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‘Days and Moments’ like a good story told by a neighbor

Reading “Days and Moments, Moments and Days” is like sitting on a friendly neighbor’s porch listening to stories of, and musings on, days gone by.

The book collects prose and poetry by the Well Done Writers. The members of this group, who range in age from the early 60s to the early 90s, meet on Monday afternoons at the Greenfield Senior Center to share memories and thoughts through writing and reading.

They are led by Lori Thatcher and Janet Keyes, who often get their fellow writers to work with a series of prompts. The leaders ask, for example, for memories of a special person or a special day in the past.

The book starts appropriately with childhood. The chapter “Early Days” highlights memories of running away from home, of sibling relationships, of wisdom gleaned from elders.

Other topics include memorable moments, poetry and recollections tied to seasons of the year.

One of my favorite chapters revolves around music. In one essay looking back to the 1960s, a recording by Herb Alpert calms a sick baby. In another a missed guitar lesson leads to romance. Two involve happy recollections of discovering popular musicians (the Animals and the Beatles), and one recalls singing for appreciative neighbors.

A particularly poignant chapter is “Difficult Days.” These stories of family illness and death, of unease with neighbors, and of school problems are among the book’s most poignant and heartfelt essays.

The reader gets to know this group of 11 seniors, to appreciate their gifts of poetry and practicality, and to enjoy their senses of spontaneity and humor.

One learns about their past work, from nursing to retail work to cycling through a paper route to starting a small business. One sees historic moments through their eyes. One relives daily life in Franklin County (as well as a few other areas of the country) in different eras.

A very brief introduction explains the origins of the group’s name. The book’s contributors are called the Well Done Writers in tribute to the historic Weldon building on High Street in Greenfield, where they meet. “Well done” also slyly refers to the group’s age.

I can add a third meaning to the name as I write “Well done, writers.” The essays and poems in “Days and Moments, Moments and Days” reflect a range of ease with writing. Nevertheless, all the writers involved have stories to tell and a passion for telling them.

“Days and Moments, Moments and Days” is available locally at Boswell’s Books and at the World Eye Bookshop as well as on the Internet at Lulu.com.

Tinky Weisblat is the author of “The Pudding Hollow Cookbook” and “Pulling Taffy.” Visit her website, www.TinkyCooks.com.

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