Senior Group  Newsletter October  1995

Senior Group Newsletter is the monthly publication of an
informal group of seniors, community-net senior section
moderators, educators, senior service providers and others
interested in how the net serves seniors and vice-versa.

editor is Jim Olson  


The newsletter is mailed to subscribers via e-mail and posted at
several net sites including  SeniorNet On Line at AOL and MSN 
sites and on senior home page of Boulder Community Net.

There is no charge. Just contact the editor.



   Editorial Bits and Bytes

   Feature Stories
      When I Have Fears 
      Jerry Toler
      Barbara Chomdhavat   
      John Davidson
      Willo Boe   

   Gleanings from Senior  Postings   
      Suicide Attempt
      Hang Gliding
      Seattle Rest Home Project
      Parade in Ottawa
      Fire Island
   Senior Smiles    
      To Wash a Cat    
   Reviews and Notices
           EDITORIAL BITS AND BYTES          

The October issue marks the first anniversary of The Senior Group
Newsletter in its current form. A year is a long time on the
internet and many things have happened since that first issue.
The net has expanded rapidly and become more commercial and more
glitzy. Some of us "old timers" with a year of two experience
may even long for the "good old days" of ascii art and 300 baud
easy going connections.

We haven't yet succumbed to all the new features, although many
of our group are out there on the cutting edge of the new
technology. We may someday give in and set up a Web site even-
but don't hold your breath. I recall Rosaleen Dickson, one of
our founders, having some problems early on setting up simple
mailing lists. Now she has two web sites of her own and has
written a book about html that is doing very well. Meanwhile
senior volunteers like Art Rifkin at the Boulder Community Net
are translating the newsletter into  html and posting it on the
senior home page there.

Most of the dozen or so original members of the group have
already been recognized in the "Introductions" section of the
past two issues and I think all will have been introduced
shortly. I hope I don't forget anybody, but I certainly
appreciate the help and support of all of them and the others
who have come on board since.

One of our first goals set out by Mimi Connely was to provide a
net space for more thoughtful consideration of a variety of
topics that interest seniors. I think we have done that thanks
to her and others who have supplied us with that type of

We also had some hopes of exploring some of the issues involved
in getting seniors in various types of residential care
facilities connected to the net. We haven't done much in that
area but this issue has two items related to that- one in our
Gleanings section and the other in the Reviews and Notices

We had hoped to do a little more with inter-generational
communication as well. Lotte Evans has supplied a  feature for
the November issue and we will  explore that topic further  next

Since we have many new  subscribers we are going to occasionally
do a reprise from the past year of items that evoked favorable
comment when we published them first. In this issue it will be
in the Senior Smiles section. In November it will be in the
Gleanings section and be related to our inter-generational

We will continue to try to balance out our coverage of senior
issues with a variety of material to meet a variety of tastes
and moods. If we get a little too heavy as we may have in this
issue, we will lighten up a little in the next. We need to both
preserve and insure our "Golden" years and enjoy them as well.

- Jim Olson

            FEATURE STORIES 
When I Have Fears October is the month when people of all ages look to the fall harvest for the rewards of color and the fruits of summer labor. But it's also a month when we all take a look at what haunts us: the ghosts of our past, the broom stick witches that block our view of the harvest moon, and the fears and anxieties that cloud our vision of the future. The Senior Group has done that also as I have asked a number of seniors to respond to the question of what haunts them as they look to the future- what fears do they have and how do they cope with them.

Joan McBride of SeniorNet Poetry forum has expressed some of the more common fears in a poem written in the persona of an older woman considering the loss of her private space- her room with her extended family. The poem articulates some of the most dramatic fears that older people often have:

      On Sharing My Room (abridged)

I'm not gonna do it!


But what if . . .
   I get decrepit
   And stumble and fall a lot
   And pee in my pants
   And forget to brush my hair
   And leave the teapot on a hot burner
   Or forget the eggs I've got boiling
   Or don't shut the windows when it rains
   And can't remember my way home from a walk
   And I falter over people's names
   And forget the rules of life's dumb games

And what if they say . . .
   We can't keep her anymore
   It's just not safe
   We MUST go to work
   She can't be alone
   Too much responsibility
   She'll burn the damn house down
   Her room smells funny
   She'll wander off and get hit by a car
   Embarrass the kids
   Insult our friends
   Won't make amends

And they put me in a place . . .
Where I've got to share a room!
I'll shut out everyone else too
And spend the rest of my time
Replaying old movies of my life
Reliving old loves, old passions
Remembering the friends I've made
Laughing at the jokes life's played

My eyes
Faded, somewhat jaded,
Will see only backward
My future has arrived at last
        Joan McB
Fear of the loss of independence and mental awareness reflected in the poem were echoed by a number of the responses. Most seniors, however, live out their lives in their own homes and maintain a high degree of mental acuteness and independence. Indeed, as some have pointed out it is often the next generation down that becomes the dependent generation financially. But we have all met the persona of the poem somewhere in our experience and we share a stereotypical fear of being whisked off to an extended care facility to vegetate for the remainder of our lives. For that minority of seniors who need special help there are many other options to address some of the fears in the poem including in home services, assisted living facilities and many more options short of the stereotypical nursing home. Most local senior centers and county departments of aging can be very helpful in sorting out these options and advising seniors and their care givers.

Carol Tyndale offers the point of view of a daughter who has a mother who now resides in a nursing home:

My mother, who celebrated her 90th birthday in March 1995 (insisting that it was really her 88th birthday and this year is really 1993), is afflicted with multi-infarct dementia. That is, a series of small, and several not-so-small, strokes have destroyed areas in her brain, leaving her with a very unreliable memory, no sense of balance, and impaired reasoning powers. This is very difficult for my sister, myself, and our children to deal with, and for years I have been haunted by fears that I will someday suffer the same affliction.

I am beginning, however, to realize that Mother has been very lucky. She lives now in a beautiful nursing home whose staff members spend extra time with her because she is such cheerful, witty, company. Her vision and hearing are still good, as is her physical health. Most important, she is happy -- happier, probably, than those of us who remember that it's time to do our tax returns, time to take the dog for his rabies shot, time to put the snow tires on. After a long career as an M.D., followed by another long career as a volunteer and board member for many nonprofit agencies, she is finally having a well-earned vacation from duties and responsibilities. It's all right that it's also a vacation from reality -- that doesn't bother her, and it shouldn't bother us. And maybe it's something to look forward to, rather than dread.

Reva Dozier, a California senior posed the question of fears to her group of friends that meet weekly for coffee and discussion. Her report echoes some of the fears of the poem (perhaps not in the language of the poem) particularly the fear of the loss of independence, but adds a new element, the fear of the effect of a major illness on the children and grandchildren not only in emotional but in financial terms. Just proves that you can usually count on elders to have a firm grip on fiscal reality - especially those of us who grew up in the depression years.

There are some ways of alleviating these problems but not enough room here to go into detail. Seniors can get good financial advice and most do considerable planning in this area. A major catastrophic illness remains a problem, however, and as one senior reported his financial advisor told him that he could advise him all he wanted but there was just no way at present to handle the negative fiscal effects of a major illness.

Mike Moldeven of SeniorNet is very active on the net in a number of the health related issues dealing with older males. He also deals with seniors of both sexes and we will be hearing more about him next month when we look at inter-generational projects. Mike contributes an exchange of e-mail (with permission) with a man whose fears and despondency drove him to a suicide attempt. Those fears came from a loss of self-worth and value following a forced retirement due to downsizing of his firm. The exchange is quite long and I have posted it in the Gleanings section of this issue.

Rosaleen Dickson from Ottawa expressed some of her fears that
reflect not only her concerns but also the tremendously busy and
productive life she leads:

FEAR? WHO ME? CERTAINLY NOT !! (With a few exceptions)

As a very young child, trying to keep up with brilliant
siblings, and with new schoolmates in a seemingly unending
parade of new schools, my abiding FEAR was that someone would
discover that I was just me, and not the person I was pretending
to be.

Moving into a world of my own, marriage, children, the whole
escape, was still no escape from FEAR, because there was a war
on. Remember? I had given my life and total devotion, in a
simple ceremony that to me had meaning, to a man who was up in
the sky being shot at for no fault of his own. The situation was
a solid, horrible, distasteful, ugly FEAR. And then, when he
came back, the struggle with his own torments endowed me with a
new FEAR: would he survive the consequence of his ordeal?

Well, he did survive,  vanquished his demons, regained his
spirit, loved life and loved me as we prepared for the "happily
ever after" part of our story, until suddenly the war damage
caught up with him, his health failed, and the greatest FEAR I
had ever experienced set in. He was going to die. He would not
see his great-grandchildren. I'd never hear his spontaneous
laughter again. The bed would be half empty for the rest of
time. There would be no reason for me to live after that. Such
an unreasonable FEAR was unbearable and long after he died it
stayed with me as though he were still there with death
threatening.  Having struggled to find a life, after  the death
that seemed to be mine as well as his, I now seem impervious to
fear. What else is there to fear?

There is sickness or injury, which would leave me dependent on
other people. Having met the challenge of independence, I would
find that unbearable, and it would put an unthinkable a burden
on whoever took me on.

Then there's death itself, which doesn't mean I'm afraid of
dying, but there are so many things that need just a bit more of
my attention. When my husband died, He left all his affairs in
order so the only problem I had to face was the big one - how to
live without him. But for me, I can't tidy up all my connections
and file them alphabetically for him to take on because there is
no more "him."

So I  FEAR the death of myself, because of the nuisance it will
be for my progeny, and for the fact that I'll miss the next
chapter in their incredibly fascinating lives. (Maybe this fear
of death is not a fear but just a sorrow that sits on my soul
the way a real fear normally would.)

And finally Jim Hursey leaves us with some of his common sense
advice on aging and chases away some of  those Halloween spooks:

This topic of aging has of course been discussed  before and
will be again., It is a topic I have thought much about and
wrote much about of late, not because I search for, or yearn
for, some magic fountain of youth, but, rather, the opposite: I
seek the fountain of age, as Betty Friedan entitled her
wonderful book on the subject.  It is not more youth we should
seek, for it is but a metaphor, but continued age, for age means
life, as opposed to the only alternative.

I know, speaking for myself, as I enter the second half of my
sixties, as I reach that magical age of 65 which has been
decreed, at least until it changes, in the US, with the
millennium, as the official beginning of old age, and as I
prepare to retire from an uninterrupted forty years of work, I
know that I am more comfortable with myself now than I ever was
as a youth or young man. I wonder if this is just me or do most
Elders feel this way?

The Roman writer Seneca, as an old man, saw no reason to envy
youth. "Rather," he said (paraphrasing) "youth must envy age,
for we have already attained that to which they can only

I understand Seneca, for, strangely, when I look the young
anymore, my main thought is one of relief at having it over


Jerry Toler  TolerGD @aol.com

Jerry Toler, one of the original Senior Group members,
introduces himself here:

Having worked under Mission Statements for 37 years in a public
utility, I had to have my very own statement when I retired in
1992:  "I intend to be an effective force in protecting and
nurturing my small portion of the earth and all that it
contains."   Retirement is the opportunity to become more
involved in the non-technical, non-public-vineyard
responsibilities I wanted to spend time on, such as church, our
world's environment,  computers, photography, hiking, biking,
travel, some community volunteering, and a lot of reading on
whatever I wanted to read!  So, the Mission Statement  evolved
and is an on-going developing lifestyle commitment.

Parallel to that is our family Objective, borrowed from the
Quaker author Richard Foster, "To simplify is to bring order,
clarity, and purpose into our lives."   Simplifying is much
easier to say than to do. Clarity is still fogged. Purpose is
under study.

Much of our efforts in the last three years have been directed
at trying to develop an environmental justice awareness in our
United Methodist church and other congregations using the name
of Creation Care.

Now, beginning in late August '95,  Rosalie and I are starting a
new  adventure of  full-time RVing. We have leased the house
that we lived in for almost 30 years, stored what material goods
we didn't give away or sell, and are on the road for at least a

We loaded our "simplicity"  (two computers, laser printer,
cameras, ham radio, telephone, bicycles, backpack gear, tv/vcr,
Rosalie's  free-lance writing files, the fly rod, music tapes,
aerobic dance videos, the India Spice cabinet, too many books,
and the Scrabble set) into the Suburban and the Holiday Rambler
(didn't have room for the canoe) and headed to the wilds of

We'll be campground hosts for the National Park Service on the
Buffalo National River in Arkansas through  and then move
generally toward Fairbanks, Alaska, by way of  Big Bend, Texas .

And being just over 21, we don't have to ask anybody!


Barbara Chomdhavat 

Hello All, Greetings from Thailand from Barbara Ann
Stueart-Chomdhavat. I am 58 year old, a wife and a mother of
three; two girls (women: 30 and 29) and one boy (man-will be 27
on Dec. 24 -- our favorite of all times Christmas gift.)

I am an American born in SW Arkansas transplanted to Thailand in
1964 with my Thai husband whom I met and married while in
university in USA.  We live in my husband's family compound. I
have my heart in two places at the same time -- in America with
family and friends and in Thailand which has become a second
home to me.

I work in a regional post-graduate university and have friends
from all over the world. It is a interesting environment to work
in and I treasure my time here.  I will retire at age 60
(official retirement age in Thailand). 

My interests? I guess I am interested in most anything you can
name. Love to read (all kinds of things), enjoy most kinds of
music with blues and folk coming high on that list.  I am
involved in prayer groups, in women's issues and the
environment. I enjoy nothing better than sitting around a coffee
table chatting about any and all topics with people from all
kinds of backgrounds.  People with a sense of humor will always
rate high on my list.


jond@seanet.com (John H. Davidson)

As a kid I lived in many small towns in the Pacific Northwest
because my Dad worked in plywood plants. World War II saw me in
the Infantry, the European  theatre, and fox holes in the snow.
Then to Oregon State University, engineering degrees and working
for the Federal Government in resource and economic development.
Much work related travel all over the West from Arizona to
Alaska and west to Samoa. I consistently refused to be
transferred to Washington D.C. and have never regretted it. I
met my wife on her sailboat. She married me for a moorage by my
houseboat where we lived for 15 years and raised our two

Early retirement in 1981 at age 55 had me working harder than
ever, building us a new house on the land, overlooking Lake
Washington. The kids needed more room and I needed a studio for
pottery, wood block prints, drawing, and weaving.

I have worked with computers since 1954 and now teach classes to
Seniors and other adults on exploring a graphical internet. A
lifelong interest has been hiking, climbing, and camping all
over the West. I am grateful that I am still able to indulge in

Take care, Question everything,    John Davidson in Seattle, WA 


Willo Boe 

My first 18 years were etched in my memory in Buffalo, South
Dakota, a small town 30 miles from both Montana and North
Dakota.  I was a "town kid," the only child of my mother and
blacksmith/artist father. Most of my school friends were sons
and daughters of ranchers in that area.

I married young, had four sons and a daughter, and stayed
married.  I finished my undergraduate degree in Library Science
when I was 40. After 20 years of teaching (Library/Television
Production) I have retired.

Now I anticipate doing "good" photography, attempting to write
some poetry, corresponding to international friends on the
Internet and with my husband's help finish raising a
granddaughter. Life is good, the days too short and I find
myself appreciating those things I once took for granted.

Willo Boe Omaha, Nebraska


The following is from SeniorNet Online and is an exchange between
Mike Moldeven (MikeMldvn@aol.com) and a reader of one of the
forums Mike posts to:

During the past few days I have been in an e-mail exchange with
a man who attempted suicide.  I felt that his experience and his
views deserved the attention of others, both men and women.  He
gave me permission to post his message online and I am doing so
along with my reply.


My name is  ---  and as a survivor of a major suicide attempt, I
would like to comment on your observations concerning suicide.

>From my own experience, Cancer, Older Men, Downsizing, etc. are
not the cause of suicide, however, they can provide a catalyst
from which suicide becomes the only recourse for some. A cause,
I believe, is what you termed "self-sufficient personality" or
the extreme of "the self made man."

My catalyst was downsizing. After many years of working myself
up the corporate ladder, competing against men and women more
educated than myself (I do not have a degree), I was released.
It had nothing to do with my performance. I was always rated
high. I was even an officer of the company. I have opinions of
why, of course, but that is off the point I am trying to make
here. After my release and I went into the job market, the
situation became very difficult for me; because 1) there were
many in the same situation, 2) people with degrees were always
at the top of the list for the jobs I was going after, 3) I was
depressed, severely.

So what, some might say. Many people have been in the same
situations and survived or even came out better from their
experience. Very true and here lies the key to why most make it
and some resort to such an extreme as suicide, which I did.

On my way up (or down, depending how you look at it), my career
became my god. Nothing was going to stand in my way. Family (-
marriages), friends, and yes, even the real God (by the way, in
my informal study of suicide, a common denominator is turning
our back on The Lord and not reaching out for His help. I
believe depression is a spirtual as well as a physical illness).
I was the one in control, I was the one making all the
decisions. I was the one other people depended upon to help
them. I was indispensible. In getting to this position, I
severed all my natural support systems (the importance of these
systems can't be stressed enough. They provide our motivations
and the blocks that keep us from slipping back) along the way,
so that when I was faced with a situation beyond my control, I
felt I had no one to call on. Even worse, it was beneath me to
even ask for help. Needless to say, I finally reached a point in
my negative thinking that the only way out, I thought, without
dragging my family and everyone else down in this funnel, was to
commit suicide. I won't go into the details, but my method was
by a gunshot to the head.  Only by the grace of God working
through my wife (I don't know how she did it, but I thank God
she is there), family, friends and the many fine professionals
who put me back together, I am here to enjoy another day. Now, I
talk about my experience when I get the chance hoping to be a
wake up call for someone else.

Mike, I hope you find this helpful. I admire what you are doing.
Keep up the great work. This is something that can be beat
(depression is very treatable, as you know). We can pray they
will listen and reach out.


(My response)

Thank you for writing.  By the way, just so you know where I'm
coming from, my formal education is probably less than yours. I
was raised in the New York slums, started out as a blue collar
worker in the sweat shops, eventually got a civil service job
and laboriously worked my way up into so-called
middle-management, often barely hanging on to *job* because of
my lack of education. I squeezed by in supporting my family and
getting a couple of fine kids through college.  I'm now 78,
retired, widowed, had a couple of heart attacks and a cancer,
but am still hanging in there.  I now write and publish a
not-for-profit newsletter for too-faraway grandparents, and from
my background as a volunteer suicide prevention worker during
Viet Nam, post an occasional item online on suicide prevention
and for survivors-of-suicide.

I agree that the *causes* of suicde are not necessarily *the*
disease, job, or family problem.  When a person is depressed,
however, illness, poverty, loss of spouse or a perceived
insurmountable difficulty can be *the* trigger for an impulsive
self-destructive act.  Until the very last instant, the suicidal
person is in a *yes* (do it now)  --  *no* (not yet) mode, and
in that last fraction of a second when the *do it* is more
powerful that the *not yet*, it happens.  Your wife and your God
took over at that final critical (crisis!) moment in your
ambivalence (or perhaps it was the *act* itself) and you lived.

God and (or through) your wife worked for you and got you back
on track.  For many men and women, however, there is no wife or
husband or caring partner, and there is no God (or caring god.)
For them  --   and they are as entitled to life as anyone else
--  there must be a resource somewhere that will diminish their
long-term self-destructiveness (high risk who-cares lifestyles)
or (immediate) suicide by impulse such as, I understand,
confronted you and your family.

Each of the several billion humans in our world of diverse and
conflicting religious and secularistic cultures deserves to live
out his or her natural life.  If we keep working at it, and
learn to respect each other, maybe, some day....


From: Maryanne Ward 

We just got back from our holiday at the Outer Banks N.C.where
my husband and his brother celebrated their 63rd and 60th
birthdays by going hang-gliding. It was a wonderful experience
for them. In order to hang-glide, one must train carefully. The
first lesson is "ground school" where you see a video and learn
some basic techniques. Then everyone trudges up a huge sand dune
and practices running until airborne at the point where the dune
ends (if you're lucky). Art explains it, "You're running along
furiously until you feel the weight on your shoulder lifting and
you find that you're taking broader and broader steps and then
you're off the ground."

For the first day the time aloft is not long or high but it's
still fun.

The second day they signed up for a "tandem tow." This is when
you and the instructor are towed behind a boat until you get to
2000 feet and then you release the rope and soar around,
catching thermals and updrafts. It is so high that those
watching from the ground can no longer see you. The rig is
equipped a camera and I have some spectacular shots of Art with
the earth far below him.

What a birthday, huh?


Seattle Rest Home Project


Yesterday two computers were installed in North Haven Rest home
in Seattle.  Last June A young man posted a notice in this
folder asking for help in starting a program to put computers in
rest homes and bring in young kids to work with seniors on the
computers.  His name was Scott Dodson.  I contacted him and we
met  at my home and he told me that his grandmother had just
passed away. She had been confined to a wheelchair the last 2
years of her life. The family had furnished a computer for her
and it had brought her so much joy that he wanted to start a
computer program for rest homes and senior homes.

We formed a taxfree corp., elected officiers, selected a
retirement hotel, and contacted a group of junior high kids, to
meet with the seniors.  Yesterday the first computers were
installed in the library at North Haven.  Next Tuesday a senior
trainer from Tacoma will be there to help the seniors to run the
computers.  Monday the modems will be installed so they can go
online. Next Tuesday the residents will meet with the kids which
have signed up for this program to work with the residents. This
program has been put together by a group of young people between
the ages of 20 and 30.

I am the only senior in the group and I have only advised the
group, they did all the work. I am very proud of them.  They
have given many hours and accomplished a dream.  This is only
the beginning, They have already begin work on the next
retirement home. I wanted to share this event with all of you to
let you know that the work continues here in Seattle. A Mac was
donated and the group raised money for the IBM which also has
Windows 95. There is also a printer with the Mac and both of
them are in color. Before long these seniors will be part of SN.
and we will be talking to them in this folder Because a young
man wanted thank his grandmother for giving him so much love in
his life. What a wonderful memorial to her.

Parade in Ottawa

From: aa541@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Courtney Bond)

It was an expression of Black Pride and they sure were proud! I
was enjoying my after-lunch zizz when the noise broke in on me.
The noise was incredible and first reminded me of the cowardice
of the hippies and Rock enthusiasts, who leaned on electric
magnification of sound to make their presence felt. Under it all
lay the deepest bass we can hear, emphatic, WOOOMP WOOOMP
WOOOMP. Over it all a cacophony of calypso, reggae, rap. The
downtown air was full of sound!

I live on the 8th floor in Centre Town and can see Wellington
Street, where the crowd was gathered, a rather thin assembly. It
was the worst organized parade I have ever seen. Up to a
kilometre of empty road between groups. I focussed my WWII
German Army binoculars. The first shimmering, gleaming,
glittering image came into sight, a huge human presence, at
least four metres tall, a beautiful sight. Then came the source
of some of the music, a flat-bed truck piled to the sky with
sound equipment, speakers, named "Tribal Ecstasy."

How did they get these huge costumes, the largest of which made
one man's presence fill a space 5m x 6m x 6m, or 180 times the
space occupied by the man himself? How did they get them to the
assembly point on LeBreton Flats and how were they going to get
them home? The presence of a number of flat-beds in the parade
gave the answer. These towering structures of fine filaments of
what? Maybe bamboo. These really beautiful glinting glimmering
costumes of lovely colours, that made strange creatures of the
man (usually) who propelled it on the street. (How lucky there
was no wind!) How could a single man or woman carry and propel
and whirl such a huge structure, I asked myself from my balcony.

Later, when it came back down Queen Street, heading for the
Flats and home, I saw. You probably realized. Each of these
images was erected on a small  vehicle with swivel wheels,
something the size of a supermarket buggy. Each major spectacle
of this nature was accompanied by a swarm of myrmidons. For
instance a glorious duck, 4m or more tall, with a fanned- out
tail of golden yellow, had a swarm of ducklings. A swan,
beautifully shaped, and at least as tall, was swathed in a
fabric I have never seen, out of this world, as was much else in
this glorious spectacle, of the colour we call "nacreous", i.e.,
like mother-of-pearl. It had a pearly shimmer, with all the
rainbow's colours hinted at in pastel.

There were frightening spiders, an octopus, a dragon, a Monarch
butterfly, all many times human size, and all of as delightful
invention as the computer-sourced images that fill the screen on
the Youth Channel between programmes. Or as ReBoot -- but
somewhat less technologically-inspired. The best of all was a
skeleton astride a Black Widow spider. The motion of the man at
the heart of this creation made the bony arms gesticulate and
the arachnid's many legs lift and threaten. On my trike I
followed the tail of the closing-down procession, in a swarm of
Ottawa's finest, for once, to borrow what I know must be a
phrase of Shelley Page, for once not harassing or shooting or
drowning the dispossessed Caribbeans who have come to share our
life. Ahead of me on a flatbed were two squashed mosquitos,
colorful costumes of myrmidons who had slipped out of their

Sleeping Ottawa came alive for the day. I know it all stems from
the Rio Carnival, but this parade, this demonstration, shows a
creative side of Canada's blacks, an unfailing taste, an ability
to create beauty in a new art. So ephemeral an art, but an art
nonetheless, a new art form.


Fire Island

From: Arthur Rifkin 

I live on an island, if only in the summer. It's called Fire
Island, and it parallels the Long Island that contains part of
New York City (All of Brooklyn and Queens) and the huge counties
called Nassau and Suffolk. Fire Island, like Long Island runs
East-West, and is about 35 miles long and about 1 mile wide at
it's widest. It's known as a barrier beach, and plays no small
part in protection of the mainland from the ravages of ocean
storms. The ocean in this case is the Atlantic.

Fire Island is occupied by a small group of hardy souls who live
there year round, making homes and having children. They also
serve to maintain the community. In the summer, the population
increases 15-fold or more. It's a wonderful place to have
children because there are no cars there, and so people are
forced to use their legs and bicycles.

While we never lived at the Island for longer than a summer, we
weekended there through the Fall, almost every weekend for many
years. After the crowds leave, it is an enchanting place, only
for fishermen and for the few who live there. We enjoyed the
remoteness and the ability to use our bicycles to get from one
village to another, just to visit. As the Fall deepens into
Winter, most of the summer houses are closed down. Fewer people
come for the weekends. Animal life begins to stir, and the place
is replete with deer and fox, and birds in migration. There's a
hawk run in the late Fall, and we sit and watch them come over,
singly, going after the flickers.

            SENIOR SMILES

            On Washing a Cat

                   Bud Herron as posted by Ken Maurer

note- taken frown Elders listserv

Some people say cats never have to be bathed.  They say
cats lick themselves clean.  They say cats have a special enzyme
of some sort in their saliva that works like New, Improved Wisk
dislodging the dirt where it hides and whisks it away.  I've
spent most of my life believing this folklore.  Like most blind
believers, I've been able to discount all the facts to the
contrary - the kitty odors that lurk in the corners of the
garage and dirt smudges that cling to the throw rug by the

 The time comes, however, when a man must face reality; when he
must look squarely in the face of massive public sentiment to
the contrary and announce: "This cat smells like a port-a-potty
on a hot day in Juarez." When that day arrives at your house, as
it has in mine, I have some advice you might consider as you
place your feline friend under you arm and head for the bathtub:
-- Know that although the cat has the advantage of quickness and
lack of concern for human life, you have the advantage of

Capitalize on that advantage by selecting the battlefield.
Don't try to bathe him in an open area where he can force you to
chase him.  Pick a very small bathroom.  If your bathroom is
more than four feet square, I recommend that you get in the tub
with the cat and close the sliding-glass doors as if you were
about to take a shower.  (A simple shower curtain will not do.
A berserk cat can shred a three-ply rubber shower curtain
quicker than a politician can shift positions.) -- Know that a
cat has claws and will not hesitate to remove all the skin from
your body.

  Your advantage here is that you are smart and know how to
dress to protect yourself.  I recommend canvas overalls tucked
into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves,
an army helmet, a hockey face mask and a long-sleeve flak
jacket.  -- Prepare everything in advance.  There is no time to
go out fo r a towel when you have a cat digging a hole in your
flak jacket.  Draw the water.  Make sure the bottle of kitty
shampoo is inside the glass enclosure.  Make sure the towel can
be reached, even if you are lying on your back in the water.  --
Use the element of surprise.

  Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as if to simply carry him to
his supper dish.  (Cats will not usually notice your strange
attire.  They have little or no interest in fashion as a rule.
If he does notice your garb, calmly explain that you are taking
part in a producttesting experiment for J.C. Penney.) -- Once
you are inside the bathroom, speed is essential to survival.  In
a single liquid motion, shut the bathroom door, step into the
tub enclosure, slide the glass door shut, dip the cat in the
water and squirt him with shampoo.  You have begun one of the
wildest 45 seconds of your life.

Cats have no handles. Add the fact that he now has soapy fur,
and the problem is radically compounded.  Do not expect to hold
on to him for more that two or three seconds at a time.  When
you have him, however, you must remember to give him another
squirt of shampoo and rub like crazy.  He'll then spring free
and fall back into the water, thereby rinsing himself off.  (The
national record is -- for cats -- three latherings, so don't
expect too much.) -- Next, the cat must be dried.

 Novice cat bathers always assume this part will be the most
difficult, for humans generally are worn out at this point and
the cat is just getting really determined.  In fact, the drying
is simple compared to  what you have just been through.  That's
because by now the cat is semipermanently affixed to your right
leg.  You simply pop the drain plug with your foot, reach for
your towel and wait. (Occasionally, however, the cat will end up
clinging to the top of your army helmet.

  If this happens, the best thing you can do is to shake him
loose and to encourage him toward your leg.) After all the water
is drained from the tub, it is a simple matter to just reach
down and dry the cat.  In a few days the cat will relax enough
to be removed from your leg.  He will usually have nothing to
say for about three weeks and will spend a lot of time sitting
with his back to you. He might even become psychoceramic and
develop the fixed stare of a plaster figurine.

 You will be tempted to assume he is angry.  This isn't usually
the case.  As a rule he is simply plotting ways to get through
your defenses and injure you for life the next time you decide
to give him a bath.  But, at least now he smells a lot better.


LadyBugAZ, formerly on SeniorNet at AOL  is now on the WWW and
can  be reached at ladybug@azstarnet.com

Winter visitors to the Tucson area are welcome to contact me to
learn about the StarNet Seniors organization that is being
organized for seniors using StarNet as a server.  We plan to
have events once a month for social and discussions about using
the WWW.  Eventually, this will encompass seniors using other
WWW servers, but at the moment we are just taking the first
steps in developing a place where seniors can meet others on the

I will also be glad to answer questions for people wanting to
learn more about our area or who planning to visit.

Martha R. Gore  (Martye)


>From Elizabeth Swenzel

I now have a homepage on the World Wide Web with information and
pictures about my various volunteer projects with and for
seniors: the Read-Aloud Program, ELDER RESOURCES, The Third-Age
Press, and London's University of the Third Age.  The address on
the Web is:  

Please visit and, if you would like to, leave a comment (the
latter part will be operational in a few days). Elizabeth B.
Wenzel. E-mail: 

>From Pamela Wendt

I am looking for individuals who have frail family members not
living with them who would like to send e-mail messages to their
loved  one and have a continuing electronic partnership with
them.  I need e-mail messages from you telling who you are.

I am looking for schools that are hooked into e-mail/internet
that  are interested in being electronic pen pals for these
elderly.  It could  fit into their writing curriculum.  Do any
of you have these  connections?

We need elders that are socially isolated but mentally alert who
have access to computers in their NHs, retirement homes, own
homes who can send and receive e-mail.  We also need family
members who have loved ones living in social isolation that are
able to be e-mail pen pals with them.

Please have them contact me at wendtp@rcf.usc.edu or
(213)740-1723. Thank you,

Dr. Pamela F. Wendt University of So. CA


Proposed news group

Creative Retirement Manitoba and the Seniors Computer
Information Project (SCIP) (http://www.crm.mb.ca/scip/) are
proposing to create an Internet USENET newsgroup called

unmoderated group soc.retirement

Summary:  Discussion of: aging, retirement and related issues
Proponent:     Richard Denesiuk 

Here's a fun site for people with idle time on their hands. Have
you seen the "anagram insanity" page on the web? It has one of
those anagram generators where you enter a word or phrase and it
comes up with a list of anagrams,

I tried my name and it came up with:

jeer us my ash
ushers jay me

Oh well, maybe I have too much time on my hands. The Jumble
puzzle will never be the same.

If anybody else wants to waste time the url is:


        To Mark The Day 

(excerpt from At 70)

Dreams, smooth as worry stones,
Roll burnished in synapsing seas
To fly, to ski, to build a shape
On a potter's wheel, take a cruise
Hang out my shingle, write a book
To walk the wall and walk the Trail
Or part of it, taste lobster in Maine
Drive the whole Pacific Coast
Spend a weekend in London
Or Paree.
We can do this.

      - Ethel  emi@aol.com