191 posts categorized "ElderBloggers"

Happy Birthday, Millie Garfield

91 Rocks

My oldest friend on the internet, Millie Garfield, is rockin' 91 years today. Well, her actual birthday is tomorrow, Thursday, but I publish on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays so we'll just have to celebrate for two days.

Millie began blogging in 2003, even before I started, and although she isn't doing as much of that lately, there is plenty of rich content to explore at her My Mom's Blog.

For a long time, Millie's son, Steve, produced two video series with Millie for her blog: I Can't Open It and Millie's Yiddish Class.

Here's a sample of I Can't Open It - which most of us old folks can relate to and it's is also a great example of Millie's infectious laugh:

And here is one of Millie's Yiddish videos:

Millie is still teaching Yiddish – now with fellow residents at Brooksby Village in Massachusetts where she has lived since 2012. To help you keep up, here's how to say Happy Birthday, Millie in Yiddish:

A Freilekhn Geburtsog, Matel.

Many of us, when we were kids, played Pin the Tail on the Donkey at our birthday parties. Last year on Millie's birthday here, we played an age game – adding up the number of all our years to see what our cumulative total is. Let's try it again this year.

Take Millie's years, 91. Add my years, 75, and we've got 166. Now, the next one of you, in the comments, should add your age to that, then the next of you add to that total and then the next and so on.

Of course, because more than one will comment at a time, the total will get all screwed up – but that's part of the fun at birthday parties, just being silly. Last year, the final count was 6,414. Let's see if we can outdo that this year.

So, Millie – know that I treasure our friendship, it is a privilege to know you and I wish you a rockin' great 91st birthday. Oh, and here are a few of your favorite flower – actually about a billion of them.

Sunflowers 12

Birthday greetings for Millie can also be left at her blog.


Elderblogger List Updated for 2015 – At Last


Little by little, this blog is getting a face lift. First, there were some overall design changes, the new banner, a bit of simplification and now this.

Some readers have been nagging me about it for quite awhile and I have now finally got around to updating the Elderblogger List. It has been nearly two years - 21 months to be exact - since the last one.

Last week, I spent some hours each day visiting every blog on the previous list. First, I was surprised at how few have been abandoned. That's the good news. The uncomfortable part is wondering what happened to those who have disappeared or not published in six months, a year and more.

Did they get bored and just stop? Did they pick up their marbles and move to another address without telling readers? Have they fallen too ill to keep up? Have they died?

In almost all cases there is no way to know, adding to the mysteries of life in general and the internet in particular. (I'll discuss this soon in a different post.)

There is one blog that is no longer published but remains on the updated list. Although we never met in person, Mort Reichek and I became internet friends in the earliest days of our blogs.

He was a former journalist, a brilliant thinker and writer who died in 2011, at age 87. I don't want his blog, and I don't want Mort, to disappear. So Octogenarian stays on the list.

In between updates, I keep a running list of elderblogs I discover during web travels along with others that readers have emailed asking me to include. It's been long enough since the last update that even a few of those have disappeared or no longer publish but in the end, there are about the same number of new blogs on this list as ones that have been deleted.

So here is the shiny, new, up-to-date list (for a short while, anyway). You can always find it by clicking the Elderblogger List link under the header, Features, in the right sidebar.

Below are links to the blogs that are being listed for the first time:

The Aging Generalist
Antonia's Senior Moments
Aunt Beulah
Bohemian Coffee Club
Cathy @ Still Waters
chuckysueslastdance
Clearing the Space
GrumbleSmiles
Here there be musing
Home Town Tales

I've Landed
Jane's Journals
Jane Stillwater's Web Log
Monk's Progress
Musings of a Retiring Person
The Next Chapter
SeasonedSistah2
The Slithy Tove
Still the Lucky Few
The Summerhouse Years

Tess Abroad
Things Could Be Worse
WFPB Guy
Writing to Myself

If you have a blog you want added (your own or someone else's), use the Contact link above the banner at the top of each page and send me the URL. A couple of things to remember:

The blog must be at least three months old
It must be a personal blog, not commercial, retail, etc.
It must be free of advertising
It should publish a new story, poem, photo, etc. at least once a week



It's a 90th Birthday Celebration

DarleneFlowers

Yep. That's right. Darlene Costner is 90 years old today and we're celebrating the beginning of her tenth decade.

Can you imagine?! And she's not the only one we will celebrate here this year (the next is a couple of months away) because it is a remarkable thing to get to 90 years on Earth and it cannot go by unsung.

Darlene Costner 87 years oldDarlene is one of my oldest (heh – in at least two ways) internet friends – years and years now. She lives in Tucson and I live in Oregon and neither of us gets out and about much but that doesn't mean I don't love her dearly.

We keep in touch via email about this and that and Darlene keeps us all well supplied with funny, cute, odd, wonderful and interesting items for Saturday's Interesting Stuff. In fact, that would be a much poorer feature of this blog without Darlene's input.

If you follow her comments here, you know she is a fierce political progressive and anyone who thinks we mellow in old age hasn't met Darlene.

But wait, this is a celebration, so first we need a cake. I think this will do.

DarlenesCakeB

Did you know, Darlene, that The New Yorker magazine was born the same year as you, 1925? In celebration earlier this year, the magazine's cover tried out nine different fashion styles on their mascot, Eustace Tilly, taking him from his earliest elegant incarnation into a new 21st century hipster look on a February cover.

NewYorker90cover

Every party needs some humor - birthdays most especially. American playwright Tennessee Williams, who was a 14 year old in 1925, published this little ditty, titled Kitchen Door Blues in 1946, about a 90-year-old.

Fred Carelli (I have no idea who he is) read the poem on Youtube. (Be patient with the music, the reading begins at :40 seconds in.) Here are the words for you to follow along:

My old lady died of a common cold.
She smoked cigars and was ninety years old.
She was thin as paper with the ribs of a kite,
And she flew out the kitchen door one night.

Now I'm no younger'n the old lady was,
When she lost gravitation, and I smoke cigars.
I feel sort of peaked, an' I look kinda pore,
So for God's sake, lock that kitchen door!

Fred_Carelli_-_Kitchen_Door_Blues

It's also a good idea, at a party, to have some singing. Eddie Cantor had a big hit in your birth year, Darlene, with If You Knew Susie. Now come on, everyone, I think we all know the words...

So big, happy birthday greetings, Darlene. I expect us all to be back here 10 years to the day for your 100th.


The In-Person Internet: Bill Thomas, Kavan Peterson and Me

When I started studying ageing 20 years ago, the popular press was concerned with advising readers how to hide indications of age like wrinkles and sags.

Almost all the more useful information was written by and for academics and little of that could be classified under the subtitle of this blog, “What it's really like to get old.”

Nevertheless I persevered, digging through the impenetrable jargon of the ageing industry professionals, making notes of what mainstream media ignored.

Not long after I started sorting those notes into the beginnngs of this blog, a breakthrough book on ageing appeared, What are Old People For?.

I was thrilled that the author spoke about ageing in a positive sense, that a professional in the field supported my belief that growing old couldn't possibly be as bad as everyone else made it out to be and is, in fact, fascinating, important and fulfilling.

The writer was/is a renowned geriatrician named Bill Thomas, a man who was revolutionizing the nursing home business with new ideas in elder living and caregiving called Green Houses and the Eden Alternative. (You can get an overview of those initiatives and more about Bill at Wikipedia.)

It wasn't long after the publication of What are Old People For? that Bill agreed to a two-part interview with me for TGB (you'll find it here) and for awhile Bill was able to find time to write TGB Geriatrician columns for this blog.

In doing all this and more, I have gotten to know Kavan Peterson who for most of these past ten years has been the producer and editor of Bill's website/blog, Changing Aging, and as things happen on the internet Kavan and Bill have become my friends.

INTERNET FRIENDS
Now I suspect long-time readers of Time Goes By may have had enough of my repeated reminders that the internet is, for elders, a modern miracle – not just for fun, information, knowledge and communication, but health too. As I frequently note:

”When we stop working, we lose the daily camaraderie of the workplace. Old friends and relatives die. Others move away. Over time the capability to get out and about easily may wane so our social lives shrink, often dramatically.”

And as new research studies tell us almost weekly, social isolation can lead to loneliness, depression and early death.

But for current elder generations, the internet arrived just in time to help alleviate that problem. I'm guessing but I don't think I'm far off to say that these days more than half my friends are people I've met on the internet and some of those are as close and dear to me as in-person friends of long standing.

It's a new kind of friendship, this long distance, email, Facebook, Instagram, Skype, texting sort that we have now. The media likes to make fun of how old people are confused about technology and don't know the first thing about it.

Maybe so, maybe they are right about our misunderstanding the nuances and undoubtedly they are right about most of us lagging behind on the latest cool apps.

But particularly given that we are not digital natives as everyone 25 and younger is, an amazing number of old people are using the latest gadgets.

Pew told us last year that among people 65 and older, 77 percent have cellphones and 59 percent use the internet.

Using all these new-fangled tools, it is amazing how deeply friendship can grow and flourish in the ether of cyberspace without us ever having met in person.

MEETING INTERNET FRIENDS IN PERSON
As much as I believe in the genuineness of internet friendship it is, without question, a substitute. I've met 30 or40 cyberfriends in person. Some of those were an enjoyable few hours and sometimes, as happens in “real life,” meeting face to face brought us closer than before, enhancing and strengthening our friendship.

It has been years that Bill and Kavan and I have talked of meeting in person. Last week, we finally had the opportunity.

Bill is currently on his Age of Disruption tour throughout the United States, described on the tour's website as an

”...incredible journey into a new and highly disruptive understanding of age and aging that has the power to inspire positive change for members of the audience and the communities in which they live.”

Last week, the tour arrived in Portland, Oregon, near my home. Bill and Kavan were able to make some time for the three of us to visit together for the first time in all these years.

It was the best moment of my week. Nah, that's not true. It was the highlight of my month. At least that. There's nothing like face-to-face time with special people you have come to care about as much as those you knew first in the flesh.

I hardly ever remember to take my cell phone anywhere with me, let alone a camera so thank god, Kavan had his cell phone and a “real” camera, too, to mark this event I had so looked forward to and on Sunday, Kavan posted this photo of Bill, me and him together to his Facebook page.

Bill Kavan Me20150521_370

It was an occasion I had anticipated many times and it felt like we had always done this together – sitting and talking and letting the conversation wander around. You know, the way it should be with people who are old and comfortable friends.

Isn't it the best, how internet friendships can blossom.


2014 Elderblog Update

A long, long time ago when I went along with the American cultural meme to indulge in New Years resolutions, I failed at them. Always. Every time. It took awhile but I eventually stopped doing it so that there were fewer things to feel guilty about.

Nevertheless, more than other singular days that pop up through our 12 months, this time of year does feel like a time for new beginnings of some kind.

There is a variety of stuff about this blog I would like to change, fix or improve. I have an actual written to-do list for which I never seem to find time.

One of the perennial items is upkeep of the Elderbloggers List – my substitute for what other bloggers call their blogroll - other people's blogs they like and link to. My blogroll is much longer that most, hundreds of them, and the catch is that the writers must be at least 50 years old.

So to assuage some of my guilt at not doing enough blog housekeeping, I made time over the holidays to update the Elderbloggers List. It had been 10 months since I last cleaned out abandoned blogs and added news one I know about.

Even though months go by between updates, I am surprised every time at how many blogs are abandoned without notice. They either disappear from the internet entirely or lack updates for a long time without any explanation.

Are these people dead, I wonder? Or do they have something else to do with their time? No way to know.

The other side of that coin is that over time, I collect “new” elderblogs – those I discover on my own or readers tell me about. In no way is this list complete. There are thousands - maybe tens of thousands - of blogs written by old people. These are just the ones I know about.

The full Elderbloggers List is here and is always available from the left sidebar of every page.

Here is a list of elderblogs that are new to this update. Undoubtedly, I've missed some – either in the list below or having overlooked adding them at all. Sorry – it happens.

Adele Horin Coming of Age
Alf Grumble
Apart From My Art
Betsy, A Baby Boomer
DkZody's Weblog
Domeocracy
ElderSparks
Fifty2Ninety
Frieda B.
Geezer Music Club
High Fashion Average Woman
Humorzo
I am not a wizard
The Misadventures of Widowhood
Old Age and Villainy
Old Ain't Dead
Pats Posts
Soooo Many Years
Something
Welcome Words


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Arlene Corwin: The Very Same Problems


Rest in Peace Roy Leitz

Many of you who read TGB's companion blog, The Elder Storytelling Place, will certainly know Nancy Leitz, one of the best storytellers we have at that blog. She has been missing from the mix for the past several months after her husband, Roy, became seriously ill last fall.

I am so sorry to report that Roy died quietly at home on Wednesday. As Nancy explained in an email to friends:

”Roy passed away this morning a little after 10:00 A.M. He was not responding to either the Hospice nurse or the aide and both came to tell me that.

“I had just been talking to him a few minutes before so I thought they must be mistaken. I said, 'Oh, he will respond to me.' I went to his bedside and gently put my hand on his shoulder and called his name. He sighed one big sigh and passed away.

“The hospice nurse told me that she thought that he was just waiting for me to be at his side before he went away forever.”

As anyone who has read Nancy's stories through the years knows, Nancy and Roy have spent a lifetime – a wonderful, happy, laugh-filled lifetime - in one another's daily company. Nancy's email continues:

“We were together for 67 years. We met in High School when I was 16 and he was 17. That was in 1946. We married 4 years later in 1950. I will always be grateful to have had such a wonderful husband who was also the best Dad in the World to our children.”

There is no doubt about that. Nancy's stories are almost entirely about her family, extended family and their many domestic adventures through the decades. And what any reader quickly learns in reading them is that there would always be a perfect surprise laugh in the last sentence.

I feel - and I'm sure Nancy's other readers do too - that through those stories, I came to know Roy as well as Nancy.

I don't think I'm giving away anything about Nancy's stories to tell you that I once asked via email if the quoted punchlines – from herself or one of the kids or Roy – was maybe, um – embelleshed a little in hindsight? You know, just for effect?

And in response she allowed as how – in that way she has always has of putting a smile into the written word – that yes, that might be true now and then.

I've never met Nancy in person. We've never even spoken on the telephone. But as happens with blogs and comments and online stuff, she is my friend. And my heart breaks for her this week.

If it is that you happen not to have read Nancy's stories, there are, beginning here, links to the more than 50 she has contributed. Take a look. They will delight and entertain you and help you understand what a special life these two terrific people have shared. And you'll laugh a lot too.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dan Gogerty: Skatin' Along in the Hog Barn


The 2013 Time Goes By Elderblogger Survey

2013 TGB Survey Banner

Five years ago – nearly to the day – the TGB Elderblogger Survey was posted. It was an unscientific but interesting look at who we are, we who spend time at this blog.

(If you are interested, you can see graphs of the results from 2008 beginning on this page.)

Now that five years have passed, it would be good to have an update. As then, the goal is to find out what elderbloggers are like, how we may be similar and how we are different, how we relate to technology, how we came to be bloggers and blog readers, how we feel about it and what our demographics are.

[NOTA BENE: This survey is for elderbloggers and elder blog readers who do not keep blogs themselves. Readers and commenters are as important as bloggers to the community and help equally to make it as lively and compelling as it is.]

Many of the questions in this survey are the same as in 2008, but I have removed others that seem redundant or not useful and added some new ones. I learned a lot about conducting surveys when I did this five years ago and vowed then that I would not make the same mistakes next time.

Well, I didn't make notes and I have no memory of what those mistakes were so I'm probably making them all over again. That's just how it rolls sometimes.

This is a long survey – 75 questions. However, all but one are multiple choice and I think you can get through it in about 10 or 15 minutes.

I wish I could give you the option to stop partway through and return to finish later but that feature costs dramatically more money than I can spend on the service - which is Questionpro and works quite nicely.

The survey, which is open to people 50 and older, will remain available for a week, until midnight Pacific time on Wednesday 17 April. Then it will take me awhile to sort through the answers and make them attractive for presentation before I post the results.

That badge at the top of this page will appear there each day as a reminder until the survey is closed. If you want to post it on your blog, you are welcome to copy it and link directly to the survey. The more the merrier. To do that, you will need this link: http://TGBsurvey2013.questionpro.com

You can click on that now (or the banner above) to begin the survey.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Arlene Corwin: To the Doctor Who Examines Me


New Elderblog List

Aside from personal R&R, my goals for last week's hiatus from daily blogging were to finish the updated elderblog list and make some back end changes to Time Goes By.

There is success and there is failure, the latter due to the length of time since I've done serious work with html and css resulting in a re-learning curve that mostly frustrated me last week. So I read a couple of books instead.

The only changes you'll notice right now are a new headline font and more effective subheads which will appear most often in Saturdays' Interesting Stuff posts. I'll have another go at the design changes I want when I feel less frustrated.

The success from last week is the newly updated Elderblog list. Before I get to that I want to reiterate my oft-repeated belief that blogging is a near perfect pastime for elders.

It is solitary in the need to sit quietly as we think and write – never a bad thing to take time for a closer look. It is also social in that blogging expands our circle of acquaintances and friends worldwide and, important, it cannot help but keep our minds active and exercised.

Plus, at a time in life when we no longer have the daily camaraderie of the workplace, may not drive any longer or, perhaps, are not as mobile generally as we once were, let's give a shout out to whoever the smart people are who invented this marvelous, new way to be in touch just in time for us to benefit.

On to the new elderblog list.

From the old list, I removed blogs that had not published in awhile. Some others had moved behind personal firewalls requiring passwords now, so those are gone too along with some that just disappeared, their URLs now for sale.

A lot more have been added than removed. In a few cases are blogs that had been listed at one time but then disappeared (couldn't tell you why) and have now been reinstated.

Undoubtedly, there are mistakes and I apologize but it is so tedious to change anything and keep the list looking neat and tidy that all I will do is make note of additions or subtractions for next time.

The new list is in its usual place and it is always linked from the box in the left sidebar on every page. And don't forget that every Monday, a new set of five featured elderblogs are linked from the left sidebar too.

Here are the new ones.

Age Myths
Aging Hippie's Guide to Aging
Aging in Chicago
Aging in Place Technology Watch
Alchemy of Clay
Amen With a T
Any Shiny Thing
BLB
Blueridge Boomer
Boots and Braids

Chatty Crone
Coward's Corner with Luckie
Desert Canyon Living
DigiDame
Engage Blog
For a Dancer
From the House of Mars
Gert, Tom & Rusty Too
Grey House Journal
Ground Level in Kansas

Gum Leaves
The Healthy Nut
Later Living
Live Life in Crescendo
Live, Love, Give!
Marc Leavitt's Blog
Martin Bayne
Me, senescent
Muffy's Marks
Musings

Nifty Fifty and the City (in French)
Old Lady Lincoln
On Being Seventy
Oops 50!
Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy
PetPETuity
Ramona's Voices
Remarkable Wrinklies
Rhea Becker's Short Attention Span
Rocky Mountain Woman

SeasonedSistah2
Seeking Center in an Old House
Semantically Driven
sharechair
SilverFoxyBlog
Southern Rumors
Sunshine on My Shoulder
Sweetwater Lane
Windgrove: Life on the Edge
The Writer's Clinic

Tom's Wine Line
Walking to Retirement
The Way I See It
When I Was Sixty Nine
White Feather Farm
Yakkajam
Yo Is This Ageist?

And one more thing. Recently there has been a noticeable uptick in the number of commenters whose names I've never seen before. That's terrific. It's good to have new perspectives and welcome to you all to TGB.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Ross Middleton: In Thrall to Technology


The Elderblog List Needs Your Help

It felt good last week to get the Best Books on Aging page updated so I decided to catch up on some other blog housekeeping I've let slide for too long. This time, I need some help from you.

If you've never noticed the link in the left sidebar (“Click here for Complete Elderblog List”), you have missed a terrific resource for blogs, hundreds of elderblogs – all written by people who are at least 50 years old.

These bloggers cover every conceivable topic, are scattered in countries throughout the world and no matter what your interests, you are bound to find someone who shares them.

Over time, however, some bloggers decide to abandon blogging and remove their site or they put their blogs behind passworded firewalls. Sometimes they stop blogging with no explanation, or they change their blogs in ways that break the link to them or, sometimes, a blogger dies.

Once upon a time I updated the list twice and even three times a year. I'm older and more tired now but I can tell when it gets to be about year since the last update: I start to feel guilty for the list being so out of date and indeed, it's been about a year since the last cleanup and additions.

Before I get started this time, I'm asking for your help. If your blog is on the list but the name or URL has changed, let me know.

If you have a new(ish) blog you would like listed, let me know that. If you know of someone else's blog you think should be listed, tell me that too.

To do so, please use the “contact” link in the upper left corner of every page rather than the comment section below. Be sure to include the name of the blog and it's complete URL.

I vet all elderblog suggestions and have some standard requirements for being listed:

  • The blogger must be 50 or older
  • The blog must publish at least once a week
  • The blog must be designed well enough to be easily navigable
  • The blog must be reasonably well-written and follow the generally accepted rules of spelling and grammar
  • No light-colored text on a dark background
  • It must be a personal, not commercial, business, retail or promotional blog
  • The blog must have been regularly published for at least three months
  • The blog should be a compelling read

In general, group-written blogs are not included nor are blogs that promote a specific religion. And it goes without saying, I hope, that no blogs are included that express prejudice or bigotry of any sort. Even once. In the past, I have removed two blogs for such offenses.

And, I reserve the right to not list a blog for any reason and without explanation. The idea is to give everyone a list of the best elderblogs in existence.

So send your suggestions and I'll get started on fixing the list in a couple of days. I check every blog and code it all by hand so it takes awhile.

UPDATE:I've already received half a dozen suggestions and requests this morning for listing blogs that are already there and have been, in some cases, for many years. You might want to check the list for the name of your blog before emailing.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Sharon Ostrow: Got Cult?


Updates to the Elderblog List

I was shocked to find out that the last update to the Elderblog List had been done more than a year ago, January 2011. It is time consuming to do by hand – most of one day - and I'll need to figure out an easier way before next time.

However, the treat was that I visited every blog on the list which is way too long these days for me to do often and did some catching up on what you've all been doing.

Too bad that some bloggers have disappeared with no explanation. What's interesting is that the largest number of those had been sitting on the waiting list since I found them. So it is true, I believe, that a lot of people who start blogs do not realize how much dedication it takes to keep them up and soon drop out. That is the reason I wait until new blogs are at least three months old before adding them.

What stands out, however, is how many of us have been blogging for years and years and years – a lot of whom I haven't “spoken” to in a long time and was so glad to see you're still there doing terrific things on your blogs.

Five blogs have changed names and are now in their new places in the alphabetical list:

• 1 Woman's Vu is now Nikki Stern
• Autumn Cottage Diary has been renamed One Mindful Moment
• Fried Okra Productions became Claudia Snowden
• ImagineOmit is Just Ask Judy (again)
• Joe's Place has become Elmer's Place

There are a lot of new blogs or, rather, new to the Elderblogger List and for their first appearance, they get a shoutout below. I hope you will visit some of them today and welcome the newcomers.

The entire Elderblog list can be found here and there is always a link to it in the left sidebar. If you find any errors, bad links, etc., let me know in the comments below.

The Accidental Blogger
Aging Online
Aging, Parkinson's and Me
Aging Us
Annie Joy's Letters
Another Old Woman
Between Two Rivers BevO's BlogO
Bobba Caps Doxology
Celeste Bergin
Cruisin Over Sixty
Decrepit Old Fool
Dirty Laundry
Djan-ity
Evelyn's Thoughts
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Frost Bottom Days
Gamboling Grace
Go Ask Alice...when she's 94
Grossblogger
Help! Aging Parents
HiddenMahala
I've Been Mugged
The Jaundiced View
Jim's Journal
Journey into Elderhood
The Little Old Lady Stays Put
Live and Learn
Manorisms
MerrilyMarylee's Blog
MovingoutGranni
Ms Graysea
A Nest on Feather Lane
The Next Stage
Nilknarf
Passage des perles
Pied Type
Pilgrim's Moon
Post Work Savvy
Retired English Teacher
Retirement: A Full-Time Job
Rock the Silver
Rubye Jack
RWNorman's Beer, Food and Politics
Satisfying Retirement
Senior Contentment
Simple Not Easy
Six Decades and Counting
So Many Years
wherestherain
The Wild Hare
Wu Wei


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Linda Carmi: I'm a (Senior) Rockette


Mort Reichek – Octogenarian

One of the hardest things about writing a blog for and about old people is that by definition readers, acquaintances and friends sometimes die. Ten days ago, on 8 November, my friend Mort Reichek died in Florida after a two-week illness. He had just turned 87.

Mort called his blog Octogenarian – which is what he had recently become when he began blogging in February 2005. I don't recall how we met, but it was near that time and in addition to reading one another's blogs, we exchanged a lot of email about getting old, current events, blogging, New York City and whatever else came to mind.

Mort was one of the people who taught me early on how important and close online friendships can be.

In October 2009, Mort's wife Sibyl reported on Octogenarian that Mort had been severely injured in an auto accident:

”It will take months of rehab,” she wrote, “before he's back writing on his beloved blog. I wanted to thank everyone for all of their wonderful comments over the years. They have meant the world to him and you have brought much joy to his later years. My family and I look forward to the day when he can return to working on his blog again.”

I didn't hear from Mort for a long, long time. Then, in September, he emailed with an archived story from his blog for The Elder Storytelling Place saying it was a way of getting his feet wet before returning to write for his blog.

In October, he sent another story from his archive and I believed there would soon be some new stories for Octogenarian. It was not to be.

I am so sad.

When I launched The Elder Storytelling Place, Mort was among the earliest people to send stories. You can read his first one here. He also contributed magnificently to "The Oldest Old Project” in 2008.

Before both of those, he was featured in a 2006 New York Times story titled Elderbloggers Stake Their Claim that included this great photograph of Mort by Barbara P. Fernandez.

Mort Reichek_Credit: Barbara P. Fernandez

Mort told the Times reporter:

"I'm 81 years old and this blog has opened up a whole new world to me. And I'm not doing this because I'm a lonely old man. I don't lack for social interaction. I find it a fascinating hobby, and a fruitful one."

It certainly was – not only for Mort but for his many blog fans and friends. He had a wonderful way with words – as he should have; he had spent a lifetime making his living as a writer. Here is the notice of Mort's death from The New York Times last Saturday - I always wish I knew this kind of stuff before people die:

“Morton A. Reichek, a senior editor and senior writer for Business Week magazine, died November 8, 2011. He lived in Boynton Beach, Florida and was 87 years old.

“During his retirement, Reichek became one of the most prolific and well read elderbloggers, writing about politics, his childhood, Israel and his war experiences. His blog, Octogenarian, was highlighted in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and AARP magazine.

“A journalist with very wide interests, Reichek wrote about topics ranging from business to military affairs to Yiddish literature. He was with Business Week both in Washington, DC and New York for 31 years, retiring in 1988. Prior to joining the magazine in 1952, he was a press officer and editor for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

“During two periods of absence from Business Week, he was a Washington correspondent for the Newhouse newspaper chain, an associate editor of Forbes magazine and director of editorial services for Gulf & Western Industries, Inc.

“Reichek contributed articles to The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, The New Leader, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He was a former member of the National Press Club, the National Book Critics Circle and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He is also listed in the Who's Who in America.

“He was born in the East Harlem section of Manhattan and raised in The Bronx near Yankee Stadium. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School and earned a B.S. in journalism from New York University using the GI Bill. During WWII he served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and was based for more than two years in the China-Burma-India theater of operations.

“He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Sybil, a daughter and a son, and three grandsons. Another daughter, predeceased him.”

My heart goes out to Mort's family and also to many of you. I know his blog was important to a lot of TGB readers and that he's been missed during his long absence.

When she feels up to it, sometime soon, Mort's daughter will write something at Octogenarian for us about her father. I'll let you know on this blog when that happens. And here is a list of all his stories published at The Elder Storytelling Place. Reading them now and then is an excellent way to keep him in our hearts and minds.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Jim Kittelberger: Wilted Garden


When Blog Friends Go Missing

Like much younger people who participate in blogging and other social media, we elders have online friends who are every bit as important to us as those we know in “real life.” A difference, however, is that we have a greater expectation at our age of disappearing from the web whether temporarily or permanently.

A few years ago, I wrote about my final blog post titled, If You're Reading This, I'm Dead, because it is a terrible thing for our blog friends and acquaintances to be left hanging with no explanation.

I suggested then, and do so again now, that you write that final post. You can place information about where it is stored with the papers your survivors will need right away. Along with that, you should leave precise instructions on how to post it with ID and passwords that are needed, detailed enough so that a non-blogger can work through posting it step by step.

It would be good, too, to leave a note about how important this is to do because it's my experience that people who do not blog or do not read blogs regularly enough to know the depth of friendships that grow also do not understand how much a part of our daily lives it is and might ignore or put off posting our last story.

Until now, I had thought about this only in the context of bloggers dying. Then, yesterday, an email arrived from a friend and regular contributor to The Elder Storytelling Place, Nancy Leitz. Here is what, in part, she wrote:

”I have been thinking that there should be some sort of registry for bloggers and storytellers.

“Sometimes I wonder what would happen if all of a sudden YOU did not post anything and we had no idea what had happened to you. Or, if weeks went by and there were no comments from me or any new stories. Would you know who to contact to find out what had happened to me?

“We make very good friends with people on our computer and yet we do not have a way to contact a family member of theirs in case of emergency.”

Nancy is correct, of course. It's not just about dying. Now and then we might suddenly disappear from the web due to illness or accident and a hospital stay leaving everyone to wonder.

Plus, there are many friends among us who, like Nancy, do not keep their own blogs but do participate in sites like The Elder Storytelling Place either as contributors or regular commenters and at TimeGoesBy as commenters but it would be unlikely that spouses or friends would think to tell us what has happened.

Nancy is suggesting the registry for bloggers, storytellers and readers who comment regularly. It would not need to be elaborate, just a listing that would be something like:

”I sign my stories and/or comments [name you use]. Please contact my [husband, daughter, son, friend, etc.] at [email address]. He/she will know what is happening with me.”

This is an excellent idea. It doesn't work for the general World Wide Web but it is useful for individual blogs like The Elder Storytelling Place (ESP), Time Goes By or any other one.

Nancy has offered to be the keeper of the registry my two blogs but I wonder if or how people would know to contact her when someone's name hasn't been seen for a while. I could keep the list here, but it should not be a public page where scraper sites can be stealing email addresses and driving our relatives nuts with more spam.

So I'm calling on readers who have more security expertise than I do to help devise a way to keep such a registry. How would I do that on this blog and/or ESP?

Is there a place somewhere online where I could create a space for people to sign up for the registry on their own that is searchable by those who have their own listing?

Or...

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Jeanne Waite Follett: Of Sharks and Rainbows and the iPad 2


HAPPY 86, MILLIE GARFIELD

Happy Birthday Millie G

For those of you who may be new to blogging or elderblogging or TimeGoesBy, meet Millie Garfield. She is one of the oldest bloggers around – in her own years and in the number of years blogging. A pioneer of the form long before most young people began, she's been doing it since 2003.

If you have never seen her video series, I Can't Open It, you can view them here. They are classics now and you are sure, if you are of a certain age, to identify.

Today, Millie is celebrating 86 years and this is the sixth year of our annual online birthday party for her. It's not every day someone reaches that age so a celebration of the achievement and wonderful Millie herself is in order. So get yourself over to her blog called, My Mom's Blog, and wish her a happy day.

Millie, here's a song for your day:


There is no story at The Elder Storytelling Place today. More soon.


Blog Housekeeping Notes

I'm taking a day off from blogging but here are a couple of housekeeping items.

There is a new addition to the TGB feature, Where Elders Blog, from a woman who calls herself The Little Old Lady. Take a look.

Attention people who read TimeGoesBy via email and rss: Recently, there has been a fairly large uptick in comments sent to me via email. This happens when you hit "reply" in the email or rss.

When you do so, only I see your comment via email. A lot of these comments are pithy, useful, funny, interesting or all of the above and it would be good for other readers to see them. Here is how to do that:

  1. Click on the title of the story
  2. This opens the same blog story in your web browser
  3. Scroll down to the bottom and click "Comments"
  4. Previous comments will display
  5. Scroll to the end of the current comments (you might enjoy reading them first) where you will find a box labeled "Post a Comment"
  6. Write your comment, fill in the required information and then click "Post"
  7. Your comment will soon appear at the bottom of the comments list

The comments are a rich addition to whatever the day's story is - often better than the story itself - and if you're not clicking over to read them, you are missing the conversation which is a big point of blogging, as well as, often, a lot of good information or, at least, a laugh or even a Wow! moment.

This also saves me the time of explaining this process in reply to each and every email which helps make me a happier person.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: Key to My Heart


INVITATION: The Second Annual TGB Elderblogger Meetup

In October last year, we held the first elderblogger meetup here at my home in Lake Oswego, Oregon. It was a smashing success you can read about here.

RainMeetup

MarionMeetup

There are more photos here and here.

So today I'm issuing an invitation for the Second Annual Elderblogger Meetup at my home in Lake Oswego, Oregon, on Saturday 15 October. Here are some details:

  1. The MeetUp will begin at 10AM, although arrival is certainly flexible
  2. Spouses and significant others are welcome

  3. There are reasonably-priced hotels in Lake Oswego if an overnight stay makes sense
  4. More information will be forthcoming as the date gets closer

Last year, I had the event catered, but someone suggested we do potluck next time and I think that's a sensational idea. I will supply dishes, napkins, utensils and also drinks so no one need schlep heavy stuff to Lake Oswego. I will circulate a list of kinds of dishes to choose from after I know how many people are attending.

Eighteen attended last year and we could have accommodated some more. I'd like to set the attendance floor at 10. If at least that number responds, it's a go.

So please check your calendars and respond. You can do that in the comments below or via email by clicking the “Contact” link in the upper left corner of any TGB page. In either case, be sure to include your email address. (It is required in the comment form but only I can see it.)

I had a wonderful time last year. It's great to put faces with blog names and for repeat attendees, I certainly look forward to seeing you again. The RSVP window will be open through 5 August.

UPDATE: Geez, I always leave something out. This is open to elderbloggers and elderblog READERS.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Joanne Zimmermann: Floor and Ceiling People


At Last: Updated Elderblog List

EDITORIAL NOTE: My first instinct is to respond to the State of the Union address, but everyone's doing that today with headline opinion ranging from "bold" to "hogwash." Let's wait for a couple of days and do this instead.)


Some of you may remember that when I last updated the Elderblog List – after many months if not more than a year (how embarrassing) – it got lost in the ether of cyberspace.

At last, I've tackled it again, it is up to date and, being very c.a.r.e.f.u.l this time, I didn't lose it before posting.

Some notes: I was ruthless in pruning blogs from the list so that wherever you visit as of now, there is fresh material. If there had been no posts in more than a month or so, the blog is gone. A few people have died, some have moved themselves behind passworded firewalls. A few announced they were ending their blog and some have disappeared with no explanation. Those are all removed.

If you renamed and/or moved your blog to a new address, I changed those items. And I de-listed one blog by a tea partier who supports you know who - my bloglist; my prerogative.

If your blog has been removed and you feel it should be restored, let me know – we'll talk. If you catch any errors, do let me know that too. And, of course, you are always welcome to send an email suggesting your own or someone else's blog for the list.

Here are the criteria:

  • The blogger must be 50 or older
  • The blog should publish at least once a week
  • The blog must be designed well enough to be easily navigable
  • The blog must be reasonably well-written and follow the generally accepted rules of spelling and grammar
  • No light-colored text on a dark background
  • It must be a personal, not commercial or business blog
  • The blog must have been regularly published for at least three months
  • The blog should be a compelling read

Well, that last item is subjective, isn’t it. In the interests of full disclosure, some other subjective criteria are these:

Group-written blogs are not usually included nor are blogs that promote a specific religion although blogs that discuss religion (or lack thereof) and spirituality in general are welcome. And it goes without saying, I assume, that no blogs are included that express bigotry of any sort. Even once. In the past, I have removed two blogs that used unacceptable words for certain ethnic/religious groups in a derogatory manner.

Also, I do not include blogs promoting far right-wing politics. I've taken flak for this in the past, but the rule stands.

Each Monday, five elderblogs from the list are featured in the left sidebar under the headline Featured Elderblogs. They remain there for a week when the next five are posted. Despite a red flag on my calendar, sometimes I forget to update it, so let me know if that happens.

The full list of Elderblogs is here and there is always a link to it in the left sidebar.

By no means does the Elderbloggers List contain all the blogs written by old people. They are just the ones I know about. Here are the newly added blogs. Do visit some of them – there is a wide variety of terrific writing, photography, art, poetry and more, and you may find a new friend too.

Age of Reason
Almost Australian
Animal Beat
As Our Parents Age
Baby Boomer's View
The Burrow
calendar pages
Confessions of a Grandma
Conversare
The Dassler Diaries
Gericon Designs
Each Little World
ElderBlog
The Family Plot Blog
Folkways Notebook
Gabby Geezer
Helenhudsonhereblog
hot coffee and cool jazz
Hugging Aspens
Jan Heigh Abstract Art
Joe's Place
Joneser Journal
Just My Life
Late Fruit
Len Edgerly
Life at Willow Manor
Mad, Mad World
Maggie Turner: Page by Page
Murrmurrs
My Muse Mutters
Of Quilts, Cats and Books
One Kentucky Writer
paint, poems and ponderings
Plants and Stones
Pressing Pause
pressrun.net
The Public Reader
The Rant
Recollections of a Vagabonde
Roy's World
Russ' Filtered News
A Slower Pace
The Slow Lane
Snappy Repartee
Southern. Country. Elegant.
Style Crone
Tea and Wheaten Bread
TechnoBabe's Adventures
Two Crumblies and a Cat
The Unscripted Self
Well Aged With Some Marbling
Whole Note Whimsey
woodgatesview
Writing to Myself


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mary B Summerlin: Driving Tales


Elderbloggers Win Trips to AARP's Orlando@50+ Event

At the end of this month, from 30 September through 2 October, AARP holds its annual gathering of members in Orlando, Florida. Normally, I wouldn't take notice (I'm not much for crowds of 25,000 or airplane rides under current flying conditions) but an AARP representative contacted me about entering a contest to win an all-expenses-paid trip to their Orlando@50+ event and blog about it.

Apparently, several TGB readers suggested me for the contest (thank you) and, said the rep, there would be three elderblogger winners. I declined to participate (see parenthetical comment above) and I was then invited to be one of the judges.

Since I like the idea of a large organization supporting elderblogging and it involved staying put in front of the computer, I accepted and AARP posted a nice story announcing my judgeship. Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, was also a judge.

What was required of entrants was this:

”To enter, simply publish an article on your personal blog on what you love about life@50 (or above). The post must be no more than 600 words.”

And in exchange for the free trip, lodging, meals and a Flip camera to use at the event and keep, the winners would have the

“...chance to be the eyes and ears of AARP's membership, sharing news, information and stories with those unable to attend the event and to have a great time doing it! You will have a media pass to the event and the opportunity to meet and interview high profile speakers.”

Among those high-profile speakers are James Carville and Mary Matalin, Whoopi Goldberg, Larry King, Cesar Millan, Jane Pauley, Dave Barry, Martina Navratilova and many more.

In due course, AARP emailed the 11 essay finalists to me with instructions on how to do the judging. It was a load of fun reading them and here, now, are the winners announced by AARP just this morning – you might recognize a couple of them from comments here at TGB:

Cowtown Pattie who blogs at Texas Trifles for her essay titled Ad Astra per Alia Porci.

Mr. Go To who blogs at Go To Retirement for his essay titled The Working Life Off-Ramp.

Frank Paynter who blogs at Listics for his essay titled What's Not to Love?.

Congratulations to all three. I know we will all be following your coverage in Orlando.

And congratulations to AARP, too, for promoting elderblogging. It is a near-perfect activity for elders, a great way to help maintain cognitive function, keep active and make new friends (see today's story at The Elder Storytelling Place).

Of course, we elderbloggers and blog readers already know this. Perhaps the contest and the winners' reporting from Orlando will help bring more elders into our blogging fold.

You can see the AARP announcement of winners here.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Marcia Mayo: Friends Today


October Elder Meetup in Lake Oswego, Plus...

Two weeks ago, I offered two possible dates for an elderblogger (and readers) meetup at my home in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Responses are in and Saturday 9 October is the majority choice.

That doesn't mean those who preferred 16 October can't attend if your schedule allows. Just let me know. You can do that in the comments below or use the “Contact” link in the upper left corner of this page.

If others who are hearing about the event today for the first time would like to attend, of course you are welcome. Just follow the link above to read the particulars (although 9 October is now the date) and send me a note.

Also, would anyone who is definitely attending let me know how many of you there are – spouses and significant others are welcome. Soon I will send out an email to attendees with more information.

Because that's not much of a blog post for everyone else, here are a couple of little things I was saving for the next Interesting Stuff post.

Better Choices, Better Health
The National Council on Aging (NCOA), which was so helpful with my research into reverse mortgages, is offering a free, online Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP), developed and tested at the Stanford University Patient Education Center.

It is a pilot project and at this time available to residents of only seven states: California, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon. So if you live in one of those places and want to know more about managing one or more chronic health conditions such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis, you can read more and register here.

The Majestic Plastic Bag
In an effort to do my part for the environment, one of the things I try to be careful about is to take reusable bags with me to the market. If you think that's too small a practice to be bothered with, this mockumentary that Darlene Costner of Darlene's Hodgepodge sent me should change your mind.

GreenSpirit
In keeping with the same idea as that video, Marian Van Eyk McCain of Elderwomanblog has edited a new book titled, GreenSpirit. According to one reader, it is

“...a rich collection of thought-provoking writing, providing nourishment for the green soul. Edited by writer Marian Van Eyk McCain, a woman committed to living lightly and with integrity, the 29 contributors include Matthew Fox, Satish Kumar and Neil Douglas-Klotz.

“These were the names that were familiar to me. The other luminaries address just about everything – life, the universe and not only why we are here, but how we arrived. The writing weaves together science and creativity, art and social action, as well as green spirituality.”

All proceeds go to the U.K. Charity, GreenSpirit. You can purchase the book via links to The Book Depository, which ships worldwide for free, or to Amazon – both U.S. and U.K. - at this website.

Silly Elder Fun
Kate of KateThoughts sent along this video of Tim Hardin singing some songs old rock stars you will recognize will be singing soon. I only wish Mick Jagger had been included.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Revenge


At Last: Updated Elderblog List

EDITOR'S NOTE: Before we get started on the update, two housekeeping items of note:

Where Elders Blog
Two more people have sent in photos for the Where Elders Blog feature. You can see Dianne Schmidley's blog desk here, Lisa's is here and instructions for including your computer area can be found here.

If you haven't discovered this feature (link is in the right sidebar under TGB Features), it's terrific fun to see where people we have come to know through their blogs and comments do their keyboard tapping.

Comment Policy
This second item is less pleasant. In the past couple of weeks, there has been a minor uptick in hostile and belligerent comments. For the seven years this blog has been in existence, it has hardly ever happened. People here have always been capable of honestly disagreeing in an intelligent, productive manner, so I have been shocked to see this.

I know from past experience how quickly snarky attitude, personal attacks and aggressiveness can kill a forum or blog. So hear this now: the perpetrators have one more chance. If your next comment is not written in the spirit of the open, friendly discussion we have collectively maintained, you will be banned from commenting at TGB without notice and irrevocably.

Please, let's all keep a civil tongue and tone and now – on to the original purpose of today's post.


Well, this is embarrassing. It's been nine months since the Elderblogger List was last updated. So, one day last week I planted myself in the desk chair and didn't move until I'd finished the update.

An amazing number on the list have been abandoned – a few by choice, a couple due to deaths and most that, without a word to readers, have not been updated for anywhere from three months to more than a year. I've removed all of those.

I have added several dozen elderblogs that have been collecting in a file. Undoubtedly I have made mistakes, so if you believe your blog has been removed in error, let me know. And conversely, if there is a blog you want included – yours or someone else's - let me know that too.

Here are the criteria:

  • The blogger must be 50 or older
  • The blog must publish at least once a week
  • The blog must be designed well enough to be easily navigable
  • The blog must be reasonably well-written and follow the generally accepted rules of spelling and grammar
  • No light-colored text on a dark background
  • It must be a personal, not commercial or business blog
  • The blog must have been regularly published for at least three months
  • The blog should be a compelling read

Well, that last item is subjective, isn’t it. In the interests of full disclosure, some other subjective criteria are these:

In general, group-written blogs are not included nor are blogs that promote a specific religion although blogs that discuss religion (or lack thereof) and spirituality in general are welcome. And it goes without saying, I hope, that no blogs are included that express prejudice or bigotry of any sort. Even once. In the past, I have removed two blogs which used unacceptable words for certain ethnic/religious groups in a derogatory manner.

That said, we all have our prejudices and I also do not include blogs promoting far right-wing politics. I've taken flak for this in the past, but the rule stands.

Because the Elderbloggers List is so long now, each Monday, five are featured in the left sidebar under the headline Featured Elderblogs. They remain there for a week when the next five are posted. Sometimes I forget to update it, so let me know if that happens.

By no means does the Elderbloggers List contain all the blogs written by old people. They are just the ones I know about. Here are the newly added blogs. Do visit some of them; you may find a new friend. (The full list is here.)

Age of Reason

amy's miscellany

Animal Beat

As Our Parents Age

Biopsy Report

the Burrow

calendar pages

Class War

Confessions of a Grandma

Crazy For Fiber

Drinks Before Dinner

Each Little World

ElderBlog

ElderChicks

Eye With a View

Folkways Notebook

Gabby Geezer

hot coffee and cool jazz

Hugging Aspens

In London After 70

Jan Heigh Abstract Art

Joe's Place

Just Life as It Is

Just My Life

Late Fruit

Len Edgerly

Life at Willow Manor

Mad, Mad World

Murrmurrs

One Kentucky Writer

paint, poems and ponderings

Plants and Stones

Positive Momentum

The Public Reader Daily Magazine

The Rant

Recollections of a Vagabonde

Roy's World

Schmidleysscribbling

A Slower Pace

The Slow Lane

Sovereignty Rag – The Broad's Side

Tea and Wheaten Bread

TechnoBabe's Adventures

The Ten Pound Pom

Two Crumblies and a Cat

Well Aged With Some Marbling

Whole Note Whimsey


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Ernest Leichter: Getting Over the Fear of Phoning


Elderblogger MeetUp and a Sobering List

Yes, I know I said on Monday that I would have more information on the Elderblogger MeetUp on Tuesday. So I lied. There was the book club post and Millie's Birthday – important items – and here we are on Thursday.

When I announced the MeetUp of elderbloggers and readers (see post here) who live in the vicinity of Portland, Oregon to be held at my home, I chose Saturday 18 September. Oy vey.

All it meant to me is that until 40 years ago, it was my wedding anniversary. But as a reader pointed out, that date is Yom Kippur – the holiest day of the Jewish year. How embarrassing for someone who is, at least nominally, a Jew.

Whether the holiday was the reason or not, only about two people agreed to attend in person, a bunch have previous plans, and half a dozen or so said they would call in via Skype. Here's the deal: It is not possible to choose a date when everyone who would like to attend can do so. On the other hand, I don't think it is really a MeetUp with fewer than six or eight people and more would be even better fun. (I own lots of chairs.)

So I have chosen two dates that have been vetted for holidays. If these are the days you have chosen to privately celebrate Dinosaur Month, Magazine Month or Sarcastic Awareness Month (they are real - to someone), I will understand.

• Saturday, October 9

• Saturday, October 16

I think these dates are more reasonable in that annual vacations are mostly finished, grandkids are back in school, Thanksgiving is not yet upon us and weather has a good chance of not being inclement.

If you would like to attend, you can indicate that along with which date (or both) in the Comments section or email me through the “Contacts” link in the upper left corner of the page. Additionally,

  1. The MeetUp will begin at 10AM, although arrival is certainly flexible
  2. Spouses or significant others are welcome
  3. There are reasonably-priced hotels in Lake Oswego if an overnight stay makes sense
  4. Food and beverages will be served
  5. Skype attendance still applies
  6. Details will be forthcoming as the chosen date gets closer

That date will the one that is most popular with attendees. If there are not at least half a dozen, the MeetUp will be postponed to a future date, probably in spring 2011 when we'll try again.

I would really like to do this.

The Sobering List
Since 1998, Beloit College in Wisconsin has issued its annual “Mindset List” describing the year's incoming freshmen. I've always enjoyed reading it and a thank you goes to Cowtown Pattie of Texas Trifles for sending on the most recent edition.

The College's introduction to this year's List begins:

“Born when Ross Perot was warning about a giant sucking sound and Bill Clinton was apologizing for pain in his marriage, members of this year's entering college class have emerged as a post-email generation for whom the digital world is routine and technology is just too slow.”

I've been saying for years that kids these days are born with little computer mice clutched in their tiny fists. How out of date. Undoubtedly they now arrive holding smartphones on which a text message has just arrived from another newborn down the hall.

This year's Beloit Mindset List is a little disappointing, not as shocking as some years – or maybe I've been following it too regularly for there to be much difference year to year.

Nevertheless, it's fun to read and is always an excellent lesson in the cultural differences between us old folks and the youngest adults around us. Here are some examples that leapt out at me:

• Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

• A quarter of the class has at least one immigrant parent, and the immigration debate is not a big priority – unless it involves “real” aliens from another planet.

• Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than Dirty Harry.

• Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.

• They have never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

• DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.

• Reggie Jackson has always been enshrined in Cooperstown.

• They first met Michaelangelo when he was just a computer virus.

You can find the rest of 75 items on Beloit College's Mindset List here.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: Heat