Inspiring stories of success, joy and refusing retirement from renegades rocking life after 50.

Episode 10 with Anne Montgomery

Featuring Anne Montgomery

Episode 010 Smashing Stereotypes

There’s a popular Japanese proverb that says, *“Fall down seven times, get up eight.”* Today’s guest, Anne Montgomery, started part of her illustrious sports career with at least THREE literal fall downs, but then there were also the metaphorical ones along the way. With an amazing journey as a sportscaster, facing off with ageism, and then becoming a teacher and a best-selling author…we can all learn a LOT from Anne’s experience and wisdom.

WATCH THE EPISODE BELOW:

SHOW NOTES:

Favorite Quotes

“Life just happens. It’s not always great, but if we were happy all the time, we wouldn’t appreciate it.”-Anne Montgomery.

“This is me, out there being in the midst of it, being in the fray. Not being on the sidelines and being right there because I just love it so much.”

Favorite Moments from the Interview

Anne has so many great stories, and I loved hearing about her rise as a sportscaster when she was one of the only women in the field!

Why the Renegade Boomer Community will love it

Anne tells it like it is, and she is fascinating!

Her strength shines through each of her stories…stories of disappointment, discrimination, insights, and triumphs.

I felt like I’d just like to sit around a campfire out in the wilds of Arizona under a moonlit sky and listen to her stories for hours. I think you might feel like that too.

So, let’s gather round…and listen in…while Anne Montgomery tells us more of her incredible stories of shattering stereotypes, powerfully prevailing, and embracing the serendipitous intersections of life.


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View Transcript

[00:00:00] Tina: Hey, beautiful Renegades! Thanks for joining me again today for the Renegade Boomer™ Podcast. I’m your host, Tina Lorenz, and I’m really excited today because for one thing, I’ve got an Arizonan, a fellow person from Arizona. It’s a rare event to be able to talk to someone in the state that I live in as well.

And that’s Anne Montgomery. And Anne is just like, I don’t know, I’m gonna ask her if she has a time stretcher because she just has accomplished so many things, done so many things. She has been a television sportscaster, a newspaper, a magazine writer, a teacher, an amateur sports official, even though from the sound of things when I was chatting with her before, she didn’t miss out on the injuries that can happen from being on the field.

And she worked at various television networks from Georgia all the way here to Phoenix. And she actually finished her stint in broadcasting for doing a show for two years with the, let’s see, who is it? I can’t remember the name of the team.

[00:00:49] Anne: The Phoenix Suns?

[00:00:49] Tina: Phoenix Suns, right. And has taught at the university level, high school level, written a whole parcel of books. We’ll talk about those. But I just wanna welcome you to our podcast today, so welcome. Welcome, welcome.

[00:01:00] Anne: Well, thank you. I’m glad to be here.

[00:01:02] Tina: Yeah, this is gonna be fun. You also are a foster mom to three sons and a daughter. Did I remember that correctly?

[00:01:08] Anne: That’s correct. They’re all in their 20s now, but I’m still mom and-

[00:01:11] Tina: Yeah.

[00:01:11] Anne: Yes.

[00:01:12] Tina: Once a mom always a mom, kinda like the marines, you know, once a mom, always a mom. And I wanted to comment too, we’ll talk more about your books here at the end, but just the titles are just so juicy because you know, I started off life as a copywriter, my online career. And I just love words and I love the origins of them and the way they make you feel.

And I wrote down some of your books. “The Scent of Rain”, that just activates the senses. And you have one called “Wolf Catcher”, so that one’s intriguing. “Wild Horses On The Salt”, I love that. A lot of them have kind of an Arizona-

[00:01:41] Anne: Five of them are based in Arizona.

[00:01:43] Tina: Yeah, and “A Light In The Desert”.

[00:01:44] Anne: My love letters to Arizona.

[00:01:45] Tina: Yeah. Yeah. So we’ll talk about all of that. But what I wanted to jump right into is that you have had a long career in a very male-dominated area of life, and that’s sports, right?

[00:01:57] Anne: Yes.

[00:01:57] Tina: So, how did you even get into that in the first place?

[00:02:00] Anne: Well, you know, it’s funny, I was an ice skater growing up. I was an extremely mediocre ice skater, but in my little brain, I had visions of gold medals in the Olympics, which was never going to happen because my parents were very smart and didn’t let me just be a skater. I knew those kids who only skated 365 days a year. That’s all they did. My parents were like, “No! You’re not doing that. You can skate, but you’re also going to camp and you’re gonna be a Girl Scout and you’re gonna be in theater.”

I was in theater and that’s how it started because I had this desire to be an athlete, but I was also in a lot of theater productions growing up. I really blossomed in the theater.

I was an obese kid and bullied and teased. And when I got in theater, it changed things. So I’m in theater where I definitely like the applause and the microphones, but I loved sports at the same time. And so when my mother came to me when I was getting ready to go to college, she said- My mother, by the way, she’s 98, has a college degree, was a reporter in the 1950s.

[00:02:55] Tina: Oh wow.

[00:02:55] Anne: My mom was a freak. She was the only mother that had a college degree. So she’s standing there in her cat eye glasses, her spike heels, and she said, “So, what do you wanna be? We have to pick a college.”

And I said, “I’m gonna be a sportscaster.”

And she said, “I’m trying to have a serious conversation with you.”

[00:03:13] Tina: She didn’t have to clutch pearls or anything over that, did she?

[00:03:16] Anne: Almost clutch. But here’s the thing. In high school, I became part of what was called the broadcast crew, and we did the morning announcements and we actually had, it was like, a radio station. And one morning, for whatever reason, I grabbed all the sports announcements, and I was the only girl on the crew. And the guys started arguing with me. They said, “You can’t read the sports. You’re a girl. Girls don’t do that.” And I’m like, “Hah!”

Luckily for me, the teacher who controlled the broadcast crew was also the director of all the plays. So he knew me. He goes, “If Annie wants to read the sports, she can read the sports.” And the guys were mad.

[00:03:51] Tina: Yeah.

[00:03:51] Anne: And so, they, without me knowing, gave me a theme song and it was the theme song to Mission Impossible. Right? And then they decided they were gonna call me Big Anne with the sports. Right?

[00:04:04] Tina: I haven’t seen you in person, but I bet you’re tiny.

[00:04:06] Anne: Well they were trying to make fun of me and everything, but I liked it.

And so suddenly, all the sports teams and coaches would bring me their announcements to read. So I became a sportscaster and that’s why when my mother asked me, I said I wanna be a sportscaster. Well, this was ridiculous. It was 1972. There weren’t women sportscasters. I didn’t know that. I admit now I was kind of silly.

And I went to college, Miami of Ohio, a great place to go to school. And I went to my professors and said, “I’m gonna be a sportscaster.” And they said, “No, you’re not. You’re a girl.”

[00:04:36] Tina: Wow. They actually said that.

[00:04:36] Anne: There’s this theme going. And so they did allow me to do some sports broadcasting. However, the football coach, the basketball coach, and the baseball coach all refused to speak to me.

[00:04:47] Tina: Oh, wow.

[00:04:48] Anne: However, there were a lot of other teams—wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, volleyball—that no one paid attention to. Those kids loved that I covered their sports.

[00:04:57] Tina: So those weren’t real sports either, right?

[00:05:00] Anne: Well, no!

[00:05:00] Tina: In their view, I mean.

[00:05:01] Anne: Yeah, and their coaches were delighted to get attention. So I got out with a degree in communication/journalism, went to Washington DC, lived with my aunt, who was more like a sister. And I couldn’t get a job, couldn’t even get an application to get a job.

And a strange thing happened. I went to a Washington Capitals game with my aunt one night, and a friend of hers came with us and he happened to be an amateur ice hockey official. Now, I’m talking amateur, you know, kids, little kids.

[00:05:28] Tina: Yeah.

[00:05:28] Anne: And he was bemoaning the fact that there simply weren’t enough referees. Kind of like today, we don’t have enough either. And my aunt said, “Oh, Annie skates.” Well, I’ve never been on hockey skates in my life. I was a figure skater, right? And I said, “Yes, I do.” And he said, “Would you like to be a referee?” And I said, “Why not? Sure.” I was working in a bar at the time in Georgetown, which was great fun. It must have.

[00:05:49] Tina: Yes, I’m sure.

[00:05:50] Anne: And I went to that first hockey game and it was a disaster. I was doing five-year-old kids. Have you ever seen little five-year-olds play hockey?

[00:05:57] Tina: I have not, but I can. I have a vivid imagination.

[00:06:00] Anne: Their jerseys at their ankles. They’re little helmet’s askew, you know, so I’m out there.

[00:06:05] Tina: Puppies on skates. Yeah.

[00:06:07] Anne: But I’ve never been on hockey skates before, so there’s a big difference between hockey skates and figure skates. Hockey skates don’t have toe picks.

[00:06:14] Tina: Does that mean you’re not supposed to be able to stop?

[00:06:16] Anne: You don’t stop that way. I mean, figure skaters use them to land jumps, okay? But lazy figure skaters like me use them to get up and stuff. So I’m taking my first face off with these five-year-olds and I fell.

[00:06:29] Tina: Oh my God.

[00:06:29] Anne: And I couldn’t get back up because I kept, out of habit, digging the top of my blade into the ice. I kept falling down. I fell down three times, taking my first face off.

But on the way home, I don’t remember the rest of the game, on the way home, I had this epiphany. I said, you know, I never got to play football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball. And I don’t know enough about those games to be a good sportscaster. So I thought I would take five years and officiate those five sports and that somewhere some forward-thinking news director would say, “Oh, she must know about sports. She’s a referee.” And so that’s what I did.

[00:07:05] Tina: Wow.

[00:07:06] Anne: I took five years. The restaurant I worked in scheduled around my ballgames. I don’t think I ever sat down for five years because I was always either waitressing or officiating. And my parents were appalled.

[00:07:18] Tina: “What’s gonna happen to our daughter?”

[00:07:20] Anne: No, it’s not that. No. My mother was embarrassed. They came down and had an intervention. They took me to lunch and they go, “What are we supposed to tell our friends that you’re doing?” I said, “Tell them I’m a referee with a plate.”

[00:07:32] Tina: “Tell ’em the truth.”

[00:07:33] Anne: Yeah. And she absolutely was furious.

[00:07:36] Tina: Oh my God.

[00:07:37] Anne: They didn’t speak to me for several years.

[00:07:39] Tina: Wow!

[00:07:40] Anne: I was an embarrassment to the family. And it’s very funny because my mother, as I said, she’s 98. And she lives in a retirement home up in Denver. And like a year ago, she read one of my books, and she got to my bio and she’s reading it. She calls me and she goes, “You know, you’ve done a lot of things.” I’m like, “Where have you been, mom? Where have you been?”

[00:08:00] Tina: That happened during those couple years when you weren’t talking to me.

[00:08:04] Anne: Clearly. So, yeah. Now she’s cool with it, but she’s 98.

[00:08:06] Tina: Oh, that’s so funny. Oh my gosh.

[00:08:08] Anne: The officiating became my means to an end. But then I couldn’t quit because I loved being an official. I always thought I’d quit when I became a sportscaster. I mean, I ended up working for five TV stations, including ESPN where I anchored SportsCenter, and I never quit officiating until 2019, and it still makes me sad. I miss that more than teaching. I miss it more than broadcasting.

[00:08:30] Tina: Oh, wow.

[00:08:31] Anne: Yeah, so I was still doing football at that point.

[00:08:34] Tina: Well, let’s talk about that officiating for a minute because I asked you this and you clarify that you’re not just like sitting on a bench with a whistle.

[00:08:42] Anne: Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no.

[00:08:44] Tina: You’re like in the middle of it, right?

[00:08:47] Anne: Yeah. And obviously in baseball, I’m behind the catcher. I’m calling balls and strikes or safes and outs, or I’m out in the field. In football, are you a football fan at all on the Super Bowl weekend? Okay. I’ll explain something.

[00:09:01] Tina: So, tell me now who’s playing in it. That should tell you something.

[00:09:04] Anne: The Eagles and the Chiefs.

[00:09:06] Tina: Okay, thank you. We’ll talk in the email.

[00:09:10] Anne: We’ll talk about the officials and you can win beer on this in any bar. Ask people how many referees are on a football field, and mostly they’ll go four, eight, six. They don’t know. The bottom line is there’s only one. It’s the one with the white hat, the one that says, “I have holding. Offense, number 76. It remains-“ you know.

I became the referee and crew chief because for the first 14 years I did football, men kept throwing me off their crews because they said, “We’re never gonna get the big games with you. You’re a woman.” And they were right.

So finally I went, “Screw this! I’m gonna get a bunch of guys. They know what they’re gonna get. They’re gonna get me. You wanna work with me? Walk up and ask. And then you’re gonna know we’re never gonna get the championship, but we’re gonna have fun and we’re gonna work hard. We’re gonna do the best job we can.” And that’s what happened. I ended up with men who stayed on my crew for 12 years, 10 years. And I miss that. I miss walking out on the field.

And I look at it two ways. Sometimes, I would walk out, I’m leaving the game, and people go, “Hey man, the ref’s a girl.” And I would feel good about that at first. And then as a woman, I’d go, “Damn, I wish they noticed I was a girl.”

[00:10:19] Tina: But you got injured and stuff too. I mean, this was not- You actually got hurt doing this.

[00:10:24] Anne: It happens all the time even though as the referee, I’m in the offensive backfield, so I’m back with a quarterback. Sometimes, there are fumble recoveries or interceptions, and they run at me.

[00:10:34] Tina: Yeah.

[00:10:34] Anne: And I broke my back about 30 years ago in a game. I broke my leg in a baseball game because the kid ran into me because he wasn’t looking. That was on him. But yes, it is dangerous and every year, officials careers are ended by injuries because we’re out in the middle of everything.

You’ve got 22 guys running around a football field. They don’t care if they hit me, and I’m smaller than they are. I mean, even in high school, we got 300-pound linemen. So yeah, it’s dangerous. And that’s why I retired because I couldn’t get out of the way anymore.

[00:11:00] Tina: So as we’re talking about anti-retirement movement, you know, but yet I hear that, “Oh my gosh, that kind of pain of I can’t do that thing anymore.” And so how has that been for you? Because it sounds like a large portion of your identity has really been connected to, “This is me. This is me. This is me out there, being in the midst of it, being in the fray, not being on the sidelines and being right there because I just love it so much.” So how’s that been for you to work on transitioning?

[00:11:26] Anne: It’s been very difficult, honestly. And I ended up teaching for 20 years too. So I retired from teaching, and that fall I had retired from football. So those two things, you know, like a lot of people with jobs, we think we are what we do.

[00:11:42] Tina: Right.

[00:11:42] Anne: And that’s not really true. That’s just something that we do. We’re not that thing. But I think a lot of people who spend their lives in careers that are important to them, they feel like this is what I am, you know, I’m a teacher, I’m a referee. I was a sports reporter until I was no longer pretty enough to be one. Because, you know, women age out of TV.

[00:12:01] Tina: You told me- Share what age that was.

[00:12:04] Anne: I worked for five TV stations, and TV reporting is like being in minor league baseball. Minor league baseball starts in A ball, little tiny towns. Then it moves to a bigger town, double A, bigger town, triple A. Then finally, you make the major leagues, right? So, I said I ended up at ESPN anchoring SportsCenter for a couple of years. I think I was 38 maybe, 36 or 37. But the idea is that the sports audience is primarily 18 to 34-year-old males. So if you’re over 34, they said that you’re not hot enough anymore.

[00:12:34] Tina: Well, then they had HD cameras now you know.

[00:12:36] Anne: Oh my God! When I saw those, I’m like, I’m so glad I’m not in TV now.

[00:12:41] Tina: But I mean, we’re laughing at some of these things, but really as you went through the process, you probably weren’t laughing too much.

[00:12:47] Anne: No. And that’s all I wanted to be. I mean, I didn’t get a job in television until I was 28, because I was refereeing and really, there were no options at all back then. And then finally, when I did get that first job, then I spent 10 years in TV.

But at that point, I’m pushing 40. I was probably 38 by my last job. And I couldn’t get a job anywhere. I had an agent with a big company. I couldn’t get a job anywhere in the country because I wasn’t pretty enough to be in front of a camera anymore. And I couldn’t get a job doing anything. I came back to Phoenix because I was in Connecticut at that point. I came back to Phoenix because this became my home, even though I lived in eight states. But I came back here and I even went into a sports bar one day, and they were looking for a bartender. I said, “I can bar, I can make a great drink, and I can keep your patrons interested even when they’re sober.”

[00:13:34] Tina: Because you can have the conversation. You can engage them, relationships, you know, in conversation.

[00:13:39] Anne: And that guy looked me up and down.

[00:13:41] Tina: Oh my gosh. Literally, like-

[00:13:43] Anne: Literally. And he said, “No thanks.” I will tell you, I did quite a bit of feeling sorry for me. I really did. And I’m embarrassed now that I was such a jerk because I ended up becoming a teacher.

I went back to college at 42 to get my teaching degree because people kept telling me to be a teacher because I’d spent so many years officiating high school sports. So I was used to boys. I wasn’t used to girls because I didn’t do girl sports. But, yeah, so I went back to school, I became a teacher in a Title I school, which is where most of the kids live in poverty.

[00:14:19] Tina: Mm-hmm.

[00:14:19] Anne: So we had kids who, their parents are drug addicts or they’re homeless, or you know, they have no food. So that was a normal thing.

So I started to realize what a jerk I was. I was raised in a middle class family in New Jersey, you know. They paid for me to go to college. I realized what a spoiled brat I was.

And I taught in the same school for 20 years. And that’s why I’m a mom because at the end of the school year, I always put my phone number on the board because my kids were in such difficult situations. I said, “If you get in trouble and you don’t have anyone to call, here’s my number,” though they said never give the kids your number, but I did.

And one kid called me that summer and it turns out he ended up in foster care, and he called me and said, “Ms. Montgomery, I’m hungry.” And I was furious. I’m stomping up and down the hall like an angry bear. And one of the other teachers said, “What are you mad about?” And I told her, and she goes, “Well, why don’t you call the foster care people and say you’ll take them to live with you?”

[00:15:12] Tina: So they said it in a very derisive tone, like, “Yeah. Why don’t you that?” “Guess what, challenge issued?” What’d you do?

[00:15:20] Anne: I called the foster care people. I was 55. I couldn’t have any children of my own, and that bothered me when I was younger, but I figured I’m never gonna be a mom, so fine. And I called and I knew a judge through officiating, and I called his office and I said, “I need some help here.” And because I was a teacher, my fingerprints were already on record and my background check was already done with the state. So two weeks later, he was dropped off at my door, and I had a just barely 15-year-old kid who is Hispanic and born in Mexico and became an orphan here.

And it was hysterical, a lot of it. But after that, I had three more. So, all of them were my students. One girl was homeless. In fact, she and her mother lived here for a while. That was interesting. It was interesting. It really was.

So, if I hadn’t gotten out of TV when I did, I wouldn’t have been a teacher, and I wouldn’t be a mom.

[00:16:10] Tina: Yes. Isn’t that amazing how life works, right?

[00:16:13] Anne: Yeah. And a grandmother.

[00:16:14] Tina: That was one of your biggest maybe heartaches or heartbreaks that you had to make this transition ended up giving you one of the greatest gifts.

[00:16:21] Anne: Right. I spend the weekend- I’m a rock collector and I took my oldest son, his little boy, and my youngest son, and my partner and all of us went out, went rock collecting in the desert, and it was wonderful. I’m like, okay. Somehow, I ended up a grandma.

[00:16:35] Tina: I was gonna say, now you’re a grandparent too. And that’s the best part of all, you know. You get to go through all the stuff with them from the time they’re very little, but you don’t have to stay up all night or anything like that.

[00:16:44] Anne: So I think the thing is, is that life just happens. As I try to explain to my kids, it’s not always great, but if we were happy all the time, we wouldn’t appreciate it.

[00:16:55] Tina: Yeah. That’s the yin and yang, the two sides, the duality, I mean, that’s just part of life, right?

[00:17:00] Anne: I used to ask my students, I said, “If you could be happy a hundred percent of the time, how many of you would wanna do that?” And they all raised their hands. I said, “Then how would you know you’re happy if that was your normal state?” So, yeah, I wouldn’t change much of anything.

[00:17:13] Tina: So, what do you think started happening in your thinking, not counting that you all of a sudden became a mother, you know? But up to that, how had you processed that? What started shifting in your thinking?

[00:17:22] Anne: About being a mom, you mean?

[00:17:24] Tina: No, I mean about just the disappointment, the sadness of leaving behind that part and then as you have gotten older that now, you can’t do the officiating, you know, these things that have gotten little takeaways as we’re getting older, right? Trade offs, you know.

[00:17:38] Anne: I think what started me on the road to rethinking things, when I came back here after being on national TV, suddenly I couldn’t get a job, and I went back to officiating. And so we do baseball all year round here in Arizona and football and that’s all I was doing. And I didn’t wanna run into anybody I knew because I was horrified because my ego was so big that all I could think of was, “What am I gonna tell them I’m doing, calling Pop Warner baseball?” So I’m embarrassed.

In the meantime, I meet a man who ended up becoming my baseball partner. For five years, he and I officiated baseball. He was a Vietnam vet with terrible post-traumatic stress, had been wounded, and had eight kids, and quite honestly was slowly losing his mind. We became baseball partners and that meant that we would do doubleheaders three or four nights a week. So we spent a lot of time together before, in the middle of the games, and afterwards. And I whined all the time.

My husband was an alcoholic. We got divorced. But at the time, we were still married. And all I did was complain about my life and about how I couldn’t be on TV anymore. And he never complained.

[00:18:44] Tina: Mm-hmm.

[00:18:44] Anne: And then he started to tell me about Vietnam and the things that happened to him, and I realized what a jerk I was, comparatively speaking. I had nothing to worry about.

[00:18:53] Tina: Is this your second jerk dumb realization, I think, you told, that you were identifying yourself as.

[00:19:00] Anne: Well, because Don helped me. And he was my best friend. He’s deceased. He died from Agent Orange poisoning and ramifications of that. And it was difficult because he had a wife and eight kids and they didn’t quite understand our relationship. And sometimes, people misunderstood. But he taught me a great deal. In fact, my first book, which is called “A Light In The Desert”, is about him.

[00:19:21] Tina: Oh, wow.

[00:19:22] Anne: Yeah, so I wrote it for him. And before he died, his wife read it to him, and then he died shortly thereafter.

[00:19:28] Tina: Oh, I’m glad he got to hear it. I’m glad he got to hear it.

[00:19:31] Anne: Yeah. And many of the stories were his stories. And it’s about a troubled man who was a sniper in the war. Now, Don wasn’t a sniper, but he was special forces and, those were his stories, and it was about his struggle. It’s fictionalized, of course.

[00:19:43] Tina: Mm-hmm.

[00:19:44] Anne: But I wrote that for him and in the meantime I learned. And then when I became a teacher, I went, “What do I have to complain about?” I don’t really. You know, my life’s beautiful compared to all these other people. So, it makes you start to rethink things a little bit. So, yeah, I now know I’m a spoiled brat. I do.

[00:20:03] Tina: Our aging into our spoiled brattiness.

[00:20:07] Anne: But, you know, I look back and I go, I’ve accomplished now, I still have- As a matter of fact, I was writing a story about this the other day about how some of us still feel the need to prove ourselves all the time. I’ve done everything I said I would do. I did all the things that people said I couldn’t do, and yet I still have that nagging little voice in my head saying, “You have to do more.” So Ryan is my partner, and he goes, “Can’t you just relax?”

[00:20:31] Tina: And what do you say when he asked you that? What do you say?

[00:20:34] Anne: I’m like, “I try.” I mean, I’m trying to get better about that. But he’ll say, “What did you do today?” And I’ll say, “Oh, I didn’t do anything.” And then I’ll list 10 things I did. He goes, “How is that doing nothing?”

[00:20:43] Tina: So I’m curious. Do you mind if I ask if Ryan is retired or working?

[00:20:47] Anne: Ryan, when the pandemic came, his business shut down and it never reopened.

[00:20:52] Tina: Oh, okay.

[00:20:52] Anne: So he ended up being forced into retirement.

[00:20:55] Tina: Hmm.

[00:20:56] Anne: Which isn’t a terrible thing. He had planned ahead, invested wisely, that kind of thing. But his mother has dementia. And she lives with him. So, we’ve been dating 30 years.

[00:21:07] Tina: Still getting to know each other, huh?

[00:21:09] Anne: Different homes. We live eight houses apart.

[00:21:12] Tina: Oh, that’s so funny.

[00:21:12] Anne: He lives down the street. And so if I need him, he can be here in 60 seconds. But his mother has dementia, and we are dealing with that now, which is a whole different game. And so, we’re- Now, I forget what you asked me about Ryan.

[00:21:25] Tina: That’s okay. I was just curious how he was processing, if he’s in a retirement age or whatever.

[00:21:30] Anne: Oh, right. Retire. So he got forced into retirement, but it has worked out because someone needs to be home with his mom.

[00:21:35] Tina: Yeah.

[00:21:36] Anne: It worked out fine.

[00:21:38] Tina: So tell me your thoughts then about, because you know, anti-retirement movement to me is being able to create this aspect of your life, this chapter of your life, the ongoing chapters of your life on your own terms. But that doesn’t mean there’s not still challenges.

And it might be that a person is working in some capacity. They become an entrepreneur, maybe like your partner. They came surprisingly sooner than they thought, but they were prepared. So now they are able to give to what they need to do for their mother. You know, they’re available. So that’s an amazing thing and an amazing blessing, you know, a privilege to be able to do that.

And yet you share that you’ve gone through your own kind of sadness of leaving behind certain skills and abilities that you’ve had. And I mean, you’ve shared with me you’ve had a lot of broken bones, a lot of injuries, that you’ve just really been in the midst of it. How have you dealt with the hardship? Because you shared something about during the pandemic that happened to you.

[00:22:32] Anne: Yeah. About, I don’t know, six months into the pandemic, I got COVID even though I was vaccinated. And I hallucinated, passed out, and woke up with a severely broken leg. And I, maybe eight months before that, had rotator cuff surgery, which is a brutal surgery. So my shoulder wasn’t right yet either. And here I wake up on the floor and I have this horribly broken leg. And they took me to the hospital and they put me in a room that had my name and it said biohazard under it. Ryan thought that was very funny.

[00:23:01] Tina: Don’t take it personally, but…

[00:23:03] Anne: As official, I’ve been called a lot of things, but…

[00:23:05] Tina: Never been called that.

[00:23:07] Anne: Right. So anyway, I broke my leg and they said no one would operate on me. And I couldn’t walk, and it was horribly painful. And it was three weeks before I cleared COVID and then I could finally have the surgery. Well, that rendered me unable to walk for four or five months. I didn’t walk right again for about eight.

[00:23:25] Tina: You shattered it. I mean, you didn’t just-

[00:23:27] Anne: I broke my fibula and my tibia, and I tore off a tendon. You don’t know who Dak Prescott is, I bet. He’s the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboy.

[00:23:34] Tina: Help me again, Anne.

[00:23:35] Anne: We have matching ankle x-rays. Only, he has a better story because a lineman fell on him and his- I have a titanium plate and 11 screws, I think he had screws. So, yeah, it was pretty awful. And I honestly, you get hurt or you’re ill, and life is just not fun at all.

[00:23:53] Tina: Kind of smacks you like, “Uhm, ah, ooh,” you know, like really in the face when something like that happens. So, all this to say, you have this amazing story of all the things that you’ve done, the experiences and obviously, such vibrance for life, and yet you’ve had really some really difficult things to deal with, and that sounds like frosting on the difficulty cake, you know?

[00:24:16] Anne: Yeah, I think everybody does, and I’m very fortunate. You know, Ryan was such a good sport about it. Here he is taking care of his mom and suddenly, I can’t get out of bed. And he’s got to carry me to the shower. I was horrified. He goes, “I’ve seen you naked. Not a big deal.” I know. I said, “But it’s the idea.”

[00:24:33] Tina: It’s like Seinfeld. “This is bad naked, okay? This is helpless naked,” you know.

[00:24:39] Anne: You’re absolutely right. But he was such a good sport, and here, the poor guy had to take care of two invalid people. And I realize now how fortunate I was to have someone to do that. So when I wanna whine about things, I have to realize how fortunate I have been. And again, without the bad parts, maybe I wouldn’t be as grateful.

[00:24:59] Tina: So do you have a process? I mean, does it just sort of go into automatic for you? Or do you really have to be more mindfully thoughtful, intentional about shifting some of your thinking over the hard stuff?

[00:25:10] Anne: You have to make yourself do it because it’s so easy to go, okay, for example, my literary agent just retired. I’ve been with her 14 years, so now I have no agent. I have two books that I’m trying to sell. As of today, I’ve been turned down by 98 agents.

[00:25:28] Tina: Oh, is that all? Are you looking to even 100. Just, you know, to even the score, you know.

[00:25:33] Anne: So here’s the deal. I could go around and go, “Oh, this is terrible. I’m never gonna send out another one.” But, you know, just keep moving forward. Just keep thinking, “Okay. I’ve had five books traditionally published. I had an agent before. It’ll work out.” But I can see how, especially when we’re older and our worlds shrink, okay, you know. We retire. When we’re born, our worlds are little with mom, mom and dad, maybe. And then they get big. And now we’re shrinking again. So I don’t get out as much. I don’t see as many people. I’m at home. I’m not used to being home.

[00:26:05] Tina: I think that’s one of the challenges of, okay, so you’re not retiring in the sense that, “I’m just gonna sit and do nothing now,” you know.

I mean, I interviewed Gloria Feldt. She was the head of Planned Parenthood for 30 years, and then now she has a program for women. And one of the things she said to me was, “I thought I was gonna retire and sit down quietly at the computer, and then I found out I was gonna do this other thing.” She got this inspiration, you know. And so, it shifts. It shifts into something new.

[00:26:28] Anne: You need to. You need to do that because who can sit in their house. I mean, there’s only so many things you can clean, you know? I even say this to the kids, you have to have interests. You have to have hobbies that don’t have anything to do with your job because someday you’re not gonna be able to do all those things.

I’m very fortunate. I can’t do football anymore, and I miss football all the time, but I’m a scuba diver, and I can still do that.

[00:26:52] Tina: Awesome. That’s awesome. Are you going to the Super Bowl? I’m just curious. Are you going to the Super Bowl?

[00:26:56] Anne: No.

[00:26:57] Tina: They don’t have a special seat for you at the Super Bowl or anything?

[00:27:01] Anne: Ryan was a bodyguard for 20 years. So he worked Super Bowls. Both of us will be locked in the house so we’re not around any people.

[00:27:08] Tina: Eating Cheetos. So, tell me what’s your advice for someone then moving through this process of, you know, you hear the terms aging gracefully. Does anybody say that to a man? I don’t know if anybody says that. You know, we look at people like Clint Eastwood and just so many older male actors that are still revered and iconic in the movie industry.

But if a woman had all those lines on their face and was weathered-looking, it’s gonna be- Well, you experienced nothing near. I’m sure you were still quite attractive in your 30s, and you were out, you know, you’re out. You’re too old, right?

[00:27:46] Anne: Because that’s just the way it is. And you know, when people say you’re aging gracefully to a woman, that’s what they mean. You look good. They’re not talking about what you’re doing.

[00:27:54] Tina: Mm-hmm.

[00:27:55] Anne: And I think surviving retirement is about having things to look forward to. This past weekend, we had planned for two weeks for me and the boys and Ryan and two other friends to go rock collecting in the desert.

And I love the desert. I love wild places. I’m very happy out in the middle of nowhere and I looked forward to that. I’m like, “Oh, I’m so excited. We’re all going rock collecting.” Or we’re all gonna travel somewhere, or Ryan and I are gonna go do something. You’ve got to have things to look forward to.

Because it used to be our lives were dictated by an alarm clock and now it’s not anymore. And so when Ryan says, “What are you doing today?” I might have a dentist appointment. That would be it.

[00:28:32] Tina: I’m busy. But you’re writing. You’re writing all these books. So do you feel like that has become part of your fulfillment in this phase of life. Is the writing, does that helped out too?

[00:28:44] Anne: Absolutely. As an author, I’m required to have a website. I’m required to blog. And so, I do those things and I enjoy them immensely. But it’s not like you can do that all the time. You know? Like the woman you were talking about. You can’t just sit at the computer.

So I think our lives need to be a little more varied. And hopefully, people have had hobbies their entire lives. I pointed out I’m a rock collector. I was a swimmer, and so I swam laps for 40 years. So that was part of my life. I think you have to have reasons to get yourself out of the house. Or maybe even- Look, I put makeup on for you. Come on.

[00:29:17] Tina: And I did as well for you. Okay. Actually, you know, though, I put it on for myself. I really do. It’s like I have to look at myself in the mirror. This is what I need to do. Like, you know, I don’t work in my pajamas and all the things of- I’ve been working on my own for more than 20 years, but about 20 years in the realm of what I’m doing now online. And I always say your worst client, your toughest client ever is yourself. It’s also your first client, so you need to take care of them, you know. Meet your deadlines, be professional, all of those things.

But, what you’re saying about the writing, and of course I love words. I love writing. I love all of the aspects of the storytelling. Where do your stories come from? Where does that inspiration come from for you.

[00:29:54] Anne: It’s interesting because I never write about sports in my book.

[00:29:58] Tina: Yeah. I looked at the title. Even the covers of your books, I mean, they don’t look like guy books, you know, so to speak, sports.

[00:30:04] Anne: That’s why I spent so many years in newsrooms. After I was on television, I did become a print reporter. Even though they said, “You don’t know how to be a reporter,” I said, “I’ve been writing TV news for 10 years.” They said, “That’s not the same as being a real reporter.” And I’m like, “Give me a chance.” So for $7 an hour, I got my first print reporter job. Now, I forgot the question.

[00:30:24] Tina: How are your inspiration comes for your writing?

[00:30:26] Anne: Oh, yeah. I’m sorry. So I am a news junkie, which in this day and age is hard to be.

[00:30:31] Tina: Yeah, really. That could stall you out in your tracks right there, you know.

[00:30:34] Anne: I still read the regular old newspaper every day. When I was going to school every day, I listen to radio news. I watch the news. So I am a news junkie, and what that means is that I come across very interesting stories sometimes. I wrote a book called “The Scent of Rain”.

[00:30:50] Tina: Mm-hmm.

[00:30:50] Anne: And “The Scent Of Rain” is about the polygamous that live up in Colorado City, on the very northern edge of Arizona.

[00:30:57] Tina: I know where that is.

[00:30:58] Anne: Yeah. And when I came here and I said, “How can some guy have 80 wives and married 12-year-old girls?” I was like, how is that possible? So, I grabbed a friend and drove up there and pretended I didn’t know what I was doing and wandered all around their town and it was terrifying.

[00:31:11] Tina: That’s a whole other story, a whole other interview in that one.

[00:31:15] Anne: And so, I wrote “The Scent Of Rain” about a 16-year-old girl living in that world.

[00:31:19] Tina: Oh my gosh. Are they audio also? Do you have your books done in audio?

[00:31:23] Anne: Three of them are audio books, I think.

[00:31:24] Tina: Yeah.

[00:31:25] Anne: And because I was teaching in that inner city school and I dealt all the time with, especially girls, who were abused.

[00:31:31] Tina: Yeah.

[00:31:32] Anne: We are in a support group for a couple years, some of these girls had been raped, and the families didn’t care because they didn’t want the boys hurt. So the girls were always the ones that took the brunt of everything. And so, I wrote that book for them.

And then I wrote another one called “The Castle”, which is about a serial rapist because I was so tired of hearing about, you know, women being raped and no one doing anything.

So, again, I take stories out of the news. ” Wild Horses On The Salt”, here in Arizona, as you probably know, we have a wild horse problem. We have too many horses. We have people building developments into where they live. They’re destroying the Riversides. The Audubon Society people hate them because the birds have nowhere to build nests. And then you have the people that feed the wild horses like their pets. It’s a mess. So I wrote a story about the wild horse problem and tied it in with domestic violence, a woman escaping domestic violence.

So many of my books deal with Arizona as the setting as an actual character because again, I love the wilderness and I love being out there. And so I write about those things and then I tie modern day problems in with that.

[00:32:40] Tina: Wow. They sound really interesting. You know, one of the funny surprises in my life is that when my husband had to start wearing hearing aids, at first he was like, “Oh no! Now, I’m really old,” you know? And he’d worked with heavy machinery and he, once upon a time, was a mechanic, you know? And so, it just went with the territory. But he’s also legally blind. And so he’s never been a reader. And because his fingers were worn down from mechanic’s work, he couldn’t learn braille. And so when he got Bluetooth hearing aids, life-changing, and he started reading by being able to listen to books.

That’s why I was asking if you had them in Audible. But what’s funny is his secret for a while that I discovered was he loves like, period romance novels, like the men swashbuckler guys, guys in Scotland with a dirk, you know, saving someone. And he has one that he particularly likes where the woman is actually saving the guy, you know?

But it was such a big surprise to me because this burly, tough guy loves reading romance, right?

[00:33:38] Anne: You know, it’s interesting because my mother I said is 98 and she was on lockdown during COVID, of course, like everyone else. And she told me, she said, “I survived,” because she would read two or three books at a time.

She read the newspaper every day. She’s also a news junkie. I guess I got it from her. And being able to take yourself to another world.

[00:33:56] Tina: Yes.

[00:33:57] Anne: Reading is one of the big things for retirees because, you know, maybe you don’t have any– For me, it used to be I can’t read a novel in the middle of the day, unless I’m on vacation. Ryan’s like, “Why not?” I’m like, “It doesn’t seem right.”

[00:34:11] Tina: Like taking a nap.

[00:34:14] Anne: No, but then I’ve gotten to the point where, “Okay, I’ve got an hour. Maybe I’ll read a novel.” And I think that that’s very helpful when you’re feeling like, I’m not sure what to do with myself.

You know, my kids are all grown and out. Actually, one’s back. But that’s another story.

[00:34:30] Tina: Oh, oh that. That’s another story. That’s another book, probably.

[00:34:35] Anne: They don’t need my help anymore is what I’m talking about. So, I think when you find yourself with nothing to do, the book is fabulous.

[00:34:45] Tina: Yeah.

[00:34:46] Anne: So I can understand your husband.

[00:34:48] Tina: Well, he loves it. He just loves it. And I think there’s so many people probably gonna watch this that would love to write a book, right, and just go through that process.

So, but the bottom line is it’s keeping our brains active. And doing new things creates actual new neural pathways, right? And so it keeps us alive, you know, as far as activated and not just sinking into oblivion.

You know, we travel a lot. We have a big mobile office that looks like a semi, right? It’s 45 feet long, big heavy duty truck chassis. And I do all driving because, you know, they really frown on giving out licenses to drive to blind people, so I do all the driving. And I’m always amused when people say, he can be standing with a guide dog in his harness, and they’ll look at this and say, “Well, who drives it?”  “Well, that would be me,” you know?

But just doing these new things, learning how to do a new thing and being able to move around and go to different places, you can work from anywhere.

There’s so many ways we can define our own retirements. Like you said, you love the wilderness and there’s ways to be out there living at least part of the time and still write your books or still do other things that are important to you with your family.

So I like to really emphasize the point, it doesn’t have to be either/or, you know, that it’s all doing nothing or you’re busy to the max, you know, 80 hours a week. And the travel thing, one reason I even brought it up is it’s always amazed us that we would go to different parts of the United States, and the first time we went to Washington DC, we stayed about 50 miles out of DC and we were all excited because we’d never been there before. And so we asked people in RV Park we’re in, “So what’s your favorite thing to do in Washington, DC?” And they were like, “I don’t know, we’ve never been there,” you know. And I’ve met people in Yuma, for example, you know, in Arizona that have never been to Phoenix ever. They’ve lived here for decades. And I just don’t get it. So that curiosity, having curiosity.

[00:36:29] Anne: Having curiosity.

[00:36:30] Tina: To experience something new, I think is a really important part for all of us, but especially as we’re growing older. I mean, how do you feel about that?

[00:36:36] Anne: I agree. And when you said we need to try new things, I saw the statistic once and I can’t remember what it was, but the vast majority of adults don’t try new things.

[00:36:46] Tina: Mm-hmm.

[00:36:47] Anne: If you haven’t tried it when you’re a kid– And that’s why when I was a teacher, I used to encourage my kids, please join clubs. Please join a sport. Please go to the marching band. Please take piano. Do all these different things because once you’re a grownup, very rarely do people try new things. And I think that’s very sad.

My partner Ryan was not a scuba diver and he swore he’d never go in the ocean because he was in the ocean when he was a kid and there was a tiger shark. It freaked him out. And we went to Australia. He got on a boat to go on the Great Barrier Reef, and he stood on the boat and went, “I’m not going in.”

[00:37:16] Tina: Oh!

[00:37:18] Anne: And someone, the Australian master diver said, “Hey, hey, why aren’t you going in the water?” “Oh, I was afraid of sharks?” And he goes, “Nah, saltwater crocs ate them all.”

[00:37:31] Tina: And that made Ryan feel so much better.

[00:37:34] Anne: Why it worked? I have no idea. And now, we both became certified and we’ve been diving ever since. And so for him to have tried something new at that stage was really rare. And I encourage people, if you always thought you might wanna paint, go take a painting class.

[00:37:49] Tina: Exactly.

[00:37:50] Anne: If you wanted to pick up a guitar, go take a class. You can take them online. Try new things because as the things we love to do become things we can’t do anymore, we need things to fill that, fill those slots.

So, I played the guitar as a kid, took it up again at 55, and then when I broke my leg, I didn’t play for a year. For some reason, I lost my desire. Now I’m playing again, and I feel so much better.

[00:38:18] Tina: Are we gonna hear about you starting a rock band anytime soon? Nothing would surprised me from how your life has been so far.

But I just think that’s the fun of it, the excitement of it, because the trying new things isn’t just to make you feel better. It actually is doing stuff to your brain, right?

[00:38:33] Anne: Absolutely.

[00:38:34] Tina: It’s activating new synapses and new neural pathways instead of just same old, same old. And I actually read a study, it was done in France of some thousands of people, but they were able to determine, especially with proliferance of Alzheimer’s, for example, and you have something close to home with your partner’s mother it sounds like, but I think it was something like 3.2% reduction of chance of developing Alzheimer’s or another disabling mental process by continuing to work or do something active as you’re getting older. And it doesn’t have to be traditional job when I say the word work, you know, you can create that for yourself.

You might decide to be entrepreneurial. You might decide you’re gonna be a consultant because of the experience you had before, but that you actually extend your life. You know, if you want some kind of a youth formula, it’s extending your life to remain active in these ways and keep your brain activated.

So it’s really important. It’s not just, you know, find something to do in your older years and you’ll be happier. Definitely, you will be. I believe you will be. But there’s so many reasons too to do it.

[00:39:33] Anne: And something as simple as dancing. My father was an ice dancer. He became an ice dancer after I went to college.

[00:39:40] Tina: Oh my gosh.

[00:39:41] Anne: He was an ice dancer until he was 80 years old. Then he fell. He didn’t tell me what happened, but I think he probably fell, and he hung up his skates. And he immediately took up ballroom. My dad was one week shy of 96, I think, he took a ballroom dance lesson. The next day was Memorial Day. He was a World War II Navy vet. He watched the ceremonies from Washington, had a bowl of ice cream, went to bed, and just didn’t wake up. He went to coma and died, you know, almost 96. Didn’t take a single medication. Now, he had a little, not dementia, but he was going deaf from being near the guns in the war, but he didn’t take a medication.

My mother would take him to the doctor and they’d go, “Oh, Paul, what medication you take?” He said, “I don’t take anything.” And they thought he had dementia. And they said, “What does he take?”

[00:40:28] Tina: Yeah. “What does he really take?” Yeah.

[00:40:29] Anne: He takes nothing. And he ran when I was a child. When I was a kid, my dad ran a couple of miles every night. Everybody thought he was insane. He worked out his entire life. And dancing alone to make your brain, make your feet follow the music and the dance steps, that grows your synapses.

[00:40:49] Tina: Yeah.

[00:40:49] Anne: You know, my dad read the newspaper every day and I think that not only do they take up certain parts of your day, like I know certain times of day, I’m reading the newspaper. Ryan knows to leave me alone. “Oh, you’re reading. I’ll be back,” right? I think you’re right. We have to do these things or our lives are not gonna be very fulfilling and there’s a reason guys retire and drop dead.

[00:41:11] Tina: Yeah. Oh my gosh. You hear that all the time? That when they just kinda lose any kind of sense of identity or purpose or meaning or any of those things, instead of saying, well, time to do the new thing, you know, whatever it may be I’ve always wanted to. And sometimes, you know, it might be, well, someone was an architect for 30 years and now they’re going into wanting to do something different, and, “You know, I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer. I’m gonna learn how to do that.” You know, there’s no reason why we can’t just shift gears.

It’s a self-limiting thing to say we’re too old to learn the new thing. We may have things that start to be limiting, like you have injured yourself in a number of ways that has reduced your ability to be able to officiate a game or something like that. But you’re shifting to other things. You know, you love going out in the desert. You love finding the rocks and gathering and just being out in the wild. You’re writing these books, and you’re active with your family and your children. You’re a grandmother now also. And so it sounds like a very full life and not one that’s gonna just simmer down to nothingness, you know, as far as what you’re able to do and what you’re willing to do.

[00:42:13] Anne: It’s an adjustment though because you know that most Americans, all we do is run. From the time we get up in the morning to the time we collapse, and I’m not sure that’s a good way to be.

I mean, I look back on that fondly in a way, not the alarm clock part. But I also realized that we run ourselves ragged. And now I have this time where I think I’m more contemplative than I was before. I think more deeply about things, you know, as opposed to running from one thing to the next, and I appreciate that, I think. It doesn’t mean it’s easy necessarily.

I’m going back to baking. I still love to bake and I got away from that. So I think we have to dig into our past and see those things that we didn’t do, or that we wanted to do, or that we used to do, and revisit that.

[00:42:58] Tina: Absolutely.

[00:42:59] Anne: You can’t just watch TV. You can’t. And you can’t play golf every day. You know what I’m saying?

[00:43:04] Tina: Yeah.

[00:43:05] Anne: When we lose certain things that we can’t do anymore, we have to have things to replace them with. And I’m slowly getting used to that.

[00:43:12] Tina: Well, I think this has really been a fun conversation, and I hope we’ll have another one soon because I think it’s really been fun talking to you. I’m very interested in taking a look at your books as well. And I’m sure many of the people watching this are. So, how can they find your books and anything that you’re up to and keep track of how you’re thinking about life these days?

[00:43:29] Anne: That’s very easy. My website is AnneMontgomeryWriter.com. And it’s Anne with an E. So, that’s AnneMontgomeryWriter.com and everything I do is there.

[00:43:38] Tina: Awesome. Thanks so much for being here today. I really loved our conversation.

[00:43:42] Anne: Well, thank you. I enjoyed it.

Copyright 2023 Tina Lorenz

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