02 Aug Senior in Action – Ron Singerton
Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.
Senior in Action – Ron Singerton
Q: Ron, what forces shaped the active person you are today??
Singerton: “As a youth, I watched my father paint murals on our walls at home. That was an inspiring influence and I began painting when I entered college. About twenty years ago I started sculpting in stone: marble, alabaster, onyx – a favorite activity. My father was also a fencing master, and fencing (mostly saber) was my sport in college.
I always enjoyed word craft, history and storytelling. I read books about the WWI fighter pilot squadron, the Lafayette Escadrille; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Samuel Clemens; and The Second World War series by Winston Churchill. Being small for my age, books became my sanctuary. My first writing was a series of mini-U.S. history books for my 8th grade students when I taught in the LA Unified School District in the ‘70s. The kids loved them because each was a play with speaking parts. But my serious writing began in 2003, when I wrote my first historical novel, “Villa of Deceit,” a coming of age story set in ancient Rome. Its sequel, The Silk and the Sword, takes place on the Silk Road and progresses to the Great Wall of China, which my wife Darla and I saw in person in 2019.
While stationed on Hokkaido, Japan during my service in the U.S. Army from ’66-’70, I gained wonderful exposure to a new culture. My job in the Army Security Agency was top secret stuff, nothing heroic. Before corona virus quarantines, Darla and I travelled frequently and explored many unique cultures.”
Q: How many books have you written? Can you share advice for aspiring writers?
Singerton: “I’ve written four books published by Penmore Press, and a 5th manuscript. The four published books are: Villa of Deceit, The Silk and the Sword; A Cherry Blossom in Winter, and its sequel A Blossom in the Ashes. A Cherry Blossom in Winter*, is a love story between a young Russian aristocrat and a Japanese girl during the Russo Japanese war era. (*won Goethe 1st Place Award for historical fiction in 2017). Its sequel, A Blossom in the Ashes, follows the family into WWII. Two brothers on opposite sides, one woman they both love and a horrific war in the Pacific. Readers can order these novels through my website www.ronsingerton.com or via Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The newest manuscript, The Refused, features an American Civil War Union officer who goes to Paris in 1869 to become an artist but the Franco Prussian War turns his world upside down.
My tip for writers? I suggest they join a literary group related to the genre in which they plan to write. That’s how I met the CEO of Penmore Press.”
Q: Are you a native Californian?
Singerton: “I was born in Los Angeles in March 1942, and grew up in Rosemead and Lakewood. I graduated from CSU Long Beach with a history major, art minor in 1965. In the 70’s, my graduate work focused on international studies. My love of history led to my teaching career at the middle school and high school level. I made presentations to university students and community groups regarding the American Civil War. My hobby was ‘time travel’ as a Union cavalry reenactor until twelve years ago. I appeared in uniform and on a few occasions brought my horse. My wife Darla, a retired Captain with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, suggested that I join the Sheriff’s mounted posse as a volunteer. I did. One year, our posse attended the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival. We must have looked intimidating when 10 of us paraded on horseback into the Indio fairgrounds, because the crowd grew very still. Suddenly, mariachi music blared into the arena, and my horse Sundance pranced along in time. Applause and whistles erupted from the crowd, and the whole atmosphere lightened. My horse had rhythm, but never had dance lessons.”
Q: Where do you live now?
Singerton: “Our home is on Hwy 243 between Banning and Idyllwild. From 2008 to 2016, my wife and I owned an art gallery in Idyllwild featuring her magnificent jewelry and my paintings and sculptures. The largest amount of work I did was bronze casting and wall sculptures. We still do art commissions (call 951-849-3870) and I hope someday to teach stone sculpting for cruise ship passengers. There is something primeval about working in stone. It’s like touching the past while creating something new that may last centuries.”
Q: How are you maintaining your sanity during this pandemic?
Singerton: “Darla puts me to work. I used to exercise at a gym, but one can lose weight building cinderblock walls and cutting down trees. Darla and I cancelled all our trips, drink wine and margaritas, watch the hawks and read books on our veranda every afternoon! When it’s not too hot I work on stone sculptures outside (where I can make lots of dust) and write and paint large abstracts in the studio. We miss sharing fun times with our grandson Brent, and twin granddaughters Kate and Emma in Yorba Linda, but stay connected with my son Mark and family, and with Darla’s family in NY by phone.
For my latest venture, I’m partnering with a lady who owns “Betty’s Photos on Fabric” www.bettysphotosonfabric.com to make personalized reusable face masks. Our masks will feature the faces of its wearers from the nose down. People can email photos of themselves, their pets or children to go on the masks to email@example.com. No more anonymity! We hope to have them on the market soon. Very exciting.”
OK, NBY readers! Here’s your challenge. Tell us how you are being creative during this pandemic! Are you trying new recipes and sharing your cooking? Scrapbooking, or writing your memoir? Building playhouses in the backyard for the grandkids? We want to hear your story. Submit c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822