A moving experience

Washington and Baltimore-area residents felt the Earth move on August 23, an unsettling sensation and, hopefully, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Just in case there’s a next time, take a look at this fact sheet from the Red Cross about how to prepare for and what to do in case of an earthquake. I was surprised to see that taking refuge in a doorway is not recommended.

Author! Author!

Back in 1928 at age 17, my Aunt Sara and a friend stuck out their thumbs on a Cleveland roadside and hitchhiked all the way to Yellowstone National Park.

Courting controversy?

During the coverage of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act in June, I first heard of 84-year-old plaintiff Edie Windsor. Although she had married her longtime partner in 2007, the marriage wasn’t recognized legally. When her wife died in 2009, Windsor was hit with a $363,000 estate tax bill she would not have had to pay if she her spouse had been male.

Do you have a tattoo?

More than 20 percent of adults between the ages of 40 and 64 have one or more tattoos, according to a Harris poll. For an upcoming story, the Beacon is looking for people age 50 and older in the Washington area who've been inked. What prompted you to get your tattoo? Do you love it, or do you have any regrets?

Eye of the beholder

Do you color your hair to cover up the gray? Worry about your receding hairline? Have you ever considered getting a tattoo? Coincidentally, both the current Baltimore and Washington editions of the Beacon focus on people who are refining their image as they age — as well as those who are embracing their looks just the way they are. To see how some Baltimoreans are making some of these hairy decisions,  click here.

Finding a new passion

Long-time readers will note something odd about this issue. Well, maybe several things. But what I have in mind is that our cover story was written by me. I don’t do that very often, you may have noticed. So what moved me to do so this month? My personal story, in brief: I played piano throughout my school years, but pretty much put it aside once I got to college, and certainly after I started working for a living. Furthermore, I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, the home of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which I attended regularly while growing up, mesmerized by the world’s finest young pianists performing the most beautiful repertoire.

Memory lane

Did you serve in World War II, Korea or Vietnam? How did you meet your spouse? Did you love to shop at Woodies in Washington or Hutzler’s in Baltimore? The Beacon’s website now has a new place to share your reminiscences. You can post your memories of days gone by in our new “I Remember When…” forum. Our first contributor, who is 92 years old, shared his memories of hitchhiking across the country in the 1930s and as a POW in World War II.

Never too late to learn

My daughter started high school a couple weeks ago. And I have to admit that when I see the alphabet soup of her algebra homework or the physics word problems involving acceleration rates, I’m just as happy I’m not going to be having a test on the material next week.

Stories of the century

Imagine being born in a time when horses clip-clopped down city streets and fewer than 5 percent of American homes were lit using electricity. Theodore Roosevelt resided in the White House, and Harry Houdini astounded crowds with his feats. Just days after Lois Leyda was born on July 19, 1903, the Ford Motor Company sold its first Model A car. At the end of the year, the Wright Brothers made their first flight in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Tooting our horn

Recently, the North American Mature Publishers Association presented its annual journalism awards. I am pleased to say the Baltimore Beacon once again won top honors for papers in the 50,001-100,000 circulation category. And the Washington Beacon, produced by our same staff, fared similarly for publications in the 100,000-plus circulation category.