Nonagenarian reflects on 20 years as memoir writers’ group leader

Patti Rinabarger recently turned 90.

The founder and leader for almost 20 years of a memoir writers’ group at the South Mainland/Micco Public Library celebrated her 90th birthday in November.

“The memoir writers’ group, which I started in 2001, has given me much joy, as have the people I’ve met who willingly shared their life stories with me. It has been such a privilege,” Patti Rinabarger said.

When asked how it felt to be 90 years old, she said, “At times, it feels very scary! I am becoming so forgetful. The funny thing is, I may forget many things, but I never forget to take my medicine. Self-preservation pops into my brain, I suppose. I spend a lot of time searching for my glasses. A few years ago, I could read without them. Now, they are an essential part of my everyday life.”

Rinabarger added: “I would like to think that I have gotten better with age, at least in something, but cannot for the life of me think of anything. A quick vacuum, a flick of a duster sums up my housekeeping these days. If I lived alone, I might just resort to a bowl of soup or sandwich, but Bill, my husband, loves his food, and I can still do that for him.”

Despite reluctantly relinquishing some of her cherished hobbies, such as tennis and gardening, Rinabarger’s days are quite active.

“Sometimes, I feel quite proud of myself as I toddle off around the lake in Barefoot Bay,” she said. “I don’t always feel like going for a walk, but I’m not about to throw in the towel and say enough is enough, although some days it’s difficult to put one foot in front of the other.”

Her friends assert that Rinabarger is an inspiration.

“I am enjoying my life and am proud of the caring, thoughtful people my daughters and grandchildren have become,” she said. “Although far away, I have only to pick up the telephone for a chat. It’s one of the things I enjoy most — a cup of tea and a natter with family or friends. The days grow short. I must savor each and every day.”