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● Life


See artifacts recovered from the Whydah, a pirate ship that sank about 300 years ago, at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Page 6

SUNDAY ❘ April 17, 2011

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photos By Jerilee Bennett, the GaZette

susan solich poses with her daughter, hannah, and her four grandsons, from left, conner flowers, 6; Brandon flowers, 14; Justin flowers, 12; and tyler flowers, 10. solich and hannah have opened their home and their lives to the boys, whose parents died within months of each other less than a year ago.

By the numBers

• 2.9 million: Number of children living  with and being raised by a grandparent  in 2008. • 2.6 million: Number of grandparents  in the U.S. serving as primary caregiver  for one or more grandchildren. Sixtyseven percent are younger than 60. • 19: Percentage of grandparentcaregivers whose income falls below the  poverty level. This represents 493,000  grandparents. • $34,782: Median income in households where grandparents are raising  grandchildren. • 977,000: Number of grandparents responsible for caring for their grandchildren for at least the past five years. • 1.9 million: The number of grandparent-caregivers who were married. • 1.6 million: The number of grandparents who were in the labor force and  also responsible for most of the basic  needs of their grandchildren. • 655,000: Number of grandparents  with a disability who were caring for  their grandchildren. sources: u.s. census Bureau; pew research center

suPPort system


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• El Paso County Department of Human Services Grandparent Advocate: 444-5226. Provides grandparents with  assistance in getting their grandchildren  registered for school, becoming guardians and hooking up with social service  and financial resources. • Daytime support group: Meets 11:30  a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every other Tuesday  at Ascension Lutheran Church 2505 N.  Circle Drive. Contact Sandy Watford, 5963983 (, or Cindy  Stapp, 633-0685 • Evening support group: Meets  6:30-8:15 p.m. the second Tuesday of  the month at First Presbyterian Church,  Room 431. Child care is provided. Contact Shari Tighe at 492-2918.. • Find a list of additional resources at

guardian angel Single mom, 55, raising her 4 grandsons alone By BarBara cotter —

On a recent spring break day, chaos erupts at Susan Solich’s magazine-beautiful house. A quartet of boys, ages 6 to 14, is in high-octane mode. They bolt out the side door to the driveway, then dash back in. They run through the kitchen, down to the basement, then back outside again. They quarrel. They interrupt her conversation. She gives an apologetic “boys will be boys” shrug and tries to keep the conversation going with a guest, but eventually her patience wears thin. “Please. Don’t throw stuff, you guys,” she implores in a voice more exasperated than angry.

“Go back outside. Everybody needs to be outside.” This is not a scene Solich would have expected to star in six months ago. She’s divorced, and all but one of her three biological and two stepchildren are grown and out of the house. For the past five years or so, it’s been just her and her youngest, 15-year-old Hannah, living quietly in their Mountain Shadows house. At 55 years old, she’s been thinking about retiring from her job in sports marketing and doing some traveling. But now she has four boys living with her, and the life she was planning for herself isn’t the life she’s going to have, not see solich • Page 5

after holding steady for the family portrait, top, chaos re-emerges as the children return to their playful ways and release their energy.

riGht: susan solich shares a moment with grandson tyler. left: solich keeps a note from her youngest grandson, conner, hanging on her cabinets.

rainy-day feet

Jump into spring fashion, and a few puddles, in boots By Karen Deer st. louis post-dispatch —

heart love print boot from rue21

Make a splash this season with stylish rain boots. With polka dots or in hot-pink hues, rain boots are flooding area retailers. It’s a fun, affordable way to add a little pizazz to your wardrobe. • Burst dot, concentric circles in black, white and pink. $21.99, Rue21 (; Outlets at Castle Rock, 5050 Factory Shops Blvd., No. 155, Castle Rock; 1-720-733-4298). • Journee Collection abstract. $29.99, Kohl’s (; 3110 N. Powers Blvd., 637-0214; 4910 N. Nevada Ave., 531-5099; 2725 Janitell Road, 5270610; 15866 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument,

488-4531). • Polo Ralph Lauren in fuchsia. $44.99, Journeys Kidz ( • Heart love print. $21.99, Rue21 (; see above). • Women’s floral. $24, Wal-Mart (several in Pikes Peak region; • Sperry Top-Sider Pelican in glossy, leopard print. $68, Dillard’s (The Citadel, Chapel Hills; dillards. com). • Journee Collection skull. $29.99, Kohl’s (; see above). • Toddler Rainy Kitty. $29.99, Journeys Kidz.

Burst dot rain boot

Guardian Angel  
Guardian Angel  

Single mom, 55, raising her 4 grandsons alone