April 2024

Reflections on Elderhood
Issue 13

Linda Simmel

About Time & Death and 7 Portraits by JD (Poetry & Art)

Oh, My Ann by Martina Reaves (Poetry)

Favor by Mardith Louisell (Fiction)

Older Folks by Daniel Danzig  (Photography)

A Day in the Life of Elderhood by Carl Kopman (Poetry)

It Seemed Like a Good Idea by David Schweidel (Essay)

14 March 2024 write by Jan Dederick (Poetry)

Passage by Linda Simmel (Art)

Elderhood by Karen Hunt (Commentary)

five tanka by John Rowe (Poetry)

SunFire Journey  by Michael Smith (Poetry & Photography)

Elusive Time by Margaret Kokka (Memoir)

Who’s Who

The  Elders creating this issue range in age from sixty to ninety years old.  Who they were at 25 and what advice they would give that younger self is told below. Who they are now is reflected in the work they contributed to this issue on Elderhood. 

If you get a chance drop them a comment at the end of their work and if you haven’t already please subscribe below.

Daniel Danzig
Born 1953

In 1978 I was with the Far East Broadcasting Company as a broadcast journalist and station manager, working on Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands I might have told myself to seriously consider a career as a National Geo photographer or full-time photo journalist. My parents’ greatest gift to me was encouraging me to do what I enjoyed. I have never stopped telling myself that.

Jan Dederick
Born 1946

At 25, I was a Montessori preschool teacher in Cambridge, MA.  I adored Montessori, adored those children, saw what magic was possible.

Advice? Keep on listening to that voice inside your head, sweetie, keep on listening to that Sadie. You’re doing great! Even though you don’t know that yet.

JD – Jeannette DesBoine
Born 1944

I do not remember being 25.

Karen Hunt
Born 1948

At 25, just out of grad school, I was an associate editor on a new magazine in Chicago where I got to meet Vincent Price and Isaac Asimov. I would tell young me to stop being so self-critical and self-deprecating. You are and will always be enough.

Margaret Kokka
Born 1934

Single, teacher of 8th and 9th graders, Roosevelt Junior Hi, Richmond, California

Advice; Continue to develop and follow your dreams

Carl Kopman

Born 1942

At twenty-five I was a confused law school drop-out sharing an apartment in Greenwich Village with a lovely young woman and her monkey, working as a desk clerk at a seedy hotel off Times Square by day, driving a cab at night in an era of Beatnicks and Hippies and Yippees: A Steppenwolf looking for the Prophet riding the “Razor’s Edge” between “On The Road” and “The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test.”

Advice! Sure! Hang in there, Kid. Be kind to yourself. There’s a better world a’coming and it’s just around the next crooked corner.

Mardith Louisell
Born 1945

Where: At 25, I was about to move to a beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island to live in a one room A-frame which my boyfriend built. We thought it an idyllic life, or at least my boyfriend did, and I thought him so. The nearest town was the fishing village of Ucluelet, a 45 minute walk and 15 minute drive.

Advice: I find most of us don’t like advice.

Martina Reaves
Born 1949

When I was 25, I was a daycare teacher for three-year-olds (whom I loved), and lived on fifty acres between Ukiah and Boonville, completely off the grid. I was married to David, but a few years later, I found Tanya, who has been “my person” for 44 years now.

Advice: Listen to your heart. Take things slow and easy. Don’t overthink.

John Rowe
Born 1964

At age 25, I was an aspiring poet wanting to make sure I had time and space in my life to create poems. This desire developed in college, where I received my BA in English with creative writing emphasis. However, at that time I wasn’t comfortable with answering yes to the question: “Are you a poet?” I was working alongside my father in a small business (Mail Boxes Etc. franchise) in my North Berkeley hometown neighborhood, that we had just started the year prior.

Advice to my younger self: Don’t worry about what you imagine other people think of you. Be brave and speak your truth. 

David Schweidel

Born 1954

I turned 25 in Tucson, Arizona, where I was a student in the MFA program at the University of Arizona, teaching two sections of Freshman Comp and trying to learn how to write a good short story. Frankly, when I was 25, I would have been very unlikely to take advice from future me.  Better to make my own mistakes and figure things out – or not – as time went by.

Linda Simmel
Born 1948

Shortly after turning 25, I drove out to Colorado’s Paonia Valley to be a cow girl and learn ranching.

Can’t think of advice that would have helped as I still don’t quite have the knack of living down, it seems!

Michael Smith
Born 1943

At age 25 I graduated medical school and had begun my internship in internal medicine at Stanford University hospital. I had escaped from my village of NYC and emigrated to California. A dream come true. I was really happy.

To me, then, I would say: pursue with endless determination the inarticulate yearning of your heart’s desire for authenticity and freedom.

Interconnecting Circles