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Joe Novara

Joe Novara, Author of I'm Here
Retired corporate trainer and writing instructor, Joe Novara and his wife live in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Writings include novels, short stories, poems, anthologies and articles. Seven of his young adult novels are accessible through He also maintains a web/blog titled, Writing for Homeschooled Boys His latest novel, Come Saturday…Come Sunday, (Cawing Crow Press, 2016) is available through Amazon. Reviews: Just some author friends…


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I'm Here by Joe Novara

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I'm Here by Joe Novara I’m Here is a coming-of-old-age novel about three unattached men and the women who come to grace their lives. Tre, a retired creative writing professor, takes up residence in a senior community so his injured hip can heal without the challenges of his three-story house. Marjorie, his former non-traditional student, invites Tre to join her resident writing group and eventually a fuller relationship. A childhood buddy, Sal, is in the community as well, but unhappily so. When Sal finds a way to escape institutional living, Bernice, a long-time neighbor and friend welcomes him into her home and life. Vinnie, soft-spoken carpenter, life-long bachelor, happens upon Tre’s ex-wife and the startling joys of relationship. What do the women in this silver romance see in these men…can they count on them to be there for them?

Word Count: 40000
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $ 3.99


I'm Here


Sal’s lip quivers as he chews his vegetable soup, like he might be ready to cry. He stabs at his mouth with his embossed napkin trying to staunch the overrun. “Purging,” he mumbles at the risk of dribbling more soup. “My daughter and son-in-law want to throw out all my stuff. They kept telling me to purge. To basically dump my whole life on the curb.”

Funny thing. We grew up in the same neighborhood. Lived across the street from each other for years and now we’re stuck in the same retirement home in a maze of endless, carpeted corridors with varnished handrails leading to elevator coves and the occasional outside door. As if we could get very far even if we left. It’s a prison basically. And they call it Shelden Ponds.

Turns out, Sal got sentenced because he took too much time trying to decide what to keep and what to throw out. So, by now they probably got a dumpster on the front lawn and are shoveling out his place, so they can sell it and pay for him to live in his cream-colored apartment. I feel sorry for the poor bastard.

Now, me, I ended up in here when my hip got shattered in a car accident. When they got ready to release me from the hospital I couldn’t just go back home where my bed and bathroom are upstairs, not to mention the titanium plates, rehab and a lingering infection.

So, my daughters, Carrie and Lisa, decided to ease their consciences by getting me into this place where I could navigate with an electric cart like some old lady in the supermarket. They don’t realize I still got game. And as soon as I get on my pins again, I’m outta here.

I mean, look past Sal, poking at his broccoli casserole… by the way, did you ever notice that these senior places all smell like overcooked broccoli? Where was I? Oh yeah. Look past Sal and you think of Lake Michigan with white caps. There’s a sea of white hair bobbing up and down all around me. I’m drowning in senility here. I’m not as old or as frail as these folks. I’m not in the target demographic for this place. They can’t sentence a juvenile to life. I’m only seventy-three, for crying out loud, surrounded by eighty-five-year-olds… mostly.

That lady at 2:00-high appears a little more my age. Now she’s eyeing me. You go ahead, sweetheart. Don’t let me stop you from staring. Do we know each other? She looks familiar. But then, if you’ve lived in this town for thirty years and taught at the university, a lot of people can look familiar.

She’s not turning away. In fact, she’s giving me a little smile. Damn. And now the woman next to her is following her gaze, checking me out. They whisper and giggle. Are we back in third grade lunchroom? Or maybe a better analogy—are the alpha mares scoping the new stud in the pasture? Dream on, doofus. The hallways aren’t wide enough to drive our carts side-by-side as we ride into the sunset. But that’s going to change. For me. Just wait.

“Sal, who’re those women in the table off your left shoulder?” He puts down his spoon and napkin, straightens his shoulders, hands bracing the table for a creaky turn. “No, don’t look,” I say.

He sighs, lifts his chin in the general direction. “Them?”


“The ‘Yah-yahs, that’s what we call them.”

“We? There’s only like ten guys and two hundred women here.”

“And the five of us who aren’t married stick together. You make six.”

Why doesn’t that excite me? One more newbie and we could be the Magnificent Seven. Until I get out of Dodge.

“Why Yah-yahs?” I ask.

“How do I know? That’s who they are. They’re always together, on all the committees. Decorations. Flower shows. All that…”

The woman with the dark eyes and eyebrows under a well-coiffed pewter helmet… I’ve come to fancy that look, lately… offers me a head bob. Why do I feel like I’m about to be vetted by the League of Women Voters?

“Yeah, they’ll be scoping you out. Fresh meat. Ha!” he barks, color rising in his cheeks along with an incipient grin. “Reminds of the story of the new guy in the Catskills hotel… you heard this one?”

“I don’t know yet… go on.”

“This guy shows up at a hotel in the Catskills. A blue hair lady slides up next to him. ‘So, you’re new here,’ she goes. ‘Where’re you from?’ He goes, ‘Prison. Just got out.’ The lady says, ‘What were you in for?’ The guy says, ‘Murdered my wife.’ The lady goes, ‘So, you’re single.’”

Sal laughs and laughs. Then he starts to cough. About the time I decide I should hand him my water, ‘pewter lady’ is standing next to me. No cane. No walker. Nice legs.

“Sal must have sprung one of his groaners on you. Don’t encourage him. It’s bad for his COPD.”

“I see,” is all I can think to say.

“You’re new here. Welcome to The Ponds. I’m Marjorie. Marjorie Olson, with the welcoming committee.”

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