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Rochelle Furstenberg

Rochelle Furstenberg

Rochelle Furstenberg has been writing and magazine editing for more than 30 years. She has a master's degree in Philosophy and studied toward a doctorate in English Literature before launching her career in journalism, with a focus on the arts and contemporary culture, women's issues, and religious and social topics. She has published in The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Hadassah Magazine, The Jerusalem Post and elsewhere. Rochelle is married, with children and grandchildren. She was the director of the WholeFamily Senior Center during the year 1999-2000.

In the idyllic days when many grandparents still lived on farms, children would go down to spend part of the summer with them. They would learn how to milk cows and feed chickens, and inevitably experience an adventure, which would teach them a moral for life. At least, that was the formula for many children's books in an earlier part of the century.
One can only wonder whether these kids weren't ever bored. Didn't they ever act out, get fresh, gripe about the food or fight with their siblings? Today, grandchildren might not spend their vacations on the farm.
Retirement can be compared to one long vacation. It can be a vacation with a longtime partner. It can become a time of renewal as the couple has time to break out of old routines, try new things, and see the "other" in new ways. It can be a vacation with a new partner, testing the reality of first impressions, discovering hidden riches. It might also demand adjusting to unexpected angles of personality. During retirement, as on vacation, couples float on a cloud of time.

Carol and Bob are a couple in their late fifties. Bob is a lawyer, a partner in a large firm, still working at least ten hours a day. He has enough investments and savings as well as a pension plan to be able to take early retirement and Carol is urging him to do so. Carol: Bob, it's eight o'clock. Where have you been? Bob: I have a very big case in court tomorrow. I couldn't depend on the younger partners to prepare it. Carol: Isn't it time that you cut down on work? Since I stopped teaching at the high school, I feel like I spend my time waiting for you to come home.

In the first episode, Carol tried to persuade Bob to retire so that they could spend more time together, traveling and visiting the grandchildren. Carol herself is a retired teacher, who finds great satisfaction doing volunteer work with high school dropouts. Bob feels that his life is his work and is afraid to retire. But a year or so later, his brother-in-law dies after having a stroke. And Bob has a slight heart episode. Also, he begins to feel that the younger partners in the law office that he established are trying to keep him behind the scenes, fearful that an older partner might give their law firm a has-been image.
It's no longer rare to hear about people living into their nineties or even over one hundred and remaining well and alert. A friend's mother who reached the ninety mark was bluntly asked, "Aren't you weary of this world? You're not independent any more. Do you want to continue living?" Without skipping a beat, she said, "But I'm still curious. I'm curious about what kind of people my grandchildren and great-grandchildren are turning out to be, how the world is changing with the new technology and all.
I had never thought much about aging. Even now, at 63, I continue to proclaim, "I don't take my age personally," in spite of the fact that the human forest in which I live is thinning out. Many friends and members of my family, cousins with whom I grew up, even a younger sister, have died, crossed from the land of the living to Hamlet's "undiscover'd country from whose bourn/No traveler returns." I have somehow not attributed it to age.
Great poets and writers, whether young or old, live with a sense of mortality: all men die; we live our lives under the shadow of its end. Writers make us conscious of the passage of time, and the loss that it entails, which we, who reach our elder years, are only too aware of as we increasingly confront loss. Great works of literature are the best self-help guides. They're not into "denial" of life's difficulties. Instead, pain and the fear of death, are confronted, and transformed through art and help us cherish the world all the more.
This is a charming romantic fantasy that takes place at two age levels. It portrays a young, spacey, good-natured waitress who works in a New York diner, and falls in love with a cab driver/hopeful novelist. The film revolves around the "comedy of errors," the chain reaction of misunderstandings that takes place between them. It allows director Amos Kollek to have fun cruising his camera over the New York scene.
Lynn is 62 years of age and has been married to Elliott for 38 years. He is two years older than her, a writer who teaches at a college nearby. Lynn is a librarian. They raised four children. All but one of them are well-established in their professions and have young families. The youngest son Jeffrey is still finding himself, traveling around the world, doing odd jobs. Lynn worries about him, while Elliot seems to identify with his freedom.

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