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Snapshot: Jo Gamble

Occupation: I am the driver for Bus #24, for the Newtown schools. I get to go all over the place. I drive routes for the high school, Reed Intermediate School, and for Middle Gate School.

Family: I’ve been married to Jonathan for 20 years — quite an achievement when he keeps moving us. He’s an engineer with Enfield Technologies in Shelton. We’re both originally from England. We have a high school junior, Christopher, and our daughter, Pip, is a freshman at NHS.

Pets: No pets, because of traveling and moving houses so much. Although here, we have hundreds of bullfrogs and peepers, and I think we may have otters in the stream that runs near our property. When the stream is really high, we see them. They swim on their backs and play with their food, so they’re not beavers. It’s better than pets… except for the skunk I’d like to get rid of.

How long have you lived in Newtown? We’ve been here for three years now. Prior to that, we lived in the suburbs of Chicago. We first lived in Sarasota, Florida, when we came to America.

What do you like to do in your free time? I like to run. I do maybe 10 to 15 miles a week. I like to read and garden, and I’d like to get my little sailboat out on a lake. That’s my goal for this summer. I also sew — curtains, cushions, things for the house. I love to bake. That’s why we are a family of runners! Yesterday’s cookie was chocolate chip coffee mocha.

Do you have a favorite author? I am a bookworm, and I’ll read anything. C.J. Sansom is a historical author I like. He wrote a series about a hunchback lawyer during the Henry VIII era. Where I grew up, Henry VIII actually took over an Abbey, kicked the bishop out, and made it a country retreat. Historically, Sansom’s books are very accurate.

Do you have a favorite travel destination? It’s hard to say. Having lived on mainland Europe, we had so many opportunities. But I love the Alps in southern Germany. You can stand along the ridgeline and have one foot in Austria and one in Germany. But I’m also partial to a beach with the sunshine, and a little sailboat. The Island of Crete is my favorite, on the quiet side.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? Probably my grandmother, who was one of the first group of women to graduate from Birmingham with a degree in education. She built her own house, commissioned the building of her furniture, and paid for it all. She was in a coal mining town, and it wasn’t that normal for a woman in that day to be the breadwinner of the family. She showed us we could do anything and go anywhere. That’s how I ended up over here in America, at age 19.

Do you have a personal philosophy? The saying from Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung that is on the side of our bus: “Be nice to each other. It’s really all that matters.” I think that really sums it up. A little courtesy, a little kindness is huge.

Do you have a guilty pleasure? Chocolate. Dark chocolate is my favorite, with a good, strong cup of coffee.

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