Elizabeth Meade Howard is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. She is a former reporter and lecturer at the University of Virginia. She has written on aging, health, women and family for numerous national and online publications. She is the art editor for Streetlight Magazine online. Her documentary films have aired on Virginia PBS.
I wrote my first official story in the fourth grade at Friends Seminary in New York. It was titled, “I’m Six Inches Tall.” My favorite teacher, Mrs. Johnson, said, “Maybe you will grow up to be a writer one day.” Maybe.
The genes were there. My maternal grandfather was a traveling journalist. In college, my mother wrote book reviews, and many years later, a book about her life with my father. On graduation from the University of Virginia, my father fancied himself the new Thomas Wolfe, but needing work in the early 30s, he put his talents to writing advertising copy on Madison Avenue. After retiring to Virginia, he wrote five adventure novels.
My father encouraged me to write fiction. My fiction, however, never strayed far from the facts. When settling with my husband and children in Charlottesville, VA. in 1970, I worked for the local paper where a colleague dubbed me, “the death and disease editor.” Who knew. I was always interested in people’s stories and behavior – why we do what we do. I pursued these topics as a freelance magazine writer and taught journalism at UVA. I later ventured into filmmaking, especially drawn to the the stories of resilient older men and women. I am a member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors and an editor of Streetlight Magazine online.
Throughout the years, my father always encouraged my interests and writing. He was my patient teacher and life-long role model. At his death at 90, I felt abruptly elevated to family elder, and as a somewhat senior journalist, sought the experts for guidance in living long and well. I was fortunate to spend time with a variety of creative, resourceful and generous elders who shared their wise words and deeds. Aging Famously…is a collection of their wisdom. I hope you too will enjoy their experience and will find your own role models to follow for the years ahead.