One Last Dance: It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love
Mardo Williams and Others
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A story about finding love at any age, One Last Dance is the delightful tale of Morgan, aged 89, and Dixie, 79, two “mature” individuals on seemingly divergent paths. Despite their disastrous first meeting, complete with a dropped birthday cake, broken eyeglasses and insulting remarks, it was obvious to bystanders, even then, that the two were fated for each other. Written with great humor and a deep understanding of the challenges associated with aging in America, One Last Dance is a joy to read and an inspiration to all generations, reminding us to live every day and always be in search of new experiences, regardless of age. Author Mardo Williams lived that philosophy, by writing this, his first novel, at age 92.
At the tender age of 88, when many people would be content to sit back and reflect; Williams began a brand new chapter in his professional life. After over six decades as a journalist, many of those with the Columbus Dispatch, Mardo decided to write his first book, based on stories he’d been telling for years. The result was Maude (1883-1993): She Grew Up with the Country, a loving, humorous and meticulously detailed biography of his mother, an extraordinary woman who experienced our country’s immense growth and changes for over a century, until her death at the age of 110. The book, published in 1996, found great success, propelling author Williams into the public arena. Maude is still a favorite among discussion groups and has been adopted as a supplemental text in many college American History courses. Next, after penning a whimsical book of children’s stories, Great Grandpa Fussy and the Little Puckerdoodles, Mardo began something completely different–a novel–and One Last Dance was born.
One Last Dance follows the relationship of Dixie and Morgan, as they begin to date and ultimately decide to move in together–for convenience only, they agree. But the relationship changes and strengthens as the couple unites to combat illness, scandal and a near-fatal accident. It’s also a tale about how insecurities, humiliations and fears, thought long past, can haunt a person throughout their days. Dixie fears intimacy. Morgan has concealed important details about his divorce, his estranged children, and his lost job. And all the while, a mysterious intruder lurks, bent on vengeance for past wrongs. He invades their lives, exposing their most intimate secrets and lies.
As Mardo completed the first draft of One Last Dance, his health was failing and his eyesight was all but gone due to macular degeneration. He made his daughters, Kay and Jerri, promise to finish the book if he could not. He died at age 95. Honoring their father’s wishes, daughters Kay, a writer, editor and actress in New York, and Jerri, a former master English teacher, editor and writing teacher, began the often painful undertaking of finishing their father’s work. Four years later, One Last Dance was published. On October 21, 2001 Williams became the first posthumous recipient of an Ohioana Library Award for his body of work as an author and journalist.
One Last Dance won a 2006 Independent Publishers Book Award, and was a finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Award. Mardo’s daughters, Kay and Jerri won a 2009 Ohioana Library Award for "unique and outstanding accomplishment in writing and editing" for finishing One Last Dance.
“Williams' writing shows a ready wit, and neither Dixie nor Morgan is spared from comic consequences. In the first scene, Dixie gets creamed with a birthday cake; later, Morgan finds himself wiping a guest's spilled wine with a pair of Dixie's lace-trimmed underpants. One Last Dance is charming and touching.” Barbara McIntyre, Akron Beacon-Journal
“Williams and his daughters have achieved a thing of beauty. Do yourself a favor, snuggle up in a chair and enjoy this magnificent hallmark of senior romance.” Debra Kiefat, ArmchairInterviews.com