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August 28, 2001
A life's work cultivating young minds Charlie Watson, educator, loves to till the soil, just as he nurtured his students' futures. Story

[Photo: Paul Jerome]

Learning how to gather the blessings age has to offer
However old we are, birthdays that end in zeroes are regarded as milestones. I just celebrated my 50th, joining thousands of other baby boomers whom we are already sick of reading about.

Early to bed, early to rise -- is insane
I am not a morning person. Never have been. Never will be.

Some days you're better off just staying in bed
It was 8 in the morning, and my husband had just left to play golf with his buddies. I carried the newspapers from the day before to the back porch, and a gust of wind slammed the door shut.

Get moving: Hearts thrive on exercise
The concept that physical activity has a positive influence upon people's health is not a new one. Exercise was prescribed for maintaining good health at least 1,500 years ago.

It's high time to make those statements!
I sent a full-length purple cloak with a hood to my older daughter for her birthday. She loves it. Her two sons, who are Harry Potter fans, say that she is eligible for an honorary degree from Hogwart's. She loves the color purple, and she runs a costume shop. I imagine that the cloak will do double duty as a personal statement and accessory.

Teacher has seen children change over 50 years
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Sharon Black has spent more than 50 years in education, 38 of them teaching second, third and fourth grades in Fort Wayne, Ind. She and her husband, Dale, retired to Florida to be near their children and grandchildren.

Reading is a precious gift you can give
It is hard to imagine being unable to read and write. Reading is an essential part of life, not just for books and newspapers, but simply to function. The illiterate cannot read menus, letters or phone books. They cannot fill out forms or write checks. They are denied Pickles and Peanuts.

Directing a new generation
HERNANDO -- Staging the works of William Shakespeare can be a daunting task for directors, but Pat Lewkowicz revels in teaching these great works to a younger generation.

Being there for kids is grand
Grandparenting is a tricky business today. No matter what age my grandchildren are, they seem to think they have all the answers. And I listen. I have an advantage and feel very fortunate because they live nearby, and so I've been a part of their lives over the years. I also believe that wise grandparents try to keep their thoughts to themselves, try not to look too shocked and hope and pray, "This, too, shall pass."

Coach is batting a thousand
TAMPA -- Most of the parents of the players on Ray Seymour's softball team were older than he was when he coached Leaguerette ball in North Tampa more than 20 years ago. These days, he says, the players' parents are younger than he is.

Retired educator still helps as volunteer
"Adaptability is the key to life," says Mary Byrd, a retired educator and active volunteer.

Relax on Labor Day, then enjoy the month
The first Monday in September used to be more of a marker than it is now. Kids knew they had to go back to school on Tuesday, and mothers tried not to show their joy and relief at this prospect. School now starts anywhere from the middle of August to sometime in September, so for families with school-age children, Labor Day has been demoted in importance to just another three-day weekend.  

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