Something for Everyone
There was never a need for a nursing home for the elderly Gerbers. Bob’s mother Mutsie’s health failed in her later years. Bob’s father Popsie played ukulele, mandolin, and piano with The Elderberries when he was well into his 80s, more from the habit of playing the tunes than from being the sharp, handsome man that he had once been. The situation was simply that with so many people coming and going, the Gerber nest was never empty, the family elders were never alone, and the need for professional care just never came up. What came to the aid of the elderly was that they had spent decades teaching family to become family, they naturally leaned toward cooperation and kindness, and they had created Home for those of all ages and possible infirmities. The home that eventually came to be called The Soup Kitchen was the house on Lloyd Street. It would see the comings and goings of five generations: one matched set of great aunt with great uncle, 2 parents, 7 children, 16 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.

Get Out of the House—Go Climb a Rock
. . . Fast forward 30 years. Gary and I developed our careers and raised our two children. Although we always loved the outdoors and spent a good bit of our time there, with parenting responsibilities, our pursuit of risky sporting adventures fell by the wayside. Gary’s 49th birthday changed all that, however. I was looking for a fun yet inexpensive activity to surprise him with on his special day. A friend, Donna, offered two free passes to the local rock gym. I thought, “Hmmm, that sounds like an excellent idea!” Gary hopped in the car for what I told him would be a “mystery car ride,” and when we pulled up at the Philadelphia Rock Gym, boy, was he excited!

Being Available but Not Involved
Most of what you read about “launching a child” concerns the adjustments family members make when a child leaves home for college. However, I think the true launch takes place when the child graduates from college and sets out on his or her own. After all, most parents support their children financially as long as they are attending school. Although they don’t have as much influence on the child’s day-to-day decisions while the child is living away from him, they are mostly likely still paying the bills. Although the child may work to earn spending money or to contribute toward tuition, she is not yet writing rent or utility checks, shopping for food, cooking meals, or generally working to make ends meet. When the financial umbilical cord is cut, that’s the real launch!

An Interview with Carol Holst: A Celebration of Simplicity
Carol Holst, the founder and co-director of the nonprofit group Simple Living America knows a lot about change. She calls herself a "triple empty nester." Almost overnight, Carol went from living most people's notion of the American Dream—booming business, nice house, successful husband, two gifted daughters—to living alone in a one-bedroom apartment in Glendale, California. And guess what? Carol says she's happier and freer living a scaled-down, simpler life.


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