Making a memoir a reality

At 87, she wrote her life story and created a family treasure

By Edmund O. Lawler for Next Avenue


When my mother was a teenager, she got to meet the most famous athlete of the 20th century.

It was 1947. Babe Ruth, by then stricken with throat cancer, granted my mom and her sister a private audience in the beautiful Manhattan apartment he shared with his wife, Claire. The girls, accompanied by their mother, were awestruck as the now-retired Sultan of Swat autographed photos and chatted amiably with them about baseball in a painfully raspy voice. My mom didn’t have the heart to tell the Babe, who would die a year later, that she was a fan of her hometown Chicago White Sox.

My mom was celebrating her recent high school graduation with a train trip from Chicago to New York where she rode the coasters at Coney Island, beheld the Statue of Liberty and dined at the Stork Club. The visit with Babe was a complete surprise — arranged by her businessman father and one of his confidants in New York City.

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Annual golf tournament dates set

shutterstock_599749295This year’s Dick Metz Memorial Golf Classic benefiting the Good Samaritan Program at Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor will be held May 6 at Great Life Golf and Fitness in Arkansas City.

The tournament was named for the late Arkansas City native, Richard “Dick” C. Metz, who was a leading golf pro in the 1930s and 1940s. He won 14 professional victories and was inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame in 1991.

After Metz’ death, a golf tournament named for him was started to benefit the Arkansas City Good Samaritan Program, which provides assistance for Presbyterian Manor residents who have out-lived their financial resources. Last year’s tournament raised more than $17,000.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at Great Life Golf and Fitness in Arkansas City. The Karl Faidley Memorial Ball Drop is at 10:15 a.m., and the four-person scramble tournament begins at 10:30 a.m. A grilled hamburger lunch will be offered during play and appetizers will be served afterward during the awards ceremony.

Registration forms are available at Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor. Team and individual registrations are available, with individuals being placed on four-person teams. The entry fee is $100 per person.

For more information, contact Tara Clawson at 620-442-8700 or

Easter is a time of refreshing


By Wayne Rector, Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor resident

Easter is just about upon us. To me, Easter is a time of refreshing. It gives us a fresh look at the cataclysmic events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, an event that divided history for all time, and marked the end of Satan’s iron clad dominion over people’s souls.

When Christ in that final moment there on the cross, having suffered untold agony, hung his head and death enclosed him, an unnatural darkness covered the land from noon to 3 p.m. and the veil in the temple at the entrance to the Holy of the Holies was ripped from top to bottom, thus signifying that no longer was there a need for human high priest to atone for the sins of the people. For we now have Christ and his shed blood to cover our sins.

And, upon Christ’s resurrection, we are told in Matthew 27 verses 52 and 53, ‘the graves of many saints were opened and they arose and appeared unto many.’

Jesus is coming again and alive or dead we will see him. Carl Blackmore in his song, ‘Some Golden Daybreak,” captures the moment best:
“Some golden daybreak Jesus will come; some golden daybreak, battles all won, He’ll shout     the victory, break thru the blue, some golden daybreak, for me, for you.”

I hope you have a glorious Easter.

Perfect match

ACPM-Judy-2When Judy Olmstead first signed up to volunteer at Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor, she assumed she would be calling bingo or something similar. Instead, Judy was paired with a resident who has become an inspiration and joy in her life.

For almost three years, Judy has been coming once a week to serve as a personal volunteer to Grace Potter, who is blind. Judy writes letters for Grace or reads to her. Sometimes, they’ll work a crossword puzzle together or check in on the day’s activities. And they always pray together.

“Almost from the first moment I met Grace, I thought, ‘What a wonderful lady!’ She is cheerful and bright and looks upon the world as a blessing from God each day,” Judy said. “And how many people could maintain that attitude every day?”

A few months into her retirement, Judy said, her pastor announced at church that Presbyterian Manor needed volunteers. (He leads a Bible study on the campus on Wednesdays.) Judy’s mother had lived here, and she thought it would be a good fit. She expected to be helping with activities for all. Instead, social worker Lori Peters asked Judy if she would agree to work with a single resident.

Now, both women look forward to their hour together. “Grace has a great family that loves her, and she does not want for love in her family. But I think why she appreciates me so much is that it’s a scheduled visit. It’s between meals, and nothing will interfere with it,” Judy said. “It may be a highlight of her week, but it is most certainly a highlight of mine.”

Judy also serves on the advisory council for Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor, and she knows how valuable our volunteers are to every neighborhood and need. Residents and staff treat her like a member of the family, she said.

This month, we’ll honor Judy and many more of our wonderful volunteers on Thursday, April 13, with a reception at 2 p.m. in the dining room.

Judy encourages everyone to give volunteering a try, because the benefits go both ways. “I miss it when I’m out of town,” she said. “I never would have realized how rewarding this is, to meet someone with such a phenomenal attitude.”

And as it turns out, Judy has gotten to call a few bingo games after all, too.

Your plain English guide to investment jargon

Definitions of 5 stock market terms you’ll want to know

By Jack Fehr for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock

As the stock market continues its gyrations, now is a good time to buy an investment with a favorable NAV and alpha that keeps on giving while reducing beta.

Got that?

If not, don’t be embarrassed. Investment companies and financial advisers love to load up their materials with this kind of jargon. Too bad they don’t just say something like this (a plain-English translation of the first sentence in this article): “You might want to buy an investment that is likely to grow faster and experience less risk than alternatives.”

Well, some actually do, but many still don’t. If companies aren’t willing to talk to you in a language you understand, it’s up to you to decipher their financial-speak.

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Do you really need that knee surgery?

Experts disagree on whether it’s worth going under the knife

By Linda Melone, CSCS for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock

You felt it on your last walk when you stepped off a curb the wrong way: a sudden pain and feeling as if your knee were about to give out. Swelling and more pain followed, along with worries that you may need knee surgery.

But would it even help?

A recent Danish review of studies published in the British Medical Journal revealed that people in their 50s and older who get arthroscopic surgery for knee pain show no lasting benefits.

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Achieving your dreams after 60

The authors of ‘Senior Wonders’ on the 3 P’s for Triumphant Aging

By Karen L. Pepkin and Wendell C. Taylor for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Thinkstock

The media abounds with negative views about the impact of aging on physical, cognitive, and financial well-being. In fact, there are entire industries that have emerged to counteract the effects of aging — nutritional supplements, hormone treatments, surgical improvements, lotions, potions, and the like. They all seem to underscore Bette Davis’ famous quote, “Old age is no place for sissies.”

What if there were another point of view? What if aging brought about, not decline but our greatest accomplishments? What if we looked at aging as Dr. Christiane Northrup does? She tells us that “getting older is inevitable, but aging isn’t.”

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Sorry, nobody wants your parents’ stuff

Advice for boomers desperate to unload family heirlooms

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and 60s need to know: Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents — not even you or your kids.

Admittedly, that’s an exaggeration. But it’s not far off, due to changing tastes and homes. I’ll explain why, and what you can do as a result, shortly.

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Don’t let fear stop you from end-of-life planning

It’s natural to procrastinate, but make this a priority for your loved ones

By Debbie Reslock for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

When I was in my early 20s, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. It felt like a one-two punch, since my dad had died unexpectedly a few years earlier. Although Mom tried chemotherapy, the results seemed to suggest that this was going to end badly, which it did — less than six months later.

During that time, her life became a mere shadow of what it once was. And yet no one, including her doctors, myself or my mom, ever talked about what was happening.

Only in the last few days did her doctor suggest to me, not her, that we were reaching the end of this painful road. And then he asked if I thought she’d be more comfortable at home or in the hospital. I remember how angry I was, unprepared to make this decision and wanting to scream, “Why are you asking me?” But of course when I got older, I realized the real question was why hadn’t any of us asked her?

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8 ways to give your investments a spring cleaning

Tax time is an ideal time to declutter your portfolio

By Kerry Hannon for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

Where I live in Washington, D.C., the pink magnolia trees are blooming, and the daffodils are intensely yellow and screaming springtime — just in time for the first day of spring, Sunday March 20.

It’s time to get out in the backyard to tackle garden cleanup… right after I finish my taxes this weekend. Which brings me to a more prosaic chore: Spring-cleaning is also time to clear out the clutter in my financial life, particularly my investments. And I think you should, too. (I’ll tell you how shortly.)

When I’m doing spring-cleaning for my portfolio, I check to see if I need to consolidate and sell extraneous and underperforming funds and stocks. I also do a goals checkup and tune-up to rebalance my investments, so I have the right asset allocation of stocks to bonds to provide the oomph needed to last a potentially long life.

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