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Dear Julia,

Enjoyed your article on the prunes and your thoughts on the Santa Clara Valley. I too grew up there and remember the prunes, as well as picking the prunes as a youngster. I still live here and miss the orchards and the blossoms.

Thanks for the memory jolt. Would you share the Oatmeal Prune Bread recipe? We still enjoy prunes and they will never be plums.

Sincerely, Eva, Los Gatos, California

Editor's Note: Julia is sharing her recipe...if you'd like to request it, we'll pass it on.

Dear Editor,

Maybe we ought to broaden our mission. I agree that much of the site is of more interest to seniors, but a huge amount is of interest to women of any age. I think younger women could profit both from a peek into their own probable futures (after all, if they're lucky, they will be in their sixties and seventies and eighties one day) and from the perspective of older women, who have had more experience and hopefully have developed some wisdom on the problems universal to all women at any age.

Inki Shaffer, Ca.

Dear Editor,

I love "our" website and am deeply sorry to hear that you're soliciting sponsors. Of course I suppose there is no other way, but it has been so refreshing to come to a site that hasn't had flashing ads and the partial goal of selling me something. Ms Magazine continues to delight me with its "unbought" format and articles, not that it doesn't have its own slant.

I subscribe only to newsletters and journals that have no advertising, with the exception of Modern Maturity. I know some of them are funded by foundations and some are funded only by membership/subscriber contributions. You no doubt understand that I'm one of the "simplicity" folks who has eliminated junk mail (e and snail) and tries to live deliberately and lightly on our shared Earth home. Getting older has certainly helped me to make those changes in my life, and I have assumed that many who use the website have similar values.

Seniorwomen has become one of my favority websites, along with a couple of the simple living ones.

By the way, I like the new website so much that I've made it my home page!*

Marjan Wazeka in far-off Florence, Oregon

*If you'd like to also make SeniorWomen your home page we can give you instructions as to how to do that. We've also had a request for instructions as to how to make SeniorWomen your wallpaper and we can tell you how to do that, too. Email

Dear Editor (in answer to our question, How do You Like Our New Design?),

I haven't even read it yet. Where did this black font come from. Wait a minute. Well, that's a bit better. I haven't even read anything yet on the site, but it looks just wo more plus add into the equation creaky knees. Have some good person address this issue, or have everybody put their ideas into a forum or something.

There has got to be some good ideas of how to pole vault out of the old, into the new. What have other women done to cause a life makeover? I really need to be in the company of kindred spirits, and this is the site!!! I turned 60 on the 21ast and have got to figure out how to live well the rest of the years I have left, no matter how long or short.

Love, Phyllis ( Sacramento, Ca


Dear Julia,

I finished reading your article - Dante in the City - and was almost moved to tears. I lived in San Jose from the early 60s to the mid-80s and have often lamented the loss of the orchards and the way of life in the Valley there. It really WAS a great place to live back then. On my last trip there, I was appalled and couldn't wait to get on the plane to come home.

Thanks for the trip down nostalgia lane.

Jacquie, in the placid and still mostly calm, quiet, clean, green, and serene Pacific NW, Poulsbo, WA


Dear Editor,

First I want to let you know how very much I enjoy Senior Women. I like the design, have no problem understanding it.

Thank you,

Molly in Southern California


Dear Editor,

It's lovely (the design). Cleaner and more compelling than the previous design. Nice colors, too. Very best wishes,


"Cited by R.S.V.P." -


Dear Mr. Westheimer,

I just read your article, "Then and Now" on I'm so glad that you wrote it! I am a 40 year old woman preparing to test for my fourth degree black belt in tae kwon do. I have become very attached to a 76 year old woman at my church who recently suffered some ill health, and I have convinced her to let me teach her how to lift weights. I have been doing a lot of research on the net for good exercises to start with. I am glad that she has always been an avid swimmer, and her physical constitution overall is very good.

She's just had a physical, and she is recovered from her brief "down time," so things look good. I've carefully tailored a program of weight lifting to get her started, and I have saved the URL of your article to show her to keep her encouraged. I do hope that you are still lifting and that you are keeping fit. May God Bless You and your wife Dody!

Best wishes,
Jeri Massi


Dear Betty,

I was so impressed with your series on moving to a new location (Part One, Part Two, Part Three) that I would love to read the "next chapter."

Please do another article about what life is like for you now that you have been there for a while.

A fan, Barbara Weiss Training Coordinator, Bay Area Social Services Consortium


Dear Mary,

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! You're right on the money. I am in the process of self-inoculating against the dreaded (and dreadful) LOL epidemic. On my bi-weekly visits to my eighty-eight year old mother, who is in "assisted living" at her retirement community, I note the big difference between the "Alive and Kicking" and the "Here and Waiting."

No matter their physical conditions and infirmities, the folks who are pleasant to have around you are those who are genuinely interested in other people and current events, and who take an active role - no matter the size - in making life a little nicer for others. Enthusiasm is a bonus! I am often reminded of an aged relative whose daughters kept her "powdered and pink" to the age of 98. They would bring her out to the sitting room for family gatherings, where she was wordlessly on display, and were always prompt for her three-a-day feedings. I especially remember one comment made by at least one of them at every visit: "Doesn't Mama look pretty? She's just such a blessing!"

At some point in my life, my fervent prayer became, "Lord, please don't let me live to be a blessing!" Lately I've simplified the supplication to, "Lord, don't let me live too-o-o long". Many thanks for your "Take Five." I'm a fan! (62 years old and 5'2" tall).

Beth Moye, Maury, NC


Dear Betty,

I liked the way you listed causes, preventions, problems and solutions regarding osteoporosis in a concise, matter of fact way. I, too, have lost a couple inches. I shrugged it off, reshortened hems and then broke an arm. That wake up call led to a bone density test and the diagnosis of osteoporosis.

Now, on doctor's orders, I take supplementary calcium (Miacalcin) and the last bone scan showed slight, but encouraging, improvement. I'm a daily lap swimmer, and althought it's not weight bearing, it does help keep me limber and I do try not to fall. I've seen my mom and aunts hunched over - and I don't want that to happen to me. It shouldn't happen to anyone, and the solution as you aptly put it, is a healthier and more sensible lifestyle.

Thanks again. I think your writing's done a real service.

Sincerely, Arlene Rutstein,
Bonita Springs, Fla. and Skokie, IL


Dear Editor,

In my newspaper (The San Antonio Express-News) there was an article about a club, started in California, of ladies who wear purple and red, and meet for lunch once a month. The ones under 50 have to wear lavender and pink.

Their club is based on the poem by Jenny Joseph entitled "Warning." The poem starts our "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat." These ladies are interested in various things such as art and antiques. Apparently these ladies have a lot of fun and find it liberating to wear red and purple together. I think it's a wonderful way to have fun and make a statement at the same time.

The club in San Antonio has a name for themselves, "Delilahs.' Husbands can become honorary members if they want to. The only requirement is attire. Just the thought of red and purple brightens one's day. While on the subject of no-nos of our generation, I find that I delight in other combinations of colors that were taboo when I was growing up. Blue and green, red and orange, orange and yellow. Red heads were not supposed to wear pink or red. All that is out the window, and I say "HOORAY!" These combinations may not be restful, but they appeal to my artistic heart and add warmth to the world.

I like your site and read it often. Thank you for making it well rounded, and not too feminist.

Jean Leinweber,
Harper, Texas


Dear Editor,

Regarding Julia Sneden's article, A Grandmother by any Other Name, my grandchildren call me "More Mommy" Since I was Michael's Mommy's mother than made me More Mommy. I love the name.

Still love Senior Women.

Sarah Collins Wyard via e-mail


Dear Betty Soldz,

Your article on long term care insurance, that appeared on the website, was such a help in recent discussions I've been having with friends.

However, you mentioned two other articles you were writing and I wonder if they have appeared and I've just missed them? One was to be on "options for financing long-term care." The other was on various types of alternative housing.

As a long-time OWL member and an active hospice volunteer I have a great deal of interest in these matters and try to be a resource person for others similarly concerned. Can you tell I'm a librarian, too! The bookstore owner, Carol Foster, who found (your book) Wise Choices Beyond Midlife, Women Mapping the Journey Ahead has asked for your e-mail address; I think she'd like to get several more copies of your book. It's been very helpful, although it also raises many questions without simple answers. Is an updated edition in the works? It would be a shame for it not to be available when it is so needed.

Our library does not have a website yet, but when it does, we doubtless will post links to all kinds of appropriate sites. In this retirement community the SeniorWomenWeb site would be just the kind we'd want to include.

Thanks for all of your work,

Marjan Wazeka in Florence, Oregon


Dear Mary,

Here's my list of Things to Do Before You Die from your piece Swimming With Dolphins :

Play scrabble for two days with a willing and challenging player. Who wins doesn't matter.

Write a book.

Be like a kid for one entire day. Eat candy, play with toys, ride a bike, play hopscotch, jump rope, watch cartoons, play "pick-up-sticks," etc.

Eat all the chocolate I want - many different brands - until I can eat no more.

Rent a studio for two months all by myself and write, write, write (with an Internet connection, of course!).

Take the ferry from Bellingham, Wa. through Alaksa to Skagway.

Take photographs of nature and scenery until I can take no more. Traveling all over the US, of course.

Get somebody to pay me for my work before I do it.

My list for now!

Thanks for the fun.

Jerri Brooker
Freelance Writer
Suite101 Managing Editor, Arts Contributing Editor
Washington State


Dear SeniorWomenWeb Readers,

I would like to remind women why we need a President who will not privatize Social Security.

Social Security is a safety net for women. Social security protects women against poverty because it contains a provision for cost of living increases; it also protects women who are raising children or lose a spouse. Women are also covered if they become disabled. Social Security protects the woman who does not work or who takes time off to raise her children. To privatize Social Security is very dangerous for those who cannot afford to lose this safety net.

The above safety net could be lost with privatization of Social Security. Benefits are calculated on the highest years of earnings over a 35 year period. Any year you do not work or worked where you did not pay into Social Security is calculated as zero. You then receive benefits for the years you paid into the system. As long as you pay into the Social Security system for 40 quarters (10 years total) you are covered and cannot lose your entitlement. Women who never worked are protected because when their husband receives Social Security at full retirement age, they will also receive a monthly check equal to one-half of his monthly benefit.

There are inequities for employed married women that need to be addressed. Women who earn an income at least equal to their spouses will receive their own benefit but not the spousal benefit received by the woman who never worked. Also, the widow who never worked outside the home receives higher benefits than the woman who did.

These are just some of the inequities that need to be addressed. Although there are inequities in the system, privatization of Social Security is not the answer. It might benefit those who are good investors but harm those who are not. If we divert money out of Social Security for privatization it will weaken a system which has kept many women out of poverty and worked equally well for all. There is much at stake for women in this election.

Betty Soldz via e-mail
Author, Educator and Consultant in the Field of Aging


Dear Julia,

I enjoyed your article tremendously! It brought back memories of my sewing class in the 7th grade in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Our first project was hemming a t-towel that we would be embroidering. Using an electric machine was a scary prospect as I had been receiving sewing instructions from my great aunt on her treadle machine for many years prior. The second day of class while working at the electric machine, I accidentally ran over the electrical cord with the needle and blew up the machine. The teacher was really upset and the incident traumatized me for several months after that. This event happened on a Friday the 13th. I've always remembered this event every Friday the 13th of my life from that day forward.

Linda Slavik, Plano, Texas


Dear Julia,

I enjoyed your sewing article. In fact it took me back to my Home Ec. days and the sounds of rip it out, rip it out!!! I never thought after 6 years I would ever sew but you know what? After getting married and having my own machine I have sewed baby clothes, prom dresses and now grandkids goodies. I can't even imagine life without my sewing machine and stash of materials, buttons and snaps.

Thanks for sharing your learning time with me. I felt I had a visit from a dear friend.

Hugs to you,

Judy Minor in Indiana

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