A new year's thought — renewing old friendships [Senioro Circles]

This is the start of a New Year and I decided to write about renewing old acquaintances.  What brought this subject to mind is my renewal of friendship with a resident of Morningside Assisted Living in Laurel, where I do a book club every two weeks.  I stop and see her after book club, as she waits to enter the dining room for dinner.

It turns out that this resident, whose name is Rosa, is someone I EOD'ed (entered on duty) with at the National Security Agency in November 1965.  It was hard for me to find out she had been living there for about 15 years, since suffering a stroke. It makes you think about how lucky you are health-wise. 

It is interesting to think about how situations bring people together — again. When I first saw Rosa at Morningside, I asked my friend Harriett, now deceased, if that woman's name was Rosa. She said no, and gave me another name.  I would often ask Harriett the same question and she would always say her name wasn't Rosa.

It wasn't until the night Harriett died, when I went over to check on Harriett's friends, that I found out that the woman I thought was Rosa was, in fact, Rosa. I asked one of Harriett's friends the name of the person sitting near us and she said it is Rosa. I immediately went over to talk to her. She remembered me and since then we have had some good conversations about our times at the NSA and about current events. I now realize that Harriett didn't want me paying attention to anyone but her.

Getting to know Rosa again has inspired me to resolve in this New Year to find friends who I have lost contact with over the last few years. As I have said before, "Friends are very important to me." Unfortunately I have let some friendships lapse over the last few years because of time and commitments. I am not happy about that and need to mend my ways. This is a positive resolution that I can keep.

If you find yourself in this same situation, I encourage you to take stock of lost friendships and see if you can't renew your relationship with at least one of these friends in 2014. You don't know what may have happened to them or their lives in the interim. Find out.

On New Year's Eve, we sang "Auld Lang Syne" or for the sake of old times. Should old acquaintances be forgotten? This is the year to bring them to mind and back into our lives.

In line with my past columns on identify theft and phone scams, I want to pass on some information on tax identity theft.  According to an email I received from Howard County's Department of Citizen Services, Maryland ranks No. 5 in reported incidents of tax ID theft. Today, older adults are more aware of identity theft schemes; however, with tax identity theft, the victim isn't even aware it has happened until well after the theft has occurred and the damage has been done.

You can find out more about the theft of personal information from tax return filings at a Howard County Forum on Tax ID Theft, Tuesday, Jan. 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the North Laurel Community Center, 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, in Laurel. Hosted by the Department of Citizen Services' Office of Consumer Affairs in partnership with the Federal Trade Commission, the forum will feature a panel discussion with experts from the FTC, Internal Revenue Service, American Association of Retired Persons and Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, among others.

Attend this seminar and learn how to prevent tax identity theft and what steps you need to take if your identity is stolen. A question-and-answer session will follow.

To find out more about this forum, call the Office of Consumer Affairs at 410-313-6420 or go to howardcountymd.gov/taxidtheft.htm.

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