Charlotte Johnson Jones, author of  Eldercare Is Making Me Fat, lives in Virginia, where she retired in 2009 from a midlife career as reference and social sciences librarian at a small liberal arts university.

In the 1980s and 1990s, under the byline C. J. Houtchens, she wrote for many national publications, including The Washington Post, Travel and Leisure, Harper’s Bazaar, and USA Weekend, and profiled such diverse personalities as Maya Angelou, Sissy Spacek, two Miss America winners, African princess Elizabeth of Toro, musicians, artists, political appointees, and the panda keeper at the National Zoo.

Charlotte Johnson Jones and her 91-year old mother.

Mother and Me

Eldercare Is Making Me Fat is a set of humorous and big-hearted tales about the challenges Charlotte and her husband, Herman, have faced as they try to manage the health and affairs of the 93- and 97-year-old women whom they affectionately (and with great exasperation) call “The Mothers.”

Charlotte is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s in information and library science from the University of Kentucky.

Sadly, neither degree helped her one bit when her mother-in-law sat down on the sofa and couldn’t get up or when her mother suddenly gave up wearing underpants. Big binges of sweets and baked goods at least kept her endorphins and bad cholesterol flowing.

Herman and Charlotte Johnson Jones with their motorhome.

I Told Him It Was Too Big . . .

Herman and Charlotte have been in love for 20 years and married for 14. Since 2010, whenever they were able to arrange safe backup care for The Mothers, they have traveled more than 20,000 miles in a 40-foot motorhome, gathering material for Charlotte’s next book, 101 Secrets of Savvy RVers: Tips, Tricks, and Hard-Earned Advice.

A sad update:

In December 2013, on the day after Christmas, Herman’s mother passed away, surrounded by loving family. She was laid to rest in West Virginia, alongside Herman’s father, near the small mountain towns where she was born and lived most of her adult life. She is remembered with love and laughter, which is as it should be.