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Biography – Darby Rae


Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Darby says she didn’t appreciate the beauty and history of the North Shore until her family moved away from it. Growing up her father traveled for work, so her mother would often pack her two sisters and her in the station wagon (wood paneling and all) and hit the road. Sometimes they would visit family in New York for several days, other times they would take a day trip to the beach with another family. Most of the time, it was just the four of them touring historic places.

She remembers how her imagination soared when she saw the secret passages in the House of the Seven Gables or when they stood in the room of the Salem Witch House where the accused witches were tried and executed. ‘The horror of their persecution didn’t sink in,’ Darby says, ‘but the mystery of the past captivated me. I thought, maybe I’m a witch…maybe I have secret powers…and I would daydream what it would be like to fly, control time, read minds or snap my fingers and instantly be somewhere hundreds of miles away.’

At thirteen, her father took a new job and announced they were moving to Indiana. Geography not being her strength, she thought they were moving to India…camels, desert, and very unattractive clothing. Once that misconception was cleared away, she was still devastated to leave her friends, neighbors, cousins and grandparents on the East Coast.

Since emancipation at 13 wasn’t an option, she tearfully left her hometown of Peabody, Massachusetts and moved to Carmel, Indiana. As the moving van unloaded her furniture into her new home, two neighbor girls her age came to the door and introduced themselves… devastation over. She readily admits her attention deficit had benefits.

Her junior high and high school years were filled with the typical teen trauma and drama. She spent one summer rebelling against her curfew and earned the nickname, ‘Darby grounded’ from her best friend’s father. Her outward rebellion was short-lived and she learned stealth tactics to her mischief (since to date she hadn’t shown signs of possessing any super powers).

When it was time for college, instead of returning to the East Coast, she wanted to attend Ball State University (in Muncie, Indiana) and study in their school of business. Her first year, she was an Accounting major, but soon discovered there was way too much detail and math in that major! She switched her major to Marketing & Sales and was elated when she landed a (summer) sales job working with other college kids from around the US. She earned much more than the previous summers waitressing and lifeguarding, worked fewer hours, had weekends off, and was good at it. Sales would be her new chosen career path.

She worked for the same company for the next two summers and in 1986 went to California for a one-month assignment. She stayed for 4 years. Initially, the traffic and pace of life were daunting, but the gorgeous beaches, infinite entertainment options and men of Manhattan Beach motivated her to quickly acclimate. There was infinite life to experience: the mountains, the beaches, Hollywood, Palm Springs, Catalina Island, Mexico, and more. Her favorite place to take visiting friends and family (and to people watch) was Venice Beach. ‘Words cannot describe the ‘cultural experience’ and diversity of people who congregate there. It’s an indescribable place where none of the eccentrics and non-eccentrics fit in, and therefore we all fit in,’ Darby said.

In 1988, her pal, Suzanne and she made an extensive ‘bucket list’ and spent the next two years fulfilling it. During the week they were ordinary saleswomen, but on the weekend, they were adventure queens! While others were reading about adventure, they were experiencing it. They went cross-country skiing in Mammoth (a disaster they still laugh about); hiking with their dogs in the mountains (where they were confronted by a gang); spent a week on a working dude ranch (nearly stampeded by a mad bull and each gained 10 pounds on cowboy food), and spent close to a month in Greece (while the Greek government workers were on strike…no garbage pick up, spotty electricity, barely existent phone service). They never discovered the perfect vacation, and neither suggested making another list.

After a few years of soaking up the sand, sun and stimulation of California, Darby moved back to Indiana to be close to her family. She continues to reside in Indiana surrounded by family and her four children. She plans on spending the remainder of her life fulfilling her goal to leave a legacy of literature.