As longtime writers ourselves, we who run BoomerCafé treasure the craft. So we treasure stories about other baby boomers who like to write, whether it has been a lifelong love or it’s a newly-discovered passion. For Doreen Frick, now of Ord, Nebraska, writing is a release. And a discovery.
I was fifty-three and living north of Spokane, Washington, when I lost my job of twenty-five years. My husband’s and my kids were grown and on their own and we had a great urge for an adventure, so we sold all our belongings and headed somewhere that had intrigued us for as long as we could remember: New Mexico.
When we landed in The Land of Enchantment, a ladybug landed in my lap which I took as a good sign about where we should end up. And so we stayed, and I got a job writing about Silver City, New Mexico, which I suddenly called home. The magazine (Silver City Life) hired me to write articles, and sell ads, and then paid me to deliver their travel books (New Mexico Traveler) all over the state. That tour bonded me to the land, awakened my middle-aged soul, and started me on a quest to try my hand at writing more stories — this time for myself, my legacy, and my new beginnings.
I am now sixty-one and we have just taken our next adventure to Nebraska, where my husband’s people homesteaded over a hundred years ago. We Baby Boomers are very resourceful as were our brave parents and our immigrant ancestors before them. Oh how I wish I could uncover my ancestors’ journals, but I have family Bibles, and that’s a start.
When I started writing my journals many years ago I was living in a school bus, cooking dinner over a two-burner hot-plate, and walking in fields looking for rose-hips to make tea since all the hippies out that way were into that. Our kids were little and there were only two of them (so far), so it wasn’t hard to get them clean in the little metal tub we set up in the aisle of the bus. The back of the bus was converted into a bed. Oh how the kiddies came to life in that bus and could hardly sleep for the excitement of us all together.
Writing that early journal was one of the best times I’ve ever had. I recorded each sniffle, each temperature (of both feverish children and weather), each trip to the laundromat, each breakdown on the road in the old International. If not for the journal, would I have remembered?
Did I write because a book was in the works? No, I wrote because writing is what comes naturally to me. Letters home, notes to teachers, complaints to companies. I’ve been typing letters since I was a kid working for my dad in the basement of our home. I’m reading a book right now about the early homesteaders who wrote home to their far-away kin in other countries, courting them to come to America: Free land, (or cheap anyway), good soil (when it rains, that is), great climate (when tornadoes and prairie fires aren’t roaring by), golden crops (with plenty of sweat and luck and resourcefulness), good neighbors (well, they are when they’re not shooting at you for grazing your cattle on their land).
You get the drift. They wrote what they wanted their families to know, and heaven help you if you came over here and weren’t made of grit and guts and a good work ethic.
There were no easy roads. This land is not for the faint-of-heart, not even today. If one feels like whining, they’d better keep it to a minimum. Writing is where I did my whining, and writing is where I found my courage. My voice. My self.