About Dave Riley

Growing Old Isn’t For Sissies is about aging.   It’s stories of how some older people achieve remarkable successes, how some people make the lives of others better, and how all seniors have hurdles to face — maladies, loss of loved ones and more. I’ll do my best to make the blogs both interesting and humorous.

I began writing about senior issues five years ago.  I am surrounded by older people, 17,000 of them, so I don’t lack for first hand resources. And the internet, used judiciously, can be a great source.  Plus I’ve had fifteen great years as a retiree and I won’t be shy about writing of my own experiences.

The title Growing Old Isn’t For Sissies is most often attributed to the late Bette Davis, quite appropriate I think since she was born not all that far away in Lowell, Massachusetts, and spent considerable time in the Cape Elizabeth area. My thanks to her, posthumous though they are.

About me.

I was born and mostly grew up in Bangor but left at the age of twenty-two when the army gave me an ultimatum: join or be drafted. At my pre-induction physical down on Harlow Street, the doctor said I had pes planus — flat feet.

“Will that keep me out of the infantry?” I asked,

He laughed.   “I doubt it,” he said.   So I joined in hopes of getting some schooling. After basic training I flew to Monterey, California, where I studied Russian for a year, then spent most of the remainder of my three-year enlistment in Helmstedt on what was then the East-West German border.  I was doing stuff that I can’t believe remains secret, but I’m going to keep my mouth shut about it rather than find out the hard way that it is.

I have a BA and an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State, and a lifetime secondary teaching credential from U. C. Berkeley.  I taught high school English and journalism for eighteen years and then became a freelance marketing writer based in Palo Alto for the next twenty years.  My wife Marilyn, who was born in Seattle, is a graduate of the University of Washington — U Dub colloquially. We met in Menlo Park at SRI.  When I first spotted her, she was not only lovely, she was handing out paychecks, two terrific attributes. We have two grown children of whom we are immensely proud: Kathleen, who is a physical therapist in the state of Washington, and Michael, who is an art director in Los Angeles.

In 1999 Marilyn and I abandoned the nine-to-five world and moved to a retirement community fifteen minutes from the ocean in Southern California.


I have long since lost my Downeast accent, but as you can see by my license plate, my Camry has not. I get back to Bangor occasionally, but there are things I continue to miss: the high school basketball tournament each year at the long-departed Bangor Auditorium, the Bangor State Fair in mid-summer, and the chocolate donuts from Franks, my former employer.

And oh yes, most of all, lobster rolls.