Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, I spent my senior year of high school in West Germany as a Youth for Understanding exchange student from 1984-1985. Having attended the University of Minnesota for one year, I then lived in the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) for six months from 1986-1987 and Denmark for a few months thereafter. There I studied GDR politics, history, Russian and in Denmark attended classes at the University of Aarhus.

I partially funded my undergraduate education teaching German part-time, waitressing and working as a word processor in a bank. My Bachelor of Arts was in German, Russian, and history (three majors and a minor), so I then began graduate work in history in 1993.

In 1999 I started my business TC Swingin’ Hepcats, now known as Nostalgic Treasures. This was first inspired by my love of swing dance, specifically Lindy Hop, and later inspired by my love of animals as I extended beyond the smaller swing dance community. For years, I was able to significantly contribute to our family income, but in 2020 Amazon took over the rights to selling name-brand toys on its site, and so I lost about eighty percent of my income.

Having graduated in 2004 with my Ph.D. in History, I remained home as planned, to recover from the trauma my topic and my own life experiences had caused for me. I wrote encyclopedia articles, kept my business going and home-schooled my children for parts of their elementary years. In 2017 I discovered taiko and have been immersed in that ever since.

Chōchō! Beating with Perspective Taiko Biography

Wendy Gertjejanssen on ResearchGate