Prime Life Follies founder finds joy in dancing, writing 

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Lori Mansell realized a lifelong dream when her first book was released in December.

“I always say the best is yet to come, and I truly believe that,” Mansell said. “I’m going to be publishing another book before I’m 100, I hope.”

Mansell’s book about her life, “Dare to Live: Finding Joy at Any Age,” was published in November.

Mansell, 93, lived in Carmel for 16 years before moving to The Reserve in Fishers four years ago with her husband, Ed Solinski. Her previous husband, Jack Mansell, died in 2015.

Mansell worked on the book for 1 1/2 years.

“I retired at age 70, and that’s when a new life began,” Mansell said. “I’ve had more adventures since then.”

Mansell was a math teacher in the San Diego area before retiring.

“The book is mom’s life story from age 70 and starts when my brother died and how she danced her way back to life,” said Julie Osborne, Mansell’s daughter.

Mansell said she was depressed where her son, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, died. But learning to tap dance helped her find solace.

“There is a chapter how she found her current husband on Match.com,” Osborne said. “There are a lot of funny stories. She made it to the ‘America’s Got Talent’ audition in Kentucky and got through to the next step in California. We had our tickets booked in March 2020 and COVID-19 hit.”

One of the chapters is how Mansell and Solinski won “The Newlywed Game” on a cruise at age 88.

Mansell founded the Prime Life Follies dance group in 2003.

“We had as many as 15 entertainers at one time and went out to nursing homes and any place that wanted us to put on a show,” Mansell said. “I learned to tap dance when I was about 70 and I’ve been dancing ever since. We are waiting for the pandemic to die down and go back to these facilities.”

Mansell said the group is down to seven members.

“It put so much fun in my life,” Mansell said. “It opened up a whole new world of activities.”

Mansell said she didn’t start writing until she was 87.

“I went to a writing conference, and I always wanted to write stories when I was a little girl,” she said. “But I had seven children. I now have 22 grandchildren and I never got around to it.”

Mansell was busy working and then busy with Prime Life Follies and other volunteer activities. 

Mansell was crowned queen at the writing conference, which was called the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, in Dayton, Ohio in 2016. 

“I promised the 300 people that I would come back as an author and I was so excited when I got home,” Mansell said.

Mansell had a Royal typewriter, but she said Osborne took it away and made her learn to use a computer.

Mansell has twice had stories published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

In March 2021, Mansell said she suffered life-threatening injuries when a heavy wind swept her off her feet and she was slammed to the ground. She suffered internal bleeding and broke her pelvis in two places

“I’ve been trying to inspire people not only with my book but coming back from this accident,” Mansell said. “I like to help others do the same if they have any goal like that.”

For more, visit DancingGrammie.com. To contact Mansell, email DancingGrammieLori@gmail.com.

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