The Words We Use for Elders
Retired and Single

Announcement About The Elder Storytelling Place

Beginning today and on every Saturday and Sunday hereafter for 28 weeks – which takes us to mid-March 2008 - a serial fairy tale will be published at The Elder Storytelling Place.

It was written in 1927, and is titled Chandra and Her Georg. More information and the first installment are here.

On an entirely different note, Riverbend who blogs at Baghdad Burning (she is listed on the right sidebar as an honorary elderblogger) is back. Ever since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, this young woman has been writing stories of daily life in Baghdad that are so real, so rich in sad and terrifying detail that you could almost imagine being there with her - except not really, because life for us in the U.S., Europe, Australia, etc. is so easy and safe.

She stopped posting in April and each time I checked her blog thereafter, I worried for her and her family. Given the news of civilian deaths every day from Baghdad, it seems almost a miracle now that she has posted her first entry from Syria to which she and her family fled a few months ago. Don't miss her harrowing tale titled Leaving Home...


Thank you for pointing us in many directions for news, opinions, more. I linked to Leaving Home and read some posts. Ronni, would you happen to know anything about Riverbend, the blogger? I feel disoriented not knowing some things about her beyond what she tells and that I might infer. Among other things, her English puzzles me: it is so good. Her connectedness to the blogosphere, the media, more. Where did this come from? Not suspicious, just madly curious. Thanks.

Riverbend is the pseudonym of a young woman, now about in her late 20s, well-educated and a former computer programmer.

Her English is excellent because English has always been common among the educated classes in Iraq. And there is the ubiquitous CNN and other English-language television stations plus the internet for all the information anyone could want.

Keep in mind too, that before the coalition bombed Baghdad back to Ur, it was one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Middle East, and whatever Saddam's politically-abhorrent policies, women participated in all levels of society - without the veil.

Two collections of Riverbend's blog have been published. You can find them at Amazon here and here.

You can also read the archives on Riverbend's blog which has everything she wrote starting August 17, 2003. Highly recommended.

I have been worried about her, too, Ronni and am delighted that she is alive and safe!

I find Riverbend's blog fascinating. I'm glad she and her family appear safe for now.

But, I also have reservations about her English proficiency. I am an ESL teacher, and unless she has an editor, her grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, and use of idioms are almost too good for someone who learned English as a second language.

I could be wrong........shrug.

Marilyn: others have questioned her English too, but because I have known two people who grew up in Baghdad speaking excellent English in addition to Arabic, I choose to accept Riverbend's excellent grasp of the language.

Thanks for letting me know about After checking it out..I registered and I'm glad that we finally have a magazine geared towards grandparents. I love the idea that I can check out books, movies or games before I buy them. They also welcome stories or photo's about life with the grandkids and will even feature your blog. A lot of great ideas and wonderful articles. And the price is right! Thank you.

Ronni, as you know, I'm an American living in Sweden nearly 19 years now, since I'm married to a Swede. For many years, English has been mandatory for Swedish children from a young age. I'm only beginning to get used to the fact that, if you want to know real, proper English, listen to a Swede - not me!

It would be no different in Iraq, 'tamar'.

I don't know Riverbend, but can at least vouch for the fact that many people around the world can speak fluent English, perhaps better than you. :) And certainly better than me.

As I read Riverbend's Blog, "Leaving Home", I tried to imagine how I would feel in the same circumstance. What would I take; what would I have to leave?

The horror that the Iraqi's have been forced to live under is unimaginable. I grieve for them and I grieve for our country. It's too bad that those who brought this tragedy to the Iraquis don't have to live in their shoes for one week; better yet, for one year.

Ronnie, I'll trust your judgment as to the authenticity of the information. Regarding the naysayers, why not close your eyes and imagine what it must be like to try to leave a country in total chaos and war? There undoubtedly is someone, somewhere, who lived these experiences? My grandson spent 7 months in Iraq and he said you can't describe the way it is. Anyone coming out of the country tends to be different.
Thanks for the suggestion.
Dorothy from grammology

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