New York City

Speak, Memory: A Senior Planet Book Fair

The Fashion Show at Senior Planet in Chelsea focused on the retail savvy and entrepreneurial flair of of members; in November we’’ll focus on a different type of entrepreneur.

“This time, we’ll host our first-ever Book Fair,” says New York Program Director Aaron Santis. “There were dozens of entries, but due to space limitations we had to narrow the participants down considerably.  We’re featuring a panel of Senior Planet members who have written books touching in some way with memories. Some of these memories are the panelists’ own, and a few are history, including remembrances of past events. Some memories are painful and difficult while others are happy, even joyful.”

The panel of authors, all Senior Planet members, will be moderated by Bonnie MacKay, creator of Tree of Treasures: A Life in Ornaments, a visual trove of Chirstmas ornaments and the stories and memories attached to each one.   MacKay will moderate the discussion among the panelists. Although likely to be wide-ranging, the topics will likely include the practical aspects of publishing as an older adult as well as the power of memories to shape and enrich our lives.

“We embrace our memories – all of them,” says Santis. “They’re a part of aging with attitude!”

The panelists:

Marcia Biederman – Scan Artist: How Evelyn Wood Convinced the World that Speed Reading Works

With only a skimpy background as a teacher – and none in reading instruction – in the 1960s Evelyn Wood launched a company with a system that promised to teach anyone how to read some1,000 words a minute with excellent comprehension.

Biederman shines a light on Wood’s strange success – and how canny promotion, uncritical and generous television coverage, endorsements from famous people (one U.S. senator claimed a reading speed of 10,000 words a minute), and ample “fudging” of actual results, prompted a million people to enroll…in what was, in reality, a massive education scam.

Mike Greenblatt – Woodstock: Back to Yasgur’s Farm

In August, 1969 half a million descended on Max Yasgur’s upstate New York farm to hear Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Santana, the Who and other rock artists perform.  The magical three-day weekend is more than just a memory. As Ritchie Havens famously observed, “We’re all still at Woodstock” – a sentiment that Greenblatt’s book beautifully captures and he’ll discuss.

Kate Walter – Looking for a Kiss: A Chronicle of Downtown Heartbreak and Healing

After 26 years of living together, Walter was stunned when the woman she loved suddenly walked out, becoming an instant stranger. The author was forced to confront the question: Had her partner of over two decades ever been the soulmate she thought she had?  In her memoir, Walter insightfully details the experience of being abruptly left behind without real explanation. The lessons Walter learned as she moved forward in her life – and describes so well – apply to any romantic loss, regardless of sexual orientation or preference.

Pamela Hull – Say Yes!: Flying Solo After Sixty

Hull was 60 when pancreatic cancer took her beloved husband of 36 years. Suddenly alone, she did something unexpected and impulsive: she took off for Italy.

The experience, which ultimately led to living abroad for two months, transformed Hull’s life.  Her memoir reminds us to press beyond our comfort zones to unlock often exhilarating, sometimes exasperating, occasionally surprising and frequently wonderful experiences. What does it take? According to Hull, it takes just one thing. When you’re wondering about what to do next, Say Yes!

Laurie Nadel – The Five Gifts: Discovering Hope, Healing and Strength When Disaster Strikes

How does one cope with one’s memories, thoughts, and feelings when engulfed  by a powerful, painful experience? Former journalist (and now a seasoned psychotherapist), Laurie Nadel brings a powerful understanding of the human cost of suffering from hugely public events ( 9/11 or random shootings, for example) to private losses (the suicide of a spouse, a fire, a bankruptcy, or instance). The key to getting through grief, Dr. Nadel writes, lies in ccepting Five Gifts —  Humility, Patience, Empathy, Forgiveness, and Growth.

The panel takes place at the Senior Planet Exploration Center in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood (127 West 25th Street) on November 21st starting at 6:00 pm. EST. RSVP required. Email or call 646-590-0615.

Can’t attend in person? No worries; the event will be live-streamed.  Just go to and the Senior Planet Channel:

Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash


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