Author speaks at Literacy Program's annual banquet
WYSOX TOWNSHIP - At the Bradford-Wyoming Counties Literacy Program's annual recognition banquet on Thursday, guest speaker Tana Reiff started off by telling the audience that she had recently gotten braces to straighten out her teeth.
"At any age, don't be tied to what others think you should be doing at that age," Reiff, who is in her 60s, told the audience, many of whom were learning to read as adults.
Reiff, who is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Adult and Continuing Education, said her model for what older people should be doing is a friend of hers from California who at 88, flew by herself to the East Coast, rented a minivan and drove to visit four different people that she knows.
Reiff said her friend uses a smartphone, gives her grandson violin lessons, and still plays violin in an orchestra, but only for eight minutes at a stretch.
"She knows what her limitations are," said Reiff.
Reiff said that when she asked her friend what her secret for her active lifestyle was, she replied, "I just keep moving."
Reiff's speech was titled "At Any Age."
Reiff also told those in attendance that they should keep moving forward, "go with the flow" when unexpected things happen to them in life, focus on what they are doing, and stay productive.
Reiff said she wasn't encouraging them to undertake risky behavior, such as when a President George H.W. Bush parachuted out of an airplane at age 85.
Reiff noted that Brad Rutter, who has won more money on "Jeopardy" than anyone else, said that the reason for his success on the show was "a lifetime of paying attention."
Reiff said that Rutter was also extremely talented. Still, Reiff said, you don't have to be unusually talented to have amazing accomplishments. "You just have to pay attention," she said.
Reiff has been involved in adult education and literacy for 40 years.
As a teacher, she began writing fiction and folktale retellings at easy reading levels for her adult students.
She has written more than 80 books.
During the past year, the Bradford-Wyoming Counties Literacy Program taught 75 teenagers and adults, 25 of whom where English as a Second Language students, said Sherry Spencer, director of the program.
During the past year 45 tutors put in a total of 1,140 volunteer hours, she said.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.