Paying Tribute to an Ancestor Extraordinaire

Deborah Williams of Richfield, Minn., never got to meet her grandfather, Harry Henry Hill. But she knows his story: The black boy who lost his parents in the late 1800s and left school at age 12 became a single dad to six — count ’em, six — daughters and raised them on his own during a period of intense racial discrimination and prejudice against African Americans. Williams’ compelling story about her beloved grandfather is the winner of AARP’s Tribute to …

Are Your Kids Too Old for Gifts?

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s impossible to get away from the message that we should be making a list and checking it twice. We wondered if adult children ever age out of the gift list. Not really, according to a very random survey among boomer women, both online and at a local gym. “You’re never too old for gifts from parents,” said a 25-year-old trainer who overheard the discussion. “At least I hope not!” Most moms surveyed, however, …

Mom’s Favorite, Once and Forever

“You were always Mom’s favorite!” The taunt that siblings hurl at one another apparently turns out to be true. Even with adult children, moms tend to favor one child over the others, and the golden child often remains the same over the years, according to J. Jill Suitor, a sociology professor at Purdue University. That favoritism impacts both mother and adult children in negative ways, especially as moms age. When ailing mothers are not cared for by their favorite child, …

Susan Sarandon: When Stage Mothers Go Wild

Susan Sarandon plays the Stage Mother from Hell in her new movie, The Last of Robin Hood: Her character turns a blind eye when her 15-year-old daughter (Dakota Fanning) starts an affair with a middle-aged Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline). The movie is set in the late 1950s, but the Oscar-winning Sarandon says Stage Mom Syndrome has, if anything, gotten worse. “There are some crazy moms out there,” Sarandon told me recently. “You see it on the set: Mothers who won’t …

Daughter Approved

Q: I met a widower online last year. We started seeing each other and fell in love. I have been divorced for many years and he became a widower last year after being married for over 40 years. This is the first time I’ve seen anyone since I divorced. I have met his brothers, sisters, and his youngest son, who were very kind and friendly to me and were very happy for him. Also, my children are all fine with …

Now Read This! The Neverending Mother’s Day Story

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking about the most powerful gift my mother ever gave me: my love of reading. Not just any reading, mind you. When it became clear that 8-year-old finicky reader Bethanne Kelly was bored to death by age-appropriate bedtime tales, 35-year-old Julia Kelly quickly “thought outside the book”: She dug out her old college literature texts and started reading me the poetry, short stories and essays they contained. That sounds sweet, doesn’t it? Sure – until you hear some …