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Boomer column: Proof that some memories can fade

Mon., Feb. 18, 2013, midnight

On Dec. 13, I started a “10 items a day for 1,000 days” project. Every day, I get rid of 10 items in our house. Some I throw away and others I give away. My strategy is simple: I pick one drawer, one cupboard, one closet, one file and begin. At 10 items, I stop, no matter how tempted to continue.

Our house isn’t ultra cluttered, but after 23 years the stuff has piled up, hidden away in drawers and closets. And the garage! Oh my.

The easiest stuff to ditch includes items stockpiled because they were once used all the time. The empty cassette tapes intended for interviews, for instance, and film for photos.

These items outlived their purpose. Life went so fast for them, too. So far, I haven’t missed or regreted one throw-out or giveaway.

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE: Motorcycles symbolized freedom and speed to boomers when they were teenagers. They were often a forbidden fruit, especially for girl boomers.

Boomers who have roared into older age with their motorcycles still experience that freedom feeling, but they should perhaps give up the speed. A recent analysis of government data showed that riders age 60 and older were three times as likely to be hospitalized after a crash, compared with riders in their 20s and 30s. Older riders had more brain injuries, too. Source: HealthDay News

ACT 2: I am a huge fan of the Institute for Extended Learning classes offered to boomers and older folks. A year ago, this Community Colleges of Spokane initiative took “senior” out of its name and renamed it the Act 2 program.

Journaling and memoir writing, introduction to swing dance and the History of Spokane’s Hats are among the classes to begin soon. Find out more at /ContinuingEd or call (509) 279-6027.

GREEDY GEEZERS: “What really hurts about turning 65 is the sense that you’ve left the deserving mainstream and entered a parasitical pariah class, akin to the ‘welfare cheats’ that dominated public discourse in the ’80s and ’90s.

“Once they were disposed of – by the welfare ‘reform’ act of 1996 – the scolds and the deficit hawks turned on the elderly, now stigmatized as ‘greedy geezers’ who suck on what former senator Alan Simpson has colorfully described as Social Security’s “300 million tits” while little children go hungry. Barbara Ehrenreich in AARP magazine

FACEBOOK NOSTALGIA: This “poster” is popular among boomers on Facebook. It reads:

“My curfew was the street lights, and my mom didn’t call my cell. She yelled ‘time to come in.’

“I played outside with friends, not online. If I didn’t eat what my mom made me, then I didn’t eat. Hand sanitizer didn’t exist but you could get your mouth washed out with soap. I rode a bike without a helmet. And getting dirty was OK.

“Click ‘like’ if you drank water from the garden hose and survived.”

IT’S COMPLICATED: AARP Washington is offering a free workshop on Medicare options, costs and coverage. It’s open to people approaching age 65 or new to Medicare.

The daylong workshop will take place March 19, at CenterPlace in Spokane Valley. It’s likely to fill up fast, due to free lunch, free parking, door prizes and the reassurance that “this is not a sales presentation.”

Registration required. Call (877) 926-8300.

WISE WORDS: “I am not sure that digging out past guilts is a useful occupation for the very old, given that one can do so little about them. I have reached a stage at which one hopes to be forgiven for concentrating on how to get through the present.”

Diana Athill, who was 89 when she published “Somewhere Towards the End: A Memoir.”

THIS WEEK, A SAMPLING: An Evening with Patty Duke, Tuesday, 6 p.m., The Calm, 1301 S. Grand Blvd. Spokane, (509) 328-9116. Benjamin Britten: A 100th Birthday Festival Concert, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, 1115 W. Riverside Ave., Spokane, (509) 313-6733. Palouse Cowboy Poets and Musicians, cowboy poetry, Western music and a young fiddle playing phenomenon, Sunday at 2 p.m., Dahmen Barn, Uniontown, Wash., (509) 229-3414.

For more activities, go to

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