When I began collecting social security, I panicked. I felt that I was running out of time. There were things I wanted to do but hadn't. I wasn't going to dwell on "would've, could've should've." That kind of thinking wouldn't change a thing. I noticed that some people were on a downward slope once they hit 65. Yet others, much older, were thriving. To discover their secrets, I interviewed over 100 men and women from their 60s through their 90s and beyond. Each person lived with gusto and purpose. This book tells their stories.
When visiting India in 1973, I took a side trip to Nepal. I was only there a short time, but it left an indelible impression on me. In 2012, I returned and stayed six weeks. That trip led to another and another. On each trip I met a diverse, interesting group of people and was often invited to their homes where I met the rest of the family. Since I collect stories, I began writing them down. As I did, a sense of life in Nepal emerged. Perforce, this book is part memoir, part reportage and part history, but most of all, it’s a good read.
Julian and Joaquin Castro’s mother, Rosie, is a person to emulate. On Sunday’s, the family sat down to a delicious dinner and discussed community issues. Even at a young age, Rosie was encouraged to join the conversation. She first experienced racism when she accompanied her Mexican-American mother to work cleaning wealthy people’s homes. As she got older and more aware of life around her, fought the injustices around her. She imparted her values to her twin sons who are now in a position to make our country a better place.
Diane Dupuy, born in Canada in 1948, is the founder of the internationally acclaimed black-light theater company, Famous PEOPLE Players. Many prestigious awards recognize the extraordinary artistic and humanitarian levels she achieved. Yet, Diane could easily have fallen through the cracks. As a child she was teased and bullied at school because she didn’t fit in. You’ll read about her struggles and see how faith, a vision, and determination combine to build a company where the impossible becomes possible.
The first time Sammy Lee climbed the 10-meter diving platform this Korean-American youth of small stature dove with a dream of Olympic Gold in his heart. As a youth, Sammy’s father, who had to deal with discrimination, helped Sammy overcome his self-defeating behavior and taught him to forge ahead. He wanted Sammy, who was born in 1920 in California, to become a doctor. But Sammy only wanted to dive. The odds were against him on both fronts. You’ll discover the truth behind his historic dive into history and his struggle to become a doctor.
James Bartleman was born in Canada in 1939 to a First Nations mother and a white father. Raised in two cultures, he battled racism and endured poverty. As a child neighborhood white kids taunted him and his teacher assumed that he would never achieve anything worthwhile. James’ father was often drunk. Yet, he was a dreamer who loved to read. One night, James secretly followed him to the library and discovered the source of his father’s dreams. James, too, became a reader. Books exposed him to new ideas, far away places, and transformed his life.
The biographies of Rosie Castro, Diane Dupuy, Sammy Lee, and James Bartleman were written for junior high students to be read in school and discussed with peers. Even though these books are on a junior high curriculum, their themes confirm for adults that no matter what challenges we had as children, we can thrive.
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