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Complimentary | Chester County Edition

September 2021

Participating in the Arts Creates Paths to Healthy Aging page 4

RecognizE the signs of ptsd page 8

Remembering 9/11 20 years later page 19

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Lebanon County Women’s Expo is Back in Person This Month By Megan Joyce

The Lebanon County Women’s Expo has come back from the virtual

world to return as an in-person event for 2021. A blend of information, entertainment, shopping, socializing, learning, and fun, the ninth annual Lebanon County Women’s Expo will be held from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Lebanon Expo Center, 80 Rocherty Road, Lebanon. After the COVID-19 pandemic jettisoned many brick-and-mortar events in 2020, the organizers of the Women’s Expo are excited to once again welcome the women of Lebanon County and surrounding areas to a day of socialization and rejuvenation at the free, one-day event. Brought to you by OLP Events and event partner WellSpan Health, the Women’s Expo invites women of all ages and interests to a lively experience of shopping, inspiration, and relaxation and to learn about products and services. Exhibitors — which range from larger businesses to small franchises and “solopreneurs” — will provide women plenty of opportunities to shop and gather information about health and wellness, travel, home improvements, nutrition, beauty, and more. Visitors will also be eligible for a variety of door prizes, and main-stage entertainment and seminars will be back; the event committee is working to put together an exciting lineup for guests’ enjoyment. Sponsors for the 2021 Lebanon County Women’s Expo include 50plus LIFE; BUSINESSWoman; HOT 106.7; Kapp Advertising, the Merchandiser; NASH 93.5; WellSpan Health; WINK 104; and WHTM abc27. Admission and parking at the Women’s Expo are free, but visitors are encouraged to preregister online at Check the website, visit the Women’s Expo on Facebook ( womensexpos), or call (717) 285-1350 for more information.

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50plus LIFE

September 2021


Cover Story

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EDITORIAL Vice President and Managing Editor Christianne Rupp Editor, 50plus Publications Megan Joyce

ART DEPARTMENT Project Coordinator Lauren Phillips Production Artist Renee Petros

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Senior Marketing Consultant Joshua Binkley Events Manager Kimberly Shaffer

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50plus LIFE is published by On-Line Publishers, Inc. and is distributed monthly among senior centers, retirement communities, banks, grocers, libraries and other outlets serving the senior community. On-Line Publishers, Inc. will not knowingly accept or publish advertising which may be fraudulent or misleading in nature. Views expressed in opinion stories, contributions, articles and letters are not necessarily the views of the publisher. The appearance of advertisements for products or services does not constitute an endorsement of the particular product or service. The publisher will not be responsible for mistakes in advertisements unless notified within five days of publication. On-Line Publishers, Inc. reserves the right to revise or reject any and all advertising. No part of this publication may be reproduced or reprinted without permission of On-Line Publishers, Inc. We will not knowingly publish any advertisement or information not in compliance with the Federal Fair Housing Act, Pennsylvania State laws or other local laws.


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Participating in the Arts Creates Paths to Healthy Aging We all know to eat right, exercise, and get a good night’s sleep to stay healthy. But can flexing our creative muscles help us thrive as we age? Ongoing research looking at singing group programs, theater training, and visual arts for older adults suggests that participating in the arts may improve the health, well-being, and independence of older adults. “Researchers are highly interested in examining if and how participating in arts activities may be linked to improving cognitive function and memory and improving self-esteem and well-being,” said Lisa Onken, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Aging’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research. Lifting Their Voices for Healthy Aging “Scientists are also interested in studying how music can be used to reduce behavioral symptoms of dementia, such as stress, aggression, agitation, and apathy, as well as promoting social interaction, which has multiple psychosocial benefits.” “There’s a pressing need to develop novel, sustainable, and cost-effective approaches to improve the lives of older adults,” said Julene K. Johnson, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing. “Singing in a community choir may be a unique approach to promote the health of diverse older adults by helping them remain active and engaged. It may even reduce health disparities.” Johnson tested this approach, leading Community of Voices, the largest randomized clinical trial to test the impact of participating in a community choir on the health and well-being of nearly 400 culturally diverse adults, age 60 and older, from 12 senior centers in San Francisco. The centers were randomly chosen to conduct the choir program immediately (six intervention groups) or six months later (six control groups). Outcome measures were collected at baseline

(prior to starting the intervention), six months (end of randomization phase), and 12 months (one year after enrollment). Each choir met once a week in 90-minute sessions for 44 weeks and performed in several informal concerts. At weekly rehearsals, professional choral directors from the San Francisco Community Music Center trained in the intervention-led activities to promote health and well-being. Researchers assessed participants’ cognition, physical function, and psychosocial function, as well as their use and cost of healthcare services, before they started the choir program and again after six and 12 months. A unique aspect of the study was its use of community partners to engage, enroll, and retain a large group of racially and ethnically diverse and low-income older adults. Participating in the community choir showed positive results within six months. In particular, it reduced feelings of loneliness and increased interest in life. However, cognitive and physical outcomes and healthcare costs did not change significantly. Johnson attributed the improvements to the choir providing a meaningful, regular opportunity to meet new people, build social support, and increase a sense of belonging. “The study showed increased interest in life because singing in the choir provided a regular, structured activity for participants,” Johnson said. “Access to regular activities in diverse, low-income communities is vital for older adults to remain active and engaged in their community.” “As these studies continue, we expect the results to show us how we can implement cost-effective, community-based programs that benefit older people,” Onken said. Theater Improvising to Cope with Dementia Northwestern University is looking to another art

form, theater improvisation, to help older adults with early-stage dementia be social and improve their quality of life. “The Memory Ensemble is for people newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia who are looking for opportunities to engage in programs that fit their needs,” said Darby Morhardt, Ph.D., outreach, recruitment, and education core leader at Northwestern’s Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease. The Memory Ensemble’s 69 participants learn how to use their instincts, creativity, and spontaneity to explore and create improvisational theater. The program, developed in 2010 by Northwestern and the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago, seeks to improve the quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s and related disorders and to transfer these benefits to other communities. As part of the eight-week program, groups of 10-15 participants, age 50-90, attend 90-minute sessions that are purposely repetitive and follow a specific pattern. Two facilitators — a clinical social worker and a master teaching artist in theater and improvisational techniques — guide participants through various activities. Many Memory Ensemble exercises involve practicing observation, listening, and then using one’s imagination to find creative solutions. Here are some examples: •P  articipants’ moods are assessed at check-in with “smiley faces” • A metaphor exercise: “If my feelings could be a color, they would be …”

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•A  gentle warmup of stretching and breathing •A  skill-building exercise in which participants imagine a character in a challenging situation or pretend to turn an object into something else • Th  e “checkout” activity, another smiley face assessment “We wanted participants to be in a safe but challenging environment,” said the program’s co-founder, Christine Mary Dunford, Ph.D., of Lookingglass Theater Company. “We’re putting them in situations where they may feel anxiety. But our motto is, ‘When I feel anxious or uncertain, I can stop, breathe, observe, and turn to my imagination, and an answer will come.’ As a result, we’ve found they feel more successful and empowered.” The program does not aim to slow decline or improve cognition but to help people with dementia enjoy their lives, according to Morhardt. “There are limits to medical treatments for people with dementia,” she said. “Patients and families are looking for ways to continue to engage. For participants in the program, it’s about being in the moment and using their imagination. We enhance their remaining skills and mood. “As the condition progresses, it can become challenging to communicate with words, so we really focus on nonverbal means of expression.” Preliminary results show participation in the Memory Ensemble improves mood, decreases anxiety, and increases a sense of belonging, normalcy, and de-stigmatization, said Dunford. Participants also report feelings of achievement, empowerment, and self-discovery. Future plans include developing an evidence-based curriculum for researchers, arts therapists, and theater professionals to replicate the program in other communities and a theater intervention program for caregivers. Research on music, theater, dance, creative writing, and other participatory arts shows promise for improving older adults’ quality of life and well-being, from better cognitive function, memory, and self-esteem to reduced stress and increased social interaction. For more information, visit NIA at

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50plus LIFE

September 2021


The History of Military Service Star Banners By Doris Montag A service flag or banner is one that family members of those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces can display. It is officially defined as a white field with a red border, with a blue star for each immediate family member serving during any period of war or conflict. According to the Department of Defense code, the flag size ratio must be 10:19, the same as the American flag. The service flag was designed and patented by World War I Capt. Robert L. Queisser, whose two sons were serving on the front line. The flag was intended to be displayed in the front window of people’s homes to indicate one or more family members were in the Armed Services. In 1918 President Wilson approved a request from the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense that American women who had lost a child serving in the war should wear a black mourning band on the left arm with a gilt star for each child lost. This approval led to the tradition of a gold star covering the blue star on the service flag to show that the service member had passed. The gold star represented valor and sacrifice to the cause of freedom. (It is believed Wilson coined the term “Gold Star Mother.”) Just after World War I, the Gold Star Mothers Club was formed by Grace Darling Siebold (her son was Lt. George Vaughn Seibold) to support other mothers who had lost children in the war.

The club’s other purpose was to give loving care/visits to hospitalized veterans confined in government hospitals far from home. American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. was founded in 1929 as a nondenominational, nonprofit, and nonpolitical organization. Twenty-five mothers living in Washington, D.C., were original members of the group. Other clubs across the nation quickly requested membership. Still active today, there are over 900 members. In 1936, the United States began recognizing mothers of fallen service members by observing Gold Star Mother’s Day on the last Sunday of September. Amended in 2011, President Barack Obama made this commemorative day Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day. May 1 has been designated as Silver Star Service Banner Day to honor the sacrifices of combat-wounded, ill, and dying service members. For those who serve in the U.S. military, 1 in 10 suffers a severe injury. Most of those injuries are combat related. Since World War II, the use of service flags and wearing of Gold Star pins (issued by the Defense Department) has declined, but their meaning as symbols of sacrifice remains significant and relevant yet today. In a proclamation issued Sept. 24, 2015, Obama said that most Americans cannot fully comprehend the price Gold Star family members have paid: “Their sleepless nights allow for our peaceful rest, and the folded flags they hold dear are what enable ours to wave. The depth of their sorrow is immeasurable, and we are forever indebted to them for all they have given us.”

Sept. 26 is Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day

! r a e r u o y s u d Len 50plus LIFE and Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania have partnered to bring you weekly audio readings of 50plus LIFE’s editorial content!

Listen to the livestream Thursdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at! The program will repeat 3 times that day and Saturdays from 11-11:30 a.m.

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For more information, call Vision Resources at (717) 238-2531 and listen at visit


Puzzle Page

Solutions for all puzzles can be found on page 19. SUDOKU


Words Ending in “KY” Chunky Dinky Ducky Dusky Frisky Gawky Hanky Husky Lucky Milky Perky Porky Risky Rocky Silky Sneaky Spooky Squeaky Tricky Wacky

Across 1. Blubber 4. Piggery 7. Church official 13. Actress Longoria 14. Potpie morsel 15. Flying charge 16. Political pork, usually 18. Whiskey type, once 19. Greek letter 20. Stair parts 22. Echelon 23. I love (Lat.) 24. Dodge Down 1. Charge 2. Greed 3. N.C. state name 4. Health resort 5. ___ cotta 6. Wash. city 7. Designer name 8. Irregularly notched 9. Astern 10. Ariz. neighbor 11. Mine find 12. Minus (abbr.) 15. Lincoln 17. Virtuous 21. Malcontents 22. Plaything

29. Bounding main 31. District 34. Distinctive flair 35. Banana color 37. Exceptional sight 39. Flammable mixture 41. Like some confrontations 45. Fit for farming 50. Partner of ready and willing 51. Afternoon affairs 53. Healing plants 54. Peachy-keen

56. Downturn 58. Getaway spots 59. Humiliates 62. Acquire 63. Gabfest 67. Big party 70. Paprika 71. Chinese principle 72. Eskimo knife 73. Gauge, as a work assignment 74. Barley bristle 75. L.A. clock setting

25. Neckline shape 26. Barley brew 27. Time period 28. Compass heading 30. Faux pas 32. Chow down 33. Eastern pooh-bah 36. Light bulb unit 38. Zhivago’s love 40. “Ulalume” poet 41. Summer shade 42. Japanese sash 43. Lord of the Rings figure 44. Asian holiday 46. Set straight

47. Studied 48. Soup ingredient 49. Double curve 52. Sonora snooze 55. Gapes 57. “Fiddlesticks!” 60. Flying mammals 61. Back then 63. Number cruncher, for short 64. Towel stitching 65. Computer communications (abbr.) 66. Maiden name 68. Charged particle 69. Kind of instinct

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September 2021


70% of Americans Have Experienced Trauma: Recognize the Signs of PTSD By Brian Reese

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect any of us. Recent statistics suggest that up to 70% of all adults in the U.S. — that’s 231 million Americans — have experienced a traumatic event that’s significant enough to cause PTSD or lead to the development of mental health symptoms.  While experiencing trauma doesn’t necessarily mean you have symptoms that warrant a PTSD diagnosis, you may benefit from getting help from your doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.  Several factors can increase the likelihood that someone will develop PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, while women are more likely to experience sexual assault and child sexual abuse, men are more likely to experience serious accidents, physical assault, combat, or disaster, or to witness death or injury. Children can develop PTSD, too.   What is PTSD? According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD is a mental health condition that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, severe accident, terrorist act, war/ combat, or rape, or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence, or serious injury. Those with PTSD typically have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their traumatic experience that last long after the traumatic event itself. People living with PTSD may relive the traumatic event repeatedly via flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression, fear, anger, and detachment.   While a formal diagnosis of PTSD requires the person to have been exposed to a traumatic event, the exposure could be indirect rather than first-hand. For example, PTSD could occur in an individual learning about the violent death or suicide of a close family member or friend.    Common Signs and Symptoms of PTSD  PTSD symptoms can begin at any time after exposure to a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years afterward. These symptoms can cause significant problems in your work, life, or social functioning. They can also interfere with your ability to accomplish routine tasks. In addition, the severity of your symptoms can vary from person to person over time. The Mayo Clinic divides PTSD symptoms into four types:  1. Intrusive memories – These include: recurrent, unwanted, distressing memories of the traumatic event; reliving the event as if it were happening again (flashbacks); upsetting dreams or nightmares about the event; and/or severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event. 2. Avoidance – Symptoms may include trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event and avoiding places, activities, or people that remind


September 2021

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you of it. 3. Adverse changes in thinking and mood – These may include: negative thoughts about yourself, other people, or the world; hopelessness about the future; memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event; difficulty maintaining close relationships; feeling detached from family and friends; lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed (depression); difficulty experiencing positive

emotions; and feeling emotionally numb. 4. Changes in physical and emotional reactions – Also called arousal symptoms, changes to these reactions could include: anxiety and depression; being easily startled or frightened; always being on guard for danger; selfdestructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast; trouble sleeping; trouble concentrating; irritability, angry outbursts, or other aggressive behavior; and overwhelming guilt or shame.   Living with PTSD I suffer from PTSD, and for me, it negatively impacts every aspect of my life. I have trouble sleeping and suffer from daily battles with anxiety, depression, anger, and disturbing thoughts and memories about the trauma. In addition, I live with emotional detachment; I can be in a room full of people and feel completely alone.  I generally don’t trust people; I’m most comfortable in the confines of my own home and typically go out of my way to avoid certain situations.   When to Seek Help  If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event or if you feel you’re having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional right away. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse. If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, get help right away through one or more of these resources: • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 to reach a trained counselor 24/7/365. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line. • Reach out to a close friend or loved one. • Contact a pastor, spiritual leader, or someone in your faith community. • Make an appointment with your primary care doctor or mental health professional.

Those with PTSD aren’t crazy or broken. It’s called life, and stuff happens. You matter — your life matters. The truth is we all have things going on in our lives that others know nothing about.

Getting help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. Mental health is health, and it must be prioritized in the same way we prioritize our physical and spiritual health. I still take medications, go to therapy, and practice mindfulness. And it’s OK not to be OK. Please look out for each other and ask the hard questions of those around you. Doing so might save someone’s life.  A leading expert on veteran benefits, Brian Reese is the author of You Deserve It and founder of VA Claims Insider ( He’s a former activeduty Air Force officer and received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. He is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy and earned his MBA as a National Honor Scholar.

Are you getting your share of the

SILVER ECONOMY? Which buyers make up the Silver Economy? • 962 million men and women over the age of 60 • A group with 11 times more wealth than millennials • Persons with a life expectancy in the U.S. is about 78.87 years • Persons who prefer in-person contact when possible • A group that wants to age at home as long as reasonable

Why do you want to reach these buyers? • They are free of many economic burdens • They like to take care of themselves, be active, eat well, be fashionable, and have fun • They have more free time • They are looking for products and services to help them age well

What sectors are on the rise?

Social Security News

By John Johnston

Do You Know These Social Security Terms?

Some of the terms and acronyms people use when they talk about Social Security can be a little confusing. We’re here to help you understand. We strive to explain your benefits using easy-to-understand, plain language. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to communicate information clearly in a way “the public can understand and use.” This can be particularly challenging when talking about complicated programs like Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare. If there’s a technical term or acronym that you don’t know, you can find the meaning in our online glossary at Here are a few examples. If you’re considering retirement, you may want to know your FRA (full retirement age) and your PIA (primary insurance amount). These terms determine your benefit amount based on when you start getting requirement benefits. The PIA is the amount payable for a retired worker who starts his or her benefits at full retirement age. If you start your retirement benefits at your FRA, you’ll receive the full PIA. Most years, your benefit amount will get a COLA (cost-of-living adjustment), which usually means extra money in your monthly benefit. What about DRCs (delayed retirement credits)? DRCs are the gradual increases to your PIA that occur the longer you delay taking retirement benefits after your full retirement age. Every month you delay taking benefits, up to age 70, your monthly benefit will increase. If one of these terms or acronyms comes up in conversation, you can be the one to help clarify the meaning, using our online glossary. Learning the terminology can deepen your understanding of how Social Security programs work for you. John Johnston is a Social Security public affairs specialist.

The obvious:

The not-so-obvious:

• Home improvements/renovations • Tourism and leisure activities tailored for them • Caregiver solutions • Financial products geared for seniors • Retirement living

• Security technology – mobile apps, sensors, wearable devices, smart clothing, etc. • Pet care – pet sitting, walking, grooming, food, accessories, etc. • Gardening/lawn services combined with snow removal • Mobile esthetic and concierge services – hairstylist, manicurist, massage, facials • Personal services – running errands, shopping

What are you waiting for? 51% of people aged 52-70 spend fewer than 11 hours a week online. While businesses need an online presence, print adds power to a media campaign. Most boomers and seniors are open to and love classic media.

50plus LIFE—Covering Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties—is an excellent venue!

Call to learn how we can help you reach our 150,000+ readers of 50plus LIFE! 717.285.1350 or email

The ultimate resource for boomer and senior living and care options.

25th Annual Edition Closing date: Nov. 5, 2021. Street date: Jan. 2022 To be included in the 2022 edition of 50plus LIVING, call your marketing consultant, call (717) 285-1350, or email

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September 2021


The History of Ordinary Things

Doris Montag

The Legacy of Sears, Roebuck & Company Catalogs

In 1887, Richard W. Sears hired stubble plows (the 12-inch model for Alvah C. Roebuck to repair watches $8.50), egg incubators, blacksmith tools, while he established a mail-order and windmills. business to sell the watches using a free catalog. Two years later, R.W. Sears sold • Appliances in this era meant the watch business. iceboxes, coal and wood stoves, and In 1893, Sears, along with Roebuck, treadle sewing machines ($10.45). founded another mail-order operation Sears sold silverware, dishes, linens, known as Sears, Roebuck & Company. iron beds ($2.45 to $14.90), paint, Two years later, Julius Rosenwald and wallpaper. bought out Roebuck’s interest, but the company retained his name. Richard • Domestic wares included stockings Sears, meanwhile, wrote the company’s in cotton and wool, hats, corsets, soon-to-be-famous catalogs. suspenders, shoes, fabric (percale 10 The advent of Rural Free Postal cents per yard), and patterns. The 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Richard Warren Sears Service Delivery in 1896 and Parcel catalog. (1863–1914), founder of Post in 1913 made distribution of the Sears also had a range of interesting Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogs economical. The postal system pseudo-medical and related products: classified mail-order publications as “aids in the dissemination of • Dr. Worden’s Female Pills (35 knowledge,” qualifying the catalogs for cents per box) are described as the postage rate of 1 cent per pound. “a great blood purifier and nerve Sears was able to send its catalogs tonic; cures all diseases arising and merchandise across the country to from a poor and wasted condition even the most isolated customers, selling of the blood when worn down by a wide range of goods at low prices to overwork, worry, excesses, and people without access to retail outlets. indiscretions of living.” The 1902 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalogue had 1,162 pages printed • Dr. Rose’s Arsenic Complexion in font size eight. Customers were Wafers (50 treatments for 35 cents) encouraged to “read the policies” and are described as “perfectly harmless to forgo sending nuisance letters when when used in accordance with our the information was provided in the directions.” The wafers reportedly Jiffy Way egg scale (weight determined assigned size of an catalog. “produced a transparency and egg). Farm Master by Sears, Roebuck & Co., circa 1950s. Sears accepted “cash only — remit by pellucid clearness of complexion” post office money order, express money (while slowly poisoning the user). order, bank draft, cash, or stamps.” At the time, a white complexion There were no installment payments. was a symbol of status. Shipping was by post office mail — registered recommended — or by freight. A few of the products sold in 1902 are named below. As a reference, $1 in • “If Nature has not favored you with that greatest charm, a symmetrically 1902 was equivalent to $30 in today’s money. rounded bosom, full and perfect,” then for only $1.50, you could get either Bust Cream and Food, or the Princess Bust Developer. Looking • A new price list for groceries came out every 60 days. They even sold much like a toilet plunger, the Developer was available in 3.5- and 5-inch Cracker Jacks at 82 cents for 24 packages! Groceries were discontinued in diameters and was guaranteed to get results. 1941. • Sears manufactured guns and sold cartridges, automatic revolvers ($2.95), air shot rifles, derringers, shotguns, and more. • There was a large section dedicated to horse supplies, harnesses, and saddles ($3.75 to $22.85), along with buggies and wagons. • Farm goods ranged from cast iron pig troughs ($4.85) to horse-drawn


September 2021

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Sears, Roebuck & Co. mail-order business was vital to meeting the needs of town and country folks for over a century, and many of us have fond catalog memories to be recalled with this history. Doris Montag is a homespun historian and an exhibit curator who researches and displays historical collections of ordinary things, such as can openers, crochet, toy sewing machines, hand corn planters, powder compacts, egg cartons, and more. Contact or follow her on Facebook, HistoryofOrdinaryThings.

The Reel Deal

Cry Macho Randal Hill

The new Clint Eastwood film Cry Macho — he directs and from 1958 to 1966. stars in it — is based on N. Richard Nash’s 1975 novel of the After it was axed, Eastwood turned his attention to movies. same name. In Cry Macho, Eastwood becomes Miko, a washed-up Texas Nash had originally written it as a Western screenplay. When widower who had once been a celebrated rodeo star and a it didn’t sell as a film script, he turned his tale into a successful respected horse breeder. novel and later explained to the Orlando Sentinel, “I had a Bitter and broke, he is offered a small fortune — $50,000 — screenplay called Macho that nobody wanted. It occurred to me to by an ex-boss to go to Mexico City to kidnap and bring back his do a quick novelization. I got a $10,000 advance and completed it 11-year-old son Rafo (Eduardo Minett), whose mother (Fernanda as Cry Macho in two weeks … Urrejola) is an alcoholic. “When [a movie studio] asked me to do the screenplay, I gave On their journey back to America through the harsh rural them what they had rejected — didn’t change a word — and they landscape of Mexico, Miko teaches the boy what it means to be a loved it!” good man. In doing so, Miko comes to reflect on his own life. Image © Warner Bros. Pictures. Nash’s script ended up being passed around for decades, with Nick Schenk wrote the scripts for the Eastwood gems Gran such Hollywood heavyweights as Burt Lancaster, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Turino (2008) and The Mule (2018). Nash died in 2000, but screenwriter and Pierce Brosnan showing interest but never bringing the story to the silver Schenk has turned Nash’s story into a highly watchable tale. screen. (Eastwood had first considered Nash’s gritty story back in 1988.) Nobody doubts that Mr. E, at age 91, can still “bring it” in a movie. Of Both Nash and Eastwood had been showbiz personalities since the 1950s. course he can. Still, he undoubtedly spoke with tongue planted firmly in cheek Nash had written the 1954 Broadway hit The Rainmaker, which years later when he recently proclaimed, “I think being able to age gracefully is a very was filmed as a musical under the title 110 in the Shade. important talent. It is too late for me.” After Eastwood was drafted into the Army, he fulfilled his military The PG-13 Warner Brothers release opens Sept. 17. obligation as a Fort Ord (California) pool lifeguard. He found stardom at age Randal C. Hill enjoys getting sneak peeks of forthcoming movies from his home on 28 as Rowdy Yates on the blockbuster CBS-TV series Rawhide, which ran the Oregon coast. He can be reached at

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September 2021


Sixties Flashback

The Misadventures of a Bottle(d) Blonde Randal C. Hill

It’s the 1950s. Gorgeous Barbara Eden sits in the Hollywood office of a Warner Brothers casting director. “You’re a very nice girl from San Francisco,” the man explains with a grin. “But I really think you should go home and marry the boy at home. This isn’t the town for you. You’re just not pretty enough.” ... Eden didn’t follow his advice, however, and when she was cast later in the TV adaptation of How to Marry a Millionaire, Eden became a respected comedic actress. Eventually, she won the role that brought her superstardom as the bottle-dwelling beauty on NBC-TV’s I Dream of Jeannie series. The hit show was inspired by the 1964 movie The Brass Bottle. Originally a 1900 novel, it later became a film that featured Tony Randall, Burl Ives, and — lo and behold — Barbara Eden. In Jeannie, Larry Hagman, the son of Broadway legend Mary Martin, co-starred as straight-arrow astronaut Capt. (later Maj.) Tony Nelson. But Hagman often proved disgruntled during the 139 I Dream of Jeannie episodes, as we’ll see later.

Publicity photo of Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie.

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September 2021

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The opening show, set on a deserted island beach, saw Capt. Nelson stumble across Jeannie’s bottle home, where she had been imprisoned for two millennia. Soon, in a puff of pink smoke, the striking beauty was set free — and that’s when the fun began. The show’s success meant keeping network censors busy trying to maintain a morally upright offering. Even though Jeannie slept in her bottle and Tony in his bed, it could never be shown that the bottle was in the captain’s bedroom. (They weren’t married until the fifth and final year of the show.) Also, Eden wasn’t supposed to expose her navel, although it did appear occasionally. Along the way, some morality-oriented gatekeepers groused about her parading around in a “nightie.” Eden dismissed that, explaining, “It’s what she wore during the day. That was her dress; that was her uniform.” Finally, some feminists protested that Eden subjugated herself to Hagman. This brought about her miffed response: “She called him ‘master,’ but who was the real master there? She was … She wasn’t his subject; she was

his equal.” Hagman’s solo star turn would arrive later when, in 1978, he became infamous as the ruthless oil baron J.R. Ewing on the CBS-TV nighttime soap opera Dallas. Its success allowed him to abandon comedy. Jeannie creator Sidney Sheldon (later the author of 18 hit novels) has admitted that not all went swimmingly on the I Dream of Jeannie set during its five-year run. “The problem was Larry Hagman,” Sheldon has candidly admitted. “He wanted to be the star … [But] it was Barbara who was getting all the magazine covers and interviews. Larry wanted to show the world that he could be as successful as his mother … “I began to write scripts to build up Larry’s character and make him more prominent. But when an actor is in a show with a scantily clad actress as beautiful and enticing as Barbara Eden, it is very difficult to become the star.” Although Randal C. Hill’s heart lives in the past, the rest of him resides in Bandon, Ore. He can be reached at

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The Bookworm Sez

When Women Invented Television Terri Schlichenmeyer

Turn it up. This is the best part of the whole series; it’s a great bit, the funniest one. You’ve seen every episode of this favorite show multiple times, and you know the must-watch scenes, every line, every outfit change, new set, and new character. And in When Women Invented Television by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, you’ve still got a lot to learn. Gertrude Berg clearly understood how much power she wielded — still, in the fall of 1948, when she walked into the Madison Avenue office of the man in charge of CBS, she knew she was taking a chance. Photo credit: A. Jesse Jiryu Davis For years, she’d been the writer, casting When Women Invented Television: director, star, and force behind the network’s The Untold Story of the Female Powerhouses most popular radio show, The Goldbergs. Berg Who Pioneered the Way We Watch Today wanted to take that popularity to the new By Jennifer Keishin Armstrong medium of television, and she told William S. c. 2021, Harper Paley so. 334 pages He agreed, and by the end of 1949, The Goldbergs was a hit with a solid sponsor, and Gertrude Berg was a television star. It was not quite as easy for Irna Phillips. Today, we’d tell Phillips to slow down. She was a hundred-mile-an-hour single mother of two adopted children and the creator, solo writer, and daily juggler of multiple radio “soap operas.” She saw the coming of television and its irresistible possibilities, but getting her work there was a struggle. Hazel Scott had no problem transitioning from live concerts to TV: The DuMont Network had approached the piano “genius” with the offer of a primetime show. No more dealing with Jim Crow laws. No more on-tour weeks away from her husband and son. A steady job close to home was a dream for Scott, until the Red Scare of the 1950s targeted this Black woman. Betty White had one motto: “Always say yes.” So when career opportunities were offered, she took them, transitioning from radio to TV easily and moving up the ladder to stardom. But, says Are you 62+ or Armstrong, White’s decisions affected 18 to 61 with permanent her personal life for decades to come. disabilities? For a classic TV watcher, When Welcome to your Women Invented Television is gold. It’s new home! a delight in ink and paper, like reading utilities included! about the outtakes of your favorite Look at all we have to offer ... shows. Newly Renovated Units, Fitness Center, But it seems to be … off. Like Service Coordinator, and More ... something is missing, perhaps because Give us a call and check out author and journalist Jennifer Keishin our fabulous facilities. We offer congregate meals to Armstrong chose to shrink four stories all residents, Mon.–Fri., at 11:30 a.m. and several decades into a mere 276 b’nai B’rith Apartments pages of narrative, which doesn’t seem 130 South Third Street • Harrisburg enough. (717) 232-7516

Or maybe it’s because few of the stories come directly from the women themselves (three of them are deceased). Perhaps streaming the shows or finding clips online might help give a better frame of reference. And yet, if you’re hooked on TV, this is a book for you. The remarkableness of these four women’s history-making achievements is clear when Armstrong puts them into a time-perspective, and it’s easy to get a bit outraged that their accomplishments have been forgotten. This book fixes that oversight. And so ignore your streaming queue this weekend, turn off the screen, and settle in to watch a good story unfold. When Women Invented Television is must-read TV. Don’t turn it down. The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 14,000 books.

50plus LIFE

September 2021


Avoid Being the Target of Financial Scams Being a victim of financial fraud can be devastating. The Morningstar website offers these tips for avoiding disaster:

track of the dates you receive these statements so you can anticipate them, and react promptly to any delay. Check your credit report. Credit reports are available for free once a year, so get them annually. You can also monitor your credit score from major bureaus, such as Transunion. If you notice an unexpected drop in your score, look into it.

Ask lots of questions. Question everything, especially if a deal appears too good to be true (it usually is). Probe with questions like, “Why are you offering this to me? What’s in it for you? Can I wait a few days before making a decision?”

Look closely at emails. You may get a special offer from a company whose name is suspiciously close to a legitimate business. Make sure there’s no extra “a” in “” before clicking any links or buying anything.

Keep an eye on your accounts. Check your credit card and other accounts often. Keep your passwords private. If you notice any discrepancies, start asking questions. Be careful on social media. Don’t share personal information, like your mother’s maiden name or the street on which you lived as a child, on social media. Scammers can use these to open accounts in your name. Track your statements. Take a close look at your bank and credit card statements every month, looking for any charges you don’t recognize. Keep

Beware of dating sites. Don’t get tricked into turning over personal information to a pretty face you met online. Don’t send money to strangers. The “African prince” scam is well known, but other scams may ask for money to help refugees, veterans, the homeless, or victims of the coronavirus. Be skeptical before sending any money.

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Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori

Lori Verderame

Donated David Bowie Painting Sells for Big Bucks

A circa 1995–97 oil-on-canvas portrait painting by the late music icon David Bowie sold at auction for $108,120 Canadian recently. That statement in and of itself is not all that groundbreaking until the rest of the story is told. The painting was purchased for $5 Canadian at a thrift store or donation center in northern Ontario. David Robert Jones is the given name for the music legend David Bowie (1947–2016), who is best known, not for his fine art, but instead for his music. His final album, Blackstar, was an international hit. Many of his albums entered the Billboard 200, including The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Hunky David Bowie on stage Dory, Let’s Dance, Aladdin Sane, Low, and The during the 1983 Next Day. Serious Moonlight tour Compilation albums like Best of Bowie are established hits. Bowie had the most albums in the Top 40 at one time with 12, along with the likes of Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. David Bowie died in Manhattan, New York, in 2016 after suffering from liver cancer for more than a year. Early in his life, Bowie studied art and design as a young man, and throughout his life, he collected fine art of the 20th century, including pieces by the German Expressionists, Francis Bacon, and many British painters. The painting that sold for $108,120 Canadian recently at Cowley Abbott auctioneers in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was entitled DHead XLVI. An abstract portrait head in a turquoise, white, and red palette, DHead XLVI was part of a series of paintings dating to the mid-1990s. The painting was discovered in the summer of 2020, when many people were donating objects galore as a result of the widespread home and storage cleaning sparked by lockdown time at home. According to the auction house, which worked to authenticate the painting, DHead XLVI was purchased by an American collector for more than 10 times the pre-auction estimate. Of course, the auction sales price sets a new record for a painting by David Bowie; a similar work from the series sold shortly after the musician’s death in 2016 for $39,000 Canadian in the United Kingdom. It is not unusual to see active bidding when a celebrity name is attached to a work of art that is up for bid at auction. This painting was rare because not only did the piece come from a famous collection, but the artist had star power as well. Even more interesting was the situation surrounding the discovery of the painting: at a Canadian donation center for a few dollars. Such finds have been much more commonplace in the wake of the global COVID pandemic and resulting home cleanouts, with increased donations of unwanted vintage art and antiques. Dr. Lori Verderame is the award-winning Ph.D. antiques appraiser on History channel’s The Curse of Oak Island. Dr. Lori offers free information about antiques appraisals and selling at and

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50plus LIFE

September 2021


The Cautious Consumer Guy

The ‘Automatic Renewal’ Ploy Arthur Vidro

“Automatic renewal” is when a publication extends your subscription without first asking you and then demands payment. I first experienced such a renewal back in the 1990s. I thought it was bold of the magazine to say they had taken it upon themselves to renew my subscription, and I would now pay the bill. Instead, despite its being a quality publication, I canceled. I might have renewed if they had asked politely. But they didn’t. Automatic renewals may help some folks who aren’t on top of their paperwork. But let’s face it: Publishers came up with this device to benefit themselves, not to benefit readers. A publisher playing this game of renewing your subscription on your behalf spends less money mailing out reminders and offers. Plus, by skipping the step of asking the customer, its renewal rate goes way up. Automatic renewal keeps the periodical’s circulation numbers as high as possible, and it’s those numbers — which are subject to audit — that determine rates for advertising, which is the biggest source of revenue for most magazines and newspapers. Automatic renewals can cause confusion. Many people, especially the elderly, receive these renewals and conclude — despite having no memory of having done so — they must have renewed. And so they pay the requested fee. Even if they no longer want to subscribe. It’s also confusing for the estates of people who have passed away when these bills continue to pour in, demanding money for subscriptions that live on — sometimes for years — after the reader has died. Even more egregious is when the automatic renewal occurs via deduction from a bank account, without any action needed by the so-called subscriber. A dead person’s joint account keeps renewing automatically, much to the glee of publishers. A neighbor named Lila showed me a letter she received from a women’s lifestyle magazine. Lila had purposely let her subscription lapse, or so she thought. But this letter confused her. It began by thanking her for “choosing to be part of our Continuous Service Program. As we recently notified you, your renewal … has been processed. By renewing your subscription, you have guaranteed yourself considerable savings off the newsstand price, hassle-free service, and uninterrupted delivery. You won’t miss a single issue!” One sentence was underlined, for emphasis: “Payment is now due.”


September 2021

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It concluded, “Please enclose your check with the invoice below and return it in the pre-addressed envelope.” The detachable portion, to be returned with a check, contained the word INVOICE in capital letters. It was the largest word on the document. It made Lila think she owed money to the publisher. “Did you renew your subscription?” I asked. “Not that I know of,” she answered. “Do you want to renew it?” “No. I want it to end. But this invoice says I renewed. So I’ll have to pay. Otherwise, it might hurt my credit rating.” “Have you phoned the publisher?” “I don’t know how. There’s no phone number on the letter. I looked in the magazine, but there’s no number there either.” It was true. Over the decades, many magazine publishers, wishing to avoid having to pay folks to answer the phone, have stopped publishing their phone numbers. Instead there’s an instruction to go to a website, so the company can garner as much information as possible about you for marketing and resale purposes. “Let me help,” I offered. I made a photocopy of the letter from the magazine, stuck it in a typewriter, and I typed — and Lila signed — the following: Dear Publisher, Why do you think I owe you money? I NEVER agreed to be part of a “continuous service program” with you or with any other magazine. I have NEVER taken part in any such program. My instinct was to telephone you and discuss the misunderstanding. However, you have consciously decided to omit your telephone number from your communications. Perhaps if you had invited me to renew, I would have considered it; but your telling me that I already made a commitment to renew smacks of a lack of ethics and, quite frankly, rubs my fur the wrong way. We mailed the letter. Don’t know if it was the letter or not, but soon enough the magazine stopped hounding Lila for money. If you receive a bill for a subscription that you wanted to let lapse, but the publisher insists otherwise, what should you do? If the bill contains a phone number for customer service, call and explain. If it doesn’t contain a phone number, then they don’t merit an explanation. Just throw the bill away. And if magazines continue to arrive, that’s the publisher’s problem, not yours. Arthur Vidro worked for a decade in the stock industry. Before and after, he wrote newspaper articles and edited a few books. He has served as treasurer of theater and library organizations. He’s been cautious with money ever since a dollar was worth a dollar.

Living with Kidney Stones: Decreasing Your Risk and Navigating the Healthcare System By Samantha Bowick, MPH

Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that form in the kidneys. They are foreign to the body and can cause issues no matter their size or your age. Kidney stones are usually 2-5 mm but vary in size and can cause horrible pain. About 1 in 10 people will suffer with a kidney stone sometime in their life. There are different types of kidney stones, which can make it difficult to know what to do to decrease your risk. If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, your chances of having another one increase. Here are some important tips that can help you determine your next steps if you suffer with kidney stones or want to decrease your risk of ever getting one: • Stay hydrated. Drinking as much water as possible keeps your body hydrated and toxins moving out of your body. The American Urological Association recommends people who form kidney stones drink at least 2.5 liters of water every day. • Urinate when you have to go, rather than holding it. Not urinating when you need to holds the toxins in your body longer than they should be there. If the nerves in the bladder aren’t functioning properly, urine can leak out of the bladder and back into the kidneys, causing blood and bacteria to go back in with it. • If you’ve had a kidney stone before and it’s been tested, you can change your diet to decrease the possibility of forming another stone. For example: In 2019, I had lithotripsy, a medical procedure that uses shock waves or a laser to break down stones, and my kidney stone was tested. I had a calcium oxalate kidney stone. I have changed my diet to avoid foods high in oxalate, like almonds and kiwi, to try to decrease my risk of having another kidney stone.

• A sk your family members for their medical history. Because kidney stones can run in families, knowing if they run in yours can be helpful information. • Do as much research as possible before and after your doctor appointment. It is important to know what treatment options are available for kidney stone management and to be prepared for your doctor appointment so you aren’t pressured into doing anything you don’t feel comfortable with. • Call your insurance company to find out which services are covered and which aren’t. Navigating insurance companies can be difficult, and it’s important to know what they cover so you don’t receive an unexpected bill in the mail or you’re not expected to pay a large sum of money at the time of service. Having kidney stones is a painful experience that nobody ever wants to go through again. With the steps above, you can decrease your chances of having a kidney stone and advocate for yourself while navigating the healthcare system. Samantha Bowick, MPH, is an author and patient advocate. She is the author of four books, including Living with Kidney Stones: The Complete Guide to Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Treatment Options. Bowick founded Chronic Illness Support, LLC, which aims to advocate, provide education, and increase awareness for chronic illnesses.

The road of life contains more than a few curves …

• You can also talk to your doctor about possible supplements that may help your urinary system function at optimal level. It’s important that we advocate for ourselves or have a loved one with us at doctor appointments who can do so. Doctor appointments can be overwhelming, and it’s important we do what we can to decrease that stress as much as possible and receive the answers we need. Here are some ways you or your loved one can navigate the healthcare system by advocating for your health: • Write down any questions you or your loved one has for your doctor. No question is ridiculous. Your doctor is there for you and should answer any question you have. Examples of questions for your doctor are: 1. What is causing my pain? 2. Can you test my urine to see if I have an infection or order a CT scan to see if I have a kidney stone? 3. Can you refer me to a urologist? 4. W hat are ways we can remove my kidney stone if it won’t move on its own? • Keep track of all of your symptoms and when they occur. This information can be crucial in your care as it can give your doctor a better picture of what’s going on.

… and confident decisions are informed decisions. Throughout the year, 50plus LIFE includes Special Services pages dedicated to connecting you with these resources in our area: • CCRCs/Life Plan Communities • In-home Healthcare • Hospice Providers • Nursing/Rehab Communities • Assisted Living/Personal Care Communities • Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorneys

Please access this free and valuable information any time at

50plus LIFE

September 2021


Willing to Wander

History Tucked into the Suburban Present Victor Block

Stepping off the train Littleton a mini-magnet for after a short ride from a foodies. modern metropolis, I was Shopping also has a local immediately introduced to a focus. One example is Reinke world that no longer exists. Bros., a Halloween superstore More than 50 houses, with a focus on ghosts, business establishments, goblins, and ghouls. Strolling churches, and other buildings through the twisted tangle provide an introduction to of aisles brings shoppers facesmall-town America during to-face with skulls, skeletons, th th the 19 and early 20 and other merchandise centuries. that ranges from fun to A tiny log home built in frightening. The tower of the Columbine Mill, built in Louthan House (circa 1905-1909) is now 1861 is dwarfed by a larger Walking provides an 1901, looks out over Littleton. home to the Café Terracotta. dairy spread. A general store introduction to a virtual that operated in the late outdoor art museum. Some 1800s stands near a depot three dozen sculptures where trains of the fabled — plus friezes, paintings, Atchison, Topeka, and Santa and other works — adorn Fe Railway once stopped. sidewalks, buildings, and This setting greets parks. passengers disembarking Not to be outdone by art from light rail trains aficionados, theatergoers are connecting Denver with drawn to the Town Hall Littleton, Colorado, 20 Arts Center. Over time, that minutes away in time but elaborately decorated Italian more than a century removed Renaissance building has in atmosphere. The setting is housed the town offices, Passages, painted by Michelle Lamb in Year of Sundays by Rich Sargeant akin to entering a Norman volunteer fire department, 2000, is a 40-foot-wide mural sitting just commemorated Littleton’s 100th Rockwell painting of life as court, and jail. It’s now the below the historic Denver and Rio Grande anniversary in 1990. it used to be and, in some site of theater productions, railroad depot. ways, still is. concerts, and other cultural The first view of Littleton offerings. that people arriving by train encounter is displayed on A very different aspect of the past is explored at a 40-foot-wide mural on a wall of the railroad station the Littleton Museum. In keeping with its name, that platform. The colorful composition depicts more than institution has permanent exhibits that trace the area’s 50 historic structures, some long gone and others still history, from the time when Arapaho, Cheyenne, and standing. Ute Native Americans passed through to the pioneer The seeds of the settlement were planted in 1859, era to more recent days. when the Pikes Peak gold rush attracted miners to the Its role as an affiliate of the Smithsonian community, along with merchants and farmers who Institution, along with the attractions of two living came to supply and feed them. history farms, are part of the reason why it’s ranked Since that modest birth, Littleton has expanded among the most outstanding history museums in the into a suburban community. The action is centered country. around a stretch of Main Street. The favorite attractions for many visitors are two Since its start as a gold-rush settlement A walking tour is a good way to take in historic living history settings that recreate farm life in the in 1859, Littleton has expanded into a buildings and get a feel for the setting. Begin at the 1860s and 1890s. suburban community centered around a light rail depot, a Victorian-style stone building The older spread represents a pioneer homestead stretch of Main Street. constructed in 1875. Another train station and a during the area’s settlement period. Wandering from vintage caboose parked next door serve as an art gallery. a modest, and modestly furnished, cabin to a reconstructed log barn, sitting at The tower of the Columbine Mill, built in 1901 as a grain elevator, looks out a desk in a one-room schoolhouse and chatting with a blacksmith as he toils at over the town. his trade, increased my appreciation for modern-day amenities often taken for The charming Louthan House (circa 1905-1909), named for its builder, granted. is home to the Café Terracotta, one of a number of restaurants that make Adding to the realistic setting are costumed interpreters who demonstrate


September 2021

50plus LIFE

quilting, plowing, cooking over a fire, and other chores. A virtual “zoo’s-who” of farm animals, including oxen, mules, sheep, chickens, and honeybees, enhance the experience. Also adding authenticity are livestock, crops, and plants that were common during the time. The Hudson Gardens boasts a collection of beehives that held as much interest for me as its extensive plantings themselves — not that areas devoted to roses, herbs, fragrance, and nearly two dozen other floral themes aren’t eye-catching and aromatic, or that signs identifying displays with names like Balloon Flower and Fat Albert don’t elicit a smile. It’s just that when a town resident is on hand to attend to one of the hives that locals are allowed to place in the garden, visitors are likely to learn more

than they thought possible about the lifestyle of bees. If learning that there are nearly 20,000 species of bees isn’t your cup of honey, perhaps reliving farm life from a bygone area will grab your attention. Whatever your interests, you’re likely to find enough to fulfill them only a short train ride from downtown Denver. For more information, log onto After gallivanting around the world, Victor Block still retains the travel bug. He believes that travel is the best possible education. A member of the Society of American Travel Writers, Victor loves to explore new destinations and cultures, and his stories about them have won a number of writing awards.

Our America: Remembering 9/11 20 Years Later By James E. Patterson

James E. Patterson is a writer and speaker based in Washington, D.C.

Puzzles shown on page 7.

Puzzle Solutions

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, author and TV personality Hugh Downs edited My World: What My Country Means to Me by 150 Americans from All Walks of Life. Downs, who died in 2020 at age 99, explained the book’s purpose in his introduction. “People might wish both to express and to hear from others how they feel about the nation in light of the jarring events of Sept. 11, 2001.” Downs received a variety of responses from celebrities, politicians, athletes, 9/11 firefighters flag memorial. and religious figures. Some replies were “insightful.” Some were “philosophic.” Some expressed “deep personal outrage.” All of them, Downs wrote, had “a newborn or reawakened feeling about the country we live in.” Many of the contributors, including poet Maya Angelou, civil rights leader Coretta Scott King, journalist Helen Thomas, and TV personality Art Linkletter, are now deceased. Each made memorable contributions to the book. “Let us vow that Sept. 11 will only strengthen the bonds of solidarity between all of America’s races, religions, and cultures,” wrote King. Linkletter, a professional lecturer in later life, wrote, “When I talk about our freedoms, our opportunities, and the wide horizons of life in the U.S.A., the [audience] response is like touching an electric switch.” Angelou wrote about the courage of the first responders at the World Trade Center, who “gave us the handhold we needed to pull ourselves up.”

Grammy Award-winning singer Jose Feliciano wrote that America is “a beacon of freedom and opportunity.” He added, “This title, however, seems not to be possible without criticism — even, at times, conflict.” These words from 20 years ago are a valuable lesson for today. Feliciano ended with another valuable lesson: “We must band together in solidarity, for as a nation, there has never been an equal, and as a people, there will never be a dilemma that we cannot overcome.” TV personality Regis Philbin, who died last year, wrote of his feelings of “sorrow, doubt, and fear” after seeing the 9/11 memorial wall. planes go into the World Trade Center. “We have survived the most savage attack on our nation in modern times and have answered it swiftly and bravely,” he wrote. “I used to wonder if we had the guts and character of our predecessors. I don’t anymore.” Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, upon visiting Ground Zero, recalled the words of President Abraham Lincoln. When Lincoln dedicated a portion of the Gettysburg battlefield for use as a cemetery, he said it was the duty of the living “to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they … have thus far so nobly advanced.” Bloomberg noted that “the same spirit that guided the soldiers at Gettysburg flowed through the rescuers of Sept. 11.” Hugh Downs did a great job editing My America. In these pages, readers will find encouragement for 2021 and beyond.

50plus LIFE

September 2021


Tinseltown Talks

Matilda Turns 25 Nick Thomas

When British author Despite the popularity Roald Dahl’s beloved of the spirited little 1988 novel Matilda actress in the additional was transformed into a ’90s hits Mrs. Doubtfire, fantasy comedy movie the remake of Miracle a decade later, the film on 34th Street, and A became hugely popular. Simple Wish, Wilson had It remains an enjoyable slipped from the public family movie to watch spotlight by the decade’s with children and end — an exile that was grandchildren today, 25 largely self-imposed. years after its release in “I grew out of that July 1996. cute stage and didn’t Photo courtesy of TriStar Pictures. Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox. Filled with memorable develop into the classic Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson, and Rhea Mara Wilson with Robin Williams in Perlman in Matilda. Mrs. Doubtfire. characters — including Hollywood beauty as I a callous and dishonest got older,” Wilson, now family as well as a 34, explained. “I didn’t tyrannical school like being reduced to principal — Matilda, adjectives — you’re thin portrayed by adorable or short or tall or blonde child actor Mara Wilson, — and was no longer battles and eventually comfortable going to overcomes adversity. auditions.” It was one of four Wilson’s films in the ’90s that autobiography, Where made Wilson famous. Am I Now? True Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox. Matilda, she says, was a Richard Attenborough and Mara Wilson Stories of Girlhood and Photo courtesy of Ari Scott, from publicist. role she was thrilled to Accidental Fame, was in Miracle on 34th Street. Cover of Mara Wilson’s Mara Wilson, play. published in 2016. autobiography. all grown up. “It was my first “I still do some fun favorite book,” she told TV or web projects for me in a 2017 interview. “The film became a touchstone for girls who grew friends, and I love voiceover work because no one is judging how I look or how up feeling a little awkward and out of place and could relate to the Matilda many times a week I work out!” character. One actor she fondly remembers during her early career was Robin Williams “When I was little and people would recognize me at the airport, park, during the filming of Mrs. Doubtfire. She says Williams was “kind and gentle, or mall, I used to think, ‘Why do they care?’ But I’ve come to realize how but rather shy, which is not uncommon for actors.” important some films can be to people.” Not surprisingly, he was usually hilarious on the set and responded in typical Williams style when she told him of her fondness for musicals such as The Sound of Music and South Pacific. “So he started singing ‘Nothing Like a Dame,’ which was funny because Did you know? there he was, a man dressed like a woman singing there was nothing like being is available online for a woman!” anytime/anywhere reading! While her films from the ’90s were largely comedic or sentimental, Wilson remains proud that her Matilda character has helped kids overcome abuse. “They were living in abusive families or with parents who didn’t care about them, and the movie showed them there was a way out and that they could find people who cared. So it’s a comforting movie about feeling powerless, then finding power,” she said. “People write to me all the time about the impact it had on their lives, and I love that.” 20

September 2021

50plus LIFE

Nick Thomas teaches at Auburn University at Montgomery, Ala., and has written features, columns, and interviews for over 850 magazines and newspapers.

Over 2 Million Americans May Have Undiagnosed Atrial Fibrillation More than a decade ago, afib was a little-known condition. After creating Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month, patient advocacy organization worked with medical society partners to get the U.S. Senate to designate September as National Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) Awareness Month, which they did, in 2009. “That’s why now is the perfect time to remind people what afib is and how to recognize it in themselves or others, so they can get treatment (or ensure their loved ones do) before they develop a stroke, heart failure, or dementia,” said founder Mellanie True Hills. Afib is the most common irregular heartbeat. Having afib increases a person’s stroke risk by 500%. According to the Framingham Heart Study, after the age of 55, there is a 1-in-3 lifetime risk of developing afib. It affects over 6 million people in the U.S., a number that will increase as the baby boomers age. Most people with afib experience palpitations, fatigue, shortness of breath, and sometimes a racing heartbeat. Some report that their heart feels like a fish that is flopping around in their chest. “Still, about one-third (over 2 million people in the U.S.) may be walking time bombs … they don’t feel any symptoms at all but are at risk for an afibrelated stroke,” True Hills said. “And because COVID-19 causes heart damage for many, including arrhythmias (heartbeat issues), we will likely see an increased number of people living with afib. That’s why it’s more important than ever that people know

these steps:

what it is and how to recognize it.” After having a procedure that made her afib-free, True Hills founded to help others living with afib and to prevent afib-related strokes. Because afib can take a physical, emotional, and financial toll on patients and their family members, has curated a collection of news stories, webinars, and masterclasses to help increase knowledge about afib, so those living with it can improve their quality of life. To learn more about the risk factors for afib, how to identify it, and/or how to manage it for those who already have it, visit In honor of National Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) Awareness Month, recommends taking

1. Stop and listen to your heart for racing, palpitations, or an irregular heartbeat. 2. Visit the doctor if you suspect you might have afib. 3. Get checked for underlying risk factors, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea. 4. If diagnosed, make a plan with your doctor for managing your afib so you avoid a stroke, heart failure, and even dementia. Just as importantly, tell friends and family members about afib to help increase awareness, and visit for more information.

Succeed in Your Career — at Any Age Things get harder as we age, and career progress is one of them. Ageism is a problem for older people in any industry, whether they’re looking for a new job, a promotion, or just the chance to try something new. Here’s some advice from the Business 2 Community website on how to overcome it: Shift your mindset. Don’t fall for the stereotypes yourself. You can learn new skills at any age, so stop thinking you’re too old to change. List all your skills, every job you’ve had, all your experiences, and the various problems you’ve solved in your career. This will remind you what you’re capable of doing, no matter your age. Network. Stay in touch with the connections you’ve made throughout your career. Check in often to let them know you’re still interested in doing new things. Make an effort to expand your network with fresh contacts by continuing to go to conferences, in-person or virtual, and seeking out interesting people in your industry — and out of it — to correspond with. This keeps your mind fresh and helps keep your name out there.

Create a personal brand. Develop a brand statement that distinguishes you from everyone else. This lets potential employers and others quickly see everything you have to offer. Include examples of your skills and specific expertise. Your brand statement should also let people know you’re active on social media and knowledgeable about the tech tools everyone needs these days to excel. Prepare for questions. Interviewers will want to know how much longer you plan to work, the schedule you expect, how adaptable you are, and the like. Be ready with answers that emphasize your enthusiasm for your career and your willingness to do what it takes to succeed. Enhance your résumé. Look for gaps to fill. You can start with a Google search for required skills in your industry. Then get the training you need to strengthen your résumé in appropriate areas, like social media, data analysis, Microsoft Office, and the like. This not only increases your expertise, but also shows employers that you’re willing and able to learn.

50plus LIFE

September 2021


The Beauty in Nature

Interesting Local Insects Clyde McMillan-Gamber

July to the end of October is the time of insects in southeastern Pennsylvania because those invertebrates are cold-blooded and active only during warmer weather. Some of the more interesting, and obvious, insects in this area include fireflies, true katydids, snowy tree crickets, monarch butterflies, pearl crescent butterflies, differential grasshoppers, wooly bear caterpillars, ladybug beetles, and ash-leafed maple, or box elder, bugs. These insects are either courting for reproduction or preparing for winter, depending on the life cycle of each species. Male fireflies flash their cold abdominal lights as they emerge from vegetation most every July evening. Those fireflies continue lighting their beacons every few seconds as darkness descends across the countryside. And, in the dark of night, their thousands of lanterns sparkle beautifully among trees and grass as males and females congregate to breed. Male true katydids begin scraping their wings together continuously each evening in August and September to make a courting sound that resembles “katy-did, katy-didn’t.” These treetop grasshopper relatives look like green leaves, which camouflages them, and are seldom seen. But their uproarious fiddling

Nature’s Wonders

by Clyde

A nature blog by Clyde McMillan-Gamber, retired Lancaster County Parks naturalist and longtime 50plus LIFE columnist

Each story is like a walk with your own naturalist.


September 2021

50plus LIFE

Photo courtesy of Micha L. Rieser

Wooly bear caterpillar.

Photo courtesy of Kenneth Dwain Harrelson

Pearl crescent butterfly.

in woods and older suburbs, to bring the genders together for mating, is unmistakable. Male snowy tree crickets live in shrubbery and chirp steadily every night during August and September to invite females of their kind for mating. These pale-green, 1-inch crickets are also called temperature crickets. By counting their wing-produced chirps in 15 seconds and adding 40, one can estimate the outdoor temperature. The handsome monarch butterflies are famous for migrating to Mexican forests each fall to avoid northern winters. But it’s only the fourth generation of monarchs each year that makes the trip south during September and October. Each spring, monarchs that spent winter in Mexico push north, sip flower nectar, lay eggs on milkweed plants, and then die. The next two generations each summer consume milkweeds as caterpillars, pupate, and continue north, sipping nectar, laying eggs on milkweed, and dying. But each year’s fourth generation journeys to Mexico to escape winter. During October, many hundreds of fluttering, orange-and-brown pearl crescent butterflies, which have 1-inch wingspans, swarm upon thousands of lovely aster flowers in sunny fields, meadows, and roadsides to sip nectar. Asters are one of the last big sources of nectar at the end of each growing

season. Also during October, as a response to colder nights, many differential grasshoppers and wooly bear caterpillars cross country roads. The large, gray-green grasshoppers leap across those rural roads to find favorable places in soil to spawn eggs before they die in frost. Wooly bears undulate over the blacktop to find sheltered places in the ground to spend the coming winter. By late October, swarms of attractive ladybug beetles and ash-leafed maple bugs, or box elder bugs, congregate in groups of their own in sheltered places, including under logs, leaf litter, or rock piles, where they will spend the winter in relative safety. These great gatherings are seldom seen by most people, but it’s still interesting to acknowledge their presence. These are just a few intriguing insects living in southeastern Pennsylvania. There are many other kinds that offer interest to times spent outdoors.

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Sept. 29

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Oct. 13

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Sept. 18

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Oct. 23

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Chester County 50plus LIFE – September 2021  

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