Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Summer Spotlight: Mark Anderson

94 Comments

Thanks, Jill, for what has truly been a delightful Summer Spotlight on your blog. I have very much enjoyed meeting so many talented and interesting people each Friday. Before I answer a few of the questions, I think I should introduce myself.

I’m Mark Anderson, a retired middle school language arts teacher, who has not had one iota of a problem grasping the whole retirement scene! It has always amazed me that there are those folks who, once they finally retire, can’t seem to figure out what to do with themselves and all of their new-found freedom.

A long time ago, I told myself that when the day finally came that I could retire, I’d be that writer that I’d always dreamed about being. When that wonderful day rolled around in June of 2007 after thirty-five years of teaching, my wife Carolyn and I sold our house in Naperville, Illinois, had a new place constructed several miles further west in northern Illinois—out among the corn and bean fields—and have enjoyed the simpler, quieter, less-hectic lifestyle ever since.

Soon after our move, I resurrected many old half-started manuscripts, jottings, doodlings, and other rough drafts from the large file box I’d kept in the back of my closet for many years. Most of the scribblings I found sparked many memories—for better or worse. The mere act of opening up that kind of “time capsule” was all the impetus I needed to get my writer’s mind moving toward the novel and short stories I’d vowed to write for as long as I could remember. Here was stuff I could use to ignite ideas and propel me into the writing mode.

As a result, in 2010, I published Black Wolf Lodge. That experience gave me the confidence that I could actually write a book—start to finish—and sell a few copies. Of course, I realize the formatting was not very good, but I’d learn all about making it so much better in my second novel a few years later.

And about this time, I discovered the challenging project known as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) that fills up November with the efforts to produce a 50,000 word novel by month’s end. The result of that experience was the draft for my second novel, The Good Luck Highway, published in the spring of this year. Talk about a fun book to write and put together! By this time, too, I’d discovered and learned the fantastic writer’s software known as Scrivener, making me a much more organized and efficient writer.

Currently, I’m enjoying more reading than writing while spending time up at our 101-year-old cottage on a wonderful lake in southwest Michigan. Though summer has proven to be less productive overall, I’ve still managed to get well into the draft of my next novel, a story featuring the main characters from Black Wolf Lodge.

Besides devoting my time to writing short stories and novels, I have a blog named Down Many Roads (http://cortlandwriter.wordpress.com). And when I’m not writing or reading, I am usually plying the waters on our pontoon or splashing in the water with our two grandsons. It’s all very special—this life—and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else!

Now, onto Jill’s questions…

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?

For a very long time, particularly as I’ve aged, I have had a romantic notion that it would be neat to hook up with all of my ancestors (living and dead) and be able to get to know them and what exactly their lives were like, and the interesting twists and turns in their lives—their stories—that eventually paved the way to my entering this world. I would be most interested in seeing the people I most resemble and, perhaps, behave like.
I would love to have one more family gathering—like so many holidays past—with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins in attendance. Those who have gone before me, I’d love to be able to tell them what they meant to me and how they each have an influence on my life even now. I’d hug my dad and thank him for all things I might have failed to thank him for back then. I’d hold my mom and let her know that she’s not forgotten even though she lives away and not getting any younger.

What do you miss most about being a kid?
I miss those afternoons and evenings, playing baseball with my friends, in the hot Indiana summers until it was too dark to see, and having to be reminded a million times that it was time to come home! I miss the love of a wonderful mom and dad and all of the very special things they did for my two sisters and me. My dad always found time to play catch or hit me fly balls or take me to hockey games in Fort Wayne in the winter or to White Sox games out in Chicago in the summer. At the time, I wasn’t always so appreciative, and I regret that very much, especially since he passed away suddenly in 1978, just before he turned 50.

If you could go back in time to change one thing what would it be?
I think I’d enjoy having applied myself much more diligently as a student growing up and not been quite such a class clown. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time, but that was the problem most of the time, especially when I was supposed to be learning multiplication, fractions, and long division. I could never see the importance of stuff such as that, so I goofed off instead. But I regret that now and wish I’d learned it then. It wasn’t until later, when I was working on my master’s degree during my teaching career, that I buckled down and actually earned good grades.

What do you think the greatest invention has been?

Without a doubt, the greatest invention was the typewriter/keyboard. Without either one, I would have fallen far short of becoming a writer, especially if anyone has had the pleasure of trying to decipher my handwriting! To this day, I consider my high school typing class the most important class I ever took. It’s the one skill I learned, honed, and put to use more than any other (not counting learning to read or to write, of course).

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Playing the piano. I have always imagined myself walking into a party, with a room full of people having a wonderful time, and sitting down at a piano and reeling off all kinds of tunes—boogie-woogie, ragtime, jazz, classical—and bringing the entire room to silence as they all turn, spellbound, totally captivated by my unleashed talent. Of course, I’d really just enjoy being able to play for myself whenever the spirit moved me.

Thank you for taking the spotlight, Mark. I love that you’re enjoying retirement and fulfilling your dream of being a writer. Up next week, it’s Pauline King.

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, published by Harlequin Love Inspired released on February 21, 2017 and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

94 thoughts on “Summer Spotlight: Mark Anderson

  1. Hey Mark! Nice to meet ya. Sounds like you’re having a fabulous summer at your lakehouse. It sounds like a perfect spot for a reunion of all your ancestors. Next full moon . . .

    If you go to Amazon Books and type in “How to play Piano,” you’ll see a number of options ~ some of which are FREE on Kindle.

    And the Good News: If you can type, you can play piano. As long as you practice, practice, practice.

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  2. Mark! Who knows, I might have seen you on the streets of Naperville! I have friends and family in Naperville and I often go to Anderson Bookshop. But now you’ve moved! Still, it’s nice to meet another fellow Illinoisan. I’m so glad someone admits to rooting for the White Sox (besides me). I’m also glad to meet a language arts teacher, since for years I wrote language arts curriculum! (Um, hope that doesn’t instantly disgust you, especially if you found some of the textbooks frustrating.)

    So glad you’re writing novels too and are enjoying your retirement! I’m also glad to discover your blog.

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  3. How wonderful that you’ve embraced your retirement and are following your passions. That’s an inspiration to many, I’m sure. As for the keyboard, I agree. Thank goodness I don’t have to handwrite my novels. I’d probably give up. I wish they still taught typing in school. With kids starting on computers so young, they should have a keyboarding class in elementary.

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  4. Congratulations on your second career as a novelist! I too have enjoyed Jill’s summer series, getting to know the people I see in the comments a little better.

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    • Hey Eric! I’m glad you’re enjoying the series. That’s exactly the reason why I wanted to do this, to get to know everyone better…it’s exceeded my expectation.
      Thank you or participating! I hope you’ll be enjoying a nice three day holiday weekend.

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    • Thanks, Eric. This has been a very worthwhile summer, although I don’t always have really good Internet access here at the cottage, and that’s why I’m a little late checking in tonight. Thanks for checking in.

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  5. You remind me of…..me without a published book of course. As I read your comments, they were so similar to the ones I answered and I too enjoy retirement. Who are those crazy people who don’t know what to do? I want their time added to mine!

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    • Hi Kate! You’re funny…but I do see a published book in your future. 🙂 I know! What’s wrong with these people who don’t know what to do when they retire? That definitely wouldn’t be a problem for me.
      Have a great holiday weekend. I’ll look forward to more of your infrared camera activity. 🙂

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    • Hi, Kate: As I mentioned, I’m baffled by all the people who just can’t put their career to bed and get on with the good things of retirement. Of course, it helps to have a very supportive and wonderful wife to make it all possible! Thanks for commenting.

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  6. Mark, I think you already know how jealous I am of you being able to live at a SW MI lake!!!! I wanted to visit my parents on theirs so bad this summer and couldn’t because of business, but I hope to be there for fall colors. Sigh. And you are probably right about typewriters and computers. I could never do a Jane Austen. My fingers cramp up after signing my name!

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    • Hi Luanne! I think Mark is living the dream retired life…on the lake and writing. I hope you make it to the lake in the fall. In the meantime, have a wonderful Labor Day weekend and rest a little bit. xo

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Luanne. Yep, it’s been a very good summer here on Magician Lake, and we’ll be shutting down within the next two weeks–right when the fall colors begin to appear. I’ll be sure to save you some of the splendid displays in this part of the state. Maybe next summer you could make it here earlier. As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Enjoyed Mark’s summary and your Q&A – always spot on!

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  8. Pleased to meet you, Mark 🙂 Sounds like you’ve got retirement all neatly sewn up. Life’s for living and loving, right? (oh, and the odd book, too! Congratulations!)

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  9. Mark, so nice to get to know more about you! I started out as a middle school language arts teacher, myself. I am so proud of your making it to the landmark year of 35 years of service. You made a big difference on many young people’s lives! I had a little zig and a little zag on my road, from babysitting while staying home with 3 kids, to being a child advocate at a battered women’s shelter, an Activities Director, then finally back to teaching 9 years of special needs and typically developing preschoolers. Loved this so much! I am always grateful to those who have saved their little doodles and stories. I have been one who loved the simpler life, while a child, like you. Being the only girl, I tagged along with my brothers… along with having fun with pretend play and dress up, moved three times, so would love to have a simple life once more. My grandkids are everything, along with friends, family and my 3 children. We have some over-lapping thoughts, I would like to meet my ancestors, since one side of the family were immigrants from Sweden and Germany. Take care and congratulations on all you have accomplished with your writing, so far!
    Jill, you are such a wonderful fellow blogger and friend. You chose another great writer who has such an interesting life, along with so much to offer in his future writings, books and more! Hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, just stopped by to post a day to honor Edmond Hoyle… ‘According to Hoyle” day is August 29th! Smiles, Robin

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    • Thanks, Robin! I can say the same about you…you’re blog is terrific and I’m so happy we’ve met and have become friends.
      This summer series has been full of writers, photographers, artists, bloggers and musicians…it’s been great!
      I hope you and your family have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

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    • Hi, Robin: Wow! You are much too kind, but I thank you very much for your nice words, as well as your background. I have found some very wonderful people, such as yourself, out here in this blogosphere, and it seems to only get better! Thanks again.

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  10. Nice interview, Mark. I hear you about the handwriting thing, though I think the availability of the keyboard has only made it worse!

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    • Hey Phillip! Thanks for stopping by. I know you’re busy with little Angus…he’s really grown! I think you’re right, the keyboard is making everyone’s handwriting worse.
      Enjoy the holiday weekend!

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    • Thank you, Phillip. You’re probably correct that the state of penmanship has progressively gone down hill for a long time, although mine was never very good from the very start! And to think I had to teach it for many years…Yikes!

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  11. Mark, you have made a wonderful second career!!!! I know some folks who are “retired” and enjoy it! And they somehow stop growing. You are not one of them. Usually they are the type of people who haven’t had a lot of fun in their lives! And they feel they must make up for it.

    You on the other hand, will always be young!!!!! And will continue to grow. So nice meeting you! And congratulations on your book being published!

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    • Hi Hollis! I agree with you 100%! Mark is continuing to grow in his retirement and he’s fulfilling a dream…what could be better!
      Have a great holiday weekend!

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    • Hollis: Thank you for your kind words. I like that I’ll “always be young,” but there are days when I think just the opposite. Of course, I still have dreams of becoming a major league baseball player, so perhaps there’s hope after all! With friends such as you, I can’t help but continue to grow as a writer. Thanks again.

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  12. Thanks, Mark.
    I, too, found the transition to retirement to be easy and wonderful.
    I’ve just started using Scrivener. Do you have any magic tips?
    Theresa

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    • Hey Theresa! Like you, I think I would make the transition into retirement with no problem. Now at 76, my father retired at 56 and he has always stayed busy and enjoyed life.
      I’m registered for a Scrivener class this weekend…I’m a little apprehensive…I like my notepad and pen. 🙂 Maybe Mark will have some magic tips.
      Enjoy the holiday weekend!

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    • Hi, Theresa: You are so right about the wonderful world of retirement! And Scrivener is the only tool I’ll use to write my books, blogs, and other doodlings. My “magic tip” would be to take one of Gwen Hernandez’s online classes. They’re inexpensive, fun, and chock full of everything one needs to become a strong user of the program. And, besides, Gwen is a wonderful instructor who knows her stuff. Thanks again for stopping by Jill’s blog.

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  13. Lovely to read about you Mark – I am exactly one week away from retirement and SO excited!! Just loving the thought of more time to paint and read and play and blog…… I am touched by your connection to your past and your family, it is so lovely to see. I shall enjoy to wander over to your blog and read some more from you.

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  14. Nice to meet you Mark I often wonder why people have no idea about what they will do with their retirement. I have two tween kids and had them later in life. My urge to write came late and now I imagine a time when the kids will be teens and doing their own thing, so I can do mine. I take my hat off to you for chasing your dreams. Not many people realise what they need to do for themselves. Good luck with all tour projects.

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    • Hey Kath! I agree, Mark is a dream chaser and he’s doing exactly what he planned to do in retirement. He’s a great example of living your dream.
      Have a great weekend!

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    • Hi, Minuscule Moments: Sounds as though you are approaching that very exciting stage of raising children–just before they’re teens. Have gone through it with my own two kids a long time ago, and teaching that very same age group, I really got to experience the many levels of joy and disappointment along the way. But it was all worth it in the long run. Thank you for your nice comments, and best wishes for “chasing” your own dreams.

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  15. Nice to meet you, Mark! How nice that you are doing exactly what you told yourself you would do once you were retired! It’s not often that the best intended plans work out they way we hoped. You really are living the dream enjoying your summer on the lake, playing with your grandchildren, enjoying your wife’s company and publishing books. Sign me up! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

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    • Hi Brick! Sign me up too! Mark is living the retirement dream. I think everyone can live the dream, they just have to imagine it.
      I hope you and Mr. Brick have a great holiday weekend! xoxo

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    • Thank you, Brickhousechick: I count my blessing every day that this is all possible and I really enjoy sharing those thoughts on my blog. Thank you for your nice words, and it was nice to meet you as well.

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  16. Hi, Jill: Sorry I was a bit late to the conversation here today, but I was out, we had storms here at the lake, and the Internet access was not what it should have been. Now that I have offered these excuses, the serious part is that this has been fun! You deserve a ton of credit for putting it all together and allowing us the opportunities to meet and communicate with so many talented folks “out there.” Can’t wait to read some more. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

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    • No problem, Mark! Oh, you’re so welcome…I’ve enjoyed this very much and I’m happy you decided to participate. I’ll be out most of the day, but I’ll be back this evening to chat some more. Thanks again and enjoy your weekend!

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  17. Hi Mark – with all your diverse interests, you sound like you’re a lot of fun to be around! You made me a little jealous getting to hang out at your lakehouse in Michigan. My visit to Down Many Roads took me down memory lane with your description of the Michigan humidity and unairconditioned residences. I loved spending my first two decades in southern Michigan with it’s four distinct seasons. I’m surprised how many people I have encountered in Oklahoma that think Michigan is months of cold weather. I need to send ’em up to your lakehouse for a reality check!

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    • Hi, Shel: great that you stopped by! I appreciate it very much. As I write this, we’re getting one of those late-summer SW Michigan storms. Plenty of thunder, lightning, rain, and wind. Riding it out is part of the romance of the place! (Yeah…) Glad to make your acquaintance. Come again!

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    • Hi Shel! Thanks for stopping by and reading a little more about Mark. I love his blog. You’re right, it often is a trip down memory lane.
      Have a fantastic holiday weekend!

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  18. Nice to meet you Mark – I like that you would choose to meet your ancestors if you could meet anyone – it would be wonderful to meet those people who you don’t even know about – except maybe as a name on an old document – to see what their lives were like. Thanks Jill, for another great spotlight.

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  19. BLACK WOLF LODGE is your retirement triumph, Mark, and your jumping off point for more great writing. It’s a delight to meet you.
    Thank you, Jill for another terrific interview and spotlight.

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  20. Mark, you and I have a lot in common. I am also a teacher, live in Naperville, and have discovered the joys of NaNoWriMo and Scrivener! Retirement is still some years in the future for me, but I know whenever it arrives, I will have no problem settling into a less-demanding routine. I’m going to hop on over to your blog and have a look. Hope you’re enjoying the last unofficial weekend of summer at your lake house.

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  21. It’s nice meeting you, Mark! I love it that you knew exactly how to spend your retirement. Happy writing!
    Enjoy your grandsons!

    Jill, let me tell you again how much I love your Summer Spotlights:) I’m looking forward to Pauline’s on Friday.
    Have a great week.

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  22. wonderful to meet you Mark 🙂 I too would like to meet up with a few of my ancestors especially the brave ones that sought new lives and opportunity across the pond as they say! well done on publishing your book. I suspect I too will be one of those people who will enjoy retirement 😀

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  23. Hi, Mark. No need for introductions since we are already blog buddies. 😉 Nice to see your smiling face here at Jill’s. I love that you’d like to meet your ancestors. I’ve always wanted to meet and get to know my paternal great grandfather. He was a prisoner during the Civil War and when released had to walk 800 miles back home to face being ostracized for having fought for the north. And I too would love to play piano. Have a lovely Labor Day! 🙂

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  24. Hi Mark, great to meet you here and especially encouraging for this late-bloomer writer! I understand about your desire to learn to to play the piano. When my middle boy took up lessons many years ago I quietly followed along and practiced by reading through his lesson books, re-learning how to read music as I had done many years before and eventually taught myself to play Moonlight Sonata. I still have the same piano, travelled across ‘the pond’ with me, but I’ve since completely forgotten how 😦 Reading your thoughts here makes me think it’s about time I learnt it – again 😉 It’s never too late, right? 🙂

    A lovely life you have, full and blessed. Many congratulations on your book publication and I wish you every continued success in your writing.

    Hi Jill! Another lovely blogger, so nice to meet Mark. Hope your week goes well and see you again soon 🙂 xo

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    • Hi, Sherri: it’s nice to meet you, and I thank you for your kind comments. I hope your weekend was good and that the week ahead is good as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sherri! I have no doubt you would pick up Moonlight Sonata in an instant. You my friend, are a woman of many talents! I love that you brought your piano across the pond. I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano.
      Have a great week! xoxo

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      • Hi Jill! Ahh…well you are too kind. I wish I had remembered it. I always wanted to learn to play it and was thrilled when I finally did but I didn’t keep it going. I could kick myself for that. The piano was the one Nicky learnt to play on, he played for several years and was quite good but he too hasn’t played for years. He told me recently that he regrets not playing it now. I think so many of us are like that. I didn’t know until recently that my dad played the piano and was really good. Who knew? We never had a piano in the house growing up so I only ever heard him dabble on the keys at my granddad’s house. Same with my other granddad, he had a baby grande at one point and used to play all kinds, including Moonlight Sonata. Maybe that’s where I got the idea from as a kid, who knows. But I never did find out where the piano ended up…sad isn’t it? Ah well, that’s life 😉
        Thanks Jill, you have a great week too 🙂 xo

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      • Isn’t it funny the things we learn about our parents, as adults, that we never knew. I was wondering how your dad is doing…when you have a free moment…yeah right…I’d love to hear via e-mail.

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  25. Hey Mark, it’s great to meet a fellow Midwesterner. I grew up near Schaumburg (Itasca) and my family is all still there. I moved when I grew up and married, but still miss it immensely. I’m homesick as I write this. My dad has a summer place on a lake in Wisconsin, much like you do in Michigan. My answer to Jill’s question about what I miss most about being a kid would be my grandparents. They made a dysfunctional family much more tolerable for me. I think meeting ancestors would be awesome. Thanks for sharing on Jill’s blog, and enjoy that last bit of summer.

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  26. Pleasure to meet you, Mark! I think we’re kindred spirits 🙂 Although I’m still a few years shy of retiring, it’s on my mind nearly every day. I. Just. Can’t. Wait. I too have known people who have gone into retirement without a clue as to what they will do next. It boggles my mind. Writing alone could consume my days, not to mention the knitting I do and the hiking and traveling that my husband and I would enjoy. Kudos to you for realizing your dream long past the time when most other writers might give up. You are a perfect example of “it’s never too late.”

    I really appreciate your answer that you would want to meet all your now-deceased relatives, have an opportunity to say thank you, especially to your dad. That all got me a little choked up. It was a beautiful answer.

    Cheers to you, Mark, and thanks to Jill for hosting you!

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    • Hi Marie! I agree with you, Mark’s answer about meeting his deceased relatives made me emotional. Like yourself, I would find many things to fill my days, once retired. Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to wait another fifteen years. 😦

      On Sun, Sep 28, 2014 at 10:39 AM, Jill Weatherholt wrote:

      >

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    • Hi, Marie! I am truly humbled and thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I hope you are able to achieve all of your “dreams” upon retirement as well. It sure sounds as though you’re very multi-talented! Thanks again and please come back often. 🙂

      Like

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