Allen was born Janet Fritzges on February 3rd, in Parkville, Maryland,
USA. The youngest of four children, she has two older brothers,
Rob and Don, plus had a brother who died in 2010, by the name of
David. Her father, Henry Robert Fritzges, Sr, known as Bob, was
a steelworker at the Bethlehem Steel plant in Baltimore. Her mother,
Eleanore Semerad Fritzges, worked for an insurance company for a
time, and later worked as a secretary.
Growing up in Parkville, times
were hard. When her parents scraped enough money together, Rachael
was allowed to take horseback riding lessons. This would vary from
week to week, depending on the finances. Her father often worked
several jobs at a time. She had a deep love for horses, which her
father shared with her, and they sometimes rode the trails together
at a local stable. When she wasn't able to ride, Rachael began
drawing horses, which eventually progressed into writing stories
about them. She completed her first fictional book about wild horses
when she was nine years old, and she still has it, although she's
never submitted it for publishing.
In the local catholic grammar
school, Rachael excelled in many of her studies. When annual national
tests were given out, she would often score at the college level
when she was still only 13 years old. When it came time to attend
a general public high school, she was allowed to sign up for Honor
courses at Loch Raven Senior High School and told she could graduate
a year early, if she so chose. She decided to remain the full
four years, in order to graduate with her friends.
Rachael's home life had been
a fairly normal one, her parents had a keen sense of humor, as did
her brothers, laughter flowed easily and often. However, as a child,
Rachael became introverted, which fueled her creative side. Artistic
and musical tendencies seemed to be in the genes. Rachael's mother
used to draw fashion designs, unbeknownst to the children until
her artwork was discovered after her death in 2010. Both parents
loved music, as did her brothers. Parkville was a rock 'n roll town,
thus Rachael still enjoys classic rock bands. Each brother took
up a musical instrument, with Rachael soon to follow in their footsteps.
After having a few flute lessons, her brother, David, obtained a
guitar for her during her teenage years. She eagerly began putting
all her poetry to music and creating songs. During high school,
she joined the choir, travelling with them up to New York City twice,
to perform at Radio City Music Hall and then Rockefeller Center.
Her group even sang with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra one evening.
Rachael was also very athletic as a teenager, having won a long
distance running contest, plus joining several softball teams (she
had two trophies from her winning years). She loved attending local
sports games, and being outdoors, often going horseback riding on
long, four hour trail rides through the local Loch Raven Reservoir.
In 1978, Rachael married her
first husband. The happiness of that first year was darkened by
the sudden death of her father, the day before Rachael's 20th birthday.
She then discovered there was a genetic heart condition which ran
through the family.
the early 1990's, Rachael suffered a strange two day virus, even
though she rarely was ever ill. Odd symptoms began to manifest during
one of the happiest times of her life, so she began to visit specialists
in the Rheumatology and Neurology departments of the famous Johns
Hopkins Hospital. It didn't take long for them to diagnose her with
a heart condition, tremors, chronic myofascial pain, dysautonomia
(malfunctioning autonomic nervous system), myalgic encephalomyelitis,
fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, Raynauds, orthostatic intolerance,
and chronically active Epstein Barr virus. Her USA doctor remarked
that she didn't know how Rachael made it through each day. Thus,
Rachael began a long study of herbs, diet, and nutrition supplements
to help her cope. She has never taken narcotics for pain, yet she
understands the need for others to do so, as she finds quality of
life to be very important for those who suffer. She has deep compassion
for anyone who is ill. In 2016, Rachael was also diagnosed
with two rare genetic connective tissue disorders: Beals syndrome
and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.
Rachael and her first husband
were together for 27 years until he decided to divorce her, due
to her illnesses making it difficult for her to go out and socialize
with others. She later obtained an annulment from the church.
During her healthier years, she had held a variety of jobs, which
included: data entry for an insurance company, an electronics inspector,
a tenant investigator, receptionist, trainer of new employees for
automatic data payroll processing, social coordinator for the local
Bar association, and executive assistant to a real estate president
who built shopping malls.
housebound more and more, her muscles seizing up, she began to write
her book "Velvet Hellion" as a way to pass the time. This
was her method of distracting herself from her pain and isolation.
She often says, "I'm the happiest when I'm creating."
She also returned to working on equine art, using colored pencils.
Music still played its role, too, as she continued to put songs
together and play her guitar when she was having one of her good
days. But the trauma of her divorce left her feeling gutted. Her
only option was online dating sites, where she met her second husband,
Tom Allen. Although he knew of Rachael's health conditions, he was
willing to take a gamble and bring her to England where he resided.
After many trips to America to visit her, Tom helped her plan the
final trip; she moved to the Berkshire county of England in 2008,
and they wed at St. Margaret's church.
2010, Rachael's mother and brother passed away. Her mother had been
her best friend while her brother had grown close to her during
the time she lived with both of them, prior to leaving the USA.
To honor the memory of her mother, Rachael asked musician Don Conoscenti
if she could sing his song, "The Other Side". He
agreed. The link to the tribute music video can be found on the
Music page on this website, along with various samples of Rachael's
Rachael is not on
benefits, thus she is hoping to gain her own income from the sale
of her book, Velvet Hellion, and possibly future art or music sales.
But doing artwork is a very long and painful process now for her.
She can only work on it for three hours at the most, then must spend
the next few days recovering. She also holds to her dream of one
day having her songs recorded professionally, but in the meantime
she is learning how to record at home. She's particularly fond of
cats, always having them throughout her life, and says it was difficult
to leave her last cat behind in Maryland with her mother when she
came to England. She hopes to one day afford a two bedroom house
so she will have enough space for a cat, as they bring her much
joy. If you feel inclined, you can write to her at: email@example.com
Please Note: Rachael does not open
file attachments or click on links in emails from people she does