Magical Memoir Moments

Stuart at "work," holding his grandpa mug

My Husband’s Project: Biographical Geneaology

What do retired people do all day long? Stuart and I have been answering that question a little differently every year for the last eighteen years. Stuart retired from Goshen College in 2004. I left my last full-time position in 2010. For 28 years we both worked at Goshen College, changing jobs (I had nine…

Read More...
Spontaneous family gathering around the bonfire.

The Bonfire of Aging—And Seven Grandparent Resources to Warm Your Heart

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Silver Tsunami, the Age Wave that is sweeping the world? It’s now a controversial term because it implies older people will overwhelm society with their numbers and their needs. Perhaps it encourages fear of aging and disrespect for the elderly—ageism. By whatever name we call it, however, we are in…

Read More...
Grandma Hershey on left, Great Grandma Snyder in the center

Make a Comforter. BE a Comforter. Comforters for Ukraine

My Grandma Sue Snyder Hershey, pictured on the left below, looked like this when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. My widowed great-grandmother, her mother, stands like the prow of a ship in front of her four adult children. I thought a lot about my grandmothers and great-grandmother as I was writing…

Read More...
Kate and Nik, celebrating.

The Big Sleepover: Five Nights and Six Days with a Nearly-Five-Year-Old

Last week Lydia stayed at our house while her parents took a week away to celebrate their anniversaries disrupted by Covid (#ten and #eleven) as well as the one coming up in May (#12). This was the first long sleepover for Lydia at our house. A few years ago, we did Grandparent Camp with Owen…

Read More...
Grandchildren L-R, Lydia, Owen, and Julia

A New Website and Newsletter Look! Seeking Your Tweaks

My website was first set up in 2008 to be a place to house a blog called “100 Memoirs.” When my first book Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets the Glittering World came out, I needed a different kind of website, an author’s version, to accommodate the various kinds of information prospective book buyers, reviewers, and…

Read More...
"Bubbe" Paula Span with new-born Bartola.

Are You Bubbe, Zaide, Oma, Opa, Grandma, Grandpa? Paula Span Is Your Must-Read Journalist

Do you have a must-read journalist or columnist? I discovered mine in the pages of The New York Times. She specializes in some of my favorite subjects: the new old age, grandparenting and memoir. Her name is Paula Span. Her writing combines clarity, elegance and empathy. I love that she tells her own story as she…

Read More...
Grandma Shirley and Granddad Stuart with Julia (9) and Owen (10).

Grandparent Day — A Day of Rejoicing and Thanksgiving

Have you ever attended a Grandparents Day event as a child or adult? Perhaps on the second Sunday in September, the “official” Grandparent Day? Or maybe you have been invited to a grandchild’s school? Our Tulsa, OK, grandchildren, ages 10 and 9, invited us to attend Grandparent Days at their school recently. We were able…

Read More...
By Owen Showalter, age 10

Giving Thanks 2021: Doubling Down on Gratitude

Last year at this time was very dark. The pandemic. Both children were in hospitals miles apart. Cold weather. Fading light. A dark night of soul and body. It was very hard to see the blessings in my life when there was so much suffering. So this year, I am rejoicing twice. Once for all…

Read More...
Poet Norbert Krapf

How Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, and Norbert Krapf Helped Me to Become a More Mindful Grandparent

Did you watch the Nobel Prize ceremony in 2016 when Patti Smith sang “It’s a Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” in honor of her friend Bob Dylan? If not, you need to watch it here. And if you are one of the three million people who have already watched this video, trust me, it’s worth another…

Read More...
Kate, Joyous, Anna Mary, Shirley. Photographer: Lydia!

Vintage Dress Photo Shoot at the Home Place

Several weeks after we moved to Lititz, PA, I invited my daughter Kate, granddaughter Lydia, niece Joyous, and her daughter Anna Mary to join me in exploring a pile of vintage clothing I bought in the late 1980s at my Grandpa Hess’ estate sale.The dresses had stayed in closets in Goshen, IN; Kalamazoo, MI; and…

Read More...