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Off to College at Age 47

October 2018

"It is never too late to be wise." —Daniel Defoe

At age 47, Saloma Furlong became an Ada Comstock Scholar at Smith College.

That's a stunning achievement, especially considering she only had an eighth-grade education.

Saloma grew up Amish. The year after she turned thirteen, the Supreme Court passed Wisconsin v. Yoder, which exempted the Amish from educating their children beyond the eighth grade.

Saloma's parents pulled her out of school. Both her father and brother abused her. At age 20, when she could stand it no more, Saloma quietly escaped and landed in Vermont. She worked as a waitress and met a wonderful toymaker named David.

Then one Friday night, a van showed up at her doorstep.

The bishop. His wife. My uncle, also a minister. His wife. My older brother, who had brutalized me as I was growing up. My sister. A friend. They were all there...I could not run. I could not hide...

Click here to read the rest of Saloma's story.

September Celebrations

October 2, 1879: Birth of attorney Wallace Stevens, the poet who never quit his day job. At age 75, while serving as Vice President of The Hartford Group, Stevens won the Pulitzer Prize. He published his first book of poetry at age 53READ MORE

October 3, 1916: Birth of James Alfred Wight, better known as James Herriot. The beloved veterinarian penned his first book at age 54. A few years later, the BBC adapted Herriot's stories into the popular TV series All Creatures Great and Small, which ran through the 1980s. 

October 29, 1954: Lee Child's Birthday. According to his official biography, the creator of Jack Reacher was fired at age 40, spent six pounds sterling on paper and pencils, and wrote an international bestseller. Was it really that easy? READ MORE

Words from the Wise Ones

"I have felt cats rubbing their faces against mine and touching my cheek with claws carefully sheathed. These things, to me, are expressions of love."
—James Herriot

More Proof It's Never Too Late

Avisene Carrington Celebrates a Century (Yes, she's 100!)
Image links to a fantastic 3-minute interview with her
Last month, Avisene Carrington of Barbados celebrated her 100th birthday. She was born on September 15, 1918.

That alone is an incredible feat. But during her seventy-four years teaching, she inspired thousands. 

Many of Avisene's students have gone on to occupy influential positions. They include Barbados' current Prime Minister, Mia Mottley. 

Avisene knows her facts and for her, age is just a number.
I do not feel like 100 years old because I mix with people who are so much younger than I am. I often wonder why my daughter-in-law wants to go around with me. She and I have a lot in common. Age does not play a part in our relationship.
She isn't exactly a late bloomer, but she has sage advice for us all. Hope you enjoyed her story!

See you next month with more tales of late-blooming adventure...


P.S. If you're as passionate about life-long learning, I whole-heartedly recommend Skillshare. It's a high-quality, low-cost learning platform with courses in just about everything—art, photography, technology, writing, you name it. I'm currently using it to learn Adobe Photoshop.

Skillshare gives you a two-month trial and costs less than $100 year for unlimited classes. If you use this link to join, Later Bloomer will get a small commission to help with its upkeep. Thanks!
Thanks for reading! I'm Debra Eve, proud late bloomer and possessor of many passions.

At, I've written profiles of more than 80 people in the arts, humanities, and sciences who followed their passion later in life. You can also find Later Bloomers on Facebook.

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