Born Leigh Isabella Merivale, in 1941 at the Winvale Estate, she was the only child of Holmes Randolph Merivale and Elizabeth Winston-Merivale of Akron. While not in boarding school eight months out of the year, she would go with her mother to buy and sell mares al over the world and breed them as well. She had been a little over five years old when she received her first colt to ride, groom and care for. A job she understood easily, and her enthusiasm was never ending. Horses became her life and now that she was older she craved to write about them, not only because it was a subject she knew well, but because writing was her
other first love. Exactly as her mother, she wrote daily in her journal, a written snap shot of life.
Being a popular straight ‘A’ pupil among the majority of students she became a leader in many school activities. They found her sense of humor refreshing and her calmness comforting. She was easy to talk to, always taking time out to listen to others’ problems or just being there for a crutch. She laughed or smiled when those students of jealousy played jokes on her, dumping water in her bed then putting a dry blanket over it.
By age fourteen her slender figure stood 5’6", just high enough to groom her mares without over extending herself, or maybe it’s that she held her posture erect all the time. Even when she walked, her shoulders squared with eyes straight ahead. She had a slow stride with hips that oscillated as if imitating a horse.
Her baggy work jeans were tucked into her black riding boots and her sweater hung loosely while she wore tight fitting leather gloves when riding the mares out in the 180 acres of land her family owned.
She wanted her mares to surpass that of her mothers, not that she begrudged her mother the chance of winning a ribbon, it’s just that she wanted to be the best. Three times a day the repetitious training of her horses was imperative for her to win.
The animals calmed when her soft monotone voice droned on while she groomed them. She relaxed when she revealed to them her dreams, worries, and disappointments in life. Untrustworthy of anyone except Ruth, her maid, she stuck to her horse whispers.
She pushed her long layered strawberry blonde hair away from her tiny pug nose which exposed her egg shell complexion accented by her long strawberry blonde eye lashes and eye brows. Now she grabbed a paper clip and fastened the front of her hair so her cornflower blue eyes could read what transpired on paper.
Her slim fingers moved briskly over the keys of her Underwood typewriter with ease. This was her senior year at boarding school and she was determined to finish the article about her black Arabian mares she bred and had been breeding since she was twelve.