Responses to Don’t let the old man in

Tom Blake columnist

 On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – June 26, 2020

by Columnist Tom Blake

                            Responses to Don’t let the old man in

Last Friday morning, Greta asked, “How was the response from Champs to the ‘Don’t Let The Old Man In’ eNewsletter today?” 

I said, “It’s too early to know.”

I am never certain how an eNewsletter is going to be received. There are times when I feel that the message is helpful and Champs will like it—and yet, only a few responses trickle in. And there are times when I say to myself, “This isn’t my best effort,” and the responses are positive and plentiful. 

Last week’s issue was no different; I didn’t know how Champs would respond to the Toby Keith and Clint Eastwood “Don’t let the old man in” story. However, that uncertainty quickly evaporated as positive responses filled my inbox. Champs liked it! Here are several responses, plus my comments to each one.

Wayne emailed, “Good advice. My brother played golf with Toby Keith at Clint’s tournament when this exchange took place.

Tom’s comment: “Wow, small world. What a day that must have been for your brother.”

Barbara, “Thank you for posting that video. It got me out of a slight slump. I saw the movie ‘The Mule’ and love anything Clint Eastwood does. 

“I also wanted to tell you I read your 84 Days Through Europe in a VW bus Summer 1960 travel ebook; it brought back many memories for me about that summer. I turned 20 in July 1960, and got married in August and came to California for our honeymoon.

“Two years later, we drove across the country and moved to California for good. I’ve been a widow for 25 years and learned to live alone. I enjoy your weekly eNewsletter.”

Tom’s comment: “Good to hear you got out of the slump. It’s easy to slip into a slump during these trying times. And I’m pleased you enjoyed the “84 Days” book—you and I were the same age that summer (and, of course, we still are, now 60-years later).”

Marilou, “Thank you!”

Tom’s comment: “Greta and I enjoyed meeting you and your friend Pat on that Iceland, Greenland and Scotland 22-day cruise last August. We are thankful that we got the trip in before COVID-19 surfaced. We won’t do another cruise for a while, but not saying ‘never.’”

 Marilou, Tom, Pat, and Greta on the cruise – August 2019

Thyrza, “A timely reminder especially during this time. This pandemic makes us feel old since life as we knew it is curtailed.

“I went for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory with my two grandchildren and son and daughter. It felt so good and right to be out.  

“My guy friend and I drove along Pacific Coast Highway to Laguna Beach. I was teary-eyed to see throngs of people enjoying the beauty of nature and freedom. I can’t believe a virus can take away our freedom, just like that. So yes, keep the old person out!”

Tom’s comment: “Good on you, for getting out and about. (Just continue to do it safely).”

Ben, “I totally agree with Clint Eastwood; Get up each morning with gratitude-get out of yourself and help others. KEEP MOVING, and get out of the house. I walked 3-4 miles today, found out the gym was open- went over there and did the Stair Climber- I have a long way to go…One day at a time…Walk, pick up recycling- share the $$ with charity. Make a difference in your own way.” 

Tom’s comment: “Ben, you are doing great. Admirable! Love your spirit; love your attitude.”

Gloria, “I’m still weeping – It’s so emotional for me as a healthy, spunky 81-year-young women and a crybaby letting ‘it’ out so it doesn’t sink ‘in.’ Love all your messages. I’d like a nice ‘older man’ at my door.”

Tom’s comment:  Maybe we can find one to be at your door.

Gloria (part 2): “I can dream, can’t I? I’m a singer and can also sing YOU’RE A SWEETHEART to you. I met you at a conference in another life. Not sure which conference. Had to be Florida. Followed you ever since. So I’ll put in my order for the front-door man: fun, healthy and into all kinds of music – especially Broadway. I’m lucky; I’m plucky (a poet too). I so appreciate your response. Not holding my breath for that knock on my door.”

Tom’s comment: “That conference might have been an AARP Convention on the East Coast. I have been a speaker at them on occasion.”

Mary Lou (not the same Marilou as above), “I didn’t get a political ad when I clicked on the link – instead, funny enough, it was an advertisement about the bar exam – which you may remember I am a tutor for.

“I forwarded the link to my 80-year-old brother who never lets the old man in, and my 76-year-old favorite-boy-cousin (I always tell him that and he says he’s my only boy-cousin – lol. Not true, he’s my only boy-cousin on my dad’s side, but I have eight boy-cousins on my mom’s side.)

“Here’s to not letting the old man and/or the old woman in.”

Tom’s comment: “That’s funny about the tutoring ad. What are the chances of that coincidence happening? Might be cookies YouTube uses to track people’s interests.”

Joy, “Loved it! That was so heartwarming! Thank you for all you and Greta do for us kids!”

Tom: “Kids? Oh my gosh, Joy. You made our day.” 

Gail, “Yes, keeping the old lady out is always a struggle! Although, I keep parts, like being honest with people. Stay strong.

“I am still living in Bishop (California, eastern slope of the Sierra Mountains). We are getting swamped by out-of-towners- some who are real jerks not wearing masks. Granddaughter Emma just turned 15.”

Tom’s comment: “Greta and I met with Gail and Emma seven-years ago. We had breakfast together in Bishop at Jack’s, a great coffee shop right on Highway 395. Can’t believe the lovely Emma is 15.”

Tom, Gail, and Greta with Emma in front – 2013

Update: I wonder if Gail felt that powerful 5.8 magnitude earthquake in the Owens Valley Wednesday? That was close to Bishop.

Terry, aka, the funny plumber (Thailand), 80ish, said: “Don’t Let the Old Man in” is great. I was talking with a girl at the market yesterday.  She said: ‘I want to get married.’” 

I asked: “How old are you?”

She replied: “27.”

My response: “Well, you are too old for me.”

“Love from the ‘Golden Triangle’ (Thailand, Laos, Myanmar).”

Tom’s comment: “Terry was only joking, of course. He has the lovely Daeng as his partner. She’s more than ‘young enough’ for him!”

(Terry, part 2), “We are happy that no COVID-19 virus has been in our area.  Folks in this area still wear masks and try to be careful. Thailand ranks second-best in the world out of 184 countries for ongoing COVID-19 recovery.

Thailand ranked second best in the world for ongoing COVID-19 recovery – TAT Newsroom

Kathy, “Just had to write and let you know how much I enjoyed the article about Clint Eastwood and don’t let the old man in. I think that was one of your best advice columns ever. Whether it applies to dating or just to everyday attitude, it is spot on!

“I am having knee surgery on Wednesday and had a COVID-19  test yesterday so I have to self-isolate until the surgery on Wednesday. However, just the thought of being able to walk better makes it all worthwhile.”

Note from Tom: “Kathy used to live in our Dana Point neighborhood. Now she lives 3,000 miles away in Florida. We hope her surgery went well.”

Andree, “Thank you for sharing Clint Eastwood’s movie, and Toby’s song. I saw the movie and loved it. I’ve enjoyed Eastwood and his movies for many years. And I loved Toby Keith and his voice for years, and, have his CDs. 

The “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” is so true and I try to remember what to do each morning I wake up. At 71, I know life is short and I have to stay positive, have a good attitude, and love life one day at a time.”

Tom’s comment: “At 71, Andree, you have many, many years ahead of you. You’re a young one. Keep doing as you’re doing!”

Mark,” This was great. I hadn’t heard about it.”

Tom’s comment: “Two years ago, Greta and I had the honor to locate and photograph Mark’s parents’ gravestones in American Samoa. It meant a lot to us, and it meant a lot to him. Having met several of you Champs in person makes writing about life after 50 even more special for Greta and me.  

Tom at Mark’s parents graves in American Samoa – 2018

, “I had seen the previews for ‘The Mule’ before it was released but the subject matter didn’t look terribly intriguing, although I do like Clint Eastwood.  I do agree with the advice ‘Don’t let the old man (or woman) in.’ 

“So based on your recommendation (and Greta’s), we watched the movie. It was very good. All kinds of lessons are there–food for thought.  Ray, (her sig. other) plays guitar and he decided to learn how to play the song, “Don’t let the Old Man In” and share it with his guitar group.  Of course, with the pandemic, the weekly guitar group meet-up he has attended for several years hasn’t met since March. 

“Some of them have met on Zoom weekly, but it just isn’t the same. It’s impossible to play together–they just talk.  A couple of weeks ago the leader of the group invited a small group over to his house to play in the driveway (sitting on chairs..) socially distanced. That worked out pretty well. 

“Then he had another idea.  We have a new multi-level parking deck attached to our new library.  Why not bring chairs and meet to play in the garage?  Five of them met Tuesday night. They took playing together to a whole new level.. Again they practiced social distancing. They were outside so no masks were needed.  Ray hasn’t shared the song yet, but he will.  

“So thanks for the recommendation!  Stay well and thanks for writing your weekly column.  Ray and I have been together for 11 years now and lived together for 10. We’re both 70 but are valiantly trying not to let the “old man” or “old woman” in.

“We live in North Carolina now. We went out for a year in college in Colorado (1967) but married others. Three years after my husband died from ALS in 2006 I looked Ray up on  LinkedIn and we reconnected. I think you wrote a column about us in 2010.”

What happened to Champ Nancy?

I received an email from Mail Chimp–the server I use to deliver the eNewsletters–that revealed Champ Nancy had unsubscribed. I knew she had been a Champ for more than four years and opened nearly every eNewsletter. Hence, I thought it was strange she would unsubscribe, when, the other responses were so positive. So, I sent her an email just to ensure she hadn’t canceled accidentally.

Nancy replied, “I love your weekly newsletter and would never on purpose unsubscribe. I loved the Toby Keith video. I sent it to a dear friend who is 90. I think I re-subscribed from my phone again, but if I didn’t do it right, I am sorry.”

I checked. Nancy had pushed the right buttons, and she’s with us once again, after an absence of only a few hours.

If any of you find you aren’t receiving the eNewsletter, you may have accidentally removed yourself. Resubmit on the home page of

Email me if you have any questions.

Don’t let the old man in

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – June 19, 2020

Thomas P. Blake author and columnist

                                   Don’t Let The Old Man In

While staring at my computer, pondering what advice I could share with Champs this week, with COVID-19 still a concern although restrictions have been eased somewhat, an email sent from my partner Greta, arrived in my inbox.

Moments later, Greta, sitting at her desk a few feet away, said, “Did you get my email? It’s a video with a message that you might want to share with your readers.”

When I saw the subject line: “Don’t let the old man in,” I thought Greta had sent me a subtle hint that she’d seen enough of me during this challenging stay-at-home time.

The email explained that the word “man” could be replaced by the word “woman.” For instance, “Don’t let the old woman in.”In other words, the message applied to seniors of either gender.

I watched the four-minute, two-second video, which featured multiple scenes of Clint Eastwood from a movie he starred in, and produced two years ago. He’s now 90.

According to the video, Eastwood and country-music singer Toby Keith were playing golf together at a Pebble Beach charity event two years ago. During the round of golf, Eastwood said to Keith: “I turn 88 on Monday.”

Keith said, “What are you going to do?”

Eastwood replied, “I am going to shoot a movie,” adding that filming was starting in two days.

Keith said, “What keeps you going?”

Eastwood replied, “I get up every day and don’t let the old man in.”

Later that day at home, inspired by Eastwood’s relentless energy, Keith wrote a song, titled, “Don’t Let The Old Man In.” He hoped Eastwood would like it.

Not only did the actor like it, Eastwood felt he had a spot in the movie where the song would fit in.

Toby Kieth and Clint Eastwood  photo courtesy of Billboard

A video was created by Lone Wolf Media, narrated by Keith, and featuring his song. After I watched the video, I thought Greta’s right. My readers might like this as an inspiration to keep on moving and living, regardless of their age and later-in-life challenges.

Yes, COVID-19 had slowed us all down, and made senior dating difficult, but I felt the video might encourage single seniors to not give up on meeting a mate.

I forwarded the video to my sister Pam, in San Diego. She replied, “The footage in the video is from ‘The Mule,’ a movie Eastwood produced and directed in 2018. Great movie, you and Greta would enjoy it.”

I read about The Mule online. It’s based on a true story about an 85-year-old WWII veteran who was down and out; he tried to help himself get back on his feet by becoming a courier for a Mexican drug cartel, transporting contraband in his old truck, and later a SUV, in larger and larger amounts.

During the video, there are a few quotes by Eastwood that I felt might be appropriate for our senior readers, to inspire them to remain positive, particularly, during the current difficult times. I am in no way advocating that they become drug smugglers or do anything illegal to get themselves back on their feet.

One quote: “Get up and go outside. Don’t Let the Old Man In.”

Another: “Stay close to your friends.”

And a third: “Look out your window and smile. Don’t Let the Old Man In.”

In other words, get out there and live. Try to get the body moving. For some, as we age, it becomes more difficult to walk around the block or negotiate stairs and steps. Do the best you can. Use a cane; use a walker. Just do it. 

I recommend the Lone Wolf Productions video, “Don’t Let the Old Man (or Woman) In.”

Greta and I watched the movie “The Mule” online. The “Don’t Let The Old Man In” song is at the end of the movie when credits are being shown. 

Note about the link below. The first time I tested it, a political advertisement appeared. I simply clicked on skip ad. I wanted to use this particular link because it captures Toby Keith’s version so nicely. So, if any ad appears, you can skip it. I hope you realize I avoid all politics in this column. 

Link to the “Don’t Let The Old Man In” video:

Senior couple stranded in Antigua during COVID-19

On Love and Life after 50 eNewsletter – June 12, 2020

by Columnist Thomas P Blake

There are three parts to today’s eNewsletter

    Part 1  –  Senior couple stranded in Antigua 2+ months during COVID-19

I wondered over the last several weeks if any of our Champs had been stuck somewhere, unable to get home. My answer came from Francesca, who emailed to thank me for providing the free download a few weeks ago of the ebook, Italy, 23 Days by Train.

In the email, she added, “We happen to be ‘stranded’ in Antigua (a Caribbean island), with the only airport having been closed for some time.”

I wrote back to Francesca, “If you don’t mind, and have time, can you tell our Champs about your ‘being stranded’ experience, and tell us a bit about you as a couple.” Francesca and I exchanged several emails. Today’s eNewsletter is lengthy, but informative and well stated by Francesca.

She wrote, “I’m not a writer, just a retired educator, so here goes. Antigua is undoubtedly the best place to be stranded, but home calls. (Burbank, California-me; Lake Arrowhead, California area-Dan).

“With the Antigua airport finally reopened, we flew back to Los Angeles yesterday.

“Dan, 75, and I, 73, met on Match. We’ve been together two years and hope to make it last for many more.

“When we realized we weren’t going home in April as planned, we didn’t have to change our accommodations. We were able to pay rent on a month-to-month basis. We’ve had to stay two extra months plus a few days.

“Dan has a small medical billing business; he can take his work with him as long as there’s wi-fi and Internet, which I can also use. It’s been an adventure here. 

“For the last three years, Dan has rented a one-bedroom apartment in Antigua during the winter months. He lives in the San Bernardino Mountains and likes to get away to a warm climate, away from the snow and ice.

“Dan arrived in Antigua mid-January, with a return ticket to LA on April 8. For the past two years, I’ve joined him for the last month of his stay. I arrived March 4, planning a month of enjoying the island and relaxing on the beach. But then COVID-19 came along, and things changed.

“In late March, to contain the virus, the Antiguan government closed all entry points to the island, including the one and only airport. They then put into place numerous severe restrictions, the most difficult of which was a 24-hour curfew where we couldn’t leave our hotel except for trips to the grocery store. We couldn’t go to the beach. Antiguans boast that they have 365 beaches; every one of them was closed.

“It was rough going for a while. Especially hard was that we have a beautiful little beach within a 15-minute walk from our place, but we couldn’t even ‘visit’ it, let alone enjoy swimming and snorkeling. Eventually, they lifted the curfew hours; but it was in effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. We were able to visit our beach, and swim and snorkel as much as we wanted.

“We still had inconveniences with groceries and such. We’re in a ‘hotel,’ but it’s really an apartment complex, with 10 one-bedroom apartments, each with a full kitchen. We didn’t have too much trouble with groceries when I first arrived. The closest grocery store is about a mile away. We don’t have a car, so I used to walk there every few days to pick up a couple of things that we needed. It was a nice walk and good exercise. 

“The route took me through the back gate of Jolly Harbour, a nearby community that serves foreign travelers, but they always let us through. That is, until COVID-19 came along.  

 “At that point, they closed the back gate to everyone. Then, it got tough. Getting groceries became a major planning event. We couldn’t walk there anymore; the only way to get to the store on foot was a 3.5-mile trek one-way. Without a car, we paid Mr. Hunt, the maintenance man at our hotel, to drive us to the store. We could no longer decide on the spur-of-the-moment to go pick up a few things.”  

In an earlier email, Francesca wrote, “Our Mr. Hunt has been a godsend. He’s a native Antiguan and seems to know everyone in town. Just ask him about anything concerning the local community, and he’ll catch you up on the latest news. Theoretically, he speaks English, but we think he actually speaks a combination of English and the Antiguan patois. 

“When he speaks to you, you can catch one or two English words, but you have to do a lot of guessing to find out what he’s really saying. He knows he’s not always understandable, so he peppers his conversations with ‘You understand what I mean?’  He’s just a sweetheart of a guy. If you ask him to do anything for you, he immediately answers, ‘No problem, no problem, no problem.’  We couldn’t get along without him.

“At one point during our stay, the grocery stores were only open from 7 a.m. to noon, so we had to make sure we got there early. The first time I went to the grocery store when those hours were in effect, there was a huge line of people waiting to get into the store. They were letting in only a few at a time, and they were giving out numbers.

“Some people waited three hours to get in. I had been told there was a ‘senior line,’ so I played the senior age card and had to wait only about 10 min.  

“However, and I didn’t know this at the time, they had placed a limit on how long you could be in the store. About 10 minutes into my shopping trip, a burly security woman walked around the store yelling that we had only five minutes left of our 15-minute allotment.  At that point, I ran around the store trying to pick up as many items as I could from our long list.

“Another security guard saw my cart piled high with groceries, assumed I had been there a long time, and told me I had to go to the cashier. I played the senior age card again and said I needed just one more item from the produce department. He let me go, but as soon as his back was turned, I got the produce item and scurried off to get as many items as I could before he’d come after me again. What an experience!

“We tried a delivery service for our groceries, but it took days to get the groceries we had ordered. Every day for three days someone showed up with a shopping bag with a few items from the list we had sent them. Some items didn’t match what we had ordered, and some items never got delivered. We decided to forget that idea…

“Last year when I was here, we went out to restaurants and enjoyed the island reggae, but, of course, this year’s been a different story: no restaurants or bars are open. The good news is that takeout became available, and they’re planning on reopening restaurants and bars next week. Masks and social distancing are required, of course. 

“The nearby restaurants don’t deliver food, so if we want takeout, we have to ask Mr. Hunt to drive us to a restaurant, get takeout, and just turn around, and take the food back home. We’ve been doing a lot of cooking at home. I don’t cook much, so it’s been kind of fun researching new recipes. That’s a bright spot in the whole food thing.

“We initially thought that running out of prescription medication was going to be a problem, but it has turned out to be easier than we expected, and it’s been a real eye-opener. There’s a little pharmacy in town where luckily we’ve been able to get most of our medications, even the prescription meds. For the most part, you don’t need prescriptions here, and the meds cost a fraction of the cost back in the States. 

“For example, Dan’s statins cost $.40/box here, while that same box costs a bundle back home. Many of our prescription drugs are over-the-counter drugs here. It is so true that Big Pharma charges outrageous prices for meds that other countries simply dispense over the counter. So sad…

“Antigua seems to have the virus under control now because the restrictions have been so effective. There were only 25 confirmed cases in all and only three deaths. They confirmed recently that there is only one active case on the island. That person is currently hospitalized but will soon be released. The threat of exposure is low, but, of course, when we’re in public, we still need to wear masks and maintain social distancing.”

In an earlier email, Francesca said, “The government is reopening the airport this coming week; no tourists have been allowed entry for a couple of months. The major industry here is tourism, so the country’s GDP has plummeted, as you can imagine, and there are a lot of people out of work. 

“Reopening the airport allowing tourists onto the island is an important step in reviving the economy. But the number of COVID cases may rise again when international travelers arrive. If that happens, the government may need to re-establish some restrictions.

“To counter a possible rise in COVID cases, they’re planning on giving every new arrival at the airport a ‘rapid test.’  It’s an antigen test that has an 85% accuracy rate in detecting the virus. The arrivals will get the results within 15 minutes. 

“If someone tests positive, they’ll be isolated. If they test negative, they will be able to go to their hotel, but they will have their temperature taken every day to ensure they aren’t symptomatic. The government is also planning on randomly re-testing those who tested negative.

“Dan and I are looking forward to getting home, but we’ll miss this island. I will particularly miss that beautiful little beach near us. I’ve attached a photo of Dan and me on one of the Antiguan beaches, all masked up.

Champs Francesca and Dan – stranded in Paradise

I asked Francesca how the extended, confined stay affected their relationship, adding she didn’t have to answer such a personal inquiry from a nosey columnist.

She replied, “As with any couple living in close quarters for any length of time, we had our moments. Thankfully, this apartment is one-bedroom, so we could be apart sometimes. However, the relationship is stronger. The quarantine allowed us to have more adventures together in a very different place. We’ll always have those memories: swimming out to our special beach, savoring Caribbean dishes we’d never heard of, and much more. And we’ll smile.

“Antigua has beautiful beaches and equally beautiful people. I sincerely believe Antiguans are the friendliest people on earth.

“We hope to come back next year, but (said with a wink), maybe not for such a long time!”

Part 2 – Spike in Scams during pandemic

Yesterday, I received an email with this subject line: Dating Expert to Singles: Beware of post-COVID dating scam spike


June 11, 2020: During quarantine, criminals have been posing as potential lovers on dating apps and online dating profiles, to steal personal information from vulnerable singles seeking love.  A dating expert has warned singles on Tinder,, and Bumble, among other dating apps, to be wary of a person who is asking personal questions very early on. 

“Quarantine has led people to become overly-comfortable and personally attached to dating profiles quicker than normal, as in-person meetups are out of the question. Now, criminals are robbing photos, age, location, and other personal information shared in conversation in an attempt to open accounts, hack email, and steal from those looking for that special someone.  Report suspicious behavior to law enforcement authorities who can enforce the growing risk of identity theft.”

Part 3 – Responses to “84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus. Summer 1960” ebook

Some of you downloaded my ebook that was offered for $0.99 last week, and then you shared similar travel experiences that you had when younger. I’m extending the offer for two more weeks.

The book is on, which happens to be the largest ebook bookstore in the world. When you click on that link, you will be prompted to create a personal account—simply enter your email address and a password.

Then type in Tom Blake in the search box, my book covers will appear.

Click on “84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus Summer of 1960.” Then click on “Buy.” Then, you will get a prompt for a Coupon, which will entitle you to your $.99 copy. Enter this coupon code WR49Q

You can either download the book to your computer (download epub or original document) or Kindle (Kindle use the Mobi download). Feel free to save it to your device. Or, simply read it with Smashwords’ online reader. 

Thanks Champs for sharing your stories.

Senior men on finding and losing love

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter –  June 5, 2020

Columnist Tom Blake

Today’s eNewsletter has three parts. Parts one and two feature senior men on finding and losing love. In part one, a senior man blames himself for losing past relationships, but has a great partner now. In 26 years of writing dating after 50 columns, I can’t recall a man ever fully admitting he was the problem for relationships not working.

In Part 2—a very brief section, a man Champ gives sage advice. 

In Part 3 – Tom’s new ebook: “84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus. Summer 1960.”

Part One – Senior men on finding and losing love

Champ Joel steps up to the plate and admits that his difficulty in staying in relationships was his fault. And what he did to fix the problem. His words are educational, from which many of us can learn.

Joel shared: “I was 12 years a slave to, POF and all the others. Sometimes I would meet five women a week in my desperate search for a loving partner. In that time, I met four women that I could have loved, should have loved and would have loved–if only I had known then what I know now.

“I met the fourth woman online; we fell in love and I moved from Tallahassee Fl to San Francisco to live with her. I lived in blissful happiness for two years until she dumped me, with no warning that I saw.

“I moved back to Florida and, over a two-year period–including significant therapy–I progressed from a complete emotional and physical disintegration to my rebirth as a better, healthier man.

Senior love – the problem was me

“I realized there was nothing wrong with any of those four women and in fact, they would have made wonderful life partners. The problem was me.

“I had been inattentive, unempathetic, arrogant, and a lousy listener. In short, what women often call a jerk.

“After a deep self-assessment and adjustment, I met a woman, fell in love, and, after cohabiting for five years, we got married. I believe that many times people searching for love without success think the problem is the people they meet.

“If you’ve been meeting prospective mates for two years and haven’t found one, it may be the problem is you. That was the case with me.”

“My advice is to look in the mirror for the solution. It may be that you need to radically change or accept the fact that you would rather be single, than change, adapt and, accept.

“By accepting, I mean there are some traits that come with gender. Men and women have some built-in behaviors, like communication styles, that are omnipresent. If you want a partner, you have to accept those traits and adapt to them, even though doing that may drive you crazy.

“Likewise, each person has irritating, annoying, even disgusting traits that come with them. They likely won’t change. It’s foolish to think you can change a person.

“If you are going to find love late in life, you may need to change. You must accept a person with flaws. Or you may decide to live single, not a bad choice and one with some advantages.

“My choice was to find a loving partner and that happened when I changed. I am a happily married man now.

Wendy and Joel

Joel added, “Sure proves there is hope for everyone. Best wishes in your search!”

I asked Joel how he and Wendy met. That was unique as well.

Joel emailed, “When I was out and about, and single, my social crutch at a social event or party was my camera. I found it easy to approach people and ask to take their photograph. When they asked why I would say—truthfully–I will send them to you and the hostess of the party. Which I did back in the day of paper photographs, then, later as jpegs.

“In 2012, I had moved back from The Bay Area to Florida. I was with a date at a party and taking pictures and had a chat with an interesting and attractive woman, took her picture, moved on, and later sent the picture files to the hostess…and forgot about it.

“Three months later, the hostess and I were having lunch and I told her about yet another failure with a woman I had dated. She said, ‘You should call Wendy!’

“I did and the rest is history. It’s working because I learned to accept, adapt, and pay attention to her needs, even when I don’t understand. What’s that old saying about ‘a happy wife means a happy life’ or some such thing?

Part 2 – Include A-B-C when profile building

Art, “One thing that I have in my profile is something I learned years ago in sales, A-B-C, always be closing. This means to include what you want the person to do next. For example, ‘If you enjoyed reading my profile, send me a message, and let’s get to know each other.’ 

“It sounds like such an obvious ending, but most people do not know how to end their profile.” Include A-B-C when profile building.

Part 3 – Last week, I made a mistake in the eNewsletter. Here’s how:

I mentioned an ebook I had just published titled “84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus. Summer 1960.” The book is about five guys, who traveled in and lived in a VW bus in the summer of 1960. The final 16 days were at the Rome Olympics. I was one of the five. There are some travel photos.

I had offered to Champs to download it for $0.99 (cents). But the link I included was a broken link. I made a mistake. So, I’m making that offer once again with these instructions.

The book is on, which happens to be the largest ebook bookstore and ebook distributor in the world. When you click on the link the first time, Smashwords will prompt you to create a personal account. It’s easy, just enter your email address and create a password. Write the password down so you will have it in future visits to their site.

 After you create your account, type my name Tom Blake in the search box, and the covers of the books I have on Smashwords will appear. Click on “84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus Summer of 1960.” Then click on “Buy.” Then, you will get a prompt for a Coupon, which will entitle you to your $.99 copy. Enter this coupon code WR49Q

You can either download the book to your computer (download epub or original document) or Kindle (Kindle uses the Mobi download). Feel free to save it to your device. Or, simply read it with the Smashwords online reader. 

So that was my error last week, providing a broken link. I made a mistake. A few of you commented on that. Let me know if you have any questions or issues.

84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus. Summer 1960

 Cover of Tom’s new ebook “84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus. Summer of 1960.”