"I thank God for my every remembrance of you."
Memoirs With Seniors is the name of a program I instituted in 2016, but one that I thought of more than a decade before it actually came to fruition (2002). It is truly an example of that often-quoted scripture, “He will give you the desires of your heart.” First, God gave my heart what to desire, then He gave that desire to me.
MWS began with an invitation to a senior living facility through my Uncle shortly after the publication of my first book of poetry, A Time To Write. I was invited to conduct a poetry reading on Wednesday August 31, 2011 at Elm Terrace Gardens Retirement Community in Lansdale PA. Ever the poetic historian, to the surprise of several of the attendees, I mixed in some readings by Early American and Modern Poets like Helen Steiner Rice, Ben Burroughs, Maya Angelou, and Frances Ridley Havergal. The evening was a total success, but as much as I enjoyed reading poetry to the seniors that day, I was very hesitant to seek out another, closer facility, or even to contact that same facility again. Sure, since that night in Lansdale, I taught a poetry workshops at an elementary school, a recreation center, an arts center, and local churches in the Philadelphia and South Jersey area. But it would be another two years before I would find myself working with seniors again, this time by way of another invitation.
On March 6, 2013, I received an email from a close acquaintance of mine named Frank Falzone. At the time he was the Enrichment Coordinator at Yardley Commons Senior Living & Retirement Community in Voorhees, N.J. He was looking for programming ideas for the residents and invited me to conduct a book signing and lecture. I spoke on the topic My Life in Rhyme: Nine Writers Who Moved My Heart and Pen. Needless to say, the event was a success, and I was asked to come back on a quarterly then monthly basis. At the request of the Activities Manager, my presentations transitioned from poetry readings to a memoir writing class in June of 2016. That request not only resulted in three residents becoming published authors in a little over three years, it also became the launching pad for my next career move: becoming a freelance writing coach and publishing consultant.
This blog is not just a trip down memory lane, but a big “Thank You” to my Uncle Sonny and my friend Frank Falzone. God used both of you to help me achieve something that began as a dream back in 2002 when I left Verizon. Today I find joy in pouring over the manuscripts - mostly handwritten - of senior citizens who want to publish their memoirs. The thrill of helping them rekindle long forgotten memories, the pleasure of reading their stories, and the satisfaction of seeing those stories in print, is more fulfilling than I could ever have imagined.
About This Blog
This blog is inspired by my first book, A Time To Write: Inspirational Poetry for All Seasons. Thank you for visiting!