Local Writer Describes Life of Quiet Adventure
By Sarah Steele Wilson
Oct 15, 2012, 14:29
The journey that led Edgar Allen Moore to his current home in Chester and his job in Hopewell has been a long one, across varied terrain. That path, and the places and times he traveled through, form the subject of his recently published memoir, “Wow, What a Day.”
“I’ve worked here in Hopewell for the last 20 years at the hospital,” he said. “Prior to then, I’ve been all over the country.”
His “spirit of adventure” led him from Kittanning, Pennsylvania, North of Pittsburgh, to Philadelphia, to Orange County, California, to San Antonio Texas, to Ohio and beyond.
His work experience has also been varied, falling in the fields of retail, rehabilitation councilling, speech therapy and retirement management.
He said friends always found his stories of his experiences interesting and urged him to write a book about his adventures.
“I geared it to the baby boomer and the things that happened in our culture after the end of WWII and the succeeding 50, 60 years of turmoil, peace, economic cave in,” he said, describing the product of their encouragement.
Due to his career choices, Moore developed close relationships with many of the people he met during his travels. He said his book provides a look at people dealing with the shifting currents of the nation and their own lives.
“You do get close when you’re helping people come back from a stroke or a gun shot wound,” he said, noting that he protecting the confidentiality of the people he got to know during those times.
While attending college at Eastern University in suburban Philadelphia, Moore spent his summers in Orange County California with an Aunt and Uncle.
“I was traversing the country, the full continent, ever year,” he said.
Those summers were one of his first forays into what would become a very diverse employment history.
“I worked two years in an orange packing house in Irvine,” he said.
After graduating from Eastern with a degree in psychology, Moore joined the Air Force and worked with other officers who were pursuing advanced degrees through distance learning, which inspired him to pursue a master’s degree in psychology.
He completed a rehab counciling program at Ohio’s Kent State University, just prior to the fatal shooting of four campus demonstrators by the Ohio National Guard, and started working as a councilor at the Ohio Reformatory, where “The Shawshank Redemption” was filmed.
From there, Moore went on to do his graduate work at the University of Virginia and to work at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fisherville before moving into home care for the Augusta County Health Department. He was struck by what he saw.
“I ended up doing a doctoral thesis in the lack of continuity of care, of followup care, from acute care facilities, hospitals, to outlying areas of Virginia,” he said.
When he moved into the field of retirement management, he had a very different experience working in Texas.
“I experienced...extreme poverty in some areas, like Appalachia, and extreme wealth,” Moore remembered. “I had nine millionaires under roof in the facility I managed in Harlingen, Texas.”
He stayed there until 1985, when the facility closed in the wake of troubled economic times. When considering where to go next, the Richmond area had a powerful draw: his grandchildren.
“That’s what brought me back to the Richmond metro area,” he said.
Moore’s daughter Holly, who just earned her masters degree in museum management from Johns Hopkins University, and son, Jeff, a Virginia Tech graduate who owned a trucking firm, both currently live in the Shenandoah Valley, where they grew up.
Although Moore didn’t start his writing with the intention of exploring his struggled with attention deficit disorder, it became part of the book, even leading to the subtitle, “Living With Attention Deficit Disorder.”
His brother, who is a pediatric neurologist, diagnosed him as an adult.
“When I finally got that diagnosis and medication, my focus improved tremendously and it helped me get through all the way from then on,” he said.
Moore said his story focuses on the aging process and how it has changed from the era in which he grew up to now. It’s also a work he hopes will encourage people to explore different possibilities in their lives, taking an open minded approach.
“There’s so much of the world out there,” he said. “Different avenues and different venues of interest and involvement. I’d like to stress getting out and being involved. Stretching your environments or your interest or your experience level.”
The book, which Moore published through Abbott Press, is available on the publisher’s website as well as the Barnes and Noble and Amazon websites.
Moore intends to attend a number of conferences this year, where he will promote the tail of his adventures.