By Susan K. Johnson
As soon as I talked with Susan on the telephone to make an appointment, I knew I was going to meet someone special, and when I rang the doorbell, I was greeted by an exciting and attractive woman who waved me into a colorful apartment decorated with her paintings, photographs and custom furniture on which she has painted Impressionist art scenes. Her apartment is a must-see!
Susan was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. At 18, she headed west to the University of Colorado in Boulder, graduating with an art major and a journalism minor. During the 60’s, she modeled and appeared in TV commercials in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In the 70’s, she broke into the TV broadcasting field at the NBC affiliate in San Diego, hosting a daily live talk show, “You’re On” — similar to the Phil Donahue show — interviewing famous people, such as Gerald Ford, Billy Graham, Maya Angelou and Ansel Adams. Next, on to a show at KRON-TV in San Francisco and then back to Los Angeles to co-anchor news at KTLA-TV. In the 80’s, a job took Susan to Aspen, CO, but that company folded quickly. “I found that I wanted to make a life in this charming mountain village,” she says, “so I picked up my paintbrush and started a new business I called Furniture As Art, where furniture and walls were my canvas.”
After an 18-year stint decorating furniture and feeling “burnt out,” theater caught her eye and she co-founded a resident theater company in Aspen called the Hudson Reed Ensemble, “producing and acting and wearing many hats” for six years.
“HAVE I GOT A STORY FOR YOU!” is a brochure about the latest career chapter in Susan’s life. She is a professional Story Reader, and if you go on her website, haveigotastory.com (which I did), you learn that she custom-designs a mélange of short stories, poems, passages and letters from, by and about famous or unconventional people to entertain at parties, fundraisers and other gatherings.
More recently, Susan has been living in Denver, but last winter she stayed on Lido Key, fell in love with Sarasota and its plethora of activities and culture and decided to move to Plymouth Harbor. She says she is thrilled to be a part of this vibrant community. Susan enjoys travel, tennis, bike riding and walking her little brown dog, Moki. She loves working with kids; “literacy is a passion over the years that I will continue here with students at Bay Haven School.”
We welcome Susan and look forward to her presenting a program of “Story Reads” to us as well as to seeing her art displays. Her creativity, charm and warmth are an asset to our community.