Mary Kay Bullard was born Mary Kathryn Calabro, in Lead, South Dakota. Her parents were implants from completely different parts of the country. Gregory was from Fulton, New York, and came to the Black Hills of South Dakota on a wrestling scholarship. Tricia was an ex-nun with a teaching degree from Scott City, Kansas. Greg married the beautiful farmer’s daughter and raised his family in Lead, frequently bringing his two daughters back to Fulton, New York, so they could be around his family and Italian-American culture. These frequent visits “home” went on for many years, until Greg’s mother, Kathryn, died and the visits became less and less, and shorter and shorter.
Mary Kay is the oldest of two girls. She loved the visits to New York and would often protest quite profusely when it would come time to leave her beloved Grandma and Great Aunts. They told her she should be a lawyer, the way she could lay out an argument!
After graduating from Lead High School, Mary Kay followed her mother’s footsteps into the convent. But the convent kicked her out and she went to a technical college in Rapid City, South Dakota, focusing on getting started on that law degree her Grandma and Aunts wanted her to pursue. At the ripe old age of twenty she married Andrew Bullard, a nice, tall boy from El Paso, Texas, and approximately nine months later they had their only child together, Sean. Sean’s arrival put a temporary delay on Mary Kay’s education so she did not graduate with a pre-law degree until Sean was three. Mary Kay began seeking employment as a paralegal after her graduation and received many lovely rejection letters. The only yes came from the current director of the Deadwood Library in South Dakota.
Mary Kay worked many happy years at the Deadwood Library as a children’s librarian/event planner/ personal assistant, while raising Sean, who is truly a child raised in libraries. Andrew became a union pipefitter and traveled a lot, but tried to come home on weekends when he was working nearby.
Andrew’s closest nearby location was a small town in Eastern Montana called Colstrip. When the job of Director of the public library in Colstrip opened up, Andrew asked Mary Kay to apply. She did, she got it, and the small family moved to Colstrip.
Two years later, Andrew, Mary Kay and Sean started a relationship with Tia, Andrew’s daughter from a previous relationship. As they became closer, Tia visited more often and a major decision was made and Tia moved to Colstrip to live with them.
Mary Kay now lives in Colstrip, Montana, with her husband of seventeen years, two teenagers, and one, two year old dog. This is not the typical path to becoming a writer. But it’s a good one, and one full of great stories.