built between a woman emerging as an extraordinary entrepreneur and a man who wasn't willing to relinquish control over her. Still, Theresa showed the true picture of a strong, triumphant woman, a loving wife and caring mother, who rose to each occasion with humility.

In this memoir, the author offers a glimpse of the challenges, interspersed with daring escapades of her and her family, as well as the true pioneer spirit of a remarkable woman. Her story gives readers a lesson in how much anyone, especially women, can accomplish when they embrace a generous helping of a can-do attitude.

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