The Journal of Jessie S. Sylvester

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Abstract

An abridged version of a journal kept by an elderly woman offers a first-person casebook on issues of aging. Jessie S. Sylvester, a retired secretary who lived alone in Brooklyn, New York, kept a fastidious record of her daily activities between January 1976 and May 1978. She wrote unflinchingly of the challenges of old age: the loss of family and friends, the changes in her neighborhood, and the decline of her own faculties. She also chronicled the comfort she found in chores and errands, the joys of living in an urban village, and vital support provided at the local senior center. Introduction by Ellen Cassedy, who discovered and abridged the diary after Ms. Sylvester's death. Ms. Sylvester's journal is also available in the form of a one-woman play suitable for use at conferences; see Acknowledgments for contact information.

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