Background Information

Steve's background | Paul's background | Carrol's background

Therese Picadophoto of Therese&Steve

My name is Therese Marie Picado. I am the daughter of Helen and Amadeu Picado, whose families both originate from a small village in northern Portugal called Ilhavo. I was raised on Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, from age 4 1/2 to 16. Kwajalein is a 1/2-mile by 3 1/2-mile coral island in the central Pacific Ocean just north of the equator. The Kwajalein Atoll, or string of islands, is the largest in the world, but that sounds more impressive than it is! The nearest, larger land mass is Guam which is about 1,000 miles away, so "The Rock," as Kwajalein was endearingly referred to, is truly in the middle of nowhere. But what an amazing "middle of nowhere" it was. As I often relate to Peter and Paul, it was an idyllic upbringing. We were surrounded by an absolutely pristine lagoon and ocean, teeming with opportunities for scuba-diving, sailboating, motorboating, snorkeling, swimming, water-skiing, deep-sea fishing, and just about any other water sport you can think of. In fact, with year-round sunshine, there were sports of all kinds, and my friends and I would play racquetball, tennis, basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball, etc. for hours-on-end. Even the 85% humidity didn't deter us! There were no cars on the island, except those used for official purposes--I mean it WAS only a 1/2 mile by 3 1/2 miles. Who needs a car when you can dodge security on your bicycle when you forgot the mandatory flashlight at night or jump off Bunker Hill, the tallest mound (all of 10-15 feet) on this very flat island? Of course, I did boast that my mother was the only woman for a time who was authorized to drive a vehicle, related to her job!

In my junior year of high school, we moved back to the mainland--to southern California. I graduated from Bishop's Schools in San Diego and attended the University of California, Irvine, for a year and a quarter and then transferred to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in the middle of winter. After being raised in the tropics, it took me years for my body to recover from the shock of New England winters. Never-the-less, I lived in Rhode Island and then upstate Vermont for a few years until I migrated back to the west Coast. I lived in San Francisco for 8 years where I struggled to find my way professionally. I worked in biological research and as a medical assistant in a pediatric cardiology office, thinking I still wanted to go to medical school, then taught 6th grade in the inner city and ultimately got into non-profit PR, writing newsletters, and producing brochures and other public information. I later became the Director of Communications for MEND, Mothers Embracing Nuclear Disarmament, in San Diego. We organized exchanges of women and children between the U.S. and the then-Soviet Union. I had the opportunity to learn media relations in large metropolitan markets in San Diego and Washington D.C. It was during this time that I met my husband, Steve Curtis, who had just returned from Alaska after running the Sea Otter Rescue Center in Homer during the post-Exxon Valdez oil spill clean-up operations. After a stormy romance, we eventually reconnected in Alaska after one of his seasons fishing and guiding in a remote lodge on the Alaskan Peninsula, were married on Turnagain Arm in Alaska, and had our first child all in the span of a year! That was quite a landmark year and the whirlwind continues...

Three weeks after Peter was born, I began my masters program in International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. I studied non-violent grassroots movements across the globe as well as non-violent alternative conflict resolution strategies and their efficacy in local, national and international conflicts. I was particularly interested in the peace process in El Salvador which was facilitated by grassroots organizing as well as international mediation by the UN. My thesis project was on the Community Mediation Center in San Diego, and when we moved to Eugene, Oregon, in 1993 so that Steve could start his studies at the University of Oregon, I became a certified mediator through the local nonprofit, Community Mediation Services. I had my second child, Paul, in the middle of Steve's first year of school after a 30 year hiatus. Yes, it seems that all our undertakings are marked by tumult, but hey, why not live on the wild side?!!!

On the night of the Thurston High School shootings in May 1998 as Peter, Paul and I marched from the University of Oregon to downtown Eugene in the Take Back the Night action and stood in solidarity with hundreds of Eugeneans against violence of all kinds, I made an important pledge to my boys, who were 4 and 5 at the time. I promised I would do what I could to stop childhood violence by starting a mediation program in their school and teaching children from a young age how to solve their problems in creative, non-violent ways. As I began to talk to teachers and other parents, I realized that this dream could become a reality. That fall, I hooked up with another parent and community mediator, Betsy Ruth, and we trained our first cohort of mediators in spring 1999 and eventually developed our own curriculum. When I attended the Hague Appeal for Peace in the Netherlands in May 1999 as a representative of Peace Action, people from all over the world wanted to know more about this program called Seeds of Peace. Violence has permeated all societies, and it is our children who suffer most from this trauma. For the past six years, I have had the privilege to train generations of children, including my own two sons.

I have also had the privilege to earn my living as a public information specialist at Lane Community College and more recently City of Eugene Parks and Open Space. Please see the park's website I helped redesign, check out Eugene Outdoors!, the biannual publication I started and have edited for the past 3 1/2 years, and the logo I helped create, and learn more about the amazing and leading-edge programs and services of this division. I have been honored to work with an exceptionally talented and committed group and their friendship and camaraderie has enriched me in many ways. They and all of our friends from all corners of Eugene are a source of inspiration and encouragement to us as we embark on this adventure. Thank you for believing in us and supporting us in so many ways... 

Steve Curtis

My name is Steve Curtis. Sunny San Diego was the locale of my birth and childhood years. A majority of my childhood was played out in the suburban town of El Cajon. Now a town of 165,000+ population, "The Valley's" landscape consisted of grape fields, new housing developments and 18,000 people when my parents, Al and Carrol, moved there in 1959. Reflecting back on these times I can still visualize my brother Mike persuading our future family cat, Katze, with raw bacon, spending numerous days watering down everything in site at my grandparents house, being 8 years old and seeing baseball for the first time and saying to my dad "Can I play that game?", and having my training wheels removed from my bike and riding all over the Valley. This time also provided my first indoctrination to the outside world. We had a giant wall map of the world in our bedroom and each night my father would point out a country on the map and talk about the selected country until we could name all the countries and most of the capitals and major natural landmarks (In my High School freshman geography class geography I was able to name all but two countries correctly on a map. I transposed Togo and Benin in West Africa). Also, my parents took our family on three extensive automobile trips lasting three months each. One trip took us around the entire United States, another went coast to coast in Canada, and the last concentrated on the western states and provinces of Canada.

My pre-teen and teen years were filled with baseball, basketball, tennis, week long backpack trips, fishing, the beach, San Diego Padres and Charger games and numerous music concerts. I remember playing baseball and basketball everyday until the sun went down, watching my sister, Kathy, crush the softball at her games, hours spent playing competitive tennis, having season tickets to the Pads and witnessing the extraordinary years of "Air Coryell" and the Chargers led by ex-University of Oregon Duck great, Dan Fouts and spending all weekend at South Mission Beach hitting the waves. During this time, my life was heavily influenced by my next door neighbor, Dean Owens. Dean was our hero and a great athlete and person. We watched him battle Bill Walton in basketball and high jump 7'0'' in high school, but what I recall the most was all the time he spent playing sports with me and being my surrogate big brother. Also, at this time, my mom organized numerous week long backpack trips to the minarets and Desolation wilderness regions of the Sierra Nevadas, Zion National Park in Utah and to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to a place named Havasupi. After working for my father in the Ambulance and medical supply business, my brother and I decided to take a summers long expedition to Alaska in search of becoming a fishing guide.

My brother and I settled in Homer, Alaska for the summer. After working at the local cannery and relishing in Alaska's natural beauty all summer, we called our parents and told them we were staying. Alaska was the place where I became an adult. When I reflect back on those times I can hardly believe the opportunities and life I was able to live and the friends I had during this time. I remember spending the last of my money to buy a one-way airline ticket to Naknek in Bristol Bay for the "promise" of a fishing job the summer after I arrived in the land of the midnight sun. This led me to Port Moller and Bear lake on the Alaska peninsula. Over the next 7 years I worked as a commercial salmon deckhand for Warren Johnson and became a licensed wildlife guide for Warren's Bear Lake Lodge. My speciality was tracking the giant Brown Bear grizzlies of the Peninsula. These years transformed my life and perspective on life.  Fishing and guiding provided opportunities to travel during the winter months. In 1985, I took my first extensive trip outside the United States to the Yucatan Peninsula in southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Additionally, I was able to have an extend trip to southeast asia and witness the orangutans of Sumatra, the beaches of Thailand and the jungles of Malaysia. By now, you may realize that I love the natural outdoors and witnessing the wildlife that resides in these ecosystems. In early 1989, the day after returning from southeast Asia, the Exxon Valdez hit Bligh reef outside of Valdez, Alaska. For the next 7 months I worked for the Sea Otter rescue center in Valdez and the Sea Otter pre-release facility in Jackaloff Bay outside of Homer, Alaska. This was another one of those life transforming events I could spend hours in conversation.

With photos slides in hand, I went down to California to show whoever wanted to listen about my Valdez experience. I arrived in San Diego several months later to be the keynote speaker at a Girl Scout's luncheon to kick off their annual cookie sale. The Girl Scouts of San Diego had performed an emergency, week-long campaign to collect needed terry cloth towels to clean the Sea Otters and had them flown to Valdez by plane. While working on my presentation I noticed a beautiful women screaming at her computer. Yep... that woman was Therese. I remember thinking that lady has some serious energy and, after spending numerous months in the Alaska bush, I realized she had some serious, goodlooking legs as well. After dating in San Diego, I moved back to Alaska. We corresponded through the phone and mail and Therese came up for a visit to Bear Lake Lodge, before coming up for a whole summer. The summer turned into a year and we were married overlooking the confluence of Turnagin Arm and Cook Inlet outside of Anchorage. Soon our bundle of joy Peter arrived, then we were off to Notre Dame for Therese's graduate studies. After ND, we arrived in Eugene, Oregon for my studies in Planning, Public Policy and Management and Geography at the University of Oregon. During my sophomore year, Paul entered our family scene. After graduating I struggled looking for work in the Eugene area, but finally landed a job with Sony Disc Manufacturing as a Packaging Supervisor and later Planning Supervisor. In 2003, the plant closed and everyone was layed off. I grabbed the kids and headed south to the Grand Canyon, San Diego and Yosemite for a mini summer odyssey. Later in the summer, we picked up Therese and drove to southeast Alaska for remote camping on Prince of Wales Island and hanging out in Ketchikan. This 3 week trip confirmed my belief that Peter and Paul could handle the responsibilities of a longer, more difficult trip.

Peter Picado-Curtis

photo of  Peter


See Peter's page for background information about Peter, age 13.








Paul Picado-Curtis  photo of Paul

Hello, my name is Paul Picado-Curtis. I'm going around the world in the next year with my family. I would go to 6th grade at Spencer Butte Middle School if we weren't going on this trip but instead I'll be "home"-schooled by my mom. My interests in life are sports, playing with friends, being in the outdoors, watching sporting events, and being with my family and cats. Some of my favorite sports are basketball, soccer, baseball, running, and track & field. I just finished a soccer season. We, the Milkmen, came in 3rd place in the Memorial Day Tournament. I usually practice basketball every day in my own backyard, and I have taught myself a lot of skills and I'm pretty good and I base my basketball career on Chauncey Billups of the Pistons! You will see pictures of me doing all my interests in places around the world! It will be updated every 2-3 days! Go, Pistons and go, Chauncey Billups (see my shirt)! 

 Carrol Curtis

In the Beginning:

Greetings! I was born Carrol LeVonne Gerritson in the small town of Rock Valley, Iowa.

My father passed away when I was only three months old. My mother needed to support us, and I went to live with my father’s parents for a couple of years. Then my mother met and married John Wellong. We lived in Iowa for several years, and then we made the cross-country trek to San Diego, California.

We first moved to Linda Vista where I attended elementary school and won my first recognition as an artist when I was the finalist with my drawing of Jiminy Cricket. We moved to Lakeside where my father and uncle bought Wellong’s Poultry in Santee. We lived on the ranch until I graduated from Rosary High School. I remember hiding in the giant trees and shooting berries with our slingshots as the workers walked home after work. My uncle Nick finally caught us, and, needless-to-say, we got into big trouble!

For graduation I got my 1952 Chevrolet Convertible, and my parents will tell you that they saw very little of me after I had the car. This opened up the rest of San Diego to me, and my cousin, Barbara, and I really had a lot of fun on the weekends.

Career Adventures:

After graduation I worked for the telephone company. I was a long distance operator for a couple of years. I moved to Phoenix with a friend from high school and went to work in a hospital business office. After a couple of years we moved back to San Diego and I went to work for the Gas & Electric Company. During this time I met my former husband. My children Steven, Michael, & Kathryn were all born at Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, CA. After the children were grown, I went to work for the Girl Scouts in San Diego and worked as a Field Director, Camp Director, and ultimately, Assistant Fund Development Director before taking my first position as a CEO at councils in Indiana, Michigan, and Los Angeles. During this time I was always an active volunteer with my children’s youth organizations and later with special interest organizations of my choice.

I have always taken classes and workshops on many different topics. Just before I retired I attended a Stephen Covey workshop on developing a personal mission statement. After a week of working and discerning this process, I came up with this mission statement: “To live my life as an adventure” with family, God, & healthy living as a vital part of this adventure. Periodically I revisit this process and adapt this personal mission statement to reflect the next phase of my life.

Travel Adventures:

Steve told you about all of the travels that we did as a family throughout the U.S. and Canada.

A dear friend, Sue Eberle, and I worked with a great troop of girls from Juniors through Seniors in Girl Scouts. We had a backpacking troop that went on an over week-long trip every year. These trips challenged the girls and their leaders to develop independence and responsibility.

My first trip to Europe was about 25 years ago. I traveled with my parents and former husband to Holland for a five-week vacation. We stayed with family for a couple of weeks and the family took us to see the windmills, the cheese market, and the many galleries, along with downtown Amsterdam. Then we went on a road trip through Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland where we visited the Girl Scout National Center in Adelboden. We also visited my dad’s family in Luxembourg. They took us across the border into France and shared some wartime history. I returned three other times to visit family in Holland with my mom and sister, Betty. Sue and I also went on a tour bus and returned to many of the same countries and northern Italy. A few years ago Sue, Barbara, Elaine, and I went on a road trip to England, Wales, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, and Holland. I fell in love with Ireland; I enjoyed every minute I was in this enchanted country.

I spend two months during the summer in Eugene with Steve’s family. I always drive to enable me to enjoy the scenery along the way. I like to stop to visit national parks or areas of interest whenever I am able, even if it takes me out of the way. The bottom line is that I have a passion for traveling and experiencing life. This passion is particularly intense now, as I’m at a phase in my life where each moment is poignantly important to me and how I choose to spend my time is precious. I fully embrace all the blessings that this next adventure will hold!