Tom Publishes “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark” On life and love after 50 eNewsletter July 23, 2021

(The article today has been edited for length and clarity)
Tom has published a memoir titled “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark.”
CARMELO COVERChamp Carmelo Lodise’s new memoir is available in Paperback on and soon in the Kindle/Ebook format.Tom's new book coverTom’s newly released memoir is available in Paperback or Kindle/Ebook format on

This week’s news from Champs
Joanne, a Champ for more than 10 years, has moved into her new apartment on the West side of Albuquerque, New Mexico, after spending time at a friend’s place in Reno while her ABQ place was being renovated. She said, “I swore I’d never move again.” (But she did).

Larry, whose significant other lives in the Philippines Islands, had to postpone his travels to be with her for the 7th time due to the pandemic. Larry said, “The Philippines are still not open for tourist visas due to raging Covid-19 there. I will try to book my 8th return flight schedule for late September, but I feel no optimism.”

Putting a positive spin on his frustration, Larry, an avid University of Alabama alumni (Roll Tide), added, “At least, I’ll be able to catch some college football!”

Beth emailed, “After reading your column about me in last week’s eNewsletter, I have made up my mind to not move to where my ex-boyfriend lives. I thought with my heart, and not with my brain when it came to him and maybe I was living in the past. My guess is this will be the last stop between us.”

Carmen – Champs will remember Carmen (Carm) Lodise, my high school classmate, who lives in Barra de Navidad, Mexico. Two months ago, Carm emailed that he would likely be visiting Northern Italy this summer or autumn. About five minutes after his email arrived, I received another email, which was from Annalisa, who lives in Milan, Italy.

In her email, Annalisa said she wanted to meet an American citizen as a potential mate. Although Annalisa doesn’t speak English, she uses a translation app to communicate in English. I introduced Carm and Annalisa via email and she invited him to visit her in Milan this summer and stay at her place.

Holy cow, a possible romance hatched via our eNewsletter and email. An eNewsletter column was written about Carmen and Annalisa and what might happen. That column linked to Andy Williams’s version of the song Where Do I Begin? the theme from Love Story.

However, Carm, similar to me, was busy finishing a memoir, a book titled, “Carmelo. The Adventures of a Smalltime Instigator.” (Pictured above on left). I understand how writing and publishing a book requires total dedication of time and effort to bring the project to the finish line. So, I understood why he wasn’t giving Annalisa the attention she craved.

Annalisa felt Carm wasn’t communicating enough with her so she became frustrated. Plans for the visit became iffy. And then the knockout punch landed. Even though they live in different countries, they are so politically divided that the trip was canceled. I won’t go into details, but as we Champs have discovered with this country’s political divide, that alone can be a relationship deal-breaker.

How fortunate Annalisa and Carm discovered they weren’t politically compatible before he traveled 5,000 miles and appeared at her front door.

Their story reminded me why I’m not a matchmaker. Similar to my book, Carmen Lodise’s book is on in paperback. I ordered and used Carmen’s book as a formatting guide in finishing my book. He will publish the eBook version on Amazon any day now.

Another Jackson High School (Jackson, Michigan) classmate, Rick Lenz (Rick has authored several books and is always working on a new one. Why are three classmates from the same year and the same high school writing books? We had an incredible English Literature teacher named Harriett Pitts who inspired us and taught us well is the best answer. 

Jackie emailed, “Congratulations on finishing your book. I’ve said so many times over the years how I could write a book with my juicy story! LOL. But, I’d have to change all the names and either be anonymous or change my name. Or, get a ghostwriter. I’m not sure I could stay focused long enough to write a book. “I’ve sold my home in Illinois and moved to Georgia. For the time being, I will be staying at a friend’s house. She and her family will be traveling for the first two weeks in August so I’ll have her home to myself.

“Maybe, I’ll travel to Dana Point this fall and attend another Meet and Greet at Tutor & Spunky’s with my sister, when you get them going again.” 

Tom, “As mentioned above, I finished my memoir “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli: A Dana Point Landmark” this week. Both paperback and Kindle/eBook versions are available on Of the five printed books I’ve published, it was the most demanding, timewise and effort-wise. It’s 365 pages with more than 100 photos. The book covers 28 years—1987 to 2015–and mentions 535 people who were directly or indirectly involved with the deli, including employees, customers, and celebrities, such as Johnny Cash, Abba, and Mick Fleetwood. 

One thing that surprised me and Carmen about the paperback versions of our books is that Amazon determines the minimum price, based on the number of pages and number of photos. An author can’t demand a less expensive price if using Amazon. My paperback price is $24.52 plus shipping, except people with Amazon Prime get free shipping.

My eBook price is $8.99. If Champs want an autographed copy of my paperback version, I will personally mail that. The cost would be $23.97, including shipping. Email me if you would prefer a signed paperback copy and I will invoice you via Paypal at that price. The paperback version will be available in a week or so; the eBook version can be downloaded today. The link to my page is in the blue space below.

Next week’s eNewsletter topic will be Living Apart Together (LAT) and how various issues can influence this type of relationship, including caregiving, health, money, independence, and other considerations. I’d love to hear your opinions.
Tom’s book on

Author: Tom Blake

Tom Blake is a newspaper columnist in south Orange County, California. He has published five books. His primary topic is finding love after 50 and beyond, sometimes far beyond, for people 80 and older as well. He also blogs about travel at

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