Arts & Entertainment

South Orange Resident Receives Honorable Mention in Essex County Senior Writing Contest

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Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. (left) and Essex County Senior Services Director Jaklyn DeVore (right) congratulate South Orange resident Janyce Wolf. Credits: Glen Frieson
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CEDAR GROVE, NJ  – South Orange resident Janyce Wolf received an honorable mention for "Love's Labor Lost" at the Annual Essex County Senior Legacies Writing Contest Celebration Luncheon on Wednesday, May 24. The Legacies Writing Contest encourages "Essex senior citizens to write essays about the people and events that have influenced their lives," according to a press release from the Essex County Executive's office.

Wolf's piece "Love's Labor Lost" is about when she began a relationship with a man she met at work. The two traveled as a couple, and moved in together – despite him still being married with two children. They stayed together for about six years and she was devastated when their relationship ended. She was sad and disappointed, but after going out with her female friends for dinner and a movie, she realized she had to move on. She joined a singles group and started dating again. “As it turns out, a major criterion of success in a relationship for me is the ability to laugh together. And I continue laughing as much as I can,” she writes.

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and the Essex County Division of Senior Services recognized the writing talents of eight Essex County residents during the Annual Essex County Senior Legacies Writing Contest Celebration Luncheon.

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“Our Senior Citizen Legacies Writing Contest is a unique way for our older population to share their life’s stories and describe the people and events that helped to shape their lives,” DiVincenzo said. “Our seniors’ stories make you laugh and they touch your heart. They provide us with a different perspective on historical events and what our society was like,” he added.

The Director’s Award was presented to Montclair resident Robin Ehrlichman Woods for “How to Mend a Broken Heart.” Winning stories were “Megan’s Story” by Livingston resident Deanna L. Adams, “Something Great Everyday,” by Irvington resident Ruth Steele, and “Simple Times” by Irvington resident Kathleen Witcher.

In addition to Wolf, honorable mention stories also included “Ladybug Ladybug” by Cedar Grove resident Peggy LaVake, “When Life Imitates Art” by Livingston resident Reginald Eugene Sims, and “A Valentine to Grandpa Morris” by Josie Zeman of Montclair.

“All our seniors have stories to tell, and our Legacies Writing Contest provides our older adults with an incentive to preserve their memories, and create a living history,” Essex County Division of Senior Services Director Jaklyn DeVore said. “Writing enables our seniors to share their memories with friends and families, allows them to reminisce about old times, and keeps their minds active. This is one of our most popular events because of the emotions and memories that are evoked,” she added.“You don’t have to be a professional writer to participate in our Senior Legacies Writing Contest. Our seniors are very talented and they write from the heart,” Essex County Director of Citizen Services Anibal Ramos said. “Every year, I am impressed with the emotion and quality of stories. I congratulate every one for participating,” he added.

Sponsored by the Essex County Division of Senior Services, the Legacies Writing Contest was started in 1996 and was part of a national contest which encouraged senior citizens to discover the joys of writing while sharing their stories with others. Although the national contest was discontinued in 1998, the Essex County Division of Senior Services continued to sponsor the Legacies Writing Contest on a local level. Entries are judged on the writer’s ability to engage the reader with humor, emotional impact or rich descriptions. Winning stories were selected by a committee of volunteer judges and staff from the Essex County Division of Senior Services.

The Essex County Division of Senior Services offers a wide range of services to eligible Essex County senior citizens. The Division offers adult protective services, provides basic transportation services, administers adult day care centers, offers counseling services for caregivers, provides home delivered meals and offers visiting nurse services. For more information, please call 973-395-8375.

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