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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Column: Love letter’s message stands test of time

A reader who lives on the South Hill was doing some remodeling when he discovered, folded in the ceiling of the basement rec room, a love letter likely written in the 1960s.

A girl named Terri wrote it to a guy named Dan. The letter is precious, filled with heartsickness. The two teens appeared to have been separated by distance and, perhaps, by disapproving parents.

Terri tells Dan that she will save her loose change, and tell her mother she is eating hot lunch “so I can save the money for gas.”

The final paragraph reads: “I want us to be together forever. This year may go by slow and hard, but we’ll be stronger in the end. I’m not going to get depressed anymore over dumb things, OK? Well, I’ll close my letter now, but never will I close my heart and soul from you.”

Terri and Dan: What happened to you two?

EARLY BIRD THEATER: Both Spokane’s Interplayers Theatre and Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre have been very public about their financial woes in recent months. Here’s my sort of tongue-in-cheek boomer solution, with apologies for generalizations about boomers’ theater preferences.

• Keep it short. Find a play or two each season, marketed toward boomers and seniors, that lasts about an hour. Have an intermission at the 30-minute mark for bathroom breaks – or wine refills. Some boomers I know have late-onset attention deficit disorder. Everything lasts too long.

• Add more 4 p.m. matinees. More and more of my boomer friends don’t like driving at night, and they like to be in bed with a book, or watching television, or even asleep, by 9 p.m. most nights. So 4 p.m. matinees allow for the play, drinks and dinner after, and home in bed by 9.

These matinees would also open up outings with boomers’ 90-something parents whose night owl days are long past, too.

• Do a dinner-theater early bird special. Partner with restaurants nearby to offer matinee-and-dinner specials. Boomers, raised on coupons, love a bargain.

SPEAKING OF ATTENTION-DEFICIT: My book club just discussed “American Pastoral” – the 423-page novel by Philip Roth, published in 1997, that won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. There are beautifully written passages about high school reunions and families torn apart by 1960s violence. But it was certainly a slog, for all of us, and there are some uber readers in the group.

Roth introduces a character and then spends dozens of pages telling the character’s back story.

We thought that maybe our brains have lost the capacity to pay attention that long to that much detail. The Internet began growing in popularity about the same time Roth’s book was published. Google really took off a few years later. Some studies suggest it has changed the way we read and think. Is this a huge loss or a huge gain? This is where our discussion led, leaving discussion of Roth’s main character – the Swede – in analog dust.

CUT IT OUT: The Senior Planet website recently did a story on older folks and plastic surgery. “According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 1.25 million men, most of them seniors, had surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures in 2012, a 5 percent increase from the previous year and a 22 percent increase from 2000.”

The website writer’s theory why? “Younger women.”

The writer examined the phenomenon in Florida where men often end up widowed and looking for new mates.

Do you think the senior male facelift trend will ever take off in the Inland Northwest? My guess? No.

Instead of going under the knife, boomer and senior men here seem to grow beards, a practice that ages men about eight years, according to a recent article in the British newspaper, the Daily Mail.

AH, THE SMELL OF SCHOOL: Was delighted to find No. 2 pencils for sale in the school supplies aisle recently. Sharpened pencils, erasers and Elmer’s glue all contributed to that start-of-school smell we encountered our first week back to class. Calculators, iPads and other modern technological school supplies do not seem to give off the aroma of learning. But finding the pencils made me wonder: what do kids use pencils for these days?


• Monday Night Dance, tonight at 7, Corbin Senior Activity Center, 827 W. Cleveland Ave., Spokane, (509) 327-1584.

• Table tennis led by members of the Spokane Table Tennis Club, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., Southside Senior and Community Center, 3151 E. 27th Ave., Spokane, (509) 535-0803.

• Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge visit, Thursday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., sponsored by Sinto Senior Activity Center, 1124 W. Sinto Ave., Spokane, (509) 327-2861.

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