As we move forward in our lives retirement is not always as easy as we had hoped this new stage of life would be.  At the very least we can agree that things have a way of changing. What sounded so great when we were in our 50’s sometimes takes on a very different hue than we had planned for. So we make adjustments and somehow it all seems to work out for the better.

One of the things that has become a really great blessing is the way we have of making new friends, and best of all, they are friends that we have a common interest with.  We may have a wide variety of backgrounds, and different ways of looking at the world around us, but this is all to our benefit as we come together and share all of our thoughts and experiences. Subjects that we never even thought of are brought forward in great detail.  Life growing up in a Maine community many years ago becomes fascinating when you are hearing it firsthand from the one who lived it.  European experiences bring a whole different culture to the forefront when it comes to you across the table in your group of writers.

And we are all writers.  We all have the urge to write, to express ourselves, to share a part of us that may have been hidden before.  We may have written all of our lives, but reading it out loud in front of other members is another kettle of fish, as my father used to say.  Hearing the quiver in someone’s voice, knowing the fear that lurks beneath the surface as they reveal an inner part of themselves to us, we all are sympathetic to our creative friends. It takes real courage to bare your soul, to allow others to know the inner you. And we do it, week after week, and somehow it seems to get easier each time, as we realize we are safe among our creative friends. We can relax, knowing that we reside safely in this circle.

Our class means a great deal to me. What others say about my writing is important to my development as a writer.  When I write it is like I am talking to them, my friends. As I am reading, I can hear the rhythm of my voice, and it is very comforting to me to be able to express my thoughts.

It is also a very good feeling to listen to others and know that we all have a very special place in each others lives. We are showing that creativity expands in our life no matter what the age, and we have an important function to fulfill.

The main thing that I have been taught in our class is that we are all survivors.  We have all been thru the mill, done what had to be done, and we have survived. And we all still have a smile on our faces for our friends. I see the victorious human spirit in everyone in our class and it gives me great pride to say that I am a member of our Creative Writers class in Betmar Acres in Zephyrhills, Florida.



Verlie and Truman Strong, 1938, Muskegon, MichiganIMG_0164

If you have ever been lucky enough to live with a Virgo, this information is going to be no surprise to you.  Virgos are the people who make lists, for everything that they do or want to do, or plan to do.  Their first inclination is to pick up a pen and start writing whenever something new shows up.  You notice that I say “lucky”, because they love to make these lists.  In fact they have probably saved your life more than once by their lists when you have forgotten what you need to do in your life.

I bring this subject up because I am a Virgo.  Yes, and that is the way it is.  I make lists all of the time.  I write everything down before I go anywhere. Of course I don’t always remember to take the list with me.  When I was much younger just writing it down would make it lodge firmly in my mind, and I wouldn’t even need the paper with me.  Now things have changed somewhat and I find I need to take the list with me.  I even forget from one aisle to another what I need to get, if I don’t have the list.  Time happens to us all, and it sure has happened to me.

Today is the big day.  I pulled out my old Florida/Michigan notebook that I have been using for five years.  There is a page for “Taking to Florida”, another for “Taking to Michigan”, one for “Things to do before I go to Florida”, and yet another for “Things to do before I go to Michigan”. Every year I add to the pages until I finally have to start another one.  I must have 10 total pages by now.  Things are crossed out when I have decided I no longer need to take or do them, or added when I decide I must have it with me.  It is amazing how much we can actually put in our Toyota, and still have room to sit down in the front seat. I have no excuses, I just seem to need to have certain things around me in order to be comfortable.

So I have begun this spring’s project.  As I start packing I keep checking my pages, filling the boxes, crossing out the old ones that don’t work anymore. I make all of the phone calls and change all of the addresses.  We will be leaving sometime next week, and in the front seat I will have my notebook.  When we arrive in Michigan I will start unpacking the boxes and doing the fun job of putting everything in its place.  Hopefully I will have remembered to bring everything with me that will make me happy in my northern home for a few months.  I’ll put away my lists in a safe place until I am ready to travel south again.

Okay, so that project is done.  Up north I can start a new list before I go grocery shopping because my shelves are really bare up there.  I really need my list to make sure that I get everything I need because I live 25 miles from the store I trade at.

Thank goodness for having a Virgo in our house, that loves to make lists.  I am sure that is what my husband must think!