By Dave Block ’93

Tracey Itterly lives in Plainfield Township (Pen Argyl), Pa., with her husband, Matt, and daughters, Justine (23), Jocelynn (18), and Jordyn (17). They have a son, Jacob (25), who is married to Ashley and has two children, Adalynn (4), and Dawson (3). Tracey started working at Lafayette in February 2009 as a receptionist in the Office of the Dean of the College, now known as the Office of Advising and Co-Curricular Programs.  After a year, she was promoted to secretary, and two years later (Feb 2012), she moved to the Office of Intercultural Development (OID) as office coordinator.

What are your main responsibilities?

I support my fabulous co-workers in OID, Gender & Sexuality Programs, International Student Support, and Religious & Spiritual Life. Typically my day consists of greeting Lafayette colleagues, students, and guests in the OID office in 107 Farinon.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really appreciate my work family.  Since we typically spend more time with our work family then we do with our real family, I am so thankful to work with such a great group of individuals.  I enjoy seeing all of our hard work come together at the end of each program. The added benefit of fabulous students constantly visiting and hanging out in the OID office space is a blessing.  Our friendly and fun office atmosphere makes it easy to come to work.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work?

I have been fortunate to work from home although it has presented new and unique challenges. With five people in my house and each on various electronic devices, the Wi-Fi is slow. I don’t have a private office space at home, so the kitchen table has become my workstation. I find myself packing and unpacking my work throughout the day to allow for family time at the table. I don’t feel as organized at home as I do at work. At work, there is a place for everything; filing cabinets, closets, desk organizers, etc. I know where everything is. I don’t have the room at home to keep everything within arm’s reach to make my job flow easier. I now find myself searching the computer for items I could glance at on my desk, which makes me feel less productive then I would at work.

What's been the most difficult part of it?

Social distancing. For someone who is a hugger, it has been very difficult to not give those hugs to those who need one. I know I’m way overdue to receive one.  For now, I guess air hugs will have to suffice.

What are you doing to keep your sanity while working remotely?

I like to paint. I repainted my daughter’s bedroom, I’m working on painting my interior stained trim work to white, freshened up my lawn ornaments, spray painted light fixtures, and plan to paint a shed just to name a few.

What, if any, unexpected positives have you seen during this time?

I find myself appreciating nature more. I would typically be on a non-stop run mode. When not at work, I’d be running my children to their various activities and on occasion would get a moment to enjoy the landscape at home. I guess you could say the stay-at-home order has truly forced me to stop and smell the roses.

How would you describe your gift for decorating?

I certainly wouldn’t say I am gifted in decorating. I do enjoy the seasonal changes and like to celebrate holidays. I decorate my house and then take whatever I don’t use to the office to decorate and share with Lafayette. I have enough Christmas decorations to decorate a whole other house.

What kind of decorating do you like to do?

When I was a teenager, I hosted a home interior party so I could earn credit to decorate my bedroom and fill my hope chest. My home interior design style is constantly changing, but I’d say I’m a country girl at heart and always lean towards the traditional farmhouse, rustic, and classic styles. I like comfy fabrics, neutral colors with warm earth tones. I love stained wood so it was a difficult decision to paint the woodwork white throughout my house, but I’m liking the fresh new coat of paint.

What's the secret to making a place look special?

For me, I think it is important as the seasons change outside that I decorate to reflect change inside. It forces me to do a deep clean of the house. As I take down and pack up the previous season, I can scrub, dust, vacuum, and reorganize before putting up the next season. My family will complain during this process of change because my house is turned upside down. However, there have been a few times when I didn’t get to decorate for a holiday, and they expressed their disappointment. When my oldest daughter went off to college she told me she expected the house decorated for fall when she returned home for fall break. And of course, it was.

What card games do you play?

Oh, I like playing cards. I play haus, which is like pinochle without the melds.  We also play Oh sh**, knock, and thirteen.

What do you enjoy about playing cards?

For the past three to four years until the quarantine, my husband and I played cards every Friday night with our daughters, parents, uncle, aunt, and cousin. We all bring snacks and drinks and play until all hours of the night, or should I say morning. We once started playing at 5 p.m. and didn’t end until 4 a.m.

Talk about your Las Vegas trips.

I don’t travel much. I get motion sickness, and I’m afraid of heights, which explains my fear of flying. I really have no idea how my husband and six of our closest friends convinced me to go to Vegas. What I do recall is the many delicious fruity drinks my friends served me prior to the limo picking our group up in the wee hour of the morning (like 3 a.m.) to take us to the airport. I feel it important to mention that I’m not a drinker; usually, one drink and I’m ready for a nap. Needless to say, I don’t recall much of the flight other than me crying as the plane taxied the runway.

When in Vegas, what is a girl who has a fear of heights, doesn’t gamble, and isn’t a drinker going to do? Sightseeing, of course!  First stop, Hoover Dam.  Uh, hello, I’m afraid of heights, remember? Yet again, they somehow convinced me to go. I will admit, it is a sight to see; however, unlike my friends, I was sure to stay a safe distance far from any ledge and refused to look over any wall that would remind me of how high up we were or how far down the drop was. Then, they thought they could convince me to walk across the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, but they were sadly mistaken. There is no way I am walking across a 1,900-foot-long bridge that is 890 feet above the Colorado River. Oh no, not me, not a chance!

On our first trip, in addition to visiting the dam, we familiarized ourselves with the strip. We saw a comedy show, visited the world-famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop of the Pawn Stars TV show, and had dinner at the Bellagio [casino] one night. After losing $20 in a matter of seconds, I refused to throw any of my money away and instead enjoyed watching my friends gamble. We all had so much fun that a few weeks after our return home from Vegas, we all booked our group travel arrangements to go again.

Our next visit was just as fun. Although I started to wonder if my friends were on some sort of mission to cure me of my acrophobia since they all decided on this trip we would visit the Grand Canyon. Hello, people! Seriously, the Grand Canyon?  Do you know there are no rails to prevent me from falling over a thousand feet to my death? Needless to say, their efforts did not cure me of my fear.

Tell a story about your time in Vegas that almost has to stay in Vegas, but you're going to be nice and share it anyway.

There are always stories that certainly fit “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” so I can’t share all of my stories, but I think I provided a response in the answer above.

What's a funny Lafayette story you’ve experienced?

One of my favorite colleagues, Janine [Care Block ’94, assistant director of intercultural development], heard this sound that sounded like an animal squeaking or chirping. She thought it sounded as if it was coming from her office wall. If there was an animal stuck in the wall, we had to save it. And what was it—a bird, bat, mouse or squirrel? It became an all-out office investigation, a search and rescue. Public safety was called. The officer could hear the sound from the opposite side of the wall in an adjacent office. To investigate a little further he climbed a ladder with a flashlight in hand and removed one of the suspended ceiling tiles. We all watched the officer with anticipation of discovering what the mysterious sound was within the wall. Unfortunately, he was unable to see anything. A few hours later, Ehrlich [Pest Control] arrived. The service tech professional stated that he had never heard such a sound and was unable to identify what was making such a noise. He thought it sounded a bit electronic and asked if there was a chance it was coming from a computer. Janine was sure it was in the wall but proceeded to check her computer. One by one she shut down programs, and lo and behold, she discovered her son had uploaded a school-learning app that was running in the background. Every so often, an owl would pop up and hoot a few times. I can’t tell you how hard we all laughed. I still find myself laughing when I think about it.

What did I miss about you?

I believe in one God, the Father almighty.

I’ve spent my whole life in Pen Argyl, Pa. I was raised on a farm, and so I guess you could say I’m an old-fashioned farm girl at heart.

I’ve been a Pennsylvania-licensed cosmetologist since 1994. My goal was to have a shop attached to my house so I could be home while raising my children; however, there were many variables that prevented this from happening. One is that I discovered that although I enjoyed doing hair and nails for my close friends and family, I was kind of grossed out doing it for some people I didn’t know. I once had to give a person a haircut who was allergic to soaps and shampoos.

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