Bonus Years Biographies

Telecom retirees answer call of history, preserve important artifacts

Unabridged from my weekly Bonus Years column the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, May 12, 2019 For nearly four years, beginning in 2005, I had the privilege of working as senior executive in the largest telecommunications company in a nation not my own.  That company was Telstra, Australia’s telecommunications giant, which also owned…

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Annapolis man turns his setbacks into a comeback

Last week, Mary Sue and I were ringing bells for the Salvation Army’s red donation kettle located at City Dock by Zachery’s jewelry store in downtown Annapolis. That’s when I first met Steve Rice. Like many others that brisk Monday morning, Rice dropped a contribution into the kettle. As I said, “Thanks a lot, sir…and…

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You can’t separate a boy from his toys, no matter his age

I’ve known Bill Lesko for more than two decades. But not really, I discovered. Last week, I found out why: Lesko and his partner, Martha Fox, a retired elementary school math teacher, are always on the go. Lesko is always interesting – beginning with his six-years of volunteer work to restore and crew the SS…

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Thanksgiving, fall’s finale, is just around the corner

Thursday next is Thanksgiving – first proclaimed by George Washington in 1789 and formally established as a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. None of us should need a special day to count our blessings or express gratitude. Still, Thanksgiving is a special American celebration – dating back to the Pilgrims’ landing in Massachusetts…

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The need for transition assistance happens at all ages

(The 50-seat Light House Bistro is more than a restaurant. It is also what some people call a “social enterprise” — a business enterprise that has social goals embedded in its business objectives. [Joshua McKerrow / Capital Gazette file]) Several months ago, I discovered the Light House Bistro at 202 West Street, along with several…

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Looking after aging mother transforms lives of caregiving sisters

I’ve just seen life from the inside out, a view that can only be conveyed by storytelling. That was my first thought as I finished reading Melanie Merriman’s Holding the Net: Caring for My Mother on the Tightrope of Aging, winner of American Book Fest’s Best Book Award in the Autobiography-Memoir category and a Caring.com…

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Renaissance woman finds new calling in her bonus years

The American author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, told us that “Vitality exists not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over.” For a living example of “Fitzgerald’s Law,” journey down to Annapolis Maritime Antiques on Severn Ave. in Eastport.  There, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday afternoon beginning at 2:00, you…

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Retirement, for some, is an opportunity to keep on serving

(Dick Libby, of Annapolis, officiated at the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan at Washington National Cathedral in 2010, 50 years after he had been ordained there as an Episcopal priest. [Capital Gazette]) Poet Robert Browning talked to us about “…the last of life for which the first was made.” For some, the link between the first…

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Downsizing to a condo does not require downsizing memories

This past week I crossed paths with one of the most interesting women I’ve met in a long time.  Her name is Anne-Marie Baikauskas (pronounced by-KAWS-kiss).  She lives in Heritage Harbour, an active 55+ community in Annapolis which includes a community center with many community amenities and social events.  Baikauskas lives in a mid-rise condo.…

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Only a genealogist thinks a step backward is progress

The Maryland State Archives, located on Rowe Blvd. just west of College Creek, is the central repository for what the law calls “state government records of permanent value….” including birth and death, marriage and divorce records, last wills and testaments and records of the history of Maryland – from the earliest times of Lord Baltimore…

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Retirement can be an experience with many chapters

(Photo Credit: In 2017, Craig Sewell, longtime chef and owner of A Cook’s Cafe in Annapolis, announced his retirement after 15 years. [Joshua McKerrow / Capital Gazette file]) Annapolitan Craig Sewell is, to my way of thinking, a poster boy for the way many of us will spend our bonus years: in serial retirements that…

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Good literature tells truest truths about death and dying

Last December, just before Christmas, I read a retirement story in the Capital about Michael Parker, a US Naval Academy English professor, due to step aside after 38 years on the Yard. A notice that someone is about to retire always catches my attention. However, buried in the Parker story was an added attraction: It…

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Senior leadership, know-how can be a big asset for non-profits

(Image: Peter Cooper, left, and Dale Moeller, members of the 2015 class of the Watershed Stewards Academy, completed this rain garden to handle runoff from the parking lot of their church, Woods Memorial Presbyterian in Severna Park. [Pat Furguson / Baltimore Sun Media Group]) It was 7:30 on a Thursday morning a few weeks ago…

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Annapolitans turn a lifelong calling into a later-life mission

(Image: Annapolis residents Jim and Karen Wilder, pictured in 2014, aim to launch a new enterprise that reflects not only their culinary calling but also their commitment to creating opportunities for people with disabilities, translating a lifelong calling into a bonus years mission. [Joshua McKerrow / Capital Gazette file]) Last week, while attending the annual…

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Life is a series of transitions and retirement is just another

(Photo: “I can’t see myself retiring. I love the work I do. I’ve worked my whole life and throughout my life I’ve always invested in my education so I can do more,” Jonathon Church said. [Courtesy photo from the Capital Gazette]) “I’m a retired police officer,” he said as the men around the table introduced…

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Move over, Mitch Miller, we’ve got some singin’ to do

I have more than a few friends at Ginger Cove, an Annapolis-area continuing care retirement community. Several are in a men’s group I attend on Saturday mornings. Others I see when I’m out and about. But I’ve been traveling a lot this year — to Israel, Australia and elsewhere — so there are some I’ve…

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Civic innovations target needs of growing senior population

Though it’s a national sport to complain about our culture, much of what we “know” is fed to us by national media that are fixated on what is nasty, brutish, scandalous or weird – all of which is amplified in the 24×7 national “news” cycle. But if we stand back and look at things, especially…

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America’s 1968 Marine of the Year still fights for his brothers

It is important these days to draw a distinction between “celebrities” and “heroes.” Celebrities are people who are known for being known. They are products of the mass media and pop culture. Think Kim Kardashian or most People magazine cover stories. Celebrity is about “me” — just as post-modern man is “me-centered.” Heroes, by contrast, are people…

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‘Three Guys’ come up with great ideas for successful aging

Most everyone has heard of Five Guys, the American fast-food chain focused on hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries. Many know Two Men and a Truck, a nationwide franchise that provides local and interstate moving and storage services. But few know about Three Guys with Ideas. That’s why we are writing about them today. The…

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