The Retiree Who Beat the Odds

How’s your heart? James Everett puts his hand over his chest and pretends to listen intently for the beat. “Let’s see,” he says. The seconds tick by. “I’m OK,” he announces. The declaration is delivered playfully. James, who was born with a heart condition, has had three open-heart surgeries and recently beat a bout of endocarditis. He gave up worrying about it long ago. So, he says, should you. James, who has remnants of wispy white hair and the polished voice of a broadcaster, also has survived testicular cancer. What surprised him was the recent onset of …

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The Mom in Charge of Kids and Cakes

When Renée Edwards opens the bright blue IKEA shopping bag, a big smile breaks across her serene face. Inside, coiled like a coiffure’s curls, are scores of rainbow-colored jump ropes. Kids don’t play Double Dutch any more, and it sure is a shame. “When I see some little sisters sitting on a bench, I bring out the ropes,” she says. If they don’t jump at the chance, she shows them how to blow bubbles. If that doesn’t work, Renée, a cheerful commander, thinks of other ways to keep the “babies” occupied. The other day, …

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