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Marvelously Mature Magazine
Meet The Publisher
Marvelously Mature Women On the Move
The Interior Decorator - Cherry Packo
Here’s to Your Health
Meet Karen Ford
Positively: Just Thinking Out Loud
Resources for the Mature Woman
Poetry Page: -------------------------------------------------------------------------
**Publishers Note: Marvelous Mature Magazine is targeting the African American woman who is fifty and older. We welcome your “constructive” comments and look forward to finding women with the willingness to contribute and/or tell their stories. This is our virgin voyage and we hope you enjoy the trip. Please let us know what we can do to make Marvelously Mature the magazine you look forward to reading.
MARVELOUSLY MATURE MAGAZINE
Meet the Publisher
fter much deliberation, and making numerous requests and inquiries, I decided to put my face on the cover of the first Marvelously Mature Magazine. Don’t worry, I am not going to follow in the footsteps of someone I truly admire, Ms. Oprah, but I am going to take license here and let you see my smiling face for the premiere issue. This magazine began as a class project for a Women’s Studies course I am enrolled in as I journey toward receiving my Master’s degree. I hope it can become a well read ezine for women fifty and older. I am going to do my best to share information and introduce you to other women who are learning to live their own lives. Since I placed my face on the cover I guess I will do a self interview. I was born and raised in Dallas Texas, and yes, I am a Dallas Cowboy fan. I must admit that actually receiving a degree beyond high school was not a part of my plans. When I first began attending college, over 20 years ago, I did it for multiple reasons. One was so that I could learn to do something that would garner me a decent salary and take care of my children. The most serious reason was to be a role model for my children. I wanted them to want more for themselves than substandard living and food stamps. I can happily say that four of the five have graduated from college and are either seeking to obtain a higher degree or thinking about it. My first degree was obtained last year. I was 54 years of age. I look at the framed piece of parchment paper on my wall and I can hardly believe it has my name on it. I guess I got a case of the “don’t stop now” syndrome because before graduation I applied to the Masters of Women’s Studies program at Texas Women’s University. When I received my acceptance letter my heart began to beat a little faster. What was I getting into? After all, I was well past 50, had a great job and could have just rolled on into retirement with a BS in Sociology. But there was a problem. Not unlike many women my age I basically had no retirement. Sure, I contributed to the company’s 401k and there may be a few dollars coming my way via Social Security. I only had to work until I was about 75 to be able to afford to stay home. And, I had no desire to work until I couldn’t or stay home. I had dreams that had been deferred way too long. I wanted to follow my passion. If you ask me what it is I am passionate about and I will tell you it is helping other women find their passion. I love to assist women to become empowered; to see themselves doing what they have always wanted to do. What I find is that many of us are a little hesitant to say what it is we desire to do especially if we can’t see a way to add a dollar sign to the mix. I tell them there is a secret that goes along with following your passion and that secret is “do what you love doing even if it doesn’t bring in the dough”. I have been doing it for years. 2
MARVELOUSLY MATURE MAGAZINE
I have been talking to people about their passion, hopes and dreams. I purchase journals and share them with other women asking that they use their journals to get the junk out of their heads and onto paper so they can see things a little more clearly. I will make phone calls, send cards with encouraging words and share information I may find about where they want to go and what they want to do with their lives. And I am an equal opportunity “dip in your business” person. Age is no factor and neither is gender. All you have to do is tell me you want to do something different with your life and you have me at different. One of the many things this online magazine is going to help me accomplish is sharing my writing. My editing may not always be perfect and my commas may run wild, but the gist of each article that I write will be that of offering encouragement and empowerment. Also, it will introduce all of us to women we can relate to. I love to see my sisters moving forward in life and I love to reach back and pull a sister forward. Just recently I received an email that was so profoundly full of words that made my heart constrict. It was like a letter to Black women, but in essence it could have been to every woman. The gist of the email was that we spend too much time tearing one another down instead of building one another up. We are negative when we should be positive and we need to be more available for one another. Let’s celebrate one another even if you don’t like my shoes, my hair, my mate, or whatever. I don’t know who wrote it, but I wish that I had. Well, that’s it for me, for now. So, keep on reading and look for me at marvelouslymature.com “Living life on your own terms makes for a very happy life.”
fÉÇ|t MARVELOUSLY MATURE MAGAZINE
M Editor-in-Charge Sonia Jordan
Content Editor Wilda Keaton
History Editor Sherry Flewellen-Ervin
Contributors Karen Ford Dr.Lauren McDonald
Marvelously Mature Magazine was created with the goal of providing information and resources for the woman who wants to take charge of her life. From the articles profiling women who are learning to navigate life the mature time around.
Marvelously Mature Magazine P.O. Box 1234 Dallas, Texas 75201 3
The Interior Decorator Meet Ms. Cherry Packo, interior designer extraordinaire. For years Cherry dreamed of becoming an interior designer but the necessities of life dictated otherwise. As she worked full-time both as an employee and a mother, she never stopped dreaming of someday being an interior designer. This past year she was able to realize the dream and received her certification as an Interior Decorator. Marvelously Mature caught up with the busy Ms. Packo for a chat. M&M: Hello Cherry. So, you finally managed to stop long enough to get your certification. Cherry: M&M:
Yes. Finally. Ms. Cherry, where are you from?
I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and graduated from Lincoln High School in 1972.
Where did you get your certification for interior decorating? Penn Foster University. It was a great experience. The course work was easy to understand and very informative.
How did you know this was the field for you? What made you choose interior decorating as a new career?
Cherry: It wasn’t a choice; it is a desire. It is something that I have loved to do all of my life. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized that this was the direction for me. I used to re-decorate when I lived at home, hanging curtains, re-arranging furniture, buying items to change the decor. I did this all for the fun of it.
One holiday I had family over for dinner at my home. My father-in-law walks in, looks around and then turns to me and says “you got talent. You missed your calling.” After that day I thought about what he said and thought “I haven’t missed my calling, it has just been delayed.” And that’s when I decided to go for it. Are you a hands on crafty person?
know that whatever she wants to accomplish is in her reach. And for her to pass this to on to her daughter. I’m also proud of being a woman, more specifically a Black woman at a Marvelously Mature age where I realize that my life really belongs to me and that I am finally doing something that I truly want to do.
Cherry: I used to make flower arrangements several years ago. Now I do a lot of things like upholstery; I paint; sew – not with a pattern, but by sight, things like pillows, blankets, wall hangings. And a lot of my work that I have done I do for my family. I take old items and redo them to make them more modern/attractive. M&M
Recently I took a chandelier that I purchased at a thrift store. It doesn’t work, but I hung it just for the ambiance. I didn’t really like it after I hung it because it was so old fashioned. So, I took it down and added some plastic crystals to it and now I love it. M&M:
Cherry: I would tell them that you only have one shot at this life and you need to go for it. You can never fail because you’ve tried.
This is something that you are obviously passionate about – when you walk into a room that you are going to design, what is the first thing that you do?
Cherry: First I consult with my client. I ask what they are looking for; what they are wanting/their needs; and, what kind of mood are they trying for. And while I am consulting with the client I do a mental redecoration as they tell me what they want. M&M:
What was most difficult about obtaining this certification/degree?
Cherry: Deciding to go through with it. Deciding to do it. I kept thinking that because I was older was it too late; could I make it work at this point in my life. Finally, I just did it. Whether I was successful at it or not, it was still something that I really wanted to do. M&M:
How has this certification/degree changed your life?
Cherry: The certificate has not changed my life, but the accomplishment of obtaining it has given me great satisfaction in my self. M&M: Cherry:
What are you most proud of? I am most proud of being a mother and being able to encourage my daughter to move forward with her life and to
What advice would you give anyone wanting to step out and change their life after 50?
Thanks to Ms. Cherry Packo, a Marvelously Mature Interior Decorator who is living life on her terms. – sj/mm
Marvelously Mature Magazine
HERE’S TO YOUR HEALTH I’m No Doctor or Nurse, But… I do believe we need to take charge of our own health. When we make our trek to the doctor’s office we need to be prepared. We can start by writing down the questions surrounding our visit. Why are you there? Add to that the symptoms you are concerned about – and don’t be shy. Your doctor needs to know what is going on with your body in order to get as accurate a diagnosis as she/he can. It is so easy to believe that you will remember just what is wrong and what questions you need to ask, but once you get there your mind may just draw a blank. Remember, the face to face time is limited because there are other patients waiting to be seen. So, write it down. I would go so far as to suggest keeping a health journal to document your symptoms/ailments between doctor visits. Be sure to ask the questions that concern you most, and again, don’t be shy. Also, keep a copy of your health insurance information in your journal. Simply make a copy of your insurance card and st aple it to the first page of your health journal – that way when you get to the doctor’s office if you forget to bring the card with you the copy is available and at hand. Always, always keep your journal with you. If this is your first visit you know there are numerous forms that have to be completed involving not only insurance information, but medical history as well including known allergies, past surgeries/hospitalizations and family history of illness/diseases. All of this should be included in your health journal along with a list of all medications you are currently taking both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Be sure to include the dosage, frequency and the reason for the medications. Don’t forget, if you are given a new medication, always ask for samples. This way you can see if the new meds are right for you before spending monies for a prescription that may have to be changed later. If you are visiting a specialist, or getting a second opinion on a diagnosis, it would help you and the doctor if you have done a little research. Ask questions about your diagnosis and maybe even read up on it so that when you do visit the specialist you will at least know something about the diagnosis and be able to ask pertinent questions. You may even want to bring someone with you that you trust and who can ask and answer questions with you. Finally, remember that honesty is the best policy. Be upfront and truthful with your doctor. It is almost impossible to give a correct diagnosis with incorrect or missing information. Be honest even if you have not followed the advice previously given; even if you haven’t stopped eating salt altogether and your blood pressure is through the roof; even if ____________________ (fill in the blank). If you aren’t honest you may well be putting your health at a greater risk Ultimately, we are responsible for our own health and we need to take charge of our health care by asking questions, taking good notes when we visit the doctor; taking medications as directed; and, following the doctor’s advice. That said, Here’s to Your Health!
Meet Karen Ford M&M: Hello Ms. Ford. Let’s get this party started. Tell me, where are you from? Karen: I was born and raised in Chicago, IL. I’m still here but hopefully that will change in two years. M&M: So, tell me something. I know you are Marvelous and now married, but you were a single parent, was that difficult? Karen: Yes, it was. I didn’t have the chance to do a lot of evening activities because people didn’t want to babysit. I missed a number of daytime school activities because I had to work and supervisors acted like you were about to bring the company down because you had to care for a sick child. Dating was pretty much done at lunchtime or not at all and men always wanted to meet my child and come to my home which I would not allow. The hardest part was not having someone to share duties with or just lend a helping hand. M&M: I remember those times. But here you are now. Moving forward you’re your life, realizing your dreams and even returning to school. What happened that helped you make the decision to return to school and had you decided on a major when you enrolled? Karen: When I was young, I was eager to get out in the world so I quit school. It was easy to move around and about then and people were more concerned with whether or not you could do the job. I found as years passed that companies now want you to have a degree even if the degree is in ancient Sanskrit. I was also told that I would not further along without a degree. I also wanted to make my dad happy. So I got the degree and it hasn’t changed a thing. I’m still considered an old broad with lots of experience that no one wants. I’m just an old broad with a degree. As for the major, I always loved politics. I grew up listening to the men in the family discuss politics and world affairs so choosing a major was the easiest part of the entire process. M&M: How did you know this was the field for you? Is this what you are most passionate about? Karen: I was sure political science was the right major. I just wasn’t sure what I could do with a polysci degree. I’m passionate about advocacy work especially in regards to labor and fair work practices. The problem is finding the place in which to put my experience and degree to work. There have been a couple of
promising leads that didn’t pan out and one job I was offered but didn’t materialize. I’m holding on to the idea that I can find a place that will let me do my best work. M&M: So, you knew this was the direction you wanted to go in. Karen: Lord, no! It’s taken me over 30 years to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I originally wanted to work for the CIA. Then I wanted to be a journalist working for a big city paper. I’ve been a freelance journalist for over 20 years and I’ve written for some big publications. But it was not as fulfilling as I thought it would be. Probably because I wasn’t on staff, merely a freelancer. But the advocacy work I’ve done is the right direction. M&M: Wow. You are presently in grad school. What has been the most difficult thing you have encountered while attending? Karen: Grad school has been a real pain. I absolutely HATE, HATE, HATE group projects. And I detest the dismissive attitudes of instructors and students who are not as old as some of my shoes. For many of them, world events are history. For me, these events are memories, things that I experienced. To dismiss that knowledge is ridiculous. M&M: Girlfriend, I bet if you took a poll most of us Marvelously Mature women would agree that we also HATE, HATE, HATE group projects and not just the dismissive attitudes of instructors – I encountered that in undergrad, but the younger students who already have a bazillion degrees. But I digress. Tell me, what are you most proud of? Karen: I think I’m most proud of persevering and getting that BA. Most women say they’re proud of raising good children and that is certainly an accomplishment worthy of pride. However as women, we devalue those things we’ve done for ourselves. We always put ourselves last and downgrade or dismiss what we’ve accomplished for ourselves by ourselves. So I’m proud of getting that damn degree event when I thought I’d have to kill somebody before I got it! M&M: Too true. Well, how has your degree changed your life? Karen: Getting the degree hasn’t changed my life one iota. At the place I was previously employed, I was told things would be better and better positions would become available once I had my degree. Well, they laid me off three months before graduation. And job prospects have been nil. There are people with masters who are job hunting as well. I believe the degree hustle is another way for people to weed out people they don’t want to hire without seeming racist or sexist. M&M: What advice would you give anyone wanting to step out and change their life after 50? Karen: I would say “Do You!” I spent almost a lifetime doing what others wanted or doing what society says is right. And that didn’t mean a damn thing in the long run. I would have much happier and wasted a lot less time, energy and money if I had simply followed my own desires. Once again, as women, we’re programmed to do what’s right or at least what family, friends and society dictates what’s right. We’re never given permission to trust our guts. Well now I live by several simple rules. One is “it’s easier to ask
for forgiveness than permission.” Another is “Mind over matter. I don’t mind because you don’t matter.” And of course, “Do you!” If you don’t do you, who else can? M&M: Do You? That is a great mantra as are the other’s that you have shared. So, let me ask you another question. As a woman that is Marvelously Mature, what do you know about feminism? How has it affected your life? Karen: I love that description – marvelously mature. I know what feminism means and what it’s supposed to be. A long time ago, my grandmother taught me that there is a time to be a lady, a time to be a woman and a time to be a whore. The smart girl knows when to be what. This is a lesson in feminism that we obviously didn’t pass on to girls and women today. I believe there is great strength in feminism. My grandmother took care of all the business because my grandfather could neither read nor write. But she never made him feel like less of a man. She deferred to him because both of them knew where the strength of the family lay. I hear women and girls today acting like men, looking like men, talking like longshoremen and then wondering why a man treats them the way they do. As for feminism in the sense of the feminist movement, well, I can simply say that was a White woman thang. Regardless of what the feminists may say, there was never a place for Black women in that movement. Black women, in that sense, have always been feminists. Since we stepped foot on this shore, we’ve worked along side our men doing the same work. We were devalued then and we’re still devalued now. As Black women, we are at the bottom of the economic totem pole. As to the first part of this question, feminism has made life a wonderful journey. I wouldn’t trade places to be a man for anything in this world. Being feminine is being in touch with all the beauty life has to offer. As to the movement, it has not affected my life in any way. As a Black woman, I’m dismissed, disrespected or not regarded at all. M&M: The older I get, the more I read and the more I ask questions I realize that your sentiments are those of most Black women. We have had to make our own feminism. You know life offers many lessons, but it doesn’t always answer all the questions. What is it that you would you be interested in knowing about anything? Karen: I would love to know if there really is a heaven or hell. I keep wanting someone who is dead to come back and tell me that there really is life on the other side. I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of being dead! M&M: If you find out, send me an email [laughing]. On a serious note, you are preparing to take a trip to Kenya? Are you excited? What is the purpose of this trip? Karen: Believe it or not, my degree program has a study abroad component. We had a choice of three countries and I desperately wanted to go back to Africa. I will be studying and working with an international nongovernmental organization that aids Kenyans in the fight against poverty. This is part of the advocacy work I’d like to do. I’m so excited I can barely stand it. When I went to Africa the first time, I was about to burst. It was a life changing experience but it was also a rude awakening for me to see that even in the Motherland, American Blacks are devalued. It is my hope that my experience in Kenya will be different and
that I will find the welcome I looked for in Ghana. Even with that, I’m truly excited. Most people and especially Black people, don’t have the chance to go to Africa once and here I am going on my second trip. If anyone would have told me several years ago that I’d be making this trip, I would have laughed and now I can barely pack because of I’m so excited. M&M: Ms. Karen thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. I hope you enjoy your trip back to Africa. I know you, me and women like us don’t consider ourselves feminist which is really an issue that is being addressed, somewhat. However, let me just say that being an advocate and actively doing something to help others is such a wonderful undertaking. Don’t forget now, you must contribute to Marvelously Mature soon. Take lots of pictures in Africa and we can do a story about your study abroad.-mm Karen Ford lives in Chicago, IL. She is a writer, mother, wife and student. If you would like to contact Ms. Ford you can email her at: Kford@aol.com
I know what feminism means and what it’s supposed to be.
Marvelously Mature Magazine
Positively… Just Thinking Out Loud Recently I received an email that started me to thinking about how we treat others. I made it a point to forward that particular email to as many women as I could think of because the gist of it was that you never know what others are going through. Think about it. Someone may be smiling and talking as though life for them is a crystal staircase and everything is perfect when in truth they are suffering in silence. They may not be blessed/gifted with friends (or just one friend) that they can go to just to vent which means they keep their troubles to themselves and that “ain’t good for nobody”. Sure, we all have a lot going on in their lives. Our plates are overflowing. And it is easy to get so caught up in our own mess we don’t allow room for other folks stuff. There are folk who have lost loved ones; their homes; their jobs; or, just simply may be having a bad day. But, we could care less because, after all, what does their misfortune or unhappiness have to do with you? Right? Wrong. The age old question “am I my brother’s keeper?” was never answered and the context of the question was related to Cain after he had killed his brother Abel. So, I may be getting a little too liberal with the Word, but we don’t realize how being cruel to others, or ignoring their pain when a simple smile would make a difference, is related to murdering their spirit. God did not look too favorably on Cain after he had killed his brother. Now, that’s my take on it. I ain’t preaching, but … Look, I confess, I am not always smiling at folk or even offering a kind word. Hell, sometimes I refuse to ask certain folk how they are doing because I know I don’t care to hear them extol their woes. Oh, and don’t get me started on the folk that babble on about how they are too blessed to be stressed. Really? My point is this, just how much does it take to offer a smile or a kind word? I’m not saying become besties with everybody you meet. I am simply suggesting that you keep in mind that other people have issues too. Who knows, that sister who dresses nice and walks around smiling all the time may have to endure emotional or physical abuse on a regular basis at home. Maybe all she needs is a smile or hello just to get her through the day. I will admit sometimes you meet people you just don’t jive with and that’s okay – still you can show some teeth. Try it on for a while. Even if the response is less than favorable do it anyway – from the heart of course, and you may be surprised at the difference it makes in your own life. I’m Just Saying…
MARVELOUSLY MATURE MAGAZINE
RESOURCES Locating resources that are useful can be a daunting experience. Marvelously Mature will add new resources to this list with each new publication. If you know of a resource that should be included here please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share the information.
AGING: AARP is chocked full of information from money management to traveling. You only have to be 50 years of age to become a member. The cost is minimal and the benefits are spectacular. http://www.aarp.org/ DADS AAA hotline at (800) 252-9240 - connects you to the Area Agency on Aging within your area if your call is in-state. If the call is from outside the State of Texas, it is answered by the DADS AI-AAA assistance line; the AAA listing (http://www.dads.state.tx.us/contact/combined.cfm) on the DADS website; or Betty Ford, Director, Area Agencies on Aging Section, at (512) 438-4120 or email@example.com. ELDER OPTIONS OF TEXAS is another on-line information and referral resource for senior housing and elder care information. The site offers information on support groups, respite care, and contact information based on location. Contact: Log on to http://elderoptionsoftexas.com. U. S. Administration on Aging (AoA) provides information on aging and seeks to educate older adults and caregivers on the services that may be available for them. Go to their website for more information: www.aoa.gov, or call (02) 619-0724.
DATING: Dating Websites http://overfiftiesfriends.co.uk/ this is a friendship and dating website for women over 50. http://single-women.meetup.com/cities/us/tx/dallas/ this meet up is for single women, however there are meet up groups for different stations in life. To customize your search go to http://www.meetup.com/. http://www.over50web.net/ this site sounds interesting for the over 50 crowd.
FINANCE: Retirement Now What provides activities and workshops addressing issues that women over 50 face including finances and retirement. http://www.retirementorwhatnext.com/ HEALTH: Resources: http://www.menopause.org http://www.webmd.com If you know of resources that would be beneficial to the Marvelously Mature Woman, please email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org. - thanks
Marvelously Mature Magazine
POETRY & PROSE From the Marvelously Mature Team to You (Our Future Readers) Welcome to our World…
It Is Just the Beginning… Sonia Jordan ©2009 In the beginning it’s fun and exciting getting to know One another’s likes and dislikes; habits and such Smiling to ourselves as our hands touch… In the beginning my guard may be up and yours may Be too – we may not know exactly what to say or What to do…but as time goes on and our destiny is Revealed I hope that in the beginning feeling remains Strong and real… You know that part when I hear your voice and I smile And you see me coming and you smile and when we Both care about what the other feels – that’s the part I hope always remains real. It is just the beginning and as our relationship develops And grows let’s keep this beginning as our guide during The highs and the lows…’cause it’s just the beginning. Thank you for taking the time to peruse Marvelously Mature Magazine. We hope you will add us to your “must read” list as we continue to grow. SJordan
Marvelously Mature Magazine