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Joan Gage
Since receiving her Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University (where she met her husband, author Nicholas Gage), Joan Gage has spent the past 48 years writing for a variety of publications including many women’s and shelter magazines and the New York Times. Upon turning 60, she returned to her original creative passions, painting and photography, and has exhibited in both media. She lives in Grafton, MA and has three adult children and a new granddaughter she often writes about in her blog, A Rolling Crone, which focuses on “travel, art, photography and life after sixty.”

Entries by Joan Gage

O. J. Simpson's "Suicide Letter" and the Smiley Face

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2016 | 12:52 PM

In my forthcoming book "The Saga of Smiley," which chronicles the history of the Smiley Face icon since it was created in 1963 by artist Harvey Ball in Worcester, MA, there is a chapter about the surprising number of murderers and criminals who...
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A Grammar Rant to Start the Year

(5) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 10:00 PM

Last Friday, the first day of 2016, I sent the following letter to the Public Editor of the New York Times. I knew I was beating a dead horse. I understood that ranting about the proper use of "lie" and "lay" is a lost cause, but I did it anyway:

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Can People In Heaven See Us Down Here?

(1) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 5:38 AM

I thought that kids were about six-years-old when they started to grapple with the concept of death, but granddaughter Amalia has been obsessing about it since she turned four -- although she's never had a close relative or even a pet pass away. And it's probably my fault. On a...

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Reagan's True White House Ghost Story

(33) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 10:16 PM

It wouldn't be Halloween if I didn't re-post my favorite White House ghost story.

Ever since the White House was first occupied in 1800, there have been rumors of hauntings, but I got this story direct from the President. No, not President Obama. I first heard about the White...

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The Soldier Behind World Smile Day

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 5:36 PM

Harvey Ball autographs a Smiley, World Smile Day 1999

The world's most recognized and beloved icon, the beaming yellow Smiley Face, was created in December of 1963 in Worcester, MA by a commercial artist and decorated WWII vet named Harvey Ball who never...

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About the Photo of the Dead Boy on the Beach

(8) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 5:10 PM

WARNING: Graphic images below


The photograph shows the body of a little boy, about three years old, cradled in the arms of a Turkish officer after his body was found face down in the sand near Bodrum, Turkey, one of 12 immigrants who...

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Trying To Put The Fun Back In Boyhood

(1) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 7:42 AM

Allen Johnson and his dog Co-Co in the early 1940's

Allen Johnson Jr., 79, has lived a life filled with adventure, travel and success, but he insists, "My life peaked at nine." He has written a memoir and books of poems and...

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Are Emoticons And Emojis Destroying Our Language?

(11) Comments | Posted August 13, 2015 | 6:19 AM


If you are on the far side of 70, as I am, you may not even know what emoticons and Emojis are, but trust me, your grandchildren do. Emoticons -- those little smiley face icons used to show various emotions, and their descendants,...

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Older Women and the Rules of Society

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2015 | 5:35 PM

"I feel like, as women, we're always trying to figure out the rules of the world around us. We're raised to listen to the rules of society, as opposed to men, and I sort of realized by the time you figure out the...
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Grandma's Travel Emergency Kit

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2015 | 3:43 PM

Here we are in Miami on the third leg of my daughter Eleni's book tour for her new novel, Ladies of Managua, which she's launching while on maternity leave. From Manhattan to Boston, then New Orleans and Coral Gables, FL, her entourage consists of me, (Yiayia), her 3-year-old daughter, Amalia,...

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Could Lost Bird's Tragedy Inspire a Triumph for Native Americans?

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2015 | 2:00 AM

Brian George with Photographs of Lost Bird's Grave Site

Several years ago, I first posted about the Native American baby girl who was found alive under the frozen body of her mother on the blood-soaked fields of Wounded Knee, SD, four days after...

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'Lost Bird' Is Not Forgotten

(2) Comments | Posted February 24, 2015 | 6:33 PM

Last week I re-posted the story of Lost Bird, the infant girl who was found alive beneath her mother's frozen body four days after the Massacre of Wounded Knee on Dec. 29, 1890. Named "Zintkala Nuni" -- "The Lost Bird"-- by the tribe's survivors, who tried to get...

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Lost Bird, Survivor of Wounded Knee, Betrayed By the White Man

(8) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 6:16 PM

Of all the stories I've uncovered while researching antique photographs in my collection, this one is the most heartbreaking. Starting with the Massacre at Wounded Knee on Dec. 29, 1890, "Lost Bird" suffered every kind of injury and abuse the White Man imposed on Native Americans. She died on Valentine's...

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The 'Mother of the American Valentine' Never Married

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 4:26 PM


Worcester, MA, the once-bustling industrial metropolis 45 minutes west of Boston where I live, is enormously proud of its rather peculiar list of "famous firsts", including barbed wire, shredded wheat, the monkey wrench, the birth control pill, the first perfect game in...

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Nursemaid's Elbow -- A Risk to Toddlers

(0) Comments | Posted January 5, 2015 | 2:49 PM

Despite rearing three children, I had never heard the term "Nursemaid's Elbow" until the day after Christmas last week, when I accompanied my 3-year-old granddaughter Amalia to the Emergency Room. It had been a special day for Amalia, who was visiting us in Massachusetts with her parents for the holidays...

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Finding A Third Act In Life

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2014 | 6:50 AM

"There are no second acts in American lives," Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote. That may have been true in Fitzgerald's day, but now, in the 21st century, as more and more baby boomers are transforming our expectations of old age, retired Americans are discovering third acts in their lives -- life-altering...

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No, I Don't Want to Die At 75!

(6) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 7:28 AM

I imagine by now you've heard about the kerfuffle over the article in the The Atlantic by Ezekiel J. Emanuel titled "Why I Hope to Die at 75".

Ezekiel Emanuel is a very distinguished scientist. He is director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the U.S. National Institutes of Health...

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The Invisible (Old) Woman

(77) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 9:04 AM

A while ago, my husband and I were staying in an antique-filled small hotel in Chania, Crete, which had, in the parlor, a wall of books in many languages discarded by previous guests. (This is one of the delights of staying in small hotels.)

I picked up a paperback by...

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Memories Of A 1940s Childhood

(5) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 9:31 PM

Yesterday's local paper, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, had a front-page photo of children and their moms lined up, waiting to get inside a public swimming pool. (The limit is 25 children per one lifeguard, so they had to wait until someone left...
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Amalia Eats Out: A Manhattan Toddler's Restaurant Guide

(0) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 6:51 PM

There are dozens of restaurants within walking distance of my granddaughter Amalia's apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side, but not all of them welcome the sight of a 3-year-old coming in the door. Maitre D's take one look at Amalia and have visions of food dropped on the floor, water...

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