Renowned poet, teacher named Senior of the Year

Dr. Janet Hoult moved to Culver City in the 1970s

Courtesy photo A SPECIAL PERSON—Dr. Janet Cameron Hoult was named “Senior of the Year” at this month’s Culver City Council Meeting. Culver City recognized Dr. Hoult for her efforts to encourage local seniors to stay active and engaged.

At the City Council meeting on Monday, May 9, the Council awarded Dr. Janet Hoult the title of “Senior of the Year.” It’s a well-deserved honor for the poet, published author and longtime servant of the city. “I’ve been a member of our Grace Lutheran Church for a long time,” Hoult told the News. “Our administrator Marina Tidwell happened to see the announcement. She’s known me for a long time and I’ve been in this city since the 1970s. So she sent my name in. Lo and behold, I was the one selected by the group. Jill Thomsen is the supervisor for the Senior Center and she was the one who pulled this thing together. Jill told me I had been selected as the honoree this year. As I understand it, in August there is to be a contest with all of the cities in Los Angeles County who named someone as their older American. My hat’s in the ring – we shall see what happens.” Hoult moved to Culver City in the 1970s with her first husband, and hasn’t looked back since. Culver City, Hoult said, is her home base. “I raised my son here,” she said. “I finished my Masters degree at UCLA, finished my doctorate at USC, and because of my field of language education, I was taught to go to different countries. I’ve lived all over the place, and I wound up going with different university groups to train teachers all over Asia. I did the same thing in South America, Costa Rica and Mexico. Then in Europe, I was training teachers in conjunction with the department of defense school in Germany. I met my second husband in Westwood. I told him that I wouldn’t accept his proposal unless he moved to Culver City which he did. That was good.” Hoult said that it’s the feeling of community that makes Culver City so special. “People care about each other,” she said. “The neighbors are wonderful. Even though I’ve been here in the senior residence for a couple of years, the neighbors check up on me. People care. I’ve taught poetry at the senior center for five years. They learn about each other, they are about each other, and it feels like Culver City has a family atmosphere. That’s what is unusual. It doesn’t matter what your background your race or your religion is. People take care of other people.” As far as Hoult is concerned, she won’t allow her age to prevent her from living life to the fullest. There may be physical differences compared to when she was younger, but her mind is still sharp. “My nickname when I was a kid was the Energizer Bunny,” she said. “The thing is, you still have your mind. I’m 85 now, but my mind is still ticking away. Okay, I’ve got two metal knees and sometimes they don’t do what I want. I have other problems with eyes and hearing aids and all that kind of stuff. But I’m still thinking. I’m still doing things, and trying to make some of my older colleagues realize there’s a lot out there still. Use that mind of yours, and find something that makes you chuckle. Find something that’s fun to do. The more you can laugh, the better.” She simply doesn’t stop, and she’s written a number of books that are available on Amazon. “Jaunts with Janet is the first in the series of three books I’m writing,” she said. “It’s a poetic memoir. The idea is that I’ll use poetry I’ve written over the years, with an anecdote to give an idea of what my life has been like. My dad was foreign service, so I graduated high school in Iran. I was a student in Lebanon. Back in the ‘50s, I worked in a refugee camp. A lot of the things that happened during those years are in this particular book. The second book is starting in 1963, and the third is starting in probably 1989.” The second book will be called Juggling with Janet. “I was an unwed mother back in the early ‘60s,”Hoult said. “You could not be an unwed mother in this country, so that was an interesting time. I have since reconnected with my daughter, who lives in Seattle, and my biological grandson. The second book is how I handled all of that. The third book is Journeys with Charley. My husband was a rocket scientist. He really was. When he retired from the aerospace world, he trained rocket scientists how to design and build their own rockets. I’ve had a life filled with all kinds of things.” She really has, and she absolutely earned this most recent honor. “I think part of it is the things I’ve done for the city,” Hoult said. “The fact that I’ve served in so many aspects and for many years, I’ve been at the city council meetings with a poem, usually focussed on an action item or something. They’ve known me for a long time in this town. I spent five years as the honorary artist laureate for poetry. There was no artist laureate programme before me. I put so much of my own time in, and I never accepted money. The books that I’ve written – there are now six of them up on Amazon, and three of them the proceeds go to entities here in this town. Going to the Dogs and Other Critters, the proceeds go to the Boneyard dog park. Jaunts with Janet will be the first of three, and those proceeds will go to the school district education foundation. The one that I edited for our centennial in 2017, the centennial book of poems, those proceeds go to the Historical Society. She really is something else.