Senior Love on the back of a Harley

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – August 12, 2022

By Tom Blake

Patrica and Cowboy
Cowboy on his Harley
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter   August 12, 2022  

By Columnist Tom Blake    

There are two parts to today’s eNewsletter  

Part 1 – Senior Dating – Love on the back of a Harley  

I received an email this week from a Champ that began, “Hi, it’s Patricia, Chapter 12,” which puzzled me for a few seconds, and then I noticed that Patricia had added the words “Love on the back of a Harley.” When I saw those words, I knew immediately who it was from.  

In 2009, I published a book titled “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50.” The book’s title is slightly off. A more accurate title would have been: “How 58 Couples Found Love After 50.” Eight additional stories were added after the final artwork was submitted. So, there are 58 stories of how senior couples met.  

When I answered Patricia’s email, I signed my email–not as Tom–but as “Chapter 58,” which is the final story of the book and tells of how Greta and I met when she ordered a fresh carrot juice at my deli 25 years ago.  Several of our current Champs’ stories are included in that book, including Patricia’s and Cowboy’s, which is Chapter 12.  

In her email, Patricia wrote, “I wanted to share a fun and unique experience that happened recently.    “My husband, Cowboy, and I moved from Paso Robles, California, to Montana, last year, and we love it. We bought a much nicer house for $100,000 less than the one we sold in California. The cost of gas is at least a dollar less a gallon and there is no sales tax. When you buy new furniture and a washer & dryer, as we did, that makes a huge difference!

“The Paramount TV Series ‘Yellowstone,’ starring Kevin Costner, is filmed here, and my husband and I have been paid to be extras in the show. What an adventure that has been!   “Many people beg to be extras, but they will only hire residents of Montana. I can’t tell you much about it as we had to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) but I can tell you that it’s an amazing and very well-managed production.   

“Season 5 will start airing mid-November, but they will be shooting through January. We may do more days as extras.  “On another subject, we are fully enjoying going over the Rockies on the Harley and doing the ‘Run to the Sun.   “We live just an hour from Glacier National Park, so we are taking advantage of the warm weather and exploring many parts of the park. I’ve included some photos that reveal the spectacular scenery.”  

Comment from Tom: As sometimes happens with stories from Champs, coincidences emerge. Two happened with Patricia’s email. She mentioned Kevin Costner.   The first coincidence: my partner Greta was in a business administration class at California State University Fullerton with him in 1974.

The second coincidence is Glacier National Park. In 1976, my buddy Jack Jarrell and I went camping there with our two women friends. He and I were avid fly fishermen. The general store manager in our campground mentioned a lake about an hour’s hike away at a higher elevation that was filled with hungry native rainbow and brook trout.  The four of us went for it and hiked to the lake. The weather was as perfect that day as the pictures that Patricia included in her email reveal.  

Each one of us caught our fish limits within an hour. It was the most incredible fly fishing I had ever experienced. We decided to take the fish back to the campsite to cook for dinner. Jack’s lady Jan said she had a special recipe for cooking wild-caught trout. We were licking our chops (what we did not know was there was a 4-legged hungry animal nearby which was also licking its chops).

As the four of us were walking back, about 200 yards from the lake, a park ranger on horseback with a high-powered rifle protruding from a saddlebag approached us. He said, “I see you have some fish.”  

I guessed that perhaps he thought we didn’t have fishing licenses. I said, “We all have fishing licenses!”   He said, “This is far more serious than that.”   He had our attention. The Park Ranger said, “Did you see that pile of poop about 25 yards back?” We all nodded yes.  

He said, “Was it steaming?” We all nodded yes.   He said, “A grizzly bear just dropped that 10 to 15 minutes ago. He will smell your fish and be coming after you for them. He’d be happy to kill you to get them.”   The Park Ranger was dead serious. He said, “Toss your fish in the bushes and follow me. I will lead you away from the bear.”

We complied. After a quarter mile, he said, “You’re safe now. I’m leaving. Have a nice day.”   At the campsite that night, we cooked hamburgers over the fire. We imagined that our grizzly buddy was enjoying a fresh fish dinner near the lake.  That’s the Glacier National Park coincidence.   So, Champs, keep the stories coming. Have I told you about the shark encounter on The Great Barrier Reef? Only joking, of course.  

Part 2 – How 50 (58) Couples Found Love After 50  

I’ve got a few copies of How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 in inventory. For Champs who would enjoy a book, the cost is $8.98 which includes taxes, shipping, and a signed book. In 2009, that would have cost $24.00.   You can pay with a credit card via my PayPal account or a check. Email me if you’d like a book at that special price.   Each of the 58 stories concludes with a short “Senior Dating Lessons Learned” section, which provides helpful advice for singles who hope to meet a mate.

For example, in Champ Patricia’s Chapter 12 section, her lesson is: “When senior dating, open your mind to new adventures and activities. Expand your horizons, your reach, and your thinking.”   When Patricia and Cowboy first met, Cowboy rode a Harley; Patricia was a fashion-industry expert. Diverse backgrounds. And yet, they met, married, and have an incredible relationship and love for each other. Ride along with them on their Harley.  
Tom’s book on sale -email me for details

Time Waits For No One

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – October 29, 2021

by Tom Blake – Columnist

As a kid in 1954, one of the singing groups I enjoyed the most was The Hilltoppers. Their lead singer was Jimmy Sacca who had an incredible voice. They were best known for their song, “P.S. I Love You.” 

But it wasn’t “P.S. I Love You” that I thought about this week when I received updates from four couples who were featured in my 2009 book, “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50,” which we mentioned in last week’s eNewsletter.

Tom Blake’s book “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50

It was another Hilltoppers song titled, “Time Waits For No One” that came to my mind when I read how life had changed for the four couples. That song and the responses from the four couples made me reflect on how quickly time passes. Below are the words to “Time Waits For No One” : 

“Time waits for no one it passes you by,

It rolls on forever, like the clouds in the sky

Time waits for no one, goes on endlessly,

It’s just like a river flowing out to sea

You’ll find that love is like this,

Each precious moment we miss

Will never, ever return again.

So don’t let us throw one sweet moment away

Time waits for no one, let’s take love while we may.” 

 What the four couples reported 

1. Jon (now 74) and Sharon (now 69), Olympia, Washington.

First date: September 2007. Met at a singles club. Jon emailed: “Sharon and I are still together. She is busy with the Master Gardener’s growing food for the homeless. I am busy with the Humane Society and Sierra Club. We still have our own homes (six miles apart) which works out pretty well.

“No plans to get married or live together. I think our arrangement is best for us. I enjoy hearing about the others who were also in the book.” 

A lesson learned from Jon and Sharon: Older couples can be happy without being married or living together. 

2. Roger (now 71) and Jeanne (now 67), Huntington Beach, California. 

Met on in 2003. Roger had become a widower at age 52 after 30 years of marriage. Jeanne was twice divorced. Both Roger and Jeanne are San Francisco 49ers fans. 

Roger emailed, “Jeanne and I married in 2008 and are still going strong. Our first major change was buying a house together. Since we met, we now have three more grandchildren in addition to my one grandchild. 

“I spend a lot of my time with my life-long hobby of outdoor hydroplane racing. Jeanne is involved in helping her daughter with her two girls, doing much reading and helping her brother who has some health issues. We’ve done a bit of traveling but COVID kind of put the brakes on that. 

“We just take things a day at a time. I still read your column and enjoy seeing how older people react to each other and forge ahead in the world.” 

A lesson learned from Roger and Jeanne: A good time to meet someone online is when that new person first appears on the Internet site. Roger reached out to Jeanne the first time she went online. 

3. Jean (now 81) and Bob (passed away), Dana Point, California, both previously married for 45 years, Jean was divorced, Bob a widower and caregiver to his wife. Jean and Bob met on Senior People Meet. Com. 
Jean emailed, “Sadly, Bob passed away in 2017. It was truly devastating. We had 10 very wonderful years together. Each of us had been previously married for 45 years. 

A lesson learned from Jean and Bob: For a widowed person, who spent extended periods of time as a caregiver to a mate, the healing process may be far shorter when compared to a person who loses a mate unexpectedly. 

4. Pat (79 now) and Len (74 now), Easton, Pa., met online on

Pat was a widow. Pat wrote, “My significant other, Len, and I have been together for almost 17 years. November 17 will be our first-date anniversary. 

“We’ve been through a lot together –some health issues for both of us and of course, COVID 19. Our relationship has grown and strengthened over the years, and we are happily living together still. 

“For 10 years we traveled the USA and Canada via motorcycle approximately 250,000 miles. We’ve visited 49 states and most Canadian Provinces. Len sold the bike in 2016 and then we started to travel to Europe and hopefully when COVID is more under control and more restrictions are lifted we can continue doing so. 

“We have remained active; we both walk, and I do yoga. We have a small group of friends that we enjoy doing things with and I have a select group of female friends that I enjoy being with. “We still love going to concerts, museums, and try to do something of interest several times a month. We have ‘date nights’ plus staying home watching a movie and holding hands still is a favorite thing to do. 

“Meeting Len was one of the best things that happened to me, and he feels the same way. The longer we are together the better things get. Comfortable and content make it all work for us. “Congratulations on 24 years together for you and Greta. That doesn’t surprise me. When you find the right person, you should hold on and do everything to make the relationship a fulfilling one for each of you.” 

A lesson learned from Pat and Len: Pat is five years older than Len, and yet, their story in the book stated, “Len is the happiest he’s been in a long time.”
When men realize that dating women close to their age, including women who are older, they open up opportunities for rewarding relationships. 

As of this week, I’m aware of the status of 27 of those 58 couples featured in my book, “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50” from 2009. Eleven of the 27 are still together, 16 are not. Some separated and some lost a mate to death. In a couple of situations, both mates passed. The updated stories from the book reinforce that “Time Waits For No One” so make the best of your time together and appreciate each other.

I hope to gather a few more status updates about the remaining 31 couples who were included in the book.

Check out the Hilltoppers “Time Waits For No One” on Youtube. Here is the link:
Link to “Time Waits For No One” by the Hilltoppers

For an added treat while you are on that site, listen to “P.S. I Love You,” also by the Hilltoppers. The words are typical of the early 1950s. For example, “Was it dusty on the train?” and “I burned a hole in the dining room table,” (presumably from smoking).

Note from Tom: See picture below. Trust me, it wasn’t dusty on this train–nothing but first-class service on the famed Orient Express that Tom and Greta rode in 2007 from Venice to Prague to Paris. That was 14 years ago. Where did the time go?

Tom Blake and Greta Cohn 2007 before boarding the Orient Express train in Venice

What became of the 58 Couples?

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – October 22, 2021

What became of the 58 couples?

In 2009, I published “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50.” The book was based on information that 58 Champ couples had provided. You may think “58” is a misprint, but it’s not. After the cover artwork was finished, eight more stories came in. My editor said, “Don’t change the artwork or book title, it’s catchy and would be expensive to change. Include the eight new stories; think of them as bonus stories.”

How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 book cover by Tom Blake
There are actually 58 stories of how couples met in this book

I was honored to have John Gray, author of, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” provide an endorsement on the book’s front cover, which reads, “Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50.” How he knew that I have no idea, but I’ll accept it as a compliment.

I’ve often thought about what became of those 58 couples. I am aware of what happened to 14 couples. Some have split; some have become widows or widowers and about seven couples are still together.

If any of you are reading this eNewsletter today and were included in the book, please update me on what the status is of your relationship. If I hear from enough people, I might consider publishing an update to that book.

And, of course, I know the status of couple #58. That would be Greta and Tom, together for 24 years. They look like the couple on the front cover of the book, standing near the St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral in Italy.

This week I learned from Champ Lisa (Chapter 23) what became of her and her husband John. They divorced. He remarried; she’s happily single. She’s led a rather fascinating life.

Since her divorce from John, Lisa has had a long-distance relationship with a man 9 1/2 years younger. However, Lisa says “We met 10 years ago. Dated exclusively for two years and remain good friends. We met on

“Sadly, our distance and interests preclude it from being more. He lives on Kodiak Island, Alaska, and doesn’t enjoy the heat. I live in Naples, Florida, and don’t enjoy the cold. No regrets, only fond memories.

“He is still hooked on my ‘candied bourbon bacon’ and he has sent me a lot of incredible sport-caught wild Alaskan fish in exchange for my bacon. We are no longer dating each other but have remained friends. I am so lucky.

“WILD King Salmon, Halibut, Sockeye, Rockfish, shrimp, scallops. He says his popularity in the local hunting/fishing community goes up when my bacon shows up. He sent a video of his tour guide on a recent hiking/camping adventure, shouting from a mountain top, that stated, “Lisa, if you are even half as awesome as your bacon, you are amazing.’ It’s a fun friendship. I have no clue about his romantic life, nor he about mine. It never comes up.”

Brief responses to the second-date kiss issue

S (woman) emailed, “Second date kissing? That wasn’t kissing, that was full slobbering making out. Totally inappropriate!”

Larry, “I’m surprised Gypsy didn’t floor the guy and yell, ‘Help, I’m being attacked.”

T (woman), “On a second date, I may expect a kiss but definitely not the kind Gypsy got from him. He was disrespectful of her. Rude!”

Susan, “I had the same thing happen to me and decided not to accept any further dates with the guy. He felt it appropriate to shove his tongue down my throat and not stop when I tried to push him away. I had to slide away in a less than graceful and desperate movement.”

A (woman), “I’ve had that happen to me too, many times, when I was in my 60s and dating. Most of those times were from men younger than I.”

My opinion: The guy was disgusting. A total jerk. Men should never force a mouth-to-mouth kiss on a woman.

And this

John, “The 68-year-old woman who is convinced that men in their 50s are after her for sex is proof that hope springs eternal.”

Let us hear from you

I’m inviting all Champs who have never emailed me to send in comments regarding senior living and dating in the cities and states in which they reside.

Where are the single senior men?

Eight ways to meet single senior men.

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – September 24, 2021

by Tom P Blake

Where are the men? As a senior dating columnist, the most frequently asked question I receive is “Where are the single senior men?” Meaning, available senior single men, and asked by women. Sometimes, the question is worded differently, but the intention is the same.

For example, Marci, 70, emailed, “I live in Orange County. I am retired and would love to meet an available, honest, adventurous man. Where is he?”
Marci added: “I am fun, smart, spiritual, good looking, and healthy. I love my family, friends, animals and ENJOY my life. I am so ready to meet him.”

My usual answer: “There is no specific place, at least of which I’m aware, where senior single men congregate with the purpose of meeting an available senior woman near their age range. No bar, no church, no senior center, no golf course—not even a cruise ship.”

But that has changed. There are hundreds of places now where senior single men hang out–and may possibly be hoping to meet a mate. Where? Isolated in their homes, due to the Covid pandemic. That makes meeting men even harder.

My response to Marci: You sound terrific–retired, healthy, attractive, loving enthusiastic, confident, and positive. Wow, great credentials; you’d be a wonderful partner! Oh, you didn’t mention whether you are financially secure—some calculating guy might even want to know that! But it’s best to not mention your finances. If a man asks, that’s a red flag that he is seeking something other than love.

I wish, Marci, that I had an easy answer to your question. Finding a quality mate is difficult for senior women. At age 70, the ratio of single women to single men is approximately 3.5-to-one. And yet, meeting a mate at your age is possible, even if many of them are hunkered down at home.

My normal advice would be: “Get off the couch and out of the house and involved in activities you enjoy. By doing just that, you will improve your chances greatly of meeting that adventurous guy.”

However, for nearly two years, seniors have been handcuffed by Covid. Socializing and meeting new people has been challenging. Earlier this year, the situation appeared to be improving, but restrictions are reappearing.

So, I’ve come up with a revised list of eight suggestions on how to meet a single senior man:

1 – To facilitate exchanging contact information with new people, hand out preprinted name cards that reveal only your first name and email address. Don’t reveal your last name, street address, or phone number (not yet at least).
Handwritten cards prepared by you are fine. Or you can go to Staples or a print shop to have them done. Carry them with you. Have them ready so that a pen isn’t needed when exchanging contact information with a new acquaintance.
If a woman wants to increase her circle of women friends–an excellent idea–handwriting her phone number on her card should be okay.

If your last name is a part of your email address, you might need to get a second email address that doesn’t reveal your name and use that when first meeting strangers. Just be darned careful regardless of how you are meeting

2 – Seize every opportunity to meet new people without endangering your health. Attend events and gatherings where people are vaccinated and located outdoors in the open air. For example, attend tai chi and/or yoga classes in a park. Introduce yourself to strangers, hand out your name cards, while keeping your distance.

This week, the editors of my three Orange County newspapers asked me to contribute an extra column to an Aging Well insert describing where retired people can go during these Covid times. The article is approximately 1,200 words.

You can read that article online by clicking on one of the three separate newspaper links at the end of today’s newsletter. Look for the Aging Well insert. The article might provide you some suggestions, even if you don’t live in South Orange County.

3 – Don’t focus solely on meeting men. Include women as well, single or married. Make meeting new friends a top priority. Social interaction is one of the most important activities seniors can pursue.

4 – Be sure you are getting physical and mental exercise. It helps your health and makes you a more interesting person. Adopt a project; write a blog. Write a book. Volunteer (safely). Read a book such as “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50” by Tom Blake

How 50 Couples Found Love After 50

5 – Internet date, which will improve your chances of meeting a mate. You need access to a computer. If you don’t have this capability, ask a friend for help. The internet is an important senior dating tool, enabling people to search for a mate beyond one’s neighborhood, city limits, and state lines. There are thousands of potential mates out there.

However, BEWARE! I estimate that 25 percent of the people on senior dating sites are scammers, trying to steal seniors’ identity and money. The scammers are experts of deceit, preying on vulnerable seniors, especially widows.

Don’t venture online on your own. Have friends help you. Write me for advice. Trust your instincts. Never send money to a stranger. Don’t be naïve or gullible because you are lonely. Be careful when meeting a stranger in person.

6 – – Again, you will need a computer, but only to locate groups within your area that provide endless activities. is an online site where you can join groups to learn—for example–to dance, speak a language, exercise, cook Italian (or any country’s) food. Learn how to write, publish a book.

7- Volunteer. There are many opportunities in your community. Pick a place to help that makes you feel good and do it. Just keep in mind the Covid precautions.

8 – Suggest to your friends to sign up for this weekly free email newsletter by visiting the home page of my “” website or email me and ask me to add you. You will learn what others are doing to meet mates.
Cast your net far and wide. Anything can happen. Never give up hope. Continue to enjoy life, with or without a man. Links to Tom’s newspapers

Link to Dana Point Times newspaper
Link to San Clemente Times
Link to San Juan Capistrano newspaper

Finding love in their 60s because of a logo on a hat

 On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – January 8, 2021

by Tom P Blake

 Goofy Together and Loving It. Finding love in their 60s because of a logo on a hat

During 26 years of writing about finding love after 50, readers and Champs have shared multiple romance success stories with me. I love hearing them.

In 2009, I included the stories of 50 couples—many of them Champs–in a book titled, “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50.” There are eight bonus stories in the book-so 58 couples are included.

As I hear more success stories these days, I’m wondering if a book titled, “How 65 couples found love after 65” should be written. The above book is available at or e-mail me at tompblake@gmail for a reduced rate.

The latest success story arrived this week. Heather, 67, a Dana Point, California woman emailed: “Love your articles and I’m so happy you have a gal that makes you happy. I wanted to share my story.”

Heather wrote, “My husband died in his sleep, May 2016, while we were celebrating our daughter’s 30th birthday on Oahu. It was horrible.

“Many people told me, look out, you are fit, funny, you cook, you are independent; men will seek you out. It was the last thing in the world I was thinking about. I had a pile of work to get through let alone the slowness of Hawaii for the death certificate and autopsy for my children.”

Heather’s story continues eight months later

In January 2017, Heather and some women friends were enjoying themselves at the “Swallows Inn,” a popular country music bar with a dance floor in historic San Juan Capistrano, which is near Dana Point and San Clemente.

Heather’s friends were originally from Battle Creek, Michigan. So, when her friends saw a man entering the Swallows wearing a cap with a University of Michigan block “M” on the brim, her friends went over to talk to him. His name was Reuben; he was also from Battle Creek.

Heather said, “I was sitting by myself as they were chatting it up and then they hollered over, ‘Heather come here.’ I was smitten when I met Reuben.

“It took until March that he wanted my phone number. Our first date was on April Fool’s Day. We were the couple in the corner acting goofy. We went to Stillwater (a bar in Dana Point) and everyone wanted to be our friend.

“We are a biracial couple; I think my very tan skin and his beautiful black skin were an attraction to people. Also, we are both very friendly and accepting. He is the love of my life and partner.

Reuben and Heather at California Adventure. Notice his hat and shoes

“Within the five languages of love, Reuben, 62, is the Act of Service. He can fix anything in my home. I love to cook and bake for him and keep a clean home. I work out five days a week and he does too. We are fit, healthy, goofy together and we love it. 

“I retired in June 2017 after 44 years in residential lending. Went to work at Trader Joe’s in Crystal Cove as I could not stop, cold turkey, from work. Such a fun place to work! Saw multiple celebrities. After 11 months and missing out on birthday parties for little ones.

“In 2018, Reuben moved in with me when his roommates disbanded. He was slowly bringing tools over and we were together all the time. Just made sense.

“Everywhere we go, Reuben has a Chicago Bears or Michigan cap and/or mask on. Always starts a chat.

Reuben’s 4 face masks – Chicago Bears, Michigan (2), Turk’s Dana Point

I love this story. I admit I am biased because I grew up in Jackson, Michigan, 30 miles from Battle Creek. Plus, I graduated from U of M and am a big University of Michigan fan.

There are two dating lessons in Heather’s and Reuben’s story.

Lesson One. Hats with logos are conversation starters for seniors–and ice breakers

Wearing a shirt, face mask, or hat with a college, pro sports name, or something fun on the brim, is a good idea for singles who’d like to meet a mate. Those are conversation starters, ice breakers which is why those Battle Creek women approached Reuben, which led to this love story.

Greta and I observed this when we were on our traditional New Year’s day walk at Salt Creek Beach. I saw people wearing Alabama shirts/hats and Notre Dame shirts/hats and said to the people “Good luck today in the game.” (Alabama was playing Notre Dame in the college football playoffs). Some of them wanted to stop and talk about the game. (Later, the Notre Dame fans didn’t want to. Alabama won big.)

When Michigan fans and Ohio State fans see each with logos, they tease the heck out of each other. Still, that’s a conversation starter.

I have two maize and blue “M” face masks, several “M” golf shirts, a hat, and a pair of Go Blue Michigan shoes. (Greta’s daughter Terry has given me all my UM stuff as gifts. I think, singlehandedly, she has kept them in business).

 Tom decked out – down to the UM shoes

If you don’t have a hat with an ice-breaker logo, and if you live in South Orange County California, on Saturdays, go to the Dana Point Farmer’s market and check out Champs Vince and Julie’s booth. They are the “logo hat specialists.”

Our Champs Vince and Julie in their Dana Point Farmers Market booth with a variety of hats. Talk sports with Vince–he’s very knowledgeable

A hat that I cherish from their booth: an old VW bus on the brim. Everyone needs a hat with a logo on it.


And lesson two: Hey guys, to win her over, slowly bring your handy-man tools when you are doing maintenance on her home. Leave them there. Soon, you’ll have so many tools there that she’ll have no choice but to invite you to move in.

Keep those romance success stories coming. 

Senior long-distance relationship challenges

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter –  November 8, 2019 

by Columnist Thomas P Blake

Champ couple overcomes senior long-distance relationship challenges and now faces another challenge

Our most-written-about Champ couple is in the news again. Yes, I’m referring to Chris and Tina Anastasio, San Clemente, California residents. Most of you will recall that I’ve written about them before on a couple of occasions.

Why the hoopla about Chris and Tina (Christine)? Because, in the 26 years I’ve been writing newspaper columns and newsletters, I’ve never met a senior couple who has endured and overcome as many senior relationship challenges as Chris and Christine.

Christine and Chris in front of Richard Henry Dana statue in Dana Point Harbor (photo by Tom)

To refresh your memory: Their story together began in 2004. Chris, as a cruise ship dance host on a cruise ship, danced with Christine, a lovely widow of 18 months from England. After the cruise, they started corresponding, which began the longest, long-distance relationship of which I’m aware—5,419 miles, San Clemente to England.

Over the years, when they could, they visited each other, and took trips together.

In 2009, I published a book titled, “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50.” In their story, which is included in the book, Chris states, “Every time we get together it’s like a honeymoon.”

After 13 years of being an unwed, long-distance couple, Chris and Christine married on February 12, 2017, at the Dana Point California Yacht Club. Greta, and I attended the wedding, and I wrote a column about them.

Tina and Chris Anastasio–tying the knot in Dana Point in February, 2017 (photo by Tom Blake)

But their challenges weren’t entirely behind them. Christine still had to return to England from time-to-time because she wasn’t eligible to permanently stay in the United States.

So, a month after their wedding, Chris and Christine started the legal process of securing a two-year, temporary, green card for her, so she wouldn’t have to leave the country so often.

A year later, in February, 2018, Chris emailed: “After jumping through all kinds of hoops last year, we finally had Christine’s green card hearing today. It was the last stop in the process.

“We were told to bring pictures, papers, letters or anything else that would prove we were a REAL couple. Christine suggested we bring your How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 book to the green card hearing.

50 couples cover

“During the interview, I mentioned that we had become kind of famous because of our long-distance relationship you’ve written about. I said we were featured in your book, and handed it to him, with our page bookmarked.

“He started reading. His face lit up. He said, ‘This is great, I don’t have to see anything else. You have your green card.’

“It was amazing. That’s all he looked at. We were out of there in less than a half hour. You had a hand (and a big hand at that) in getting Christine her green card. Thanks for your help.”

Their green-card story is why I wrote a second article about them.

I think their life-together achievement is remarkable. I’ve had seniors complain that someone who lives a few miles away is geographically undesirable. Traveling to another state to meet? Unthinkable.

And, yet Chris and Christine stuck together being 5,419 miles away. Chris is now 85, and Christine turns 79 this December. Chris is well-known in south Orange County for his charity work.

One other thing about Chris, who is a US Navy veteran. On the first anniversary of 9/11, at age 69, he put the American flag on the “A” marker buoy via a kayak, just outside of Dana Point Harbor beyond the jetty in the Pacific Ocean.

Chris said, “I tended the flag every day from a kayak and changed it about every three months until I turned 80 and had heart surgery. The Dana Point Yacht Club said they liked it and would maintain it.” (Note from Tom: this week, I verified with a guy who does stand up paddling in the ocean that the flag is still on that buoy).

And now, another challenge has arisen

This week, Chris emailed an update: “Christine’s two-year green card expires soon. So, we must go back in and apply for Christine’s 10-year, permanent green card. Is it okay with you if we carry your “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50” book to the government office again? It brought great luck to us two years ago.

My reply: “Of course. Let me provide you with a fresh copy. Hopefully, it will help you get Christine’s permanent green card.

Also, not letting age slow them down, Christine and Chris added, “We are taking a cruise over the Holidays. We board the ship in Singapore December 18, and disembark in Dubai, January 2, 2020. We will watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks from the deck of the ship in Dubai Harbor.”

Christine and Chris Anastasio are one of the most inspiring–and indefatigable–Champ couples I’ve ever come across.

Overcoming Senior Depression

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – September 13, 2019

by Tom P Blake

As I’ve written many times, emails from Champs provide the fresh information that makes weekly publishing of this eNewsletter possible.

Today, an email from Champ John is featured in Part One – Overcoming Senior Depression

Part 2 wasn’t planned. I mentioned in last week’s column that it was the final article about the trip to Ireland, Iceland, Greenland and Scotland. But something came up that I thought you might find interesting about traveling—I call it “Roll with the flow.”

And Part 3 mentions in about 42 words the date and time of the next Meet and Greet at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point.

Here we go:

                      Part One – Overcoming Senior Depression

I appreciate emails like the one Champ John sent this week.

He wrote, “I wanted to let you know that your book, ‘How 50 Couples Found Love After 50,’ has motivated me to ‘break out’ of depression.”

John’s comment pleased me. When I published that book, my goal was to provide information and hope to singles, based on the stories of 58 couples. (I know the title says 50 couples, but there are, in fact, 58 couples featured).

So, what the book did for John is what I had hoped would happen to people who read it – give information to help them improve their lives.

John explained he was depressed by a combination of three things: A divorce after 19 years of marriage, major back surgery, and a ‘workaholic’ lifestyle (he was still working 40-60 hours per week at 72).

He said that after reading the book, he started to get out and about and socialize.

John said: “I signed-up for a two-day bus trip to the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, UT, which was organized by my local, public radio station, KNPR. Twelve fellow playgoers (whom I had not met) and I saw four wonderful plays, walked the town, ate, drank and conversed: I had a wonderful experience! On the return trip, we exchanged contact information with one another for the purpose of sharing pictures and planning future activities.

“One unexpected benefit of the trip was experiencing joint and muscle aches, after prolonged walking and step-climbing, and shortness of breath from lack of daily exercise. How can something that is painful be a benefit? My body was telling me to regularly exercise and to control my diet, to avoid disability.

“My heart told me that emotionally walling-off myself from others was not in my best interest; that the mutual and heartfelt exchange of human affection is the real stuff of life.

“I know that I now am on the comeback trail to Life and Living. Thank you for your inspirational writing.”

The three factors that were depressing John, which I comment on below, affect many seniors today.

1 Depression after the loss of a spouse or partner. John is of the age where many people lose a loving partner–through divorce, accident or death. It can be mentally crippling, causing people to shut themselves off from the outside world. Lately, there has been much in the news about the debilitating effects of loneliness on senior’s health. John now understands that daily social interaction with people is essential.

2 Importance of exercise and eating right. On the trip John took, his body sent him an important message: “Keep me moving. Get me in shape.” It’s one of the most important things seniors can do to remain healthy. And, John also realized on the trip that eating the right foods is a must.

3 A workaholic at 72. Some people keep working after 70 because the income is needed. But, as we age, we must take time to stop and smell the roses. Working at that age can be stressful. It can lead to an early unnecessary demise. We need to ask ourselves, “Do I really need to be working this hard at my age?” and “Shouldn’t I get out and have fun while I’m still able?”

I am pleased that How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 helped John break out of depression. But it was his effort to get out and mingle with new people that did the trick.

The book is available in hard cover and as an E-book, on and Or, for a special Champ reduced price on the hard-cover version—and a signed, personalized copy–email me at with questions. I will ship to your friends as a gift and endorse it to them if you request that.

     There are actually 58 couples included  

                               Part 2 – Roll with the flow travel event

When I mentioned that last week’s article would be the final one about the Ireland-Iceland-Greenland and Scotland trip Greta and I just took, that statement was before our trip home. Then, a Roll with the flow travel event happened.

Greta and I feel lucky to be alive. OK, I admit, that statement is a bit dramatic, but there’s truth in it, which I will explain.

In 20 years of traveling together, we understand there will be travel-related situations that arise that aren’t pleasant, or, weren’t planned or anticipated.

They accompany the travel game. They won’t appear on your itinerary. They come unexpectedly.

And the way you deal with those situations? “Roll with the flow.”

This happened last Saturday. Greta and I were scheduled to fly home to Dana Point, California, at the end of our 30-day holiday to Ireland, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland.

We disembarked the ship at 8:45 a.m. We waited at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to catch a 4:30 p.m. flight to Paris’ Charles de Gualle Airport, where we were connecting to a nonstop Air France flight to LAX.

The connection time was tight. We barely made our 6:50 p.m. departure and were happy to be buckled into our seats on Air France. We were going home, and it felt good.

An hour out of Paris, above Northern England, the pilot announced over the PA, “We have a mechanical issue. The anti-collision radar has stopped working. We can’t see other airplanes. We cannot fly over the Atlantic Ocean without it. We are turning back to Paris. It should be a quick-fix.”

I looked at Greta, saying, “There is nothing we can do except Roll with the flow.”

I didn’t mention to her that I was concerned about flying into such a busy airport (10th busiest in the world, 481,000 aircraft movements in 2018) through clouds, the ground not in site, with no anti-collision radar. I simply crossed my fingers while listening to The Beach Boys sing, on the plane’s in-flight entertainment system. I could sense in looking at other passengers that some were concerned.

I watched the screen in front of me as it showed the U-turn and the airplane progressing back:

  Eyes glued to the screen at my seat

On final approach, still listening to the Beach Boys, their song, “Don’t Worry Baby,” started playing, which I thought was almost humorous.

The plane landed. Some passengers applauded. We were safe. Nothing else mattered. A few hours inconvenienced but so what? Roll with the flow.

Passengers were told to take all carry-on items off the plane. And to go to the ticket counter. But we were not told which counter or how to get there (Air France has about 100 counter windows there).  Some 300+ passengers were wandering around trying to find the place we were to congregate. It was 10 p.m.

We were not told anything except to get in line at the counter. An hour later, Greta and I got to the counter. We were told, “The flight is cancelled. It will go tomorrow, hopefully.”

We were given a box lunch and a voucher for an airport hotel that took us over an hour to get to—there was no transportation available at that late hour other than an inside-the-airport-connecting train that we couldn’t find. The Air France lady had tried to explain to us in French how to get there.

We were walking through dark parking lots and potentially dangerous areas. I thought, yikes, this is possibly more dangerous than the flight that turned back.

A few minutes before midnight, we arrived at the hotel. I got in line at the hotel reception desk and told Greta to go to the bar and order us a glass of wine, before the bar closed. It had been 15+ hours since we had departed our ship to go home.

The wine was decent; the box lunch filled with carbohydrate and sugar snacks. Not edible.

                                   Blue Lunch Box

     Carbs and Sugar

But, we had a roof over our heads and we were safe: Roll with the flow

The next morning, an email arrived early from Air France: “Check in is at 9 a.m. Flight departs 11:30 a.m. We cannot locate your checked luggage. It didn’t make the connection from Amsterdam. Rest assured, we are searching for it.”

We had to retrace our steps to the airport check-in for our boarding passes and go through tight security again. When we finally got to the gate, Air France had changed it to the opposite end of terminal three. Oh well, what’s another 300 yards?

We departed at 11:50 a.m. and arrived safely at LAX, about 20 hours after originally scheduled. Amazingly enough, the checked luggage was on the flight with us after all.

I won’t even get into the traffic mess at LAX these days. It was horrendous. Trying to find your Lyft or Uber driver is zoo-mania.

In travel, one needs to Roll with the flow.

Part 3 – September Meet and Greet

The Meet and Greet gathering for senior singles is scheduled for Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, Thursday, September 26, 5 to 7 p.m. Beer and Wine $5. Appetizers complimentary. Hope to see some of you there. In the first three months, some couples have already formed. Yea!

      At a recent Meet and Greet