Comfort Writing for Reminisce Magazine

By Anita Garner

The Jones Kids, Arkansas, 1953
from the current issue of Reminisce Magazine

I’m sentimental.  Writing for Reminisce Magazine suits me perfectly.  My family’s in the new issue twice. Each issue includes a theme in addition to their regular departments.  The theme this time is the New Deal and the story of Daddy’s time at CC Camp is included.   Also in this issue is a story about my brother, Leslie Ray’s, unusual teenage rebellion.

That’s Daddy on the left, the future Reverend Raymond Jones in the 1930’s, showing off his muscles at Roosevelt’s C C Camp.

The magazine is owned by the company that also owns Readers Digest.   Reminisce, filled with photos and memories and a nice layout and proper vintage attitude, feels like home, a bit Readers Digest-y, which is comforting.

The last time the magazine published one of my stories, people asked how to get a copy.  Subscribing.  Or from a library.  I see both print and digital versions on Amazon.

These stories I send to the magazine aren’t included in my book, The Glory Road: A Memoir, which comes out next year.  When it was time to trim the manuscript for the book, not everything I wrote fit the length and I share some of this in other ways.  Reminiscing, for instance.

While typing that word, yes, a song did start up in my head. I’m an old singer/radio disc jockey so obviously everything reminds me of a song. I love Little River Band’s 1978 hit,”Reminiscing.”

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First Day Of California Senior Quarantine

By Anita Garner

Choreographer Twyla Tharpe high kicks at seventy-eight
and shares a truth about aging.

On the first day of California self-isolation for residents over sixty-five, I just heard from a friend in her 70’s who’s coincidentally just now dressing up her top half (all that’s required these days) in an outfit appropriate for a  video interview that was set up long before this crisis.

The reason for the video isn’t because of our quarantine. It’s because the organization is located in another state and this is how they meet new potential hires.  They contacted her because of her experience, but they don’t know her age, and they have a history of hiring young.

Her question to me, “Do you think I can pass for sixties?”

Which I mention only to note the coincidence of her video chat on the first day of California’s new self-isolation rule starting at age 65.  Do we think anyone will be piling on the makeup or touching up the hair color just to get outside?  From the behavior I’ve noticed at the market, that’s not outside the realm of possibility.

The latest AARP Bulletin features an interview about aging with choreographer, Twyla Tharpe.   Today seems as good a time as any to talk about getting older and then what follows next, which is actually being old.  If you’ve read anything else about her, one takeaway is that Twyla must be one of the most disciplined creative persons in the world.  Seriously, rigorously disciplined.

Here’s one question and one answer from the interview that contains a universal truth for all of us “of an age” whether or not we could “pass for sixties.”  Credit due Twyla and AARP interviewer, Hugh Delehanty.

Hugh:  What advice would you give to someone not as disciplined as you?

Twyla:  One, expect it to be a positive experience and do whatever you can to support that expectation.  Aging isn’t easy, and anyone who says it is isn’t experiencing it.  Obviously, there are challenges.  The body is insulting the mind, which remembers things that were once possible.

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Welcome home.

By Anita Garner

This is my favorite welcome home from anyplace I’ve lived.  It’s Mexican Sage gone wild at the edge of my driveway in Mill Valley, CA.   The sage loved that spot and I loved the sage.

I wonder if I’m the only person who keeps photos of favorite bits and pieces of houses on my phone. Not in a sad way.  I’m just strongly attracted to gates, mailboxes, driveways, front doors, entryways.

Mailboxes.  Old tin ones on a wood post like this one.  Or old wood formed into a little house on a post. I like to visit neighborhoods in any town and soak up all the ways houses say hello.

I’m working on a new  novel and as the chapters unfold, the house details become more important.  While I’ve been telling the story, an old house has become almost the main character, requiring me to learn things about home repair in order to add realistic conversations about what needs fixing.

I have a friend, a music producer by trade, and a builder of everything his home needs.  Last week I drew him a sketch of a repair needed in my fictional home.  Took a picture, texted it to him in Nashville, asking for some HGTV talk, what a construction person might say about the repair.  Back came some sentences that fit perfectly.

I’m now so attached to my fictional house, I want to live in it. By the time the manuscript becomes a book, the front door will be yellow and the driveway will be trimmed in Mexican Sage to match my favorite welcome home above.

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