Polio Survivor and Lifelong Dickens Lover

February 02, 2020

We asked ten-time Universe attendee Terri Leimbach of Sacramento, CA to tell us more about what draws her to Santa Cruz each summer. This Q&A is part of our new series highlighting members of the Dickens Project and Dickens Universe community.


What is your professional and/or personal background?

I have a master’s in Management and my most recent employment was with Fulton-El Camino Recreation and Park District Superintendent of Administration


How long have you been attending the Dickens Universe? 

I have attended 10 of the past 11 years


How did you discover Dickens Universe? 

Lynn Bartlett of my Sacramento book group discovered the Universe and brought it to our book group, asking if anyone was interested. I was!


What qualities of the Dickens Universe make you keep coming back?

The level of discussion, the community, the variety of activities, and the sense of being a fellow nerd.


What was your first impression of the Dickens Universe?

My first year I left after the week feeling exhilarated, as if my soul was so satisfied.


Explain your connection and interest in Charles Dickens:

I have loved Charles Dickens and other Victorian authors since I was in high school. Most people I know outside of the Universe have either never read Dickens or just don’t understand this interest I have. I find compatible friends here.


Do you have a favorite Dickens novel? 

Absolutely! I have loved Little Dorritt since I first read it at least 40 years ago and was thrilled that it was finally the subject of last year’s Universe.


What are some other hobbies or activities you enjoy? 

Well, I am an elected board member of the Cordova Recreation and Park District, the elected member of the Redevelopment Dissolution Oversight Board (RDAOB), and the appointed member of the Cordova Planning Advisory Council. I also love to read and exercise regularly at a local gym and the ‘Cardiac Wellness Program” at Sacramento State.


What are some of your favorite aspects of the Dickens Universe? 

I love the academic level discussion and lectures of the novel of the year. I love the opportunity to spend a week with others that also love Dickens, I always leave at the end of the week feeling like my soul has been fed.


*Is there anything else that you would like to share?

I am retired. I have lived my life as a Polio survivor that has lived the life I have chosen. I am a mother, a daughter, a grandmother, and a lover of reading. I feel whole when I attend the Universe.