Dating a younger man

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – July 29, 2022

by columnist Tom Blake

Should she reveal her age before moving in with a much younger man?

Mark, one of my regular weekly eNewsletter readers wrote, “This is from today’s (July 24, 2022) NY Times digital edition, in the ‘Social Qs’ section:

“Just a Number

“I am a 76-year-old widow. For two years, I have been dating a man who is 12 years younger than I am. (I look 10 years younger than my age.) My boyfriend knows I’m older than he is, but he doesn’t know by how much. I have never lied to him, but I have refused to discuss the matter. We are now talking about living together. I know I should tell him my age before he moves in, but I’m afraid it will end our relationship. I’m plagued with stress about this. What should I do?

“GOOD GENES

“If your boyfriend really cared about your age, he would probably know it by now. Your refusal to tell him would not be the final word here. So, it’s possible you’re worried over nothing. It’s also possible that the age gap — and your insistence on keeping it secret — may spook him. (So far, I’ve been a big help, right?)

“The bigger issue, as I see it, is your stress level: Better to tell him and let the chips fall where they may than to worry constantly about something you can’t change. He’s going to find out eventually.”

Champ Althea emailed: “In my dating escapades of the past, I have met many ‘Johns’” (Althea is referring to the Where is John? eNewsletter title from three weeks ago).

“One guy I thought might stick as a good friendship or maybe more. In Feb. 2016, he lived in Nevada, a two-hour drive away.

“Over the 2-3 months we saw each other, he spent a few days with me twice and I spent a few days at his place once. There was no sex. Hugs and a few kisses. He had a female dog – Grace! and I have a dog. Even the dogs got along great.

“I forget what his wife had died from, but I know he had to take care of her for a while, and when he learned of my slowly debilitating arthritis, he called me one day and said this wasn’t going to work between us because he didn’t want to go through caring for a disabled woman again. (That’s what he said in a nutshell). C’est La Vie!

“I had a lunch date with a new man yesterday (July 21, 2022). He’s not a ‘John;’ His name is Jay, he’s 84 and is a widower living in El Dorado Hills, which is a 25-minute drive away. We met on OurTime. He had looked at my profile and I saw that he lived close by, so I contacted him on July 14. I asked if he would like to meet for coffee sometime to see what we might have in common to develop a friendship.

“He wrote back that he had a pet cow named Daisy Mae – that nailed it for me! Lol. He is in a car club that takes a lot of day trips, and like me, his mind hadn’t caught up to his age. He said we could meet for lunch one day and see what happens.

“We exchanged more emails with chit-chat about his cow. He said he lost his dog just a few weeks ago (turns out it was a German Shepherd and he’s had a few over the years, so he’s a dog lover as well.) My next step was to see if he was willing to be completely open and I asked for his full name and phone number. I gave him mine. I got his back quickly and looked him up in the White Pages. He’s for real, so then we made the plan for lunch.

“He showed up early, and so did I, but he was there first. A plus in my book. And he was very nice, made fun conversation with a hint of a sense of humor, and all went well. In the parking lot, he showed me one of his classic cars, a 1971 VW Bug…yellow with yellow leather interior! Very cute. We parted with both of us saying we’d like to do this again, and off we went.

“So, we’ll see. He’s 11 years older; I’m not used to the guy being older, but I figure with my arthritis limitations, being older than me is better at this stage, so I can keep up!

Any predictions?

I emailed back: “Predictions? Not at this stage, but so far so good. To have a new friend at this stage of both your lives is a huge plus. Keep it going. This doesn’t have to be teenage-type love, but the social interaction is beneficial as well. People who love animals likely have warm hearts. I don’t know of any guy who has a pet cow. What a plus. And what fun!

“Continue to be upbeat and appreciative toward him and keep it going.”

Althea responded: “My thinking is the same…an animal lover has a big heart and is a kind, warm person. He struck me that way right off. I’ve always loved cows…my father grew up on a farm and his family had cows, chickens, and a few horses that I got to see when I was young.

“I told Jay I’d love to see his cow sometime so let’s see if he follows up on that. A friendship with him would be a plus for sure. It was brutally hot yesterday, 97, when we went to lunch and going to hit 95 today with all next week in the same area of ’90s, so our next get together might not be for a while.”

Althea may have just coined a new senior dating pickup line. In the past, when a guy was trying to entice a woman to come to his house, he might have said, “Would you like to see my etchings?” Now, he might say, “Would you like to see my cow?”

In 2020, I published an ebook titled, “Senior Dating: Does Age Matter?” In the book, I discuss the pros and cons of dating someone younger and/or older (and considerably older or younger as well). The book’s content is still applicable today.

You can go to the Smashwords.com site and read 10 percent of the book for no cost. Smashwords has an online reading option where you don’t have to load the book onto your computer, you just click on “online reader.” Of course, you can download the book onto your reading device. If you purchase the ebook before this Sunday night (when Smashwords’ July sale ends), it’s $2.66. After that, it’s $3.55. Here’s the link:

Chris, Tina, Tom, and Greta – very sadly noted that our dear friend Chris passed away in July, 2022

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1015582

Enjoying Love at 80

Widow and widower love

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

July 22, 2022  

by Tom Blake – columnist

How Susie met Jon

One of the most important things seniors can do to avoid loneliness and have a quality life is to incorporate social interaction into their daily routines. That means getting off the couch, out of the house, and being around people. When seniors do that, positive things often happen. Today’s story is an example.

Thirty-four years ago, I was surfing the Boneyard area of Doheny Beach. There was just one other person surfing there that day. He and I were chatting while waiting for waves to break. His name was Alex Rentziperis; he was opening a barber shop called Sports Barber in Dana Point. Alex has been cutting my hair ever since.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Sports Barber for a haircut. The shop is located in downtown Dana Point on the second floor above Stillwater, a popular country dancing restaurant.

When I walked in, Alex introduced me to a woman, whose hair he had just cut. He said, “This is Susie, she’s my only woman customer; I’ve been cutting her hair for 25 years.”

I had never seen a woman customer in Alex’s Sports Barber Shop.

Then, Alex said, “Susie has a senior marriage-success story.”

Alex’s words perked my interest. I told Susie I had been writing about senior dating for 24 years. Susie grinned, “I know, I read your column in the Dana Point Times. I thought your recent column, “Where is John?” was funny because my husband’s name is Jon, just spelled a little differently. I found John, we met later in life.”

I asked her a few questions and then asked if she’d email me her story, which she did.

Susie, who is now a Champ (one of my weekly eNewsletter readers), wrote, “In 2009, three of my girlfriends and I decided to go on a Mediterranean cruise. After unpacking in our staterooms, we decided to check out the activities on each deck of the ship. When we reached Deck 12, we noticed that it was 5:00 p.m., saw an outdoor bar, and decided it was time for a glass of wine. 

“One friend doesn’t drink alcohol, so she went to listen to music coming up from Deck 4. When the three of us got our wine and turned around, we saw our friend dancing with a man. We wondered, where did he come from? 

“After the dance ended, the man introduced himself to we three wine-sippers. His name was Jon; this was the start of a friendship among the five of us.  

“Because of high winds during the cruise, the ship could not dock at four of the eight ports. This gave the five of us time to have many conversations and do activities together. 

“Jon and I got to know each other and became good friends. After the cruise, we communicated often and spent time together. Amazingly, Jon was from Northern California, and I was from Southern California, and we met halfway around the world! Jon’s version of how we met is ‘Susie picked me up on the love boat.’” 

“Jon had been widowed for 1.5 years. I had been widowed for 13 years. Jon told me that if we developed a relationship, I would have more of an adjustment to make because I had been single for so long. A year after the cruise, we were married.

Susie and John Gaare

Susie added, “We decided to live in Dana Point because it was the only place with warm fog and no bugs. Jon says it was simply a ‘no brainer.’

“We purchased a condo together; it has been our ‘pinch-me moment.’”  

When people venture out to enjoy life, positive things often happen. For Susie, meeting Jon was one of them, and sharing her story with a columnist at the Sports Barber is another. 

A senior moment or Magic moment?

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – July 15, 2022

Number 32. A senior moment or a Magic moment?

As we age, many of us experience senior moments. I think I had one recently.

On most Saturday mornings, I stop at the outdoor Dana Point, California Farmer’s Market. There are about 75 food and non-food E-Z UP booths there, which is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. I particularly enjoy visiting with Vince The Hat Man and his partner Julie where they sell their custom-designed hats. I’ve known Vince for 32 years. He and Julie are friends of mine.

In the booth next to The Hat Man’s booth, Jeff Freeman sells high-quality bed sheets.

Jeff’s a sports buff and loves to chat about the latest news in the sports world. We’ve become buddies as well.

A week ago, shortly after I arrived at the market, I heard Jeff say, “Hey Tom, you’re wearing Magic’s number.”

I had no idea what the heck Jeff was talking about.

He said, “Step over here and turn around.” I reluctantly did.

Then he said, “Look at the back of your cargo shorts.” I looked behind me. I was embarrassed, horrified and thought, “Is old age catching up to me?”

On my spanking new navy-blue cargo shorts, there was a vertical yellow strip with several ‘32’ numbers running down the back (32 was Magic Johnson’s number with the LA Lakers). I quickly reflected on where I had been before coming to the market that morning. Oh no! I had been at Ralph’s Supermarket, the Costco gas station, and at Baby Beach where a lot of people were.

I wondered how many had seen that strip of 32s on my shorts and had thought, “Look at that old guy, he has no idea those numbers are on his rear. He forgot to take the size-32 tag off after he purchased them.”

Had Greta seen me leaving the house with that strip on my shorts, she would have stopped me.

I removed the yellow strip and thanked Jeff profusely for helping me avoid further embarrassment.

So, what was the deal? A few days before, I had purchased the pair of cargo shorts from Costco. All the shorts on the sales table had colored tags running down the back. I had considered grabbing a size 34, but I remembered that most of the shorts in my closet were size 34, just too darn large for me now that I’ve lost weight and need a size 32.

Since selling Tutor and Spunky’s, my Dana Point deli in 2015, I was no longer eating Italian subs with tasty cold cuts and cheese, I’ve slowly shed about 20 pounds in seven years.

I thought about Magic Johnson. He came into the deli several times. Greta and I became friends with him.

Greta, Magic and Tom (photo: Tom Blake)

A few months after first meeting Magic in 2009, I was invited to be a speaker at the AARP National Convention in Las Vegas. So, Greta and I were there. Plus, because I was a newspaper columnist, Greta and I were given press badges which gave us entry into all AARP events.

And Magic was a speaker at the same convention. Before his speech, Magic appeared at a press conference, which Greta and I attended along with 22 other members of the press.

Magic had no idea that I was anything other than the owner of Tutor and Spunky’s. At the press conference, Magic started to answer questions from reporters and then he spotted Greta and me in the front row. I could tell he was puzzled why two deli owners would be sitting there. He nodded to us. Then, he raised his hands as if to call a time-out in basketball.

Magic said to the press corps: “See those two people in the front row, they make the best sandwiches west of the Mississippi.”

I have never seen a press corps so confused. I’m certain they were wondering, “What the heck is Magic talking about?”

After the press conference, I explained to Magic that I was a columnist. He, Greta, and I had a good laugh.

So, here it was, 13 years later, and I was at the Dana Point Farmer’s Market, wearing Magic’s number 32—but not for long. Thanks, Jeff Freeman, for making my senior moment go away.

Why didn’t John ask for her phone number?

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter

July 8, 2022

By Tom P. Blake

23 responses to “Where is John?” eNewsletter from July 1, 2022

Last week’s column was titled, “Where is John?” Champ Yoko and prospective Champ ‘John’ spoke for 2 ½ hours at the Swallows Inn, a popular San Juan Capistrano watering hole and country music hangout. But, why didn’t John ask for her phone number? I asked for your comments re: what should have Yoko done?

23 Champs shared their thoughts–21 women and two men. That’s about a 9.5-to-one ratio, which is about par for the course in senior dating age 65+

23 Responses

Althea, “Was he married? Or, just out with his friend to have a good time. Perhaps he “Just Wasn’t That Into Yoko.”

Melanie, “John is married, or has a girlfriend, or just enjoyed talking. Yoko can’t bother herself about the reason…John didn’t want to go further.”

Sandy, “Some men carry baggage from previous relationships and/or use bars as their social outlets to get their social fix.”

Patty, “He was not wearing a wedding ring. That or showing pictures from his phone that show no women is no indication of whether he is married.”

Terri, “Yoko should realize that ‘John” has either a wife or a girlfriend and he just found it pleasant to hang out with her and her friends and nothing more. Done. I have personalized business cards with my name, email, and phone number, should the need arise.”

Teresa, “It seems risky to begin talking to an unknown person in a bar. Everything this guy said could be a lie. He could be looking for a woman with money.”

Thyrza, “His showing off his property would not bode well with me. Men show off their chivalry, that’s all it was. Put it to rest.”

Victoria, “Yoko’s story is as old as time itself. He’s probably married or in a relationship. The lack of a wedding ring is not foolproof. Perhaps he decided a relationship with her wouldn’t work.”

Joel, “I learned, as a matter of courtesy. Just to tell someone, ‘I don’t think we are a good fit’ and to accept it when someone (many in fact) have said something similar to me. You have to click with the person. Say ‘Next’ and move on. It’s not you, Yoko, of that, I am sure.”

Maria, “Maybe Yoko should have said, ‘Would you care to meet sometime and continue the conversation? At least she would have gotten a clearer picture of where he stood. She should chalk it up as a fun evening.”  (comment from Tom: should-a, would-a, could-a) hindsight is always easier).

Larry, “Yoko did all the right things and enjoyed herself. Any loss was his loss. Yoko, keep on keeping on!”

Anonymous woman, “It can take time for a woman to see that a rebuff may have zero to do with her. When that is figured out, it takes a lot of pressure off.”

Elenute, “If a man wants to contact a woman, he will find a way. Yoko should forget about him, attractive though he may be.”

Wayne, “Yoko should have simply stated at the end of the encounter: ‘John, I enjoyed meeting you and would like to see you again. Let’s exchange contact information. If he accepts, great. If not, it’s a red flag.”

Sue, “If John wanted her contact info, he’d have asked for it. He had a nice night and that’s that. Unfortunately, ‘He wasn’t that into her.’

Susan, “Suggestions for Yoko if the situation arises again:

“As Tom suggested, give him your card with contact information.

“Say: ‘I would like to visit your farm, let me know when a good time would be. Here is my number.

“Or, ‘I’m having a BBQ soon and would like to invite you. What would be a good number to reach you?’”

Gail, “John was a player. Yoko, count your blessings and be glad you dodged that bullet. It has happened to me. The guy wasn’t that into me. Fine, who’s next?”

Bonnie, “I learned a great lesson about guys through my oldest son. He and a girlfriend hit a bump in the road. He went through remarkable lengths to renew the relationship. I learned firsthand, that if a man wants to pursue a woman, he will just do so. He doesn’t overthink it. He just courts her naturally.

“Yoko might bump into him in six months, and they pick up where they left off. Timing can be a big deal.”

Heather, “I have a history with the Swallows Inn San Juan Capistrano. My brother Doug was a bouncer there in the 1960s. I really love a seedy bar. What’s funny, I met my significant other, Reuben, there. He has a horse at a stable down the road and came on Tuesday’s when Pedro makes tacos in the kitchen.

“My friends were my ‘wingmen.’ When Reuben would enter the bar, they would coax him over to sit at our table. Once, he grabbed my cellphone and put his number in my phone. Our first date was April 1, 2017. We’ve been together since.

“I wish Yoko had pushed a bit more or returned to the Swallows on the same day the following week. Life is too short for missed opportunities.”

Cheryl, “Has it happened to me? Yes. I’ve had many men tell me how busy they are right now, or what emergency has come up in their lives, that I don’t even pay attention, don’t care. The ball is in his court. My late husband would have driven to the moon to ask me out again if he had to.”

Kaitte, “Happened to me? Yep, for a split second at a gas station. He kept looking at me after he let me in the checkout line for gas. I was at the pump, and he looked around and found me. I should have given him my INTRO card. By the time, I figured that out he was gone. I did post lookout on Facebook but no response. Sigh, I’m 70, those vibes don’t come around often.”

Marie, “I have known friends who already plan weddings after an initial encounter and somewhat naively expect a positive follow up after they have enjoyed themselves. I have had men tell me after a first date that I am everything they are looking for…after knowing very little about me. Presumptions are not limited to the young folks.”

Marjorie: “I agree with Bonnie and my personal experience: If a guy is
interested he will make it happen. Otherwise, as others have said, he is
married, has a girlfriend, or isn’t that interested. Of course, she can ask
about meeting again, but take whatever he tells you as the answer. Don’t chase
him. And more important, don’t settle for being someone’s alternative.”

So, that’s it Champs. I know Yoko personally; she will relish your advice. And, chances are, your advice will benefit lots of other single women who go line dancing our just out for pizza and they meet a guy.  

Why do senior men send mixed signals?

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

By Tom Blake

July 1, 2022

Senior dating challenges: Why do senior men send mixed signals?

Where is “John?”

A Champ and San Juan Capistrano, California resident, Yoko, emailed, “A couple weeks ago, two girlfriends and I went to the Swallow’s Inn in San Juan Capistrano on a Tuesday evening for line dancing lessons. I arrived early.

The Swallows Inn San Juan Capistrano California (Photo by Tom Blake July 2022)

Note from Tom: The Swallows Inn is one of the most popular country and Western bars in Orange County, California. Some customers tie their horses up behind the bar. It’s been around for years.

Yoko continued, “A few minutes later, two men sat down at the table next to me and started a conversation. I was attracted to the man sitting closest to me (I’ll call him ‘John’). He and I chatted for 2 1/2 hours, and I even skipped one of the line dancing lessons as we were engaged in an interesting conversation about a property, he bought in Fallbrook (North San Diego County) this March with many avocado trees. 

“He had lived in San Juan Capistrano for 25 years. He owns his own company, now lives in nearby Mission Viejo Monday-Thursday and is in Fallbrook Friday-Sunday.  He wore no wedding ring. As he was flipping through pictures of his Fallbrook property to show me on his phone, I didn’t see any pictures of him with a woman. 

“He offered to buy drinks and food for me and my friends which I thought was very generous. We had already eaten. He bought a glass of wine for me and sodas for my non-alcohol-drinking friends. He helped move our table a little so my friends would have some space to sit and helped me lower a window blind that was stuck with sun streaming into my friends’ eyes. Very chivalrous of him. 

“All of his qualities I found attractive as well as his physical appearance. I guess his age is close to mine in his mid-60s. His friend kept urging him to dance with me, but he had informed me early in the conversation he did not line dance. 

“I’m not aggressive when I meet men as I was raised in an ‘old fashioned’ environment and the Japanese culture where the man makes the initial contact offer. This has always worked for me in the past. 

“After 2 1/2 hours my girlfriends wanted to leave so I thanked ‘John,’ and said my friends wanted to leave. I lingered a bit hoping he would ask for my phone number or give me his phone number. He did not ask so I said, “I hope to see you again,” and I left. 

“That was one of the strangest experiences I’ve had with a man to whom I was attracted, and I certainly got the vibes that ‘John’ was attracted to me. My ego was a little hurt as I’ve never had a man spend that much time talking to me, who seemed attracted to me and then not ask if he could call or see me again. 

“He certainly wasn’t shy as he initiated the conversation with me as soon as he sat down next to me. 

“I haven’t gone back to the Swallows since this happened but will go sometime. 

“I would enjoy hearing your and our Champs’ thoughts.”

I responded, “Yoko, I have no idea why he didn’t ask how to reach you. Perhaps he’s involved in a relationship or even married. 

“What more could you have done? One of the tips I suggest to single women who’d like to meet a potential mate is to be assertive, not aggressive, when meeting or seeing a single man who appeals to them.

“By this I mean have a pre-printed card (similar to a business card) with your first name and email address on it, that you could have handed to him. Or, you could have written your email address on a cocktail napkin.

“Who knows if you will see him again? If not, it wasn’t meant to be. But, in the future, be prepared to hand over your contact information if a similar situation arises.

“If ‘John’ reads this column and wants to contact you, he can email me, and I shall pass his information on to you.”

Three questions for Champs:

Has this ever happened to you?

What would you have done?

What should Yoko have done?

Thanks, Champs. Welcome to July. Egad. Halfway through 2022.

SOS – ABBA RETURNS TO LONDON

SOS – ABBA RETURNS TO LONDON

On Life and Love After 50 e Newsletter

JUNE 24, 2022

By Columnist Tom Blake

In the last two eNewsletters, I included an SOS message of sorts, reminding Champs to send in their experiences, stories, and questions, so that the articles will keep coming on a weekly basis. Many of you responded, which I appreciate.

Last Friday, while online, I received an email with this subject line: “SOS – The New Lyric Video!” At first take, I thought it was a Champ response to my send in your information appeal. Then, I noticed it was someone else who sent out an SOS message.

As some of you know, ABBA, the Swedish singing supergroup from the 1970s is making a comeback, of sorts. A new custom-built venue called ABBA Arena opened on May 26 in London, which features “Voyage,” ABBA’s first album in 40 years since the group split up. Is the foursome performing 40 years after they split up? Yes, of course, with lots of their old hits, plus some new material also. But there is a twist.

New Abba Arena (photo by Nick F June 2022)

The four original members, Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid have created a concert called Voyage using the same sensational music but digital versions of themselves. The four appear as avatars showing what they looked like in the 1970s, not what they look like now in their 70s.

The London ABBA Arena “Voyaged” show is backed by a live 10-piece orchestra. The show includes the magic of ABBA using motion-capture technology in a spectacular virtual reality show.

They did appear on opening night in person on stage before the concert. The concertgoers went crazy.

In a way, the ABBA members are like we Champs—they are in their 70s now and they’ve aged as we have. In YouTube footage I watched of them appearing on opening night on stage, Agnetha was using a cane. Most of us can relate to them: we loved their music then and they are older like us now.  

Bjorn said it so well in an interview about the story behind the Voyage album. “We’ve aged, but the spirit is still there.”

There are two links listed below to ABBA’S new material. The first is to the new spicy version of SOS. Plus, I’ve included another link to an interview with Benny and Bjorn explaining how the Voyage album came together. The group spent six weeks in a studio perfecting the album and videos.

Performances are sold out for most of the summer. The Voyage website is filled with information, including directions on how to reach the Abba Arena, via train and the London underground tube.

I mentioned ABBA recently in an eNewsletter and how in 2013 Greta and I were in Stockholm on a cruise, and we found the ABBA museum while riding on a Hop On, Hop Off bus. It was the opening day of the museum. They were sold out. We were told we couldn’t go in.

Tom and Greta with Abba look-a-likes in 2003 (photo by Tom Blake)

However, in her gracious, sweet, and convincing way, Greta was able to persuade the museum manager to allow us to enter on that opening day, a memory we will never forget. And while there, we were able to watch while standing four feet away, Natalie Morales of the Today show, interview in person Bjorn and Anna-Frid. That interview aired in the United States live on the Today Show that day.

Natalie Morales of Today show interviewing Bjorn and Anna-Frid in 2013 (photo by Tom Blake)

Will Greta and I go to London to see the Voyage concert? Probably not. But, if we get a call from Bjorn or Anna-Frid inviting us, well, we might rethink it. In the meantime, enjoy the links below.

Link to SOS

Link The story behind the album “The spirit is still there” Bjorn.

Michael McLeavy tells of meeting Elvis in a memoir

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

by Tom Blake – columnist

June 17, 2022

In March 2017, I wrote a column titled, “Delivering a Letter to Johnny Cash,” which described a trip my partner Greta and I took to Tennessee to visit the Johnny Cash Museum and Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, and Graceland, and Sun Records in Memphis.

As many of you know, I worked with (and became friends with) Johnny Cash in 1975 and 1976 and wanted to show Greta the places where I had been with him.

A fellow Dana Point resident and Champ, Michael McLeavy, responded to that article. He wrote: “I enjoyed your ‘Delivering a Letter to Johnny Cash’ column and thought you might get a kick out of how I met Elvis Presley, since Elvis was a friend of your friend Johnny Cash.”

Michael and I met for lunch and compared stories about how he met Elvis and I met Johnny, two of Tennessee’s greatest singing legends. Michael presented me with a replica of a poster that pictured Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley together, promoting a March 10, 1956, concert in Armory, Mississippi (photo above)

On April 13, 2017, I wrote a follow-up column detailing how Michael met Elvis.

This February, Michael told me he had just completed an autobiography, which features his meeting Elvis as one of the highlights.

He said, “I purchased your Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark book and was impressed that you self-published it by using Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Would you consider editing, formatting, and helping me publish my book on Amazon?”

I said, “I admit, as a senior, I have extra time on my hands due to staying at home during the pandemic. Seniors need projects to work on. Projects can keep their minds active and give them a purpose. I’m not a professional editor, but I did learn a lot publishing my book.”

I thought getting Michael’s book edited and published might take me three weeks. So, I said to Michael, “I will do it.”

Three weeks turned into two months. Besides editing the manuscript, building a table of contents, and creating the book’s cover, there were multiple pictures to reformat and other details to address. One blessing: the book turned out to be only 132 pages.

What Now? What Next? Where To? by Michael McLeavy

As I worked on the book, I became fascinated with Michael’s life. He moved to Los Angeles from Scotland in 1965. His primary goal was to meet Elvis. He did that and so much more. He built a successful career in the insurance business.

Michael is an accomplished singer. He has recorded four CDs, which are available on Amazon.

Currently, Michael’s book, “What Now? What Next? Where To?” is available in paperback only. The cost on Amazon is $14.99 plus shipping and taxes.

However, if Champs would like a signed and personalized copy, email Michael at mmcleavy@cox.net with the details. The charge for Champs is $14.25, plus delivery. He will invoice you via his PayPal account, which can be paid via credit cards.

Michael has lived in Dana Point with his wife Linda since 1989.

Will I begin a second senior career helping people as an editor and publisher of books? Perhaps, but not full time as I must leave enough time to keep writing my eNewsletters and newspaper columns. Let me know if you have a book in your future. I’m receptive to questions.

Tom Blake and Michael McLeavy

End of the line

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – June 3, 2022

Today’s topics:

Reflections on Memorial Day

Does a potential mate’s marriage history matter?

It’s not the end of the line (if you haven’t found a mate yet)

On Memorial Day, like so many people, I did some reflecting about life. As a veteran, I certainly thought about the men and women of the armed services who paid the ultimate price. I reflected on the American Cemetery in Normandy France that Greta and I visited in 2016. It was a heart-wrenching experience to see the 9,387 gravesites of the Americans buried there. Most were casualties of the D-Day invasion, which took place only a few hundred yards from the cemetery, on June 6, 1944. Some perished in other parts of WWII.

Les, one of our Champs, was involved in D-Day.   

Only four of the 9,387 buried there are women. Greta and I searched the cemetery until we found at least one of the four women’s gravesites. We came upon the white cross of Elizabeth A. Richardson, Mishawaka, Indiana, who was a Red Cross Volunteer, age 27, who died in a plane crash on July 25, 1944. I took a photo of her gravestone.

And I also thought about the men and women serving now. This very morning, Greta’s grandson-in-law Carlos is retiring from the Marine Corps after 23 years. We will be at his retirement ceremony at Camp Pendleton. We’re grateful for his dedication.

Also on Memorial Day, I thought about the last two years where Covid-19 made life difficult for all of us. For senior singles, it made meeting a potential mate very difficult. For seniors in long-distance relationships, it meant not seeing a partner as often.

I spoke to my friend Mike S. on Memorial Day and he stated how the recent tragic shootings across our country had affected him and Joanie, his significant other. He stated, “I’m out of sorts; this is a strange day.” I felt the same way.

I thought about our Champs who are alone, some of them probably feeling a bit empty themselves. I thought about five friends–two who are new widows, two who are new widowers and a guy friend who recently said to me, “I lost the best woman I’ve ever known.”  I know how tough Memorial Day was for them.

And then I felt maybe I could give senior singles a little boost via this week’s eNewsletter.

Recently, some Champs have asked if a person’s dating and/or marriage history is important when seeking a mate. Here are my thoughts.

1 When you meet a potential mate, does their marriage/divorce history matter? What if they were married and divorced two or more times? Does that make them a risky choice?

My answer: no. When Greta and I had our first date 25 years ago, one thing we both fessed up to that we had in common was we each had been married and divorced three times. Both of us had been thinking, if I say that, will the other one get up and leave.

We didn’t bat an eye. Neither asked, “Why so many times?” We both understood what the other had been through. We both seemed like nice people. If anything, that common bond help bring us together. The result: a quarter-century of sharing life together. We finally got the senior relationship challenge right, even though we didn’t want or have the need to marry.

(2) How about dating a widowed person? Most widows and widowers have told me they prefer to date widowed people because widowed people understand each other. An important consideration is: have they given themselves time to grieve and heal?

Twelve years ago, I published an eBook titled, “Widower Dating. Gold Mine or Mine Field?” That book addresses many issues that can arise in dating a widowed person, especially dating a widower. It’s in eBook format only and is 33 pages. The eBook costs $2.99. To read a free preview, go to www.smashwords.com and then search on “Tom Blake. Widower Dating. Gold Mine or Mine Field.” While published 12 years ago, the information remains applicable today.

Both widows and widowers have told me the book has helpful advice for them, in addition to someone who is dating a widower.

I dated a widow before I met Greta. She kept calling me “Sam,” her deceased husband’s name. I felt she hadn’t healed properly, and the relationship fizzled out.

Is it okay to date widowed people? Of course. However, early on have the discussion with him or her to ensure the person has adequately healed. It would be terrible to fall in love with someone who decides down the road that he or she hasn’t healed enough and dumps you. Ouch!

(3) And is there risk in dating a person who has never married? Perhaps they are the wisest among all senior singles. No divorce scars. But you may wisely wonder, can he or she give and be a supportive and loving partner?

Of course, they can! They wouldn’t be making themselves available if they weren’t up to the task. The more important question might be can you be a supportive and loving partner to him or her.

There is no right or wrong answer to these three questions. It’s up to each person individually. It’s all in the attitude. It’s all how two people interact and care for each other. And don’t think, it’s the end of the line for you because you haven’t met that significant someone yet.

End Of The Line

Coincidentally, as I was working on this eNewsletter on Memorial Day, Greta clicked on YouTube TV and the song “End of the Line,” Volume 1 played, by The Traveling Wilbury’s, featuring George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne.” Incredible piece of music. Recorded in October 1988.

Orbison died on December 6, 1988, and when Volume 2 of “End of the Line” came out, the video featured a guitar sitting on an empty rocking chair, placed there to honor Orbison. Toward the end of the video, Orbison’s voice is dubbed in. Bob Dylan appeared on the Volume 2 video. I am ending today’s eNewsletter with a link to Volume 2 of “End Of The Line.” Look for the rocking chair, the subtle picture of Roy Orbison and the cameo appearance of Bob Dylan. And the messages in the song to seniors about living a full life. The video has had 99,000,000 views since being originally posted in 2016.

Stresses of long-distance relationships

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – May 27 2022

by Tom Blake

The stresses of long-distance relationships

(Note from Tom: Today’s eNewsletter has been edited for length, clarity, and controversial material)

The pandemic has been hard on senior long-distance relationships. Travel restrictions made face-to-face meetings difficult. And when the partners lived in different countries, getting together was almost impossible.

I heard of relationships where one person lived in Canada and the person lived across the border in the USA and were unable to see each other for one to two years, due to border-crossing restrictions.

Did the long-distance relationships within the USA survive the test of time being away from each other? Recently, we wrote about the frustration a woman in Illinois expressed about not being able to see her California man friend more often. She wondered if she was wasting her time. They had seen each other only a couple of times in the last year.

And now that restrictions are easing, what’s happening to international long-distance relationships? Larry, a Champ, a friend, and a former Dana Point neighbor of mine from 30 years ago—he’s now 82– emailed last week regarding the status of his international long-distance relationship.

I mentioned his situation in previous eNewsletters when he said nine of his scheduled trips to the Philippines to see Emy, his woman friend, had been canceled.

Larry wrote last week: “Many men have been interested in the lure of Asian women. I started an online investigation of these women and their countries a dozen years ago. I discovered there are two common denominators. They all want love and financial security.

“I chatted with many women online throughout the entire world. Many come from countries with different religions than mine. One country stood out above all others (The Philippines) for Catholicism and an English-speaking populace.

“At first glance, it was obvious that Philippine dating sites were not the way to go! Full of money scammers and women desperate to escape the poverty of The Philippines. So, I looked at other non-dating social sites. This is how I met Emy. We are now in our 7th happy year together.”

A few years ago, Larry went to the Philippines to be with Emy. Just before the pandemic arrived, he returned to the USA to attend to some personal matters. Then, after the pandemic spread, his return flight to Manila was canceled.

During 2000 and 2001, he had eight more reservations to fly to Manilla canceled. The Philippine government was strict about allowing people into the country. Larry expressed his frustration to me with both the Philippine government and the U.S. government and their travel restrictions. However, I understood those restrictive actions, which nearly every country instituted, in an attempt to protect the health of its residents.

Larry wrote: “Since March 2020 until recently, the Philippines and the USA governments have kept me from returning to The Philippines. The stress has been close to unbearable. It has taken a toll on my life, and I am now in a recuperative stage. It is going to take days, weeks, and perhaps longer to recover.

Love rekindles in PV

“To get Emy and I back together, I investigated 35-45 countries where Emy might be able to get a visa. I found only two—Ecuador and Mexico.  Ecuador seemed too far away in South America. And Mexico, which she chose, turned out to be difficult for her to enter. They required many documents and other severe travel restrictions for Filipinos! She endured a 3-day delay in Manila, but with help from friends plus 34 hours of travel time, we have been together again in Puerto Vallarta Mexico (PV) for over two weeks.”

When I read “Puerto Vallarta,” I was shocked. I had no idea that Larry and Emy had “PV” on their radar. However, that’s not so bad, in fact, it’s darned good. “PV” is a great city. Greta and I have visited and stayed there five times. We thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Emy and Larry (photo by Larry McCook)

Larry said, “What is it like here in Mexico with Emy? Life is better than good. She is the same lady who loved me in 2019: Sweet, kind, and caring. She never misses Mass, and it is great to hold hands together in Mass. She cooks three meals a day made from fresh food from the local market. Our apartment is so clean that a person could eat off the floor. She gives me a strong full back massage every day, and we take long walks every day.

“We live in a nice updated fully furnished 1 BR apartment including A/C and electricity for under $500 per month, which helps us save for rainy days.  Buses run every 5-10 minutes and it costs 50 US Cents to anywhere in the city. Supermarket pricing is close to the same in the US. The locals are friendly. We live across from a large sports park.”

Tom’s comment: I wonder what they will do? Will they remain in Mexico or return to the USA or the Philippines? I know he will let us know.

Their story is an example of how determination and true grit can keep love alive. More power to them.

I’d like to hear from other couples who are involved in long-distance relationships and how they made it through the pandemic and what obstacles they had to overcome.

5 tips for overcoming heartbreak

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – May 20, 2022

by Tom Blake – Columnist

A New You – 5 Tips for overcoming heartbreak (Love will find a way)

Growing old has many rewards: retirement, playing lots of golf, exercising at will, children are grown and usually married and grandchildren for you to enjoy. No more 9-to-5 working pressures. The list is endless.

However, as we age, we also experience loss. We lose loved ones through divorce, breakups, misunderstandings, and death. It’s not just losing a partner. We lose parents, siblings, and dear friends. We are dealt personal hardships. Perhaps we’ve been diagnosed and are dealing with a serious illness.

It’s life, it’s inevitable and it’s hard. When these things happen, we face a new challenge: overcoming our heartbreak and finding a new direction.

How do we do that? How do we become “The new you?”

In writing about senior dating and relationships for 28 years, here are five tips I’ve learned from readers on how to overcome heartbreak. One of the main themes of songs is heartbreak, and how to overcome it. Today, I’m including three songs that I feel can be helpful to get people through tough times and give them hope.

5 tips for overcoming heartbreak

1. It’s understandable and ok to be sad. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to be alone (for a time, but not for too long). One of my favorite songs from the 1970s was REM’s “Everybody Hurts.” In a nutshell, that song’s message is: “Everybody hurts sometimes. Hold on.” It’s a powerful song of hope and overcoming adversity. Link at end.

2. Remind yourself that healing takes time. It will sting for a while. In an interview April 21, 2022, on Good Morning America, Robin Roberts asked Magic Johnson (the photo above is of Magic Johnson with Greta Cohn and Tom Blake at Tom’s deli, Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point, California, in 2009) how he overcame the news in 1991 that he had HIV. Magic said, “You realize you aren’t alone.” Being aware of this helped him become “A new you.”

The Bee Gees, the 1970s popular singing group was made up of three close-knit brothers. They had many hits, including, “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?” I saw an interview on TV recently with Barry Gibb, about that song and how he dealt with the loss of his three younger brothers, who died years apart. Maurice and Robin were members of the Bee Gees and Andy was much younger but not in the group.

Gibb was devastated. He said, “I moped around for months, there were highs and lows.”

My sisters and I lost my brother Bill a year ago January, it’s taken that long to not think about him every day. I’ve healed, I guess because I no longer daily reach for my phone to call him as I did for months after he passed. Again, healing takes time. And we will never forget.

3. Don’t try to go it alone. Have a support group, if only one or two people. Confide in them and talk to friends; be out socially, if possible. Try not to isolate yourself. Be around people by attending church, volunteering, and going to senior centers. Don’t be afraid to admit your pain.

4. Remind yourself that everything is going to be all right in due time. It may not seem like it when adversity happens. Be as positive as you can. In 1976, Neil Diamond co-wrote and sang live one time the song “Dry Your Eyes,” in response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King because so many people were mourning. The song was on the “Beautiful Noise” album. He did not sing it live again until 2017, after the terrorist bombing at an Aria Grande concert in Manchester, England.

Greta and I attended one of his last concerts at the Forum in L.A. in 2018. At least, he unexpectedly (to me) sang “Dry Your Eyes.” I filmed a video of it, which is linked below.

5. Look for a seed of opportunity that often sprouts from adversity. When I was dealt an unexpected divorce in 1994, I started a journal just to gather and organize my thoughts. Six months later, using the words from that journal, I became a newspaper columnist. A seed of opportunity came along, and I grabbed it. I’m still writing 28 years later.

Another song about overcoming heartbreak is by the singing group Pablo Cruise who had a 1978 hit titled “Love Will Find A Way.” Words from that song include:

“Oh, but it’s all right (all right)
Once you get past the pain
(Past the pain)
You’ll learn to find your love again
So keep your heart open
‘Cause love will find a way”

Remember Magic’s words, “You aren’t alone.”

The music:

Here are links to the four songs mentioned.

REM’s Everybody Hurts:  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfggUztyO00

The Bee Gee’s How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?

Neil Diamond Dry Your Eyes (note the trumpet player beginning at the 1:34 mark; he’s incredible

Pablo Cruise’s Love Will Find A Way