As one ages, one wonders Whatever became of…
Whatever became of pharmacies that deliver, The ERA, Shirley Dean, fragrant flowers, co-ops, the black metal newspaper boxes all over town, Torvill & Dean, Lux and Lifebuoy, nurses’ caps, hot pants…
Let’s consider the Kensington Ladies and their Erotic Society.
Erotic: 1. Of or concerning sexual love and desire; amatory. 2. Tending to arouse sexual desire. 3. Dominated by sexual love or desire . Erotica: Literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire.
In 1984, Berkeley’s Ten Speed Press -- despite its no fiction, no women’s issues, no sex policies -- published Ladies’ Own Erotica: Tales, Recipes, and Other Mischiefs by Older Women. About it, I wrote: Kensington is an affluent community adjacent to Berkeley, California. The writers are a group of over age-40 ladies who dedicated their book affectionately to the memory of their “patron saint,” Judd Boynton, who introduced “…a group of unassuming women who can teach us men much.”
The Kensington Ladies were a group of women over forty that included Elvira Pearson, Nell Port, Rose Solomon, Bernadette Vaughan, and instigator Sabina Sedgewick. Their erotica differed from Pleasures: Women Write Erotica. Published the same year by Doubleday and edited by Lonnie Garfield Barbach, it was a compilation of twentieth-century American women authors’ perceptions. Both are in the collections of the Berkeley Public Library.
In 1996 MJF (a New York publisher, mostly of children’s books), by arrangement with Ten Speed Press, published Ladies' Own Erotica: Two Bestsellers from the Kensington Ladies' Erotica Society Together in One Volume, illustrated by Pat Adler.
With publication of the Kensington Ladies’ Sex, Death & Other Distractions in 2002, the press declared “Sex book for seniors reveals Kensington's steamy side” and “Ladies first / Pioneering erotica writers club still at it after 26 years.” Previously considered “literature,” it’s become “fiction.” Also that year Ten Speed published The 50-Mile Rule, a guide to carrying out your extramarital affair. Comparing the K Ladies’ then-and-now, can be fun. If you’re interested, as I am not, I recommend Rose Solomon’s early (literature) and later (fiction) pieces, e.g. “Love is a many-gendered thing”.
“With all of us over sixty and a few over seventy, we are engaging in the hilarious struggle of growing old while still pursuing the joy of erotica in everyday life. Kensington Ladies came together in the late seventies at the instigation of Sabina Sedgewick. With her fortieth birthday fast approaching,… we fancied ourselves pioneers, staking a claim to a sexual life for older women. … with the publication of Ladies’ Own Erotica about to become a reality, all of us suddenly balked at parading our fantasies in front of our sons and daughters and mothers and fathers, let alone total strangers. We quickly adopted pseudonyms and impulsively decided to wear masks for our book jacket photo.”
On March 29, 2008, SexTV (a documentary series) aired The Kensington Ladies' Erotica Society/Valeria Rzianina/A Naked Portrait: The Cowboy (#10.13) starring Elvira Pearson, Sabina Sedgewick, and Valeria Rzianina (see Sexy Art Gallery).
Taking the Bite Out of Bed Bugs in Senior Housing is a workshop presented by two social workers at the Annual Conference on Aging & Vendor Expo by the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, Inc., which “… serves as a social policy advocate and training and technical assistance resource for more than 200 community based senior service organizations serving over 300,000 elderly New Yorkers.” Other workshops include elder abuse, sex over 60, volunteers and interns, from cluttering to hoarding, and fundraising.
'Tis the season to be wary of elder financial abuse. Seniors should be advised that the risk of falling victim to elder financial abuse is increasing. In a recent study, elderly women, especially those ages 80-89, were found to be nearly twice as likely to fall victim to financial abuse as men. They often lived alone and frequently required some level of assistance with either health care or home maintenance. Conversely, nearly 60 percent of perpetrators were found to be younger males ages 30-59. In almost all cases reported, financial abuse was achieved through deceit, threats and emotional manipulation of the elder. Some key considerations in avoiding such a situation include:
- Stay active. Engage with others. Isolation increases opportunity for victimization.
- Monitor your financial affairs Double check bank and credit card statements. Use direct deposit when possible and sign your own checks.
- Stay organized. Know where your financial documents are (including wills, trusts, and power of attorney). Keep them safe and review annually.
- Discuss benefits of appointing a Power of Attorney so that your directives can be adhered to even if you become incapable of stating them yourself.
- Be cautious in making financial decisions. Do not allow anyone to pressure you into making a hasty decision. Never give out bank account, social security or credit account numbers.
- Protect your passwords. Do not share banking, computer or ATM passwords with others, and notify company or bank if you notice any questionable charges or transactions.
- Beware of telephone solicitations. It is not rude to hang up when an unknown caller tries to talk you into doing something you don't want to do. Hang up! Then call the National Do Not Call Registry at 1-888-382-1222.
- Elder financial abuse can be committed by anyone, including caregivers or family members. Be wary if anyone pressures you to do something with your money or possessions that you are not sure you want to do (e.g. adding their name to your bank accounts or property titles). Be especially careful of someone who tries to keep you isolated from others, and call a trusted friend or family member or the police.
- Know what to do if you suspect you are a victim of financial abuse. Put aside your fear or embarrassment and discuss your concerns with someone you trust.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Be sure to confirm. Readers are welcome to share by email news of future events that may interest boomers, seniors and elders. Daytime, free, and Bay Area events preferred. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, Dec. 17. 11 A.M. Landlord/Tenant Counseling. Central Berkeley Library, 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100.
Saturday, Dec. 17. 12:30 P.M. San Francisco Gray Panthers Holiday Party. 1182 Market, Room 203. 415-552-8800.
Saturday, Dec. 17. 3:30 P.M. The Knitting Hour. Berkeley Public Library West Branch, 1125 University. 510-981-6270.
Monday, Dec. 19. 12:30 – 1:30 P.M. Albany YMCA/Albany Library brown Bag Lunch Speaker’s Forum: Matt Johanson discusses Yosemite Epics: Tales of Adventure from America’s Greatest Playground. At the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Av. Free. 510-526-3720.
Monday, Dec. 19. 7 P.M. Book Club. Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time. Tey is known as the mystery writer for those who don’t like mysteries! Kensington Library, 61 Arlington Ave. Free event. 510-524-3043. Each meeting starts with a poem selected and read by a member with a brief discussion following the reading. New members are always welcome.
Wednesday, Dec. 21. 1:30 P.M. Berkeley Commission on Aging. Meets at South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis Street. Check the City online community calendar to verify or call the Center, 510-981-5170.
Wednesday, Dec. 21. 7 – 8 P.M. The Adult Evening Book Group will read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting, or all meetings. Albany branch of the Alameda County library, 1247 Marin Av. Books are available at the Library. 510-526-3720 x 16.
Thursday, Dec. 22. 12:30 P.M. Mastick Senior Center. Birthday Party Celebration All members celebrating a birthday in December are invited to join us in Dining Room 2 for cake, music, balloons, and good cheer. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.
Thursday, Dec. 22. 6-8 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library West Branch, 1125 University. 510-981-6270.
Wednesday, Dec. 28. 1:30 P.M. East Bay Gray Panthers. 510-548-9696. Meets at North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst.
Wednesday, Dec. 28. 1:30 – 2:30 P.M. Great Books Discussion Group. Albany Library, 1247 Marin Av. Holiday lunch and selection discussion. 510-526-3720 x 16.
Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. 1-2:30 P.M. Book Club members will read French Lessons by Ellen Sussman. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. Free. 510-747-7510.
Tuesday, Jan 3. 12 Noon. League of Women Voters. Albany branch, Alameda County Library, 1247 Marin Av. Free. 510-526-3720.
Wednesday, Jan. 4. 9 A.M. – 1:30 P.M. AARP Driver Safety Refresher Course specifically designed for motorists age 50+. Taught in one-day. To qualify, you must have taken the standard course within the last 4 years. Preregistration is a must. There is a $12 per person fee for AARP members (AARP membership number required) and $14 per person fee for non-AARP members. Registration is payable by check ONLY made payable to AARP. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.
Wednesday, Jan. 4. 12 noon. Playreaders at Central Berkeley Library, 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. See also Jan. 11, 18, 25.
Wednesday, Jan 4. 6 P.M. Lawyer in the Library. Albany branch, Alameda County Library, 1247 Marin Av. Free. 510-526-3720. Sign up in advance
Thursday, Jan. 5. 10 A.M. Computers for Beginners. Central Berkeley Library, 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. See also Jan. 12, 19, 26.
Monday, Jan. 9. 6 P.M. Evening Computer Class. Central Berkeley Library, 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. See also Jan. 16, 23 and 30.
Tuesday, Jan. 10. 1 P.M. Sugar Blues or What? Come be inspired, find ways to beat cravings, find specific tools to make healthier choices with Neta O’Leary Sundberg, Certified Health coach-Yoga teacher. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.
Tuesday, Jan. 10. 7 P.M. Poetry Night. Albany branch, Alameda County Library, 1247 Marin Av. Free. 510-526-3720.
Wednesday, Jan. 11. 12 noon. Playreaders. Central Berkeley Library, 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. See also Jan. 18, 25.
Thursday, Jan. 12. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the library. Berkeley Public Library south branch. 1901 Russell. 510- 981-6100.
Thursday, Jan. 12. 7 P.M. Café Literario. Berkeley Public Library west branch. 1125 University. Facilitated Spanish language book discussion. January title: La tabla de Flandes by Arturo Perez-Reverte. 510-981-6270.
Friday, Jan. 13. 9:30 – 11:30 A.M. Creating Your Personal Learning Network. Learn to use the Internet and tools like Twitter and YouTube Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510. Also Feb. 17.
Wednesday, Jan. 18. 7 P.M. Adult Evening Book Group. Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Albany branch, Alameda County Library, 1247 Marin Av. Free. 510-526-3720.
Thursday, Jan. 19. 12 Noon. Learn what identity theft is, how to prevent it, and what you can do if you become a victim. This is one in a series of free financial education seminars taught by USE Credit Union. Central Berkeley Library, 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100.
Thursday, Jan. 19. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library west branch. 1125 University 510-981-6270. See also Jan. 26.
Sunday, Jan. 22. 1:30 P.M. Book Intro Film: Romeo and Juliet. Discussion group participants read the play at home and then gather at Berkeley’s Central Library, 2090 Kittredge Street to view the film adaptation. Following the film, participants will discuss the play, the film and the adaptation process. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library, this free program offers adult and teen patrons the opportunity to discuss books, films and the art of adaptation. Participation is limited and registration is required. 510-981-6236.
Monday, Jan. 23. 10:30 – 11:30 A.M. Learn to Create a YouTube Video Jeff Cambra, Alameda Currents producer, will share the basics of shooting a good video and how to get it uploaded to YouTube. No equipment or experience needed. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.
Monday, Jan. 23. 12:30 P.M. YMCA/Albany Library Brown Bag Lunch. Speaker’s Forum: Fariba Nawa’s Opium Nation. Albany branch, Alameda County Library, 1247 Marin Av. Free. 510-526-3720.
Monday, Jan. 23. 7 P.M. Kensington Library Book Club. The Surrendered by Chang-rae Lee. 61 Arlington Av. Free. Book group meetings are usually held on the fourth Monday of every month in the library at 7:00 p.m. Each meeting starts with a poem selected and read by a member with a brief discussion following the reading. New members are always welcome. 510-524-3043.
Tuesday, Jan. 24. 1 P.M. Doggie Communication 101. Does your dog pull you down the street? Not get enough exercise because you have mobility challenges? Growl or snap? Bark too much? Other annoying or worrisome behaviors? Bring your questions and join dog trainer Ruth Smiler. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.
Wednesday, Jan. 25. 1:30 P.M. Great Books Discussion Group. Albany branch, Alameda County Library, 1247 Marin Av. Free. 510-526-3720.
Thursday, Jan. 26. 1:30 P.M. Music Appreciation Class. Join William Sturm, Volunteer Instructor. Piano recital and discussion about “The Classical Romantic: Johannes Brahms.” Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.