Academy member Rosalie Goldman admits that she has “failed retirement three times,” each time going back to work, most recently as a substitute teacher three days a week. “But I make Academy classes a priority,” she says. “I never teach on Tuesdays so I can take classes then.”
Rosalie’s Writing Your Life Stories course leader, Kathy Boyer, praises her as “my most enthusiastic student.” And Rosalie more than returns the compliment. “Kathy’s method is what is so significant and so do-able: you don’t have to [write everything] from beginning to end; you just keep tossing [your stories] into a three-ring binder.” From there, and with added encouragement from the writing group that grew out of Kathy’s class, Rosalie organized her memoir on her computer, ultimately creating an impressive, 190-page, spiral-bound document containing about fifty stories.
“I was determined to finish it within three years,” she recalls, and targeted her seventy-third birthday this past September. Just days ahead of her self-imposed deadline, she raced through pouring rain to get it copied and bound at Copy Max.
Her memoir encompasses an opening section on her own life and a second part focused primarily on her parents and her grandparents, though she also touches on her children, grandchildren, cousins, ex-husband and ex-in-laws. Noting that “it’s not intended to be read in its entirety,” she calls it a “collection of stories—narratives, historical records and, most important, reflections” on how her life was shaped by her values. For example, she incorporated a chapter on her volunteer experiences, hoping that it will inspire her children and grandchildren to continue her family’s strong tradition of volunteerism.
Throughout her work on her memoir and as a substitute teacher, Rosalie has continued taking a challenging mix of Academy classes. “I gravitate toward the social sciences–and I like the quality of The Academy’s instructors,” she says emphatically. She considers Dan Lynch, her original Constitution course leader, “a fountain of wisdom.” She also loved Judge Steve Bernard’s class on Slavery and the Constitution, and Dr. Fred Abrams’ “incredible” Doctors on the Edge course on medical ethics.
We can’t wait for Rosalie to retire a fourth (and final?) time, so she can immerse herself in even more Academy courses and share her enthusiasm for learning with even more of us.