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TUESDAY, JULY 2, 2013, 9:07 A.M.

Connecting at the source

Molly Huss’ dragon boat team came in last. But no one cared.
Molly Huss’ dragon boat team came in last. But no one cared.

In my Monday Boomer U story, I wrote about the ways men and women will celebrate 60, a milestone birthday for boomers.

“Sixty is really a pivotal age,” said Kathy Merlock Jackson in a recent phone interview. The 57-year-old boomer and Virginia Wesleyan College professor is the author of “Rituals and Patterns in Children’s Lives.”

“You’re becoming a senior citizen. It’s the last really big bash before retirement. Parties are celebrations of growing older and what you can still do.”

The story was fun to report, because it was about birthdays and all the folks who shared their 60th birthday memories were terrific. (Look for some birthday stories this week here from readers who sent their stories in after the deadline.)

And I really lucked out on finding the perfect source for the story, Kathy Merlock Jackson. I was Googling children's birthday party rituals, stumbled upon her book, emailed her and she emailed right back and we did the interview by phone the next day. She was with her father, who is in his 90s, and was in the hospital.

We clicked right away. Same age. Same memories of boomer birthday parties. Both us have elderly parents. I hung up the phone and said to my colleagues: "I love this job."

Thanks for all who participated in my 60-birthday reporting. It made my week.

(Photo of Molly Huss' dragon boat race at her 60th birthday celebration.)



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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.