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Who says we have to age gracefully?

Johnson City Press • Jul 13, 2018 at 8:15 AM

We could all learn a lot from Gloria Tramontin Struck.

In Sunday’s edition, our college intern Mackenzie Moore introduced our readers to Struck, who stopped in Jonesborough on her motorcycle trip from New Jersey en route to a book signing in Alabama.

Struck’s ride isn’t that unusual until you consider the fact that she is 93. She has been biking the roads of North America and Europe for 77 years. Having caught the motorcycle bug from her brother as a teenager, Struck is one of the earliest members of Motor Maids, the country’s oldest women's motorcycle club, and was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2016.

Her long-distance solo adventures have taken her through all 48 contiguous states, and she estimates she’s logged more than 600,000 miles in her lifetime. That’s a lot of time on two wheels, and she’s not handing in her helmet just yet. Struck’s goal is to ride across the U.S. when she’s 100.

Yes, her lust for life is extraordinary, and few could match the physical prowess that allows her to do what she does at her age.

But getting older doesn’t mean we have to trade our dancing shoes for slippers, a recliner and a TV remote, and we don’t need motorcycles to ride our way through the golden years.

Community senior centers and other venues in Northeast Tennessee are constantly offering activities to keep seniors active and healthy, and our parks and trails afford unlimited opportunities. Both body and mind can benefit.

One way the Johnson City Public Library is helping is its series of “Artful Aging” workshops. As Staff Writer Hannah Swayze reported in Wednesday’s edition, the free workshops are designed to help seniors out of their comfort zones and onto the stage with performance art.

In August, the “Theatre Games” workshop will introduce participants to improvisation and other acting skills. In October, an “Oral Narrative” workshop will take an intergenerational approach to storytelling. Each participant can bring an older or younger family member along allowing stories to be passed on in the family.

Forgive the pun, but the latter sounds like a golden opportunity for older and younger alike.

And that brings us back to Gloria Tramontin Struck, who offers this advice to anyone who wants to stay on the road of life:

“I always tell people to live their dreams, as I’m still trying to live mine.”

To sign up for the Artful Aging series, call the library at 423-434-4356 or 423-434-4454. For more information, visit arohaartfulaging.org.

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