Talks at Retirement Centers

When the issue of giving book talks at retirement centers came up on a message board frequented by authors, some writers had found the experience not to be worthwhile. My experiences have been different – and that’s a good thing. Pennsylvania has the second oldest population of any state, behind Florida. As a result, Pennsylvania is home to quite a number of retirement centers that offer a variety of levels of care. Carlisle, being a county seat, has many of these homes with each one differing from the others in various ways. By giving talks at them, I have learned what they have in common. All are populated with significant numbers of people who are interested in history, particularly in local history.

I believe that my topic, the Carlisle Indian School, would be well-received by history buffs anywhere, it is of particular interest here where it was located. What I get out of the talks is the response from the attendees. Often, a person attends who knew people from the Indian School. One man swam with Jim Thorpe when he was a boy. Another had lunch with Thorpe a couple of times when Thorpe was passing through town and heard a friend of Thorpe’s lecture him on the evils of alcohol.

Sometimes I sell a few books, other times none at all. But that isn’t the point. These talks only take two hours of my time, door-to-door, so they cost me little to do. Some of the people who attend these talks cannot drive and have no practical way of getting to talks held at other places. These talks give shut-ins opportunities to interact with the outside world that they wouldn’t otherwise have. They also learn something because Carlisle Indian School is a fascinating and misunderstood topic.

I recommend that other authors seriously consider giving talks at retirement centers. It is rewarding and the retirees enjoy it.

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