Senior Wonders: People Who Achieved Their Dreams After Age 60
Senior Wonders is not your typical book that highlights the achievements of people caught in the spotlight. In fact, readers may recognize only a handful of names while browsing this second book coauthored by Pepkin and Taylor. What sets it apart from other biographical compilations is that the authors zero in on those who not only had reached their life’s dreams near (and in many cases well beyond) retirement age, but also had to overcome amazing obstacles en route.
Although the individuals selected, according to Pepkin and Taylor, “had to receive national recognition, or accomplish a noteworthy achievement for the first time, after they turned sixty years old,” there are those that are earmarked “notables” – a mix of individuals and groups – whose biographical information was limited yet “their accomplishments merited inclusion.” Nonetheless, this striking collection of twenty-three individuals and two groups is nothing less than poignantly inspirational.
Pepkin and Taylor’s user-friendly book is neatly divided into two-page biographical sketches. A mix and match of a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and ethnicity, the authors chose not to categorize anyone. Instead, the randomness of each turn of the page into another person’s life is always refreshingly new. All are designed with the same format though; the biographies open with a quick snippet of what they are known for and how old they were at the time of their achievements, followed by birth/death statistics and their individual bios.
Pulling from a sundry of resources (both online and print) that are conveniently listed at the end of each written entry, Pepkin and Taylor pithily capture the essence of what makes these people so exceptional. Readers will recognize names, such as Laura Ingalls Wilder and Harlan David Sanders (Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken), but may not be familiar with their personal hardships. For example, there is Frank McCourt, who endured impoverished living conditions in Ireland and never attended high school. Yet when he came to America, he talked his way to being accepted into New York University. His educational opportunities eventually led him to receive a Pulitzer Prize for his book Angela’s Ashes. Or Mother Jones, whose personal tragedies included the loss of her whole family to a yellow fever epidemic, but didn’t stop her from becoming an advocate for coal miners and children. She was known as “The most dangerous woman in America.”
The majority of this collection consists of those who are no longer with us, but their astounding legacies remain as an inspiration to present and future generations. Yet there are those among the living who are still making a difference today. Most notable on this list are centenarians Nola Ochs and Fauja Singh, both of whom are one hundred three years old, and a musical group known as The Zimmers. (Check out their musical videos on YouTube. You won’t be disappointed!)
Truly a one-of-its-kind collection, Senior Wonders is one book that can and should be read over and over again. Pepkin and Taylor have not only created an undoubtedly groundbreaking book, but also one that is very inspirational from beginning to end.
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