Sunny, optimistic, enthusiastic — these are words that describe Janet and Charley Hoult. Ever since they found one another in 1991, they have been a team, energetically facing jam-packed calendars in their retirement years. For these two, retirement definitely does not mean slowing down.
Despite each having faced ample shares of sorrow, their mutual motto is to make each day full through trying to make a positive impact on others. This is an effort that keeps them on the go continuously.
After the loss of her marine biologist son David in a motorcycle accident, Janet, an emerita professor of Cal State L.A.’s Charter College of Education, found that writing, especially poetry, helped her regain her positive spirit and move forward. “I found that when I wrote poetry, it just all bubbled up.”
Her latest tome, Body Parts: A Collection of Poems About Aging, was named a 2010 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner.
“I found I had a gift for rhyme and meter. I write about whatever comes up in life. So then everything that was going wrong with my body became the topic, with the theme that even though we are growing older, we still have to do all we can to stay active.”
All proceeds from the sale of the book go toward the David Cameron Fisher Memorial Fellowship, administered through the CSULA Emeriti Association.
Excerpt from: A Gift
In memory of my son David
So, although he’s not with us, his memory lives on
As students with his scholarship keep working right along
They study just like he did
Sea creatures such as squid
The ocean side
The fellowship provides support for undergraduates in biology, marine biology and environmental science, many of whom, Janet notes, have gone on to medical school.
Her poetry also reflects a well-developed sense of humor, along with an appreciation of world cultures, having lived and taught in France, Korea and Japan. Understanding different perspectives and points of view as a trainer of teachers and university administrator, Janet made use of these strengths in retirement by becoming a licensed arbitrator, a professional in helping opposing parties resolve their differences through mediation.
“I believe we’re here for a purpose, and if we have skills, we need to pass those on. The best possible way to feel positive is to focus on activities geared to help others,” she notes.
Charley, a rocket scientist and engineer, also suffered a tragedy after losing members of his family. He shares Janet’s “give-back” approach, and has found renewal through teaching young engineering students at CSU Long Beach.
“We want to help the kids—to a degree—but, more importantly, we want to help them learn to help themselves,” she says. “When I read these scholarship applications, I’d like to have enough money to help them all. There are just so many needy and deserving people.”
Body Parts is available in the CSULA bookstore or on Amazon.com. More books reflecting her diverse interests—including astronomy, solar eclipses, and dogs and other critters—are in the works.