by Tom BlakeColumnist

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – September 17, 2021

9/11 Tribute 

Champ Larry, Ann Arbor, Michigan, emailed on Saturday, September 11, “Today is not busy until 4 p.m. when my wife Bonnie and I head toward the stadium to set up our tailgate for the Michigan vs. Washington football game at “The Big House.”

Friends will stop by, sometimes from as far away as Dallas or London. It’s game day. We have our University of Michigan flag flying in the front yard. It will be a late-night with the kickoff at 8 p.m. “The band has a spectacular light show planned at halftime commemorating 9/11.

Twenty years ago today, the 9/11 attack came when I was on my way back from dropping Bonnie at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport. She was headed for Fort Worth to babysit our granddaughters. 

“I had pulled off I-94 at the Bellville exit and was one car from getting a cup of coffee at McDonalds when I heard the announcement of the crash. I thought it was an announcement like ‘War of the Worlds.’ “Bonnie’s flight was in the process of making an emergency landing at Indianapolis, where she would be kept at the Holiday Inn for three days until I went down and picked her up.” 

Tom’s comment: I’ve known Larry for more years than I can remember. He was in my brother’s high school class in Jackson, Michigan, which makes him a couple of years older than I. He was an incredible golfer, good enough to have earned varsity letters on the UM golf team. He and his wife Bonnie, married for 61 years, are Champs and enjoy reading the eNewsletter. 

Bonnie and Larry Leach married 61 years – Ann Arbor, Michigan

I asked Larry to send us a picture of the UM band light show. I was hoping that ABC TV, which carried the game, would show 30 seconds or so of the band’s performance during the half but the network finessed it. Here is Larry’s photo of the band at halftime on September 11, 2021.

University of Michigan Band at halftime on September 11, 2021

Movin’ in isn’t easy either

Champ Althea commented on the eight items I listed last week to do before deciding to cohabitate. She said, “I have to disagree with number 8. Moving in is NOT so easy; it’s as difficult as moving out. The decision to move in might be easy to make, in certain circumstances, but everything that surrounds the move-in is back-breaking (packing, lifting, carrying, etc.) and mind-boggling HARD. 

“Especially when you’re over 65 with physical issues, and one whole house is trying to merge into another whole house…of stuff! Sometimes you need to take the good with the bad and suffer the consequences later.” 

Have it notarized Regarding item number 6 from last week’s list, ‘Sign a written exit plan before the move, in case it doesn’t work out,’ Champ S. added: “Have it notarized.” 

And John from Las Vegas shared, “You penned a very sobering article, which is demonstrably needed: After age 70, we must strive to spend our time wisely and thereby avoid devastating emotional stress. The subject reminder is akin to a well-thought-out, pre-nuptial agreement, i.e., failure to plan is planning to fail.” 

Tom’s comment: Have that pre-nuptial notarized as well. 

Traditional woman 

A male Champ from Orange County. Ca., wrote, “I had a first date with a woman I met online. She said she had dated you. She made a comment about you saying that you felt women should pay their ‘fair’ share in dating expenses. She then added in that context, ‘I’m a traditional woman.’ I think that’s a code for a guy to pick up all the tabs. 

Tom’s comment: Our Champ shared the woman’s name with me. I had no recollection of her or her name. If we dated, that had to be more than a quarter-century ago, as I’ve been with Greta for 24 years and was in a short, committed relationship for two years before that. Maybe I simply forgot. 

My guess is ‘we dated’ means we had one date. And when I found out she was a ‘traditional woman,’ that was the only time I asked her out. Or, because I wasn’t a ‘traditional man,’ (willing to pay every time) she bailed on me.

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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