Sometimes, the stories we publish on a given week are connected in unexpected ways.

Take, for instance, our features on Mantachie’s Ruth Hammerman (1A) and Fulton’s Vicky Gray (9A). Neither story … the former of which is about a retired Army veteran who’s been slowly building her own house over a period of years, and the latter of which tells about a former elementary art teacher who decided to open her own antique shop … have any direct ties to the other, and the women they feature likely couldn’t be more dissimilar in personalities.

And yet, it doesn’t require much digging to find connective tissues between the two. Both features tell stories about local women who, late in life, have in a sense, started again. Not from scratch, of course. Both Hammerman and Gray have charted their post-retirement courses using the skills and interests they garnered from their long careers. Still, both Itawambians have used their retirements to pursue their passions. Hammerman built (or, more accurately, is building) her house in rural Mantachie following an epiphany in the woodlands of Germany. And Gray decided to open her own business in order to combine her lifelong love of antiques and artwork (hence the term she’s coined, “artiquities”).

It’s always an interesting exercise to search for the ways in which we are connected, for those threads which tie our stories, no matter how different they may be, together.

adam.armour@journalinc.com

Twitter: @admarmr​

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