Eugenie Carmel Gazal is no stranger to work and struggle. In this brief video, she describes how her mother’s example inspired her to start a second career late in life.

I’ve always been a positive person and have tried to reinvent myself with each new experience in life, especially the difficult ones. My mother, Olga, who was widowed at forty-four with a family of girls, taught me the power of resilience and that gender was no barrier in achieving what we want in life. Born in 1890, Olga was a true-blue feminist and wanted her girls to be powerful, professional people. So instead of withdrawing from the world, which can happen following the loss of loved ones, through the encouragement of my children, I embarked on a new journey into the world. In 1987, at the age of twenty-four, my plucky daughter Julianne purchased a travel agency franchise. Within a year, I was her right-hand woman, having retrained as a travel agent. It was quite a departure from my training as a classical violinist, yet being a travel agent felt as naturally to me as performing in an orchestra. My family and I still chuckle about the fact that I was the only sixty-year-old student while my peers in the various travel courses were babes at only eighteen.

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DeathClearly my father understood his situation: he was dying and there was more pain to come. And yet here he was saying, as if he was letting us in on a secret, ‘All in all, we’re in pretty good shape.’ Was this just the medicine talking? The truth is that I had heard those words from him so many times, a frequent refrain through the years. I looked at my daughter and was deeply grateful she was there to hear this message of faith and hope and blessing from her grandfather.

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Earl Frost

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