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Published:December 18th, 2011 16:33 EST
"gOld" Nuggets:  On Friendship and Community

"gOld" Nuggets: On Friendship and Community

By Harry J. Getzov

Roscoe Shipley (88) - Kansas City, Missouri

"When I don`t know their background, that`s when I try to learn a little about `em."

Roscoe was born in 1919 in Mount Moriah, Missouri and he enjoyed telling stories about how growing up in a closely-knit farming community during the Great Depression helped to shape the way he has learned to engage people throughout his life.

"I`ve always tried to meet new folks. And when I don`t know their background, that`s when I try to learn a little about `em, and, if I can, help `em in some way. And if they can help me, well, that`s just as good, too, Roscoe says, smiling. That`s kind of the way I`ve operated most of my life, come to think of it. The way I see it is, if you don`t get acquainted with a person when you have a chance to, and you find out later that that was a super good person, perhaps even good enough to have become a kind of mentor, then you feel kind of bad about it. It was a loss or missed opportunity to get to know another good person."

Roscoe shares a method he`s come up with regarding how to engage another person:  "I have this . . . well, it`s kind of a weird way about learning about something or someone. I let whatever the situation is, at that point, be my mentor. It may not always be like having a mentor, in terms of an actual person, but I let that situation teach me in that same way," he explains. "And if it`s someone who`s lived a good life and tried to stay on top of things, then that`s fine. But if it`s someone who`s been put in the pen a few times and can`t stay away from evils, then instead of my copying that, I see how many mistakes that person may have made, and then I just automatically do the opposite. And that kind of learning from other people, it`s worked for me all these years, I guess," he adds, laughing.

Harry J. Getzov is the founder of Eldercation " an organization committed to changing the way our culture views aging and older people. He is also the author of the newly released best-selling book, "gOld: The Extraordinary Side of Aging Revealed Through Inspiring Conversations," - Available at