Ann Doolan-Fox grew up in Dublin, Ireland, dreaming of learning foreign languages, traveling the world and ultimately making a life for herself in America.
By the time she turned 50, she'd fulfilled those goals - and then some. She was living in Colorado Springs with her husband, retired U.S. Air Force Capt. Jimmie Fox Jr., was raising a teenage son and, for a time, even ran a home-based school teaching Spanish to English-speaking children.
"Learning languages and traveling was great, but the best day was the day I got my citizenship," said Doolan-Fox, who became a U.S. citizen in September 1998.
In the running for "second best" is the day she completed "Celtic Road Home," a memoir about her childhood, international adventures and roundabout journey from Ireland to Colorado.
Doolan-Fox devotes a chapter to each pivotal pit stop along the way - cities such as London, Paris and Madrid. She also writes in depth about her early years, growing up the youngest of four kids in a working-class family, with a dad who passed down an innate gift for languages but disapproved of his kids' decisions to live abroad.
"The kindest thing he ever used to say to me was, 'My daughter the linguist. She speaks all these languages . ' and that was it. And it was great," said Doolan-Fox, who has returned to Ireland a handful of times, to visit family, since moving to the U.S. in 1993.
She dedicated the self-published book to her parents, Gerry and Angela Doolan, for "giving me the gift of life," and to her husband and now-21-year-old son, Ryan, for "making it complete."
"What I would like my obituary to say is, 'Just before she turned 55, she finally wrote this book that she'd wanted to do ever since her travelin' days,' " said Doolan-Fox, who hopes her experiences on the road, and as a first-time author, can help inspire others. "If I can do this, you can fulfill your dream, too. This is America; you've got no excuse."