Sunday, March 10th – 2pm
You’re Doing What? Older Women’s Tales of Achievement and Adventure

Contributors Betsy Chafcouloff, Rita Delgado, Kathryn A. Johnon and Mary Jo Lazear join editor Marjorie Lasky to read from their pieces included in the new anthology, You’re Doing What? Older Women’s Tales of Achievement and Adventure — which is bursting with 62 memorable first-person tales and photos. In the book, you’ll meet daring older women — like the early-sixties first-time bride finding her future husband on Craigslist; a retired speech therapist starting a clinic in Cambodia; and post-60-year-olds climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

You’ll read about women of different races, classes, and sexual orientations facing various challenges and choices as they age. A loving daughter recounts how her mother moved beyond a “bare and unadorned” Mississippi upbringing. A California Chicana counters her mother’s denial of her Mexican heritage. A bisexual polyamorist rejects a life like her mother’s. There are (relatively) young elders – the writer/teacher/poet grappling with her legacy – and older ones – the nonagenarian New Englander investing (monetarily) in the future. 

And there are women who refuse to succumb to disabilities – like the retired history professor, with rheumatoid arthritis, now writing poetry. You’ll enjoy their photos – including the performance artist embracing her theater dog, Fanny; the alternative lifestyle habitué seated alongside the swami of the mountain; and the mug shot of the North Carolinian arrestee. All are embracing new adventures and changing what it means to be an “older woman.” Celebrate them! And let them inspire you despite those voices that still might challenge, “You’re Doing What!” 

PARTICIPANTS AT BIRD & BECKETT:

Compiler, Marjorie Lasky
      A professor in the Contra Costa Community College District from 1973-2008, Marjorie Lasky taught Women’s, United States, and Latin American History. As an older woman, she finished a PhD dissertation, “Off Camera: A History of the Screen Actors Guild” and a degree in Labor History at UC Davis, served as chief negotiator and president of her faculty union, founded Grandmother’s Against War (Bay Area), and, upon retiring, took up the saxophone.

Betsy Chafcouloff 
      A Speech and Language Pathologist, Betsy Chafcouloff has been traveling on and off for almost 50 years, and is particularly drawn to working with people in Asia. When she was 68 years-old, she started a non-profit corporation, Speech Therapy Cambodia, that began by training neurologists in Cambodia. For more information on the project see www.speechtherapycambodia.org.

Rita Delgado
     Although identifying herself as Anonymous in the book, Rita Delgado decided to reveal her identity and participate in book events. She is a retired counselor from Diablo Valley College.

Kathryn K. Johnson
     In her university positions as an advocate for women, Kathryn K. Johnson taught the first women’s health course at UC Berkeley, wrote a report titled Academic Barriers for UC Davis Women Faculty and, at San Francisco State University, established a Stay in School Cal Works Family Resource Center, a program on gender and public policy. Off Campus she was a co-founder of the San Francisco Democratic Women in Action. Kathryn and her husband live in the Bird & Beckett neighborhood.

Mary Jo Lazear
     One could say that Mary Jo Lazear gives true meaning to the word “detailist.” Evidence her joy in remembering accent marks in the French language (she used to teach French). Mary Jo loves to organize parties and events down to the most minute detail. Every detail in preparation for her journey around the world presents an exciting challenge. She and her husband live in San Francisco.