I just uploaded my writing excerpt from Profiles in Creative Aging.
I assumed my life in retirement would continue to be the same old, same old. My husband and I would remain in the same house in Chicago, which we didn’t like and were always planning to sell or fix up, but never did. I would continue to work on genealogy, which was an interest of mine, and spend a lot of time in the basement. My computer was in the basement as was my stash of food. Nobody could see me eating in the basement where I went to soothe myself by eating. That’s how I envisioned my retirement years. I also thought I would be the first to die as my husband was sure he would live to see one hundred and twenty. I never dreamed of the life I have now. I never knew I had it in me.
My husband died two and half years ago at age seventy-eight. We had a long marriage of forty-six years, but it was a very bad marriage. No. I shouldn’t say that, but it was not a particularly good marriage. Before he died, he suffered from a type of dementia, which seemed to have come on suddenly. His doctor diagnosed him as having an underlying schizophrenic paranoid syndrome. That helped me understand some of his past behavior. I tolerated a lot throughout the years, as had our two daughters. But that’s all water under the dam. I consider myself a survivor as I had two alcoholic parents as well as an alcoholic husband. I think I deserve all the great stuff I’m getting now; I certainly worked hard enough for it.
After my husband’s death, I decided to sell the house and initially planned to spend six months of the year in Champaign-Urbana, where my daughter, Cheryl and her husband and three children live and the other six months around Glendale, California, near my daughter Liz. I came out to Glendale to find a place to live and nothing looked particularly good to me. Liz said that while driving around, she saw a place she thought would be wonderful for me…The Burbank Senior Artists Colony. I replied, “Why should I go to an artists colony? I haven’t done anything artistic in my entire life.” She responded, “You have it in you. I think you should be here and I think you would really enjoy it.” So I made an appointment with Rose, who works in the office here. Even before I saw the available apartment, I saw the activities sheet for the month. Oh my goodness!”
At first, Sally Connors objected when her daughter brought her to visit the Burbank site.
“It says ‘Burbank Senior Arts Colony,’” recalls Connors. “But I’m not an artist.”
“But you could be,” replied her daughter.
For Connors, the transition didn’t take long. “I joined everything,” she says. “I went to every class they offered. And still do.” Besides painting, film making and writing – plays, poetry and screenplays – Connors has found her home as an actress, recalling her first tentative line delivered on stage. “People laughed,” she recalls. “And I was just blown away. They found something I said was funny. And a star was born.”
Senior’s Art Colony: Come Ready To Play
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My next adventure in writing happened to be a screenplay. Joseph Caro, screenwriter and videographer, taught a screenplay writing class at BSAC in 2012. Each student wrote a two-minute screenplay, cast it, found a location to shoot it, dressed the set and actually shot the video, with the help of Joseph. I wrote “Damsel in Distress”. This was a great adventure, and taught me A LOT about show don’t tell.