Real People Stories

My Other Life

UPDATED 07/21/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/21/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

JON BOONE
Special delivery: Good (spiny) things in small packages

UPS Delivery Man
Lizard Wizard

His two vocations, says Boone, "are both about being efficient, economic and having good time management and productivity." The folks on his UPS route can attest to his punctuality, but if it's productivity you're after, check out the 1,000 or so gecko lizards he keeps in a spare room in his five-bedroom house in Tulsa. "I think I've successfully bred more species of gecko than anyone," says Boone proudly. "I just have a knack for making them comfortable—it's all about emulating their natural environment." Boone, 38, a father of three, took the UPS job in 1988 while majoring in zoology at Oklahoma State. He never finished college, but uses his UPS salary to travel to places like Australia, Pakistan, Egypt and Paraguay to study and collect geckos. On a recent trip to South Africa, Boone may have discovered a new species. While his wife, Stacy, 30, loves the trips, she's less thrilled about the lodgers. "I admire his capabilities with them," she says diplomatically. So do experts in the field. Boone plans to write the definitive compendium of gecko species, including some so rare he has the only ones in captivity. When other researchers want to study those geckos, Boone gladly sends one along. Do they go UPS? You bet. "These animals are accustomed to living in burrows, so shipping boxes are more generous accommodations than what nature usually offers them," he says. "And I have an account with UPS."

GEORGE WAY
A collection worthy of the Earl of Sandwich

Supermarket Deli Man
Antiques Authority

Want pastrami? George Way is your man. Potato salad? George. A 400-year-old Flemish end table? George. Crammed into Way's one-bedroom Staten Island apartment, near the supermarket where he works the deli counter, is a trove of antiques to rival many museums'. In fact, 300 of his pieces are on display in a local museum, the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. "You see my apartment and can't imagine anything was taken out, can you?" says Way, 53, a self-taught expert on 16th-and 17th-century European antiques who is often consulted by Sotheby's. One of the items on view through July: the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth I bed he usually sleeps in. Way, says Paul Goldberg, Snug Harbor's CEO, is "supporting the community by letting us display his work." And by slicing the provolone nice and thin.

JILLIAN SHANEBROOK
Majoring in grammar and glamor on different continents

College Professor (in Brooklyn)
Cover Girl (in Asia)

Newly minted master's degree in hand, Shanebrook was taking a leisurely tour of Asia, paying her way by teaching English, when, during a 1994 stay in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, she became friends with a local designer and agreed to model her gowns. When the magazine Popular published one of the shots, Shanebrook suddenly had a career as one of Indonesia's most sought-after models. "I was just this geek," says Shanebrook, 34, who grew up near Schenectady, N.Y. "I was scared someone would realize in the States I was a nobody." It never happened. In 1996 Popular's readers voted her their top model. Home since '96, she teaches English at Brooklyn College for a quarter of what she made as a full-time model. Shanebrook, who is single, spends vacations modeling—but mainly for Asian magazines. In the U.S., she says, "I am so dime a dozen."

FRANK HATFIELD
Fright or flight? Either way, he's who you're gonna call

Federal Aviation Administration Executive
Ghostbuster

When Hatfield's secretary learned what her boss, the FAA's director of air traffic resource management, did on his day off, she had questions: "Does he suit up? Does he have a zap gun? What does he do with the ghosts?" The answers are: Yes; no; and "I say, 'Do not come home with me—my wife will kick my butt,' " says Hatfield, 51. Based in Northern Virginia, he joined the New York Ghost Chapter in 1998 to investigate supposedly haunted houses. "If there's ghostly activity in a room, it changes the electromagnetic field," Hatfield says. Does he believe in spooks? "I like the Bill Murray approach," says this Ghostbusters fan. "Have a sense of humor, and see what happens."

SONJA HENNING
Having a ball, in court—and on court

Labor Lawyer
WNBA Point Guard

When she started Duke University law school, Henning, who had helped win Stanford a 1990 NCAA women's basketball title, thought she had put her high-tops away for good. There were no women's pro basketball teams in the U.S., and besides, says Henning, 33, "My mind was set on becoming an attorney." She got her law degree and went to work for a Los Angeles firm, specializing in employment law. In 1996, urged on by a colleague, she tried out for the fledgling American Basketball League. She played two seasons before the ABL folded and later joined the WNBA. Drafted by the Houston Comets, Henning was a starter on the league's first championship team. In the off-season (September to May), she practiced law. Now playing for the Indiana Fever and an associate at a Portland, Ore., firm (as well as president of the players' union), Henning admits, "It's a struggle. Sometimes I don't remember what city I'm in." Plus, two careers don't leave much personal time: Engaged for eight years to writer Weston Miller, 33, she has yet to schedule a wedding. Miller isn't worried. "Sonja's very goal-oriented," he says. "She thinks of things she'd like to do and finds ways to do them."

Allison Adato
Reported by: Chad Love, Bob Meadows, Robin Reid and Joy Sewing

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