This Woman Deserves a Party
It was amazing that Mom had achieved such a milestone—and in doing so had outlived our children’s other three grandparents. That she remains so independent and full of energy, though, while living alone in and maintaining the house in which she raised her family—and that she still takes care of her loved ones, as far-flung as we all are—seems a remarkable feat. I will be very lucky to have her health and vitality if and when I reach her age. It’s time to recognize her and others who can boast 80-plus years, as well as their myriad accomplishments!

Through Space and Time with Stamps
I have always been a collector. In the beginning, my tastes were pretty conventional: I looked for the traditional and the easy to find, such as coins, pretty rocks, campaign buttons, matchbook covers, stamps, and seashells. I never collected hotel coat hangers, beer cans, or bottle caps. Antique cars wouldn’t fit in my apartment. Nor would coats of armor. Art was too expensive. As the years went on, though, I dropped most of my collecting activities and became obsessed with stamps. They were the most expedient of my collections: They took up the least amount of space and, except for the rarities, were easily affordable.

Answer to Midlife Crisis?
Full of expectations, I attended a local writer’s conference recently. I wasn't disappointed. Author Michael Cunningham (The Hours) was the program’s keynote speaker. He led the event, sponsored by Montgomery County Community College (MCCC, PA), with anecdotes about his writing career. (He maintained that he wasn’t the most talented, just disciplined—and he wanted it more than anyone else.) When I looked out on the sea of 800-plus faces in that auditorium, though, I felt that I looked into my own. A good number of people in the audience were in midlife. Like me, they probably had good reason to be there. They wanted to write. They felt the need to write. And they wanted to do it now, before it was too late. I’m sure each of us thought we wanted it more than anyone else.

An Interview with Sandra D. Long
Sandra Long is Vice President of News Operations for both the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News. As a journalist, she rose through the ranks, getting her start as a reporter for her high school newspaper. Today, she manages the operations of two city dailies, which appear in both print and Web formats. Sandra’s enthusiasm for the news industry is infectious, and Empty Nest welcomes the opportunity to speak with her.


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