Frank Terranella, 62, grew up in an Italian (mostly Sicilian) ghetto in Lodi, New Jersey, and this, naturally, explains his fascination with fiction and writing. He’s been a writer for as long as he can remember – which is decreasing every day. He wrote poetry when he was 10, and short stories when he was 13. He’s contributed articles to the The New York Times, and the New York Daily News. In college, he worked on the campus daily newspaper where he met his wife. Hoping to make a living as a writer, he interned at the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette. That got him a job with the Gannett newspapers in White Plains, New York. He worked as a daily newspaper editor for four years before deciding (upon the launch of CNN) that there was no future for the newspaper business. He attended Fordham Law School at night to earn a parachute out. But even after leaving the world of journalism in the rear view mirror, he kept writing. Frank wrote articles for legal publications, and even did a stint with Simon & Schuster as a tax newsletter editor. In 1998, he established his own law firm with a partner, which quickly led to a heart attack in December 1999. Soon after, he decided to look for more humane work, but that didn’t work out because he was heavily invested in his law degree. So he took a job with an intellectual property boutique firm in New York, where he can be found to this day. Frank celebrated the 20th anniversary of his 39th birthday this year. He has been married for 34 years and has two adult boomerang children whom he will miss when the economy improves. However, he has confidence that politicians will see to it that the current recession lasts well into the next decade, so he won’t be able to rent out his children’s rooms to finance his retirement.
Bob Smith, 61, a New Jersey native, has been practicing trademark law since 1985. Along the way he has done a bit of writing (including one full-length screenplay, not yet snapped up by the Hollywood dream machine), some acting, and stand-up comedy, all in addition to raising three remarkable children with his wife and life companion, Maria. At 58 years old, Bob might appear to be at the tail end of this blog’s demographic, but don’t be fooled – he plans to stay in his 50s for at least ten more years.
Jeannette Gobel, 56, is a native of the state of Washington. She was born and raised in Spokane and moved to the Seattle area when she married Kevin in 1978. Jeannette has a grown son and daughter. Life is full these days with substitute teaching, travel, dinner with friends, and home projects.
Margie Rubin, 59, grew up in Yonkers, New York. She went to SUNY Binghamton for a year, and then moved to California. She never looked back. She eventually finished college and graduate school in San Francisco, and has worked in education for 35 years. She’s an avid runner, loves the theater, music, and traveling. Though she loves living in the San Francisco Bay Area, she will always be a New Yorker at heart. She’s married with two grown daughters.
Kenneth Kunz, 61, is another contributor who group up in Italian, Lodi, New Jersey. (Although he didn’t think it was a ghetto.) He started writing minor essays when the nuns made him write so-many-word-long punishments for whatever dalliance he committed, and has, along his life path, continued writing mostly for fun – letters to the editor (many of which have actually been published), regular urgings to congressmen and senators, and criticisms and praises to print columnists and media hosts. He has also written a slew of introspective poems since about 1969.
He is currently a major contributor to his community newsletter, as well as a writer for his parish newsletter. Having grown up with a rather perplexing, and non-substantiated, belief that he would not make it past the age of 40, he considers these last two decades as bonus time, and is grateful for every day on this side of the dirt. (Although he is hopeful of spending the next phase of his energy in a place as close to heaven as he can get.) He is blessed with numerous nieces and nephews, and really close friends. His blind faith strengthens every day.
Elizabeth Perwin, 60, has cultivated a thriving couples and individual therapy practice in Silver Spring, Maryland. A beach bunny by birth, Elizabeth was born and raised in Miami. That has shaped her entire outlook on life – for the better. Liz majored in work hard/play hard at Tulane, then grew up and aced her grad degree in public policy at Princeton. She is a passionate fashionista, and has funneled that passion into a side business called Weekend Boutique. Her mission: To awaken fashion and passion in the women of Washington, D.C. It’s a daunting assignment, but so far she’s made a definite dent.
Joseph Gilday, 62, met Elizabeth Perwin after a Pilates class. Liz interrupted him as he was flirting with a much younger woman wearing perfectly fitted yoga attire. Joe didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, but now he understands that Liz rescued him from a conversation that was going nowhere, and engaged him in one that continues deliciously to this day. Joe has changed careers almost as many times as most gen Xers have changed jobs: An actor, a college professor, a television production coordinator, a cable news producer, and now a specialist in website optimization and content marketing.
Anita, circa 1977.
Anita Jaffe, is a little further right of the right side of 50, since she actually turned 50 in 1978. She was born in New York City, became a teacher, and raised her family in West Allenhurst, New Jersey. She moved back to Manhattan in 2010. She is loving every minute of it.
Leslie Lewis, 66, grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey – a suburb of Manhattan. She has since lived in several parts of the United States, and has had many incarnations – the latest being a first grade teacher in downtown Los Angeles. She says, “If you want to see into a crystal ball to view the future of our society, become a teacher.” She knows her ABCs, and can count past 100. Leslie currently lives in Southern California, close to her sister, children and grandchildren. She never uses the words “dude” or “gnarly,” and does not permit them in the classroom.
Debbie Neely, 60, feels as if she is just barely on the right side of 50. She recently retired as administrator of the Outpatient Psychiatric Department of George Washington University and now enjoys writing, gardening, and, yes, baking.