Workshop Planned for Public School Pre-Retirees

The Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR) for Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Perry, and York County chapters will hold a free preretirement workshop 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at Mechanicsburg Middle School.

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Drawing on Experience

Since 2000, 50plus LIFE (previously Senior News and 50plus Senior News) has won more than 130 awards for its editorial content and design.

Here’s a look at an award-winning article from our archives.

Drawing On Experience

April 2003 issue

NAMPA Award: First Place, Profile


Maria V. Snyder


Whimsical, magical, and colorful are all the descriptors that come to mind when viewing Bill Hoin’s artwork. Upon closer inspection, the words unbelievable and intricate also spring to mind.

The multicolored drawings are crafted with different combinations of gel pen, colored pencils, fine-line markers, watercolors, and crayons.

“I use mostly gel pens,” Bill says of his work. “People say that’s what kids use, but anything an artist uses is a tool.”

Bill’s fluid drawings are bulging with life. Within the spirals of a picture, you might see many faces, birds, and fish. His portraits are done in watercolor and gel pens and they can be very realistic or abstract.

“I think most people like what I’m doing because it’s so labor intensive,” Bill says. “Sometimes I leave areas undone so the people looking at it can add their own. I like to look at artwork that you see something different when you come back to it each time.”

As a child, Bill spent hours drawing and painting, but eventually stopped as he grew older.

“Vietnam is where I started getting interested in artwork again,” Bill says of his reacquaintance with art. “I visited villages and saw many artists and craftsmen at work. I bought artifacts from the weavers, and when I came back to the States, I started to do more myself.”

When Bill left the Army, he came back to Lancaster and earned Bachelor of Science degrees in industrial arts education and art education from Millersville University. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in art from Glassboro State College in New Jersey.

And he’s still learning his craft.

“I took a mono printing class and a papermaking class. If I come across a medium that I don’t have experience in or the equipment for, like sculpting, then I take a class.”

He even took a course for making glass paperweights at Wheaton Village in New Jersey.

After earning his degrees, Bill went on to teach high school art for five years.

“I came back with a problem from Vietnam. I was diagnosed with epilepsy two years after Vietnam, and it made it very difficult to teach.”

He went through a number of jobs before finding a draftsman position at Emtrol. Bill worked for them for 15 years until he retired at age 62 in April of 2001. Now Bill enjoys drawing full-time.

“It’s essential that I draw every day. I see an improvement in my work just over this past year and a half,” Bill says.

Just recently Bill had a picture in the Trees Galore show at the Mulberry Studios in Lancaster. The picture is a Christmas tree decorated with angel’s faces. He made copies for his Christmas card with the inside saying, “There’s an angel in your tree.”

“I was in the very first Lititz Outdoor Art Show in 1967,” Bill says of his art career.

This past summer he displayed 26 pictures at the Lititz show. He has exhibited paintings, prints, and weavings in both one-man and group shows. His work is also on display in the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago in their permanent collection.

Bill views his art as a hobby.

“I haven’t really thought of it as money making. I don’t worry about what I’m selling, or going to galleries. It’s more for therapy and an outlet. Money isn’t the point of doing it.”

Working on one picture a day, Bill has no set hours. He likes to go to Central Market, where a friend runs a bread stand.

“I’ll stand there and draw pictures all morning,” Bill smiles. “I have met so many people in the last year. Sooner or later everyone is going to come through the Central Market.”

Besides doing his artwork, Bill enjoys going to the health club, walking, and being an extreme birdwatcher.

He is a volunteer on the board of directors for the epilepsy support unit in Lancaster, where he helps others with information and referrals. He is the outdoor art chairman for the Lancaster County Art Association and is planning art programs for the future, and he teaches art to a group of homeschooled children.

In his one-page bio, Bill wrote, “I plan to produce artwork, teach, and volunteer at various art associations in the area.”

Bill is well on his way to accomplishing those goals, and it is a boon to those of us who delight in art.

Grief Relief: 7 Effective Mind-Body Ways to Manage Grieving

The Harvard Men’s Health Watch newsletter recently reported on a study led by T.H. Eric Bui, M.D., Ph.D., associate director for research at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders and Complicated Grief Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

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Financial Focus: Planning for the Rising Costs of Healthcare

Healthcare costs are rising, especially for retirees, and many will need long-term care. Learn the moves you can make to help prepare yourself.

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Remembering the Twentieth Century: I Remember Mama

Since 2000, 50plus LIFE (previously Senior News and 50plus Senior News) has won more than 130 awards for its editorial content and design.

Here’s a look at an award-winning article from our archives.

Remembering the Twentieth Century: I Remember Mama

May 2002 issue

Mature Media Awards: Gold Award, Personal Essay


By Joe Cacka


This wonderful story begins in the beautiful upper slopes of the thousand-foot Little Carpathian Mountains of western Slovakia.

These actually small, unspoiled rolling hills were known as the Magical Zahorie, a rather remote area covered with orchards, grape vineyards, fish ponds, streams, great cathedrals, old castles in ruins, and small family cemeteries.

The land held gorgeous scenery throughout to rest the eyes — forested peaks with lower slopes of fields and meadows filled with a magnificent profusion of wildflowers: blues, reds, purples, pinks, and yellows; bluebells, daisies, wild geraniums, and delphiniums, even dandelions.

But there was no rest for Andela. As the oldest sibling in a family of 13 children, she had the dubious job of doing all the housework plus outside farm work.

So one day in June, Andela, a beautiful, petite, blue-eyed blonde on her 16th birthday, packed all her worldly possessions into a bundle and left home for America with hopes of a better life, never to return home again.

With a week of mostly foot travel and rides by horse and wagon, sleeping in barns or fields, she covered 475 miles, arriving at Bremen, Germany, for a few more weeks’ ocean voyage in the hold of a vessel, steerage class, under terrifying conditions.

Deaths were disposed of by dumping the bodies overboard.

“A more forlorn party, in more dismal circumstances, would be hard to imagine,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson after observing life in steerage on the Atlantic crossing.

Andela arrived on July 3, 1907, landing at Ellis Island for more screening and health checks before boarding a train to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where she found a job as a housemaid for a dollar a day.

Later she moved to Newark, New Jersey, where, after a few years, Andela, age 18 now, met and married her prince charming: Libor, age 21, also an immigrant who arrived the same year as Andela.

They had four children; I was the youngest. We sure were poor financially for years. The wealthy people Andela worked for eventually called her Ella. From then on, Mom was my Cinderella.

Now, Cinderella worried herself sick over the large family she left behind. Her mother and father both died, leaving the children orphans.

Cinderella worried herself to death when World War II started and Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938. By 1939, Mom (Cinderella) died of coronary thrombosis at age 47. I was 20 years old. So now, you have the real story of “Cinderella.”

Happy Mother’s Day, “Cinderella,” wherever you may be.

Sixties Flashback: It’s Just a Game! (Or Is It?)

On Nov. 25, 2019, three months before Super Bowl LIV was to be played on Feb. 2, 2020, Fox TV announced that the game at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium was sold out of available advertising spots.

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Grief Relief: Tips for Facing the New Year While Grieving

Grieving is taxing on mind, body, and spirit. While it can be tough to face each new day, the challenge can feel enormous when January emerges and a whole new year is stretching out before us.

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Looking on the Bright Side

Living long and living well require individuals to adopt a positive attitude and hopeful outlook for the future.

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Evelyn Ay – Where is She Now?

Since 2000, 50plus LIFE (previously Senior News and 50plus Senior News) has won more than 130 awards for its editorial content and design.

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