Meet Our Writers – Jan Morgan-Swegle


Eric Mens

 Jan Morgan-Swegle Compass Point    I have been a Leland resident for almost 11 years. My husband, Tony, and I moved down here from Cleveland, Ohio, to enjoy better weather in retirement. We have three children and nine grandchildren. We also have a dog named Dixie, who runs the house and fully trained us in only a month. 

I missed working and my career after I retired, so I volunteered and was hired at Novant Hospital in the Emergency Room for five years. It was a rewarding experience that taught me a great deal.

I have always said I had an accidental career. I was widowed at 24 and had a 72-day old baby to support. I ended up in a clerk typist position in a bank. That translated to the lowest pay grade in the company. 

I loved my father dearly, but he did not believe in going to college, especially if you were a woman and had opportunities to get married. I ultimately realized that I would stay a clerk typist if I didn’t continue my education and develop my skills, so I enrolled in college when I was 30. 

College opened up so many doors in terms of exploring different aspects of learning. I never realized how much I enjoyed Renaissance art until I took several Art History classes. But writing was still my first love. I majored in Communications and minored in Business. 

Over time, my career did progress. I went from clerk typist to secretary to supervisor. From there, I leaped into management. I stayed in banking and then branched out to insurance and annuities. After working for Chase Manhattan Bank for several years, I finished my career at New York Life Insurance Company. 

I continued writing, getting my first piece published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer in the early ’80s. It was called, “Fired? No, Displaced.” In it, I talked about the trauma of being downsized and how I grew from the experience. 

My career was on track again, but I had less and less time to write. I did manage to get published in Blue Moon—A Magazine for Girls. I wrote a piece called “Dream Killer” that illustrated a discussion I had with my father many years before. I told him that I wanted to be a writer. He told me that being a writer wasn’t a real job and that I needed to be a secretary. He brought home an application from his place of employment. It was blue. I associated that application with blue-collar work – there’s nothing wrong with blue-collar jobs; it’s just not what I wanted for me. 

I also wrote for the West Geauga Courier and was again published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. However, it wasn’t until I found a copy of Cape Fear Voices at Bridgewater Wines, our favorite wine store, that I started to write consistently again. I wish I could tell my father that I am, indeed, a writer.

I can’t thank Gerald Decker and Eric Mens enough for developing Cape Fear Voices and Teen Scene; they have given me my dream back. 

And, I’m so glad my husband and I drink wine. It was meant to be!