Bel Kaufman, who is 101, is a teacher, an author --she wrote her first novel, Up the Down Staircase, at 50 and the wife of a younger man (he's 95). I came across her profile in the August issue of Vogue, my favorite issue of the year because it's "the age issue". Consider this month's cover line: Wonder Women from 28 to 101. The far end of that galaxy is Bel--and here's what she has to say in her own words about this stage of life:
"I've lived a long time, a very long time, 101 years, and I'm still here. I'm done with the doubts and the struggles and insecurities of youth. I'm finished with loss and guilt and regret, I'm very old, and nothing is expected of me. Now, provided good health continues, I can do what I want. I can write my memoirs, I can edit my works for future eBooks. I can even do nothing--what luxury that is! I have new priorities and a new appreciation of time. I enjoy my family more than ever, and also a sunny day and a comfortable bed. I keep up my interest in books and theater and people, and when I'm tired, I rest. My former students write to me and visit me. I had many problems and disasters in my life; fortunately, at my age, I don't remember what there were. I'm glad I am 101."
Here, at Second Lives Club, we are admirers of all women who have composed a life they love. With our ever increasing life expectancy--at least in the first world, we salute the trailblazers like Bel Kaufman who had cleared away some of the brush for us on this untraveled path. Beginning in September, we plan to profile women in their 70s, 80s, and 90s--and the occasional centenarion. We want to know what they know--and we want to
celebrate their spirit and accomplishments. We want to revel in the sisterhood of Second Lives.
If you have nominations for great women of a greater age, please let us know. Or send us a pix and a short bio and you'll see more wonder women come September.