Published in the Woonsocket Call on January 5, 2020
As an ‘age beat’ journalist for over 40 years, I have penned more than 756 stories covering aging, health care and medical issues. These authored and coauthored pieces have appeared in national, state and local trade and association publications, daily, weekly and monthly newspapers and even news blogs. For the last decade 334 articles have appeared weekly in the Pawtucket Times and Woonsocket Call.
I provide you with a few of my favorite published articles that you may have enjoyed reading over the last decade. These articles in their entirety and even hundreds more can be viewed on herbweiss.blog.
Spumoni’s: “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,”: published in the Feb. 26, 2017 issue of the Woonsocket Call, and one day later in the Pawtucket Times.
Mark and Nancy Shorrock, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, now in their seventies and married for 52 years, began dining at Spumonis twice a week with their children in the 1980s, and remember being drawn to the Italian-style restaurant because of its reputation of serving “good food.” Over the years, as the Shorrock’s three children became more independent and “doing things on their own,” the couple began increasing their trips daily to the Pawtucket resident for dinner since it was so close by. Of course, their network of friends increased, too.
What the Shorrocks know innately, a 24-page report, “The Brain and Social Connectedness: GCBH Recommendations on Social Engagement and Brain Health, “released by the Global Council on Brain Health in February 14, 2017, tells us that larger social networks may positively impact your health, wellbeing, even your cognitive functioning. This report is available at http://www.GlobalCouncilOnBrainHealth.org.
“It’s not uncommon for our social networks to shrink in size as we get older,” said Marilyn Albert, Ph.D., GCBH Chair, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. “This report provides many helpful suggestions about the things we can do to improve the quality of our relationships with family and friends, which may be beneficial in maintaining our mental abilities.”
The Brain and Social Connectedness report addresses the social benefits of having pets, the role that age-friendly communities play in fostering social ties, and how close relationships promote both physical health and psychological well-being. The report also covers how social media like Facebook and Skype helps older adults maintain their social connections.
“Rediscovering Pawtucket’s Red Pollard,” published in the published in the June 22, 2012 issue of the Pawtucket Times.
Red Pollard rode into American history, overcoming a physical disability of partial blindness, accepting intense physical pain caused by severe riding injuries that fractured his bones, while humbly accepting his role in racing history, as the man who rode Seabiscuit 30 times, accumulating 18 wins.
This article noted that America’s iconic jockey, John Pollard, whose moniker “Red” Pollard, known for his flaming red hair, relocated to the City of Pawtucket in his middle years with his wife, Agnes, raising their two children, Norah and John at 249 Vine Street in the City’s Darlington neighborhood. At the end of their lives, Red and Agnes would be buried a stone’s throw from their modest Vine St. home in Norte Dame Cemetery on Daggett Avenue.
It is no coincidence that near the former Narragansett Race Track in Pawtucket– now a Building 19 retail store – you will discover city streets named “War Admiral” and “Seabiscuit Place, for surprisingly many Pawtucket residents do not know that the real-life jockey whose story was told in Seabiscuit, a 2003 dramatic movie and a critically-acclaimed non-fiction book authored by Laura Hillenbrand.
According my interview with his daughter, Norah Christianson, Pollard traveled the race track circuit for months at a time. When in Pawtucket, her father would take her and her brother, John to Pinault’s Drug Store on Newport Avenue, enjoy a movie at the Darlington Theater, visit Kip’s Restaurant, or have ice cream at Pinault’s soda fountain. Many a day Pollard would stop at the Texaco Gas Station, located at Armistice Blvd. and York Avenue, to sit and talk for hours with his friends, she said.
Other interesting tidbits of Pollard’s time in Pawtucket can be found in this article.
The Greatest Generation’s Last Hurrah, published in the Nov. 15, 2014 issue of the Pawtucket Times.
On August 2, 1956, Albert Henry Woolson, 106, the last surviving member of the Union Army who served in the nation’s Civil War, passed away. Frank Woodruff Buckles, 110, gained the distinction of being the last surviving American military veteran of World War I. This article, published five years ago, takes a close look at the passing of the “Greatest Generation,” coined by acclaimed Journalist Tom Brokaw in a 1998 book that profiled this generation who fought in WWI and helped on the home front in the war’s effort.
According to the article, 16 million American soldiers who served in World War II, are now dying at a rate of 555 a day. There are only 1.34 million veterans remaining. The National World War II Museum predicts that by 2036 there will be no living veterans of this global war that took place from 1939 to 1945, to recount their own personal battle experiences.
We will again see another generation of soldiers passing away, like Woolson or Buckles. The article calls for the nation to cherish the “Greatest Generation,” urging readers to gather oral histories to share with the younger generations that follow in footsteps.
Tips on Aging Boldly
Taking Charge: Collected Stories on Aging Boldly, published in 2016, contains a collection of 79 of my weekly articles printed in this paper, many over the last decade. These articles cover a myriad of aging issues ranging f rom care giving, retirement planning to thoughts about spirituality and death. Through these articles you are empowered with practical tools to live a happy, engaged and empowered during the second half of your life. For more details, go to herbweiss.com.