Seniors have the right to love again

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – August 27, 2021

by Columnist Tom Blake

Seniors have the right to love again

Champ Nancy emailed: “I had been friends with my neighbors for eight years. She and I were never close. She died last December and I developed a relationship with her husband. Did I violate a girl code by dating him?

“We found out she’d been cheating on him. Although her husband and I got to be friends before she died, we never were involved in anything other than that.

Am I wrong for dating him?”

Tom’s reply to Nancy: “What the heck is a girl code? Also, “You say, ‘we’ found out she’d been cheating on him. Who is we? And, how did you find out?”
“Her cheating on him has nothing to do with your dating him now. She is gone: he will need to move forward with his life.

“May I ask your approximate ages?”

Nancy’s reply: “Girl code is you don’t mess with a friend’s man.

“The guy she cheated with called their home after she passed not knowing she had died. He told her husband she told him she was a widow and said he was her current boyfriend. “I’m 65 and he’s 55.” 

Tom’s second reply to Nancy: “You say, ‘Girl code is you don’t mess with a friend’s man.’ Does that code apply after the woman or man has passed away? I don’t think so. “

Can married women and men and people in committed relationships be platonic friends with members of the opposite sex?

“Yes, it’s healthy for us as we age to have friends of the same sex and the opposite sex. Recent studies during the pandemic by health officials reveal that loneliness and social isolation are unhealthy. We all need friends. 

“Of course, knowing and respecting what is acceptable and not stepping over the relationship line are important. Trust and fidelity are essential in a marriage or committed relationship. 

“Your friend’s wife wasn’t your friend, and you say your relationship with him was platonic. So, I don’t think your girl code applies here. The man probably needs and appreciates your friendship with him now. Your question made me think of a song sung by Jerry Vale in 1970, titled, ‘To Love Again.’

“Vale sang words that have stuck with me all these years:

‘No heart should refuse love

‘And if we should lose love, we have the right to love again.

‘Don’t live in the past dear. For you and me the die is cast dear. But if love won’t last dear, we have the right to love again.’ (The link to this song by Jerry Vale is below) 

“I think all people have the right to pursue happiness after a loved one is gone. Of course, it’s a personal decision; there is no right or wrong. “We’ve all heard endless times where the dying spouse has unselfishly said to the spouse left behind, ‘I want you to find a nice mate.’ 

“Regarding the phone call from the man who called the house. How could he be dating a woman and not know that she still lived with her husband and wasn’t a widow? That sounds like a stretch of the truth and he was probably cheating with her.

“I feel the widower (and you as well Nancy) have the right to love again. Without guilt. Link to “To Love Again” by Jerry Vale

Reconnecting with Tom Maney

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – August 20, 2021
by Tom Blake – Columnist

Publishing my memoir, “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark,” yields an unexpected result: connecting with an old friend.

Most Champs are aware that I published a memoir in July. After all, you helped me create the book’s title, “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark.” All paperback copies ordered by Champs so far have been autographed and shipped.

I wrote the book for three primary reasons:

1 -During the 26 years of owning and operating the deli, I met so many incredible people—employees, customers, friends, suppliers, and a few celebs—I wanted to acknowledge and thank them for contributing to the vitality of the deli. More than 550 are mentioned in the book.

2 -As we age, keeping our minds alert is nearly as important as keeping our bodies moving. This self-publishing project helped me keep my mind alert. There was a lot of research, a lot of looking facts up online, and a lot of editing and spellchecking. I did pretty well by keeping typos and errors to a minimum in the 382 pages. It helped fill the extra time made available by the Covid-19 epidemic.

3 -I thought that the book might contribute, ever so little, to the history of Dana Point, California, which became a city two weeks after I had opened the deli in 1988. The city and the deli grew up together. I felt that some people in Dana Point and surrounding cities might have an interest in the tidbits of history that the deli experienced during those years.

One thing I didn’t anticipate was the personal warmth I felt when reconnecting with people I hadn’t seen or talked to in up to 32 years. To locate many of them–even some who still live in Dana Point–required searching online, Facebook, Dana Point Unplugged, LinkedIn, and any other place I could think of.

This brings me to today’s story. In the book, in the 1990 chapter, I included two pictures of a customer named Tom Maney. One of the pictures is of Tom, which he had given me, chipping out a piece of the Berlin Wall, which had opened on November 9, 1988, signaling the fall of The Iron Curtain.

Tom chipped out that piece a few weeks after the Wall had fallen.

In addition to the picture, he also presented the deli with a chip from the wall he had brought back to Dana Point. That picture with the piece of the wall was mounted on the deli Wall of Fame. It remained there for 24 years until I retired in 2015.

Tom Maney moved to New York City in 1992. He went to work for ESPN sports. He sent me an ESPN tee-shirt in 1993, which I still have. We lost track of each other.

I wanted to include that picture with the piece of the wall in the book. So, I searched online for Tom Maney and discovered that he had done extremely well in a sports media career. Additionally, he has been successful in New Jersey and New York real estate. I sent him an email on June 26 with this subject line: “A Blast from the Past – Tutor & Spunky’s.”

And this is where that reward of connecting with old friends comes in. On June 29, Tom replied that he was semi-retired after spending 30 years in sports media. He wrote, “So many great memories that go beyond your terrific deli sandwiches.” His message gave me goosebumps.
He said he was going to order the book from Amazon.

Then, on August 14, Tom sent another email. He wrote, “What a great pleasure it was to spend the day at the beach (New Jersey’s Long Beach Island is a barrier island in the southern part of the Jersey Shore) reading your book. Dana Point has always had a special place in my heart. Thank you for including me in your wonderful story. What became of that picture and piece of the wall?”

I told him that the picture and piece of the Berlin Wall were now on our home-office wall. Reconnecting with Tom Maney happened because of the book. I had reached out to a long-lost friend. It meant so much to me.

I got to thinking, wondering if Tom Maney would like the picture and wall chip. So, I wrote him and said, “I would be honored to part ways with that deli artifact and send it to you as a return gift. It could become a part of your family’s genealogy and history.”

Tom responded: “I still have several pieces of the wall so there’s no need to return it. It belongs with all the Tutor & Spunky’s wall of fame items.

”32 years ago we were so young, handsome, and full of ambition. You did it right by doing your corporate career first and then moving to Dana Point. I did it backward. Now I have to figure out how to get back….”

So the piece of the Berlin Wall chipped out in 1990 remains in Dana Point, 31 years later.

Reconnecting with an old friend happened because of the book I had written. But people don’t need to write a book to reconnect with old friends. They can just do the search and try to find them. When you do, it will warm your heart.
I hope that as I reach out to more people who are in the book, there will be other stories similar to this one that will emerge–if I can track the people down. 

Scott Schoeffel’s San Luis Obispo musical soiree

(The article today has been edited for length and clarity)San Luis Obispo soiree attendees. Greta, Julie Simer and Scott Schoeffel in white (center) are in the front row

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – August 13, 2021
San Luis Obispo Senior Road Trip for Scott Schoeffel’s San Luis Obispo musical soiree

by Columnist Tom Blake

Due to Covid-19, my partner Greta and I canceled five road trips in the last 18 months. Lately, we’ve been itching to “get on the road again.”

In July, we received an invitation to an August 6 musical soiree in San Luis Obispo (SLO), along the central California coast, hosted by former Dana Point Mayor, Scott Schoeffel and his partner of 17 years, Julie Simer. One of Scott’s passions is to assemble talented 5-and 6-piece bands to perform musical soirees.

Greta and I had attended several of Scott and Julie’s annual soirees in the backyard of their Dana Point home. They always had incredible musicians playing. Scott, an accomplished violinist, taught by Jack Benny, has hosted the soirees for 25 years. He didn’t last year, due to the pandemic.

Greta and I drove to San Luis Obispo on Thursday, August 5. It was a six-hour grind, including the stop-and-go traffic when driving through Los Angeles.
We booked a hotel room online a month in advance. I was surprised at the prices of rooms along the coast and in San Luis Obispo. Securing a room for less than $225 per night was nearly impossible.

The soiree was held on Friday from Noon to four p.m. We arrived an hour early at a venue called SOL Brew, “The Rock,” two miles out of town, where Julie and Scott had scheduled the event. The stage was outdoors, with a backdrop of mountains and hills.

Proof of Covid-19 vaccinations had to be shown to enter the indoor bar and food indoor area.

The first thing we noticed was a large “Dana Point Yacht Club” banner emblazoned across the backdrop of the stage. Upon seeing the banner, we said, “We’re in the right place,” even though I didn’t understand the “Yacht Club” connection. Soon, Scott and Julie greeted us as they were getting the seating and stage set up.

During the musicians’ warmup, Greta and I were impressed by the quality of their music. We realized we were in for four hours of immense entertainment. The musicians appeared to be in their 50s 60s and 70s, except for the lead singer, who was closer to 40.

Guests started arriving. Most were seniors. A woman named Vicki Sweet, said, “Hi Tom, I’ve lived in Dana Point all my life and I’ve read your newspaper column, it seems, like forever.”

I replied, “Yup, it’s been a long time. My first column appeared on July 7, 1994.”

I said to Vicki, “Who are all these people in your group?”

Vicki said, “Scott is the Commodore of the Dana Point Yacht Club and many of us are members. It’s an unwritten tradition that new commodores sponsor a cruise each year. But, Scott and Julie decided to make their cruise a trip to the beautiful central California coast featuring today’s soiree. They are visiting other cities as well.”

I put my columnist thinking-cap on and thought, “Wow, wouldn’t it be neat if I could get a group picture of all these Orange County people, including Scott and Julie?” I mentioned that to Vicki.

She said, “If you’d like, I’ll be happy to coordinate getting the people together for a photo during one of the band’s breaks.”

“Awesome,” I said.

(Photo above is of soiree attendees from Orange County) About 40 people from Dana Point and other parts of Orange County attended, including Orange County Supervisor, Andrew Do. Oh my gosh, Supervisor Do loves his music. He was bopping to the music and knew more songs than I did, which is amazing because I’m an oldies expert.

On his electric violin, Scott performed mesmerizing solo versions of the Star-Spangled Banner and Somewhere Over the Rainbow. (Scott’s photo is below).

The six-member band that Scott assembled was awesome. They called their group the “Central Coast All-Stars.” Most had never played together. But they had played for bands such as the Dave Matthews Band, U2, and War, so you can imagine how talented they were.

An early song was a 10-minute version of “Purple Rain,” the classic by Prince. Other favorites of mine were “Big Yellow Taxi” and “White Rabbit.”

The lead singer, Rachel Santa Cruz, whose father Bobby Santa Cruz played bass, was hugely talented. When she sang Nancy Sinatra’s song, “Boots,” the oldies in attendance got up and shuffled their boots.

The band played for four hours, with three short breaks. I couldn’t imagine how their fingers and vocal cords must have felt, having been on stage performing for so long.

After the show, I told Rachel: “Today, you were five women in one: Stevie Nix, Janis Joplin, Linda Ronstadt, Nancy Sinatra, and Gracie Slick.”

For a few hours on August 6, San Luis Obispo had become Dana Point North.
On our Saturday trip home, we had lunch in the delightful city of Arroyo Grande, with Greta’s brother and sister-in-law, who were also on a road trip.
From there it was five hours to Dana Point.

Our first trip in two years had been delightful, but I’ll admit, I was one tired dude from driving.

However, we have another road trip planned for today. We will be driving one mile to Costco.

Former Dana Point Mayor Scott Schoeffel playing the National Anthem at the San Luis Obispo musical soiree held August 6, 2021, at SLO Brew “The Rock.” An incredible musical venue and brewery. Here is the link to the SLO Brew “The Rock” website

Reasons why married couples read this eNewsletter

Ted and Marcia – Today’s featured couple – married 60 years
On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – August 6, 2021
By: Tom Blake Columnist

Reasons why senior married couples read this eNewsletter

About 10 years ago, I changed the name of this eNewsletter from Finding Love After 50 to On Life and Love After 50.

Why did I make the change?

I had started to hear from Champs that many were interested in topics other than just about senior dating. Some said they had met a mate and now wanted to hear more about other senior issues. Some had given up on meeting a mate and didn’t want to hear solely about dating. Heck, even some got married and had questions about later-in-life marriage issues.

Overall, Champs wanted to hear how other seniors were dealing with and coping with senior age-related issues.

Plus, I wanted to write about other topics in addition to keeping my toe in the dating, relationships-information waters. For example, Champs wanted to hear about the travels that Greta and I had taken, especially after we retired.
So, to keep up with the digital age, I changed the direction of the topics slightly.

However, a good old senior love story was still highly coveted.
I have always known that a good number of Champs are married or in long-term relationships. And I’m always curious why those people continue to read the eNewsletter.

Here’s a summary of what some have said:

“I read it when I was single; now that I’m married, I still enjoy it and learn from it.”

“Because people marry doesn’t mean they stop learning about other people.”

The most frequently stated reason is that when married people read about the woes and challenges of senior dating, it makes them appreciate their spouses more. They’ve said to me, “After reading what some of those singles go through; I’m holding my spouse close and never letting go. None of that senior single stuff for me.”

And when they say that, it pleases me.

One reason I don’t like to hear is when someone says, “I’m not happy in my (marriage, relationship, etc.,) and want to read what single life is like, as I may be back in it soon.” My hope is they will reconsider and stay married.

As always, my hope is to receive stories and comments from Champs. And today’s story comes from a man I’ve known a long time. Finally, this week, he agreed to share his story. He is married. His name is Ted; his wife’s name is Marcia. And that’s their picture above, taken two weeks ago (in July 2021).

And this is their story below, in the next section.
Ted and Marcia
Ted emailed, “Tom, you’d like this gal! Marcia is four years younger than I am and was just 18 and a recent high school graduate when we were married. I had just graduated from Albion College (Michigan) and was headed to the University of Michigan Law School. “People thought such a marriage could never last. But Harriett Pitts (high school English Literature teacher) would have smiled had she heard us discussing Shakespeare and great books while we courting.

“Marcia and I will be celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary in August. She grew up in Marshall, Michigan, and worked at the local radio station in nearby Albion during her junior and senior years in high school. I was working there at the time, and that’s where we met. 

“We are planning a short ‘nostalgia tour’ of the Albion-Marshall area to celebrate. Romanticist that I am, the journey will include a trip to the First Presbyterian Church in Marshall where we were wed. We’ll be renewing our vows during the visit.

“Of course, any trip to Marshall involves dinner at Schuler’s (restaurant), and that will be special for us because we grew up in households where dining at an establishment of that caliber was something one aspired to do only once or twice in his or her lifetime. We are grateful that we are in a better place than our parents were.

“Every week, I read with interest your stories about, and your advice to, aging singles. Your advice always seems to be sound, but I’m glad that (so far) it’s not the guidance I need. We’ve been blessed with 60 happy years, three children (two sons and a daughter, all in their 50s), and five grandchildren aged 18 to 26. They have been, and of course continue to be, a hugely important part of our lives.

“Words of wisdom based on 60 years of marriage: ‘Talk to one another. Share your thoughts, whether they are good or not so good.’

“I’ve not purchased your new book yet, but that is my plan. I hope that it will finally satisfy my curiosity about the genesis of the name of your deli (Tutor & Spunky’s).”

Tom’s comment: Now I can confess. Ted and I graduated together from Jackson High School, Jackson, Michigan, a few years ago (64 years, egads) And yes, I ate at Schuler’s restaurant in Marshall many times with my family. I recall their bar cheese to be the best ever.
Tom's new book cover“Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark” book update. Both the Kindle/eBook version and the paperback version are now available on For Champs who ordered the paperback version from me, I should receive the shipment in about 10 days and will immediately mail your autographed copy to you.
Purchasing the paperback version directly from me will save you about $7 compared to purchasing it directly from Amazon. I charge $23.97, including signing, shipping, handling, standing at the post office, and miscellaneous fees. Simply send me an email if you would like a personalized copy. I’ll invoice you via PayPal.
Link to “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark page on