Being published in an anthology of written wisdom wasn’t necessarily something Linda Berkery had always wanted to do, but she was inspired to take that leap about a year ago after seeing an ad in a magazine seeking written narratives that provided insight and inspiration.
The publishers liked what they saw, and Latham native Berkery found her story included in the anthology “Let the Clock Run Wild: Wit and Wisdom from Boomers and Bobbysoxers,” a collection of stories by writers over the age of 60.
Berkery had taken a writing class when she turned 60 and met Robyn Ringler, who told her she should submit her writings to be published. After seeing the ad in Poets & Writers magazine, she decided to write about the stroke her husband’s suffered on his 39th birthday.
“At the time I actually wrote it, we realized it’s been 25 years since (he) had that stroke. My daughter is turning 39 this year, and it’s bringing a lot of this back up. It’s kind of dawning on her that 39 is pretty young,” said Berkery.
The ad was looking for “narratives and poems designed to inspire the reader.” In a description of the book, editors Judy Warner Scher and Jewell Reinhart Coburn said they wanted to include stories that readers could relate to.
“We want readers to respond to these stories with the feeling of ‘A-ha,’ yes, I have experienced that, and that means I’m not alone, or I didn’t see that wisdom within a similar situation I experienced or perhaps I failed to look beneath the surface of things. We have all tried to live rich, meaningful and purposeful lives, and it is time that there be a forum for our voices,” they wrote.
Berkery’s narrative, titled “Touchstones of Faith,” details what the family went through on that day many years ago. The editors were looking for wisdom in particular situations, and Berkery said her faith helped her through a tough time.
Faith plays a big role in her life. She works as a pastoral assistant at Our Lady of Assumption, and the passage she chose from her book of prayers was a reminder to appreciate the small things in life, like the blessing of a good doctor.
When Berkery and her husband, Jack, got to the hospital, the doctor said that they needed to pick a specialist for Jack’s heart but that he wasn’t allowed to make a suggestion.
“He said I can’t recommend anyone, but you really need a cardiac specialist. But he said, if you were to tell me doctor — and he mentioned the name — was a very good doctor, I would agree with you,” said Berkery.
“It really was a blessing. That got my husband to a cardiologist, and he’s been with him for 25 years.” Berkery said.
Berkery said her husband, who she met in high school, had an aortic valve fixed and has made a full recovery. He is also a runner and athlete.
Berkery has also been published in local newspapers and religious publications and said she has always enjoyed writing. She writes letters that she calls “daily prayers of gratitude” to people that do nice things, from shoveling the driveway to cleaning the bathroom.
Her story is published in the section titled “The Gift of Endless Benefits” and is surrounded with other stories about people making the best of situations. The book is available online at Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.