A lot of people ask me how I decided to start 1010ParkPlace. For over 10 years I was focused on my breast cancer, my subsequent Top Breast Cancer Blog and the unexpected death of my husband. Not surprisingly there came a time when I didn’t want to write about cancer anymore. During a conversation with a friend, he asked what I really wanted to do with my life? My answer came tumbling out.
“I want to connect with women about more than cancer.”
“I want to know what defines us and makes us grow; the difference between our needs and wants and how we see ourselves in the context of not just our towns and cities, but the world as a whole. I’m interested in women as role models and how we’ve survived what life puts in our path.”
In a matter of weeks after that conversation, I wrote a business plan and pitched PBS about a new national TV talk show—with me as the host—called “Girlfriends of a Certain Age.” With an enthusiastic thumbs up, my Co-Producer, Director and longtime filmmaker friend, Ron Zimmerman, and I designed the set and had it built. I talked with two phenomenal women who became my guests: Dr. Susan Love, world renowned breast surgeon, women’s health advocate and author, who together with top cancer researchers and her Army of Women are working to prevent breast cancer and Alana (Hamilton) Stewart, actress, reality TV star, author and producer of the Emmy nominated documentary, “Farrah’s Story.”
While PBS loved the pilot, (if you’re interested in seeing the video trailer for my PBS pilot click here) shortly after we shot it, Obama cut funding to the Arts, and PBS was scrambling to find funding for existing programs. A new show wasn’t in the cards. Even so it was a fabulous experience. Was I disappointed? Yes, but I realized everything I wanted to do with a TV show—and more—I could do online.
While I thought I owned all the domain iterations of Girlfriends of a Certain Age, someone else had purchased “Girl of a Certain Age,” so I started looking for another name.
If you’ve ever played Monopoly then you know it’s a great analogy for life. After college we live on Baltic and Connecticut Avenue. We struggle to pay our taxes and utilities; we trade up to homes on St. Charles and find ways to give back to our Community. Few of us make it to Park Place, but by the time we’re 50, if experience and wisdom translated into money, we’d all be living there. Instead we’ve arrived at our own version of Park Place. Mine is called 1010 Park Place.
My desire with 1010ParkPlace was to offer women something more valuable than money: A renewed sense of possibilities as they move forward with this next phase of life; discussions about everything from finances to men, a look at other women who’ve created new careers, overcome obstacles, or like Fifi Froelich, have created their own idea of retirement. I want you to know how much I appreciate you, the women who follow and read and write for 1010ParkPlace and women, like Fifi, who invite me into their lives. I love what I do, and I owe it all to you!
Last week on Fashion Friday, Melissa left a comment that said, “I love the fearless way you write!” Thank you, Melissa! Perhaps that’s because over the years, I’ve had so many intimate conversations with readers, online and off, about life and death issues. I’ve learned there isn’t time for anything but bottomline honesty, and for the most part, isn’t that what we want from a great girlfriend?
Love your writing Brenda..your wisdom and your spirit x
I appreciate that, Hilda. Thank you! I appreciate you as well.
Very happy to invite you into my life Brenda
Lorna! I feel so honored! Thank you!!! Brenda
Yes! That is what we want from a good girlfriend!
Well said, Girlfriend.
Thank you, sweet friend! I appreciate and love you, Brenda
You’re that voice of sweet wisdom in my head, Brenda.
Thank you, girlfriend!
Girlfriends like you are what keeps me going and why I write. Thank you, Diane!
I love reading your stories and find your strength and truth such wonderful attributes. You are a no bullshit kind of woman and I love that. I just don’t get here often enough!
Thank you, Rena! Wish my mother were still here to read your comment. She always said, “You don’t have to tell everything you know, Brenda!” LOL! Can’t help myself. Who, what, why, when and where! I’m a bottomline king of gal, that’s for sure!
I’m so glad you founded 1010. It’s such a fabulous resource. xo
Thank you, Jen. I appreciate you and your comment! xoxox, Brenda
Love your wisdom and wit. Thanks for your blog and all it represents. Xox
Thank you, dear friend. We’ve been bloggers and readers together for a long time now. I’m so fortunate you’ve been in my life. Love, Brenda
YES!!! Absolutely, Brenda! Congrats for developing a meaningful resource for women “of a certain age.”
Thank you, Val. You always make my day when I see you’ve been here, girlfriend! One of these days we must meet! xoxox
Congratulations! Thanks for creating a space like this, wishing you continued success.
Thank you, Bryce! In return, I’m wishing you’ll continue to be a reader and that I’ll get to know you better. Brenda
I am a huge Brenda Coffee fan! I love the community you have created and I look forward to your Instagram feeds. I adore your dogs, the way you singlehandedly shopped for and redecorated an amazing house. I also feel like I know you on a more spiritual level. You are the kind of person who is a great girlfriend. I watched your PBS video and I think the world really missed out on an opportunity to have a wonderful talk show. I guess the blog is our Daily Brenda. You bring issue to light that need to be seen, and you offer us diverse views on fashion and cooking and politics. I appreciate you so, so much!
Oh, Maggie! I’m touched and humbled you feel this way, honored to have you as a reader and looking forward to getting to know you better as we navigate this midlife road together. Please keep me pointed in the right direction and let me know if I veer off course or there’s anything you think I should delve into… or on the flip side, stop writing about. Thank you, sweet lady! Brenda
Love you, your blog, and how you have brought together such a great resource of other contributors to create a wonderful community of women! Well done, and thank you! I agree that the talk show would have been fabulous, too, but I love what you have created! XXOO
Thank you, Beckye, for your sweet words. You’re a loyal reader. You’re who I want to move and motivate, inform and help us all come together as we root for one another and figure out which ways to turn as we move forward with this phase of life. We live in such different times than our mothers and grandmothers did. While many issues we face are the same, others need the input of women who’re walking this path with us. I hope we’ll be on this journey, together, for a long time to come. xoxox, Brenda
Great Story Brenda! You’ve done a wonderful job with 1010 Park Place!
Thank you, Chuky! I appreciate that and am so glad we found one another’s websites!
Thanks for sharing the backstory about how 1010ParkPlace came to be. You did a great job moving from the filmed concept to the blog concept. Keep up the good work reinventing yourself as desired.
Thank you, Karen. I listen to my little voice and take my cues from all the women around me.
What a fabulous show that would have been! Make it a Podcast??? I love what you do here on ParkPlace and know whatever you do I will follow.
Thank you so very much for your encouragement and support, Haralee! Have thought about podcasts, but like everything else, it takes money/sponsorship. Perhaps down the road. xoxox, Brenda