Freelance writer

by Elinor Nuxoll
(Keizer, Oregon)

By time I was nine years old I knew I wanted to be a writer. Growing up in San Francisco I had discovered the News Junior Club and had won prizes and cash. As a teenager, I sold a quiz to a radio show called Professor Puzzlewit and a short article to Audubon Magazine.


As a high school graduate in 1939, I found jobs were scarce until World War II. I worked in the shipyards until I had to quit due to marriage and motherhood.

I started a business at home, by selling refurbished baby furniture and later by raising and selling show rabbits in our back yard. As more babies arrived I began taking outside jobs, baby sitting, housecleaning,or any kind of work I could get.

I was always seeking opportunities. I took a college Food Service class which qualified me for work in hospital kitchens. After a year I enrolled in a nursing course but was unable to finish because of being hospitalized with cellulitis.

My husband had left me and my family of eight children and they were growing up and leaving home. I enrolled in a library course and two years later graduated with an AA degree in Library Tech.

I was on the county list to be called for a library position but two of my children, in Washington and Idaho, wanted me to come north. I thought I could get a library job there, but they required a B.A. in Library Science.

A year later I married my neighbor and was no longer pressured to go to work. It is never too late to go to school so I enrolled in college at the age of 56. I was able to enroll at the junior level with tuition paid by University Year for Action and other scholarships. Two years later I graduated with a dual degree, a B.A. in Social Work and in Journalism.

I was working as Editor of a senior paper, then as Director of a senior volunteer program. When I retired at age 67+, I became a volunteer myself, using my writing skills. I've always been a volunteer and i contributed my articles for many years. Now I work at home, writing for three senior papers that pay but still contributing articles, writing letters, etc. as a helper and an advocate.

Though Social Security is my main income, my earnings buy the extras that help me enjoy life. It keeps me busy in my eighties, adds life to my years and I believe is adding years to my life.

-- Wonderful Example!
by: Joan McKinney

I wish all young women could read this. It is truly an example of what 'women are made of' when we work to achieve our goals and don't continuously moan about our misfortunes.

Thank you, Elinor, for the wonderful example of womanhood that you are.

-- A diagram that follows the steps of success
by: Doreen

Thanks Elinor, for spelling out your journey in a way that made it obvious there is no point in life when inactivity should be a chosen path.

Despite the experiences that took you away from your writing goals you persisted and now in your eighties your decisions have proven to be part of your daily happiness.

Many people believe their dreams are over when they marry, or have children, or experience a heartbreaking turn in life. The truth is their dreams are in process.

Nothing stays the same in life. Starting as an embryo we continue to grow and we must take control of our minds and feed them the materials that will assist us in achieving our dreams.

-- Elinor's story

Elinor's story is a reinforcement and encouragement to all of us, reminding us that we are never too old to branch out and try new things.

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