During normal times Potrero Hill resident, Paul Kleyman, could often be found sipping coffee at Farley’s, contemplating what to post next on his aging-focused blog, Generations Beat Online.
A 40-year Hill resident, after Kleyman graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in journalism he was certain of one thing: he wasn’t going to fight in Vietnam. Attracted to San Francisco by its “welcoming ease” and low cost of living, Kleyman spent his time waiting for his draft hearing by volunteering to write press releases for Glide Memorial Church.
With politician Terence Hallinan as his attorney and Glide Memorial United Methodist Church pastor Albert Cecil Williams as a character witness, Kleyman was sentenced to three years of community service at Glide. The volunteer work morphed into a paid position, which he supplemented by working nights and Sunday mornings greeting Church visitors.
“Ageism had just poked up its ugly head,” Kleyman recalled. “The ‘60s were the first-time older people – former labor organizers and activists – had begun exercising political power for themselves. While editors weren’t interested in senior issues, I was.”
In 1974 Glide published Kleyman’s book, Senior Power: Growing Old Rebelliously. He’s been writing about aging ever since.
“The thing about ageism,” Kleyman said, “is that the issues don’t change. I’m following and tracking the same issues as 30, 40 years ago: the ageism permeating our social institutions, including the media; the lack of a coherent long-term care system; the growing crisis in retirement security for millions of older Americans; and the promise and challenge of the Longevity Revolution.”
After frequently working with Sandy Close at the Pacific News Service, Kleyman realized he could increase his effectiveness by supporting others in the field. A co-founder of the Journalists’ Network on Generations and editor of its blog, GBONews.org, Kleyman has helped train hundreds of journalists on aging issues.
A grandfather, with a seven-year grandson living in Los Angeles, Kleyman is eyeing retirement. Until then, he continues to provide journalists with insights and information, and is working on a memoir.