|On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter |
September 29, 2022
by Tom Blake Columnist
A widow says, “I’m okay without a spouse”
This week, we share responses to last week’s eNewsletter, which featured Dee, a recent widow. Dee hoped that Champs would comment about what she should do with her wedding rings now that her husband is gone.
As the responses poured in, they reminded me of the poignant words from the song “Graceland,” a song written by singer/songwriter Paul Simon and released in November 1986 on the album of the same name.
The Graceland album won a 1988 Grammy for Album of the Year. Fifteen million albums were sold. The Graceland song is Simon’s favorite of all the songs he has written. The poignant words:
“Losing love is like a window in your heart. Everybody sees you’re blown apart. Everybody sees the wind blow.”
(A link to the song Graceland is at the end of today’s column)
I think those words are some of the greatest love-lost-pain words in history. You’ll understand why the following sage responses from Champs made me think of them.
Vickey emailed, “Dee, you have my sympathy. To love deeply is to grieve deeply.
“I am a widow of 20 years. My advice is to not second guess your decisions about the ring. Wear it or not, it’s ok. I have traveled many miles since being widowed by losing my one and only husband. I do have a companion who in every way makes me complete.”
Kaitte, “Re the widow wedding ring issue, Dee, you need to do YOU for YOU. There is no law that says you can’t wear your rings till you are no longer here, and if anyone says something, simply walk away. They aren’t worth a comment unless you want to add, ‘Just widowed,’ and walk away. Same with the pictures. Don’t ALLOW anyone to tell you differently.”
Susie, “Dee’s letter was very sad. I was thinking that anyone who is going through anything at this stage of one’s life should exchange emails and get a group together and talk out some of our feelings; we might be able to help each other, what do you think of that Tom?”
Tom’s comment to Susie. There are many widow and widower groups in existence across the country. It would be easier, I think, to search online for those and join one near where you live. If a Champ wants to start a new one, I suggest that person start a Facebook page. If someone does that, I will be happy to mention it in a future column.
Also, one of our Champs is Christine Baumgartner, who is a relationship counselor and a widow. She is aware of several widow and widower groups. Her email address is email@example.com if you’d care to reach out to her.
Dr. John (a family doctor), emailed, “Dee poses some interesting questions. Here’s my advice:
– Dee says she never wants to date again – well, maybe. She’s still grieving, it’s way too early to be sure. Also, quick ‘rebound romances’ tend to be a bad idea.
– Most men view widows favorably. After all, one of men’s’ biggest worries is divorce, which in the USA is mostly initiated by wives. Widowhood means the wife stayed with the husband to the end. I had a patient two months ago who lost his job AND his wife (who divorced him), when he came down with cancer, which he beat. But then he got heart disease from one of the chemotherapy drugs he was given. She ‘didn’t want to be his nurse.’ That goes to show why men have a legitimate fear of women divorcing them.
– I’d suggest re: the widow wedding ring issue, she wear the wedding ring until/if she decides she’s ready for a new relationship.”
Virginia, “Life is short. Dee might benefit if she would consider going to some counseling sessions to help her put her feelings into perspective. While it’s normal to take time to grieve, sometimes a snag like an emotional quagmire can ruin the rest of a person’s life and she or he might need a little help to move on.
Dee is a survivor and has years ahead to enjoy the rest of her life. Maybe someone can suggest a good counselor or psychologist who could gently help her move on, so she doesn’t get bogged down with this and ruin her life.
“There are also some well-written self-help books on the stages of grief and how to recognize what she is going through that might help her.” (See Tom’s comment below for a book suggestion).
Joanie, “Dee should move the ring first to her right hand. Then to a nice chain with the ring on it to wear around the neck. Eventually, she might put the ring into a jewelry box.”
Carm, “Dee’s story reminded me of my Karen’s comment that the nearly five years we spent together were the happiest days of her life. Pancreatic cancer: Only an 8 or 9% survival rate. “It also reminded me of the puzzlement I went through with our rings: I eventually taped them to the big mirror in my bedroom.”
Cynthia, “I just reread your newsletter about Dee the new widow. I feel her pain after she met Ron and her thinking it was her final marriage. I’ve been a widow for 7 1/2 years and I still have pictures of my husband all over my house because I enjoy seeing them and that brings me comfort. I don’t have any intention of moving them out!
“As far as her wedding ring, after a couple of years, I moved my wedding ring and my husband’s wedding band to my right hand. I wear his band all the time but when I’m going out, then sometimes I’ll add my diamond engagement ring. I enjoy wearing it and I don’t want to give it up so I understand Dee’s feelings totally.
“I think everybody has to figure out what works best for them and I know it’s really soon after his passing but I pray that Dee will take it slow.”
Sharon, “I have been a champ for 14+ years after my husband David passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008. Dee’s story touched my heart about her wedding rings.
“What worked for me is that I took David’s wedding band and my wedding band and had a jeweler link them together. I bought a very nice gold chain and wore them around my neck for many years. Like Dee, wearing my wedding rings after David died felt different.
“I struggled with the fact that I wasn’t married anymore and those rings were a reminder of the 31-1/2 wonderful years that were now gone. I emphasize gone because I loved my life, being David’s wife, and the life, we had together.
“I did date for a couple of years after his death, but it was difficult because David and I had an autistic son who was 18 when David died. It was hard for me because I think I was looking for someone who would be family and most of the men I dated wanted a companion, not a grown child. I was a ‘packaged deal.’
“I didn’t like bringing different people into my son’s life. It was a challenging time for both he and I. It seemed so easy when I met David and trying online dating was hard for me. I finally decided about seven years ago that I didn’t really want to try dating anymore.
“I have a full life, job, family, good friends, our son Philip, and Special Olympics, and I just prayed that I would be content with the full life that I had. Sure, there are still times, that I wish I had a special someone, but I am so thankful that I am okay without a spouse.
“I joke with my friends, that my husband was such a good husband, father, and man, he made it impossible for someone to compete with that! Except now I have two dogs, and they are special!
“I hope Dee in time finds her way. Trust me, I know how hard it is to lose a spouse, but I take each day one at a time and try to remember each day how grateful I am.”
S, wrote: “To Dee: I wore my wedding ring for seven years after my divorce. Just didn’t feel right without it.”
Wayne, emailed, “The only problem I see with a woman wearing her late spouse’s wedding ring on her left hand is that it indicates she’s still married. Wearing it on her right hand is fine.
“I wear an old wedding ring on my right hand sometimes as it’s an attractive ring. I’ve asked a few women if that bothers them, and they’ve said it was fine. I respect a woman that isn’t afraid to occasionally mention her late husband in a loving way… he was a big part of her life and I see it as a sign of respect.
“Pictures around the house are fine; I prefer they be part of a family photo.”
Thanks, Champs. Not only have you helped Dee, but others–women and men–who are also dealing with being widowed or losing a significant other.
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter
by Tom Blake – columnist
June 17, 2022
In March 2017, I wrote a column titled, “Delivering a Letter to Johnny Cash,” which described a trip my partner Greta and I took to Tennessee to visit the Johnny Cash Museum and Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, and Graceland, and Sun Records in Memphis.
As many of you know, I worked with (and became friends with) Johnny Cash in 1975 and 1976 and wanted to show Greta the places where I had been with him.
A fellow Dana Point resident and Champ, Michael McLeavy, responded to that article. He wrote: “I enjoyed your ‘Delivering a Letter to Johnny Cash’ column and thought you might get a kick out of how I met Elvis Presley, since Elvis was a friend of your friend Johnny Cash.”
Michael and I met for lunch and compared stories about how he met Elvis and I met Johnny, two of Tennessee’s greatest singing legends. Michael presented me with a replica of a poster that pictured Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley together, promoting a March 10, 1956, concert in Armory, Mississippi (photo above)
On April 13, 2017, I wrote a follow-up column detailing how Michael met Elvis.
This February, Michael told me he had just completed an autobiography, which features his meeting Elvis as one of the highlights.
He said, “I purchased your Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark book and was impressed that you self-published it by using Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Would you consider editing, formatting, and helping me publish my book on Amazon?”
I said, “I admit, as a senior, I have extra time on my hands due to staying at home during the pandemic. Seniors need projects to work on. Projects can keep their minds active and give them a purpose. I’m not a professional editor, but I did learn a lot publishing my book.”
I thought getting Michael’s book edited and published might take me three weeks. So, I said to Michael, “I will do it.”
Three weeks turned into two months. Besides editing the manuscript, building a table of contents, and creating the book’s cover, there were multiple pictures to reformat and other details to address. One blessing: the book turned out to be only 132 pages.
As I worked on the book, I became fascinated with Michael’s life. He moved to Los Angeles from Scotland in 1965. His primary goal was to meet Elvis. He did that and so much more. He built a successful career in the insurance business.
Michael is an accomplished singer. He has recorded four CDs, which are available on Amazon.
Currently, Michael’s book, “What Now? What Next? Where To?” is available in paperback only. The cost on Amazon is $14.99 plus shipping and taxes.
However, if Champs would like a signed and personalized copy, email Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details. The charge for Champs is $14.25, plus delivery. He will invoice you via his PayPal account, which can be paid via credit cards.
Michael has lived in Dana Point with his wife Linda since 1989.
Will I begin a second senior career helping people as an editor and publisher of books? Perhaps, but not full time as I must leave enough time to keep writing my eNewsletters and newspaper columns. Let me know if you have a book in your future. I’m receptive to questions.
On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – May 20, 2022
by Tom Blake – Columnist
A New You – 5 Tips for overcoming heartbreak (Love will find a way)
Growing old has many rewards: retirement, playing lots of golf, exercising at will, children are grown and usually married and grandchildren for you to enjoy. No more 9-to-5 working pressures. The list is endless.
However, as we age, we also experience loss. We lose loved ones through divorce, breakups, misunderstandings, and death. It’s not just losing a partner. We lose parents, siblings, and dear friends. We are dealt personal hardships. Perhaps we’ve been diagnosed and are dealing with a serious illness.
It’s life, it’s inevitable and it’s hard. When these things happen, we face a new challenge: overcoming our heartbreak and finding a new direction.
How do we do that? How do we become “The new you?”
In writing about senior dating and relationships for 28 years, here are five tips I’ve learned from readers on how to overcome heartbreak. One of the main themes of songs is heartbreak, and how to overcome it. Today, I’m including three songs that I feel can be helpful to get people through tough times and give them hope.
5 tips for overcoming heartbreak
1. It’s understandable and ok to be sad. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to be alone (for a time, but not for too long). One of my favorite songs from the 1970s was REM’s “Everybody Hurts.” In a nutshell, that song’s message is: “Everybody hurts sometimes. Hold on.” It’s a powerful song of hope and overcoming adversity. Link at end.
2. Remind yourself that healing takes time. It will sting for a while. In an interview April 21, 2022, on Good Morning America, Robin Roberts asked Magic Johnson (the photo above is of Magic Johnson with Greta Cohn and Tom Blake at Tom’s deli, Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point, California, in 2009) how he overcame the news in 1991 that he had HIV. Magic said, “You realize you aren’t alone.” Being aware of this helped him become “A new you.”
The Bee Gees, the 1970s popular singing group was made up of three close-knit brothers. They had many hits, including, “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?” I saw an interview on TV recently with Barry Gibb, about that song and how he dealt with the loss of his three younger brothers, who died years apart. Maurice and Robin were members of the Bee Gees and Andy was much younger but not in the group.
Gibb was devastated. He said, “I moped around for months, there were highs and lows.”
My sisters and I lost my brother Bill a year ago January, it’s taken that long to not think about him every day. I’ve healed, I guess because I no longer daily reach for my phone to call him as I did for months after he passed. Again, healing takes time. And we will never forget.
3. Don’t try to go it alone. Have a support group, if only one or two people. Confide in them and talk to friends; be out socially, if possible. Try not to isolate yourself. Be around people by attending church, volunteering, and going to senior centers. Don’t be afraid to admit your pain.
4. Remind yourself that everything is going to be all right in due time. It may not seem like it when adversity happens. Be as positive as you can. In 1976, Neil Diamond co-wrote and sang live one time the song “Dry Your Eyes,” in response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King because so many people were mourning. The song was on the “Beautiful Noise” album. He did not sing it live again until 2017, after the terrorist bombing at an Aria Grande concert in Manchester, England.
Greta and I attended one of his last concerts at the Forum in L.A. in 2018. At least, he unexpectedly (to me) sang “Dry Your Eyes.” I filmed a video of it, which is linked below.
5. Look for a seed of opportunity that often sprouts from adversity. When I was dealt an unexpected divorce in 1994, I started a journal just to gather and organize my thoughts. Six months later, using the words from that journal, I became a newspaper columnist. A seed of opportunity came along, and I grabbed it. I’m still writing 28 years later.
Another song about overcoming heartbreak is by the singing group Pablo Cruise who had a 1978 hit titled “Love Will Find A Way.” Words from that song include:
“Oh, but it’s all right (all right)
Once you get past the pain
(Past the pain)
You’ll learn to find your love again
So keep your heart open
‘Cause love will find a way”
Remember Magic’s words, “You aren’t alone.”
Here are links to the four songs mentioned.
REM’s Everybody Hurts:
The Bee Gee’s How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?
Neil Diamond Dry Your Eyes (note the trumpet player beginning at the 1:34 mark; he’s incredible
Pablo Cruise’s Love Will Find A Way
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter February 5, 2022
2022 eNewsletter #5
by Tom Blake – author and columnist
SUPER BOWL 2022 CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
|1968 TWO FLOATS ON THE FIELD DURING PRE-GAME – a Packer and a Raider (photo by Tom Blake)|
|American Airlines world stewardess queens–Patty Poulsen and Jill Spavin before the kickoff at Super Bowl II (photo by Tom Blake)|
|Patty, Jill, and George Mira (in beige turtle neck)photo by Tom Blake|
|On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter February 5, 2022 |
2022 eNewsletter #5
by Tom Blake – author and columnist
SUPER BOWL 2022 CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
As next week’s Super Bowl LVI (56) approaches, I can’t help but think back to 1968, 54 years ago. I was a regional manager of public relations for American Airlines, working at the company’s headquarters at 633 Third Avenue in New York City.
On January 10, 1968, four days before Super Bowl II, my boss, Holmes Brown, the Vice President of Public Relations, summoned me to his office. He said, “Tom, I just got off the phone with the president of American Express. He invited our two world stewardess queens, Patty Poulsen and Jill Spavin, to be the guests of American Express this weekend at the Super Bowl festivities in Miami.
“I can’t allow Patty and Jill to go alone. I need an American Airlines escort to go with them to be sure they are safe and treated with respect and dignity. As the only single man in our department, I would like you to go. Will you do it?”
“Love to,” I said, trying to act cool and calm, although I couldn’t believe my ears at the opportunity. He patted me on the back and handed me five one-hundred-dollar bills, saying: “All expenses are pre-paid, however, I want you to have money in case you need to pick up a tab. I want American Airlines to always look good.”
On Friday night, Patty, Jill, and I flew from Newark Airport on Eastern Airlines to Miami. A representative from Amex picked us up at the airport and took us to the hotel. For the next three days, my focus was to keep them safe (and trust me, only that!). As you can see on the ticket stub shown above, the official name of the game was the “World Championship Game, AFL VS NFL” and it was held on Sunday, January 14, at the Orange Bowl in Miami.
(Shortly thereafter, Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, recommended the name retroactively be changed to “The Super Bowl,” which was quickly adopted by the two leagues. Of course, it was an incredible weekend.
I remember the three of us riding to the game on a bus chartered by American Express. I was in the back of the bus sitting next to a young kid named Mike Garrett, the 1965 Heisman Trophy winner. He was at that time a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs who years later became the athletic director of USC for 17 years. He asked me what was in the cooler on the back seat of the bus.
I said, “Chilled beer.” Garrett said, “Oh, I wanted a Coca-Cola.”Patty, Jill, and I sat on the 50-yard line in the Orange Bowl with George Mira, a former University of Miami All-American and San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
Several of Mira’s admirers stopped by to greet him; they seemed curious about Patty and Jill who looked beautiful. (See above the photo of Patty and Jill and a photo of them seated next to George Mira–I took both photos).
Things have changed since then. The 1968 ticket stub shows a cost of $12. This year, 50-yard-line seats are going for more than $10,000.
There were two portable stages wheeled onto the field before the kickoff. Each team was represented by a 15-foot player in uniform standing on a float. Each figure appeared to be spewing steam from its mouth even though the temperature was in the low 80s. (see picture above)The Green Bay Packers beat the Oakland Raiders, 33-14. Vince Lombardi was the Packers head coach; John Madden was the Raiders linebacker coach.
A year later, Madden became the Raiders head coach for nine years.It’s hard to believe that there have been 54 Super Bowls since that experience. I always chuckle when I watch the Super Bowl and wonder how Patty and Jill are doing.
P.S. Two months later, on March 8, 1968, Patty and Jill were featured in the People section of Time Magazine with a nice writeup and photo of them together. (See article below)
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.
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 Match.com 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 BikerKiss.com.
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?
by Tom Blake – Columnist
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – September 17, 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
|“Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark” book update. Both the Kindle/eBook version and the paperback version are now available on Amazon.com. 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 Amazon.com
|On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – July 30, 2021|
By: Tom Blake – Columnist
Senior dating: Identifying the types of senior living relationships can be confusing
Lately, I’ve been receiving an increasing number of questions from Champs and single seniors regarding the various types of relationship living arrangements they are choosing or considering. The different acronyms can boggle the mind.
The most popular: LAT (living apart together)
In checking my columns-written archives, I first mentioned LAT relationships in eNewsletters during March 2018. The LAT designation was applied to Champs who were in unconventional relationships. Some stated they were committed, loving, intimate relationships, and yet, they lived under separate roofs.
This week, I searched online but couldn’t find any articles– other than ours–that had been published anywhere in the world earlier than 2019 on the LAT relationship topic. Our Champs blazed a trial in senior dating relationship definitions.
In the three and a half years since that 2018 article mention, the single senior living arrangement topic has mushroomed among people who write about senior relationships. And I sure hear more about the topic.
The primary reason why LAT relationships will not become the norm for seniors is financial. Two separate households are more expensive to occupy vs. when two people share expenses under the same roof. For some, a LAT isn’t affordable. And for some, it’s not even a desirable way to live.
For example, Mary Ann emailed: “To me, if a couple doesn’t live together there is no ‘US.’ The pluses appear to be having their own space, privacy, and daily routines. But living this way does not bring them closer and committed enough. I call this a compromised relationship (CR).” I’ve been in a few of those myself.
Champ Mark sent me a link to an online New York Times article dated July 16, 2021, titled, “Older Singles Have Found a New Way to Partner Up: Living Apart,” written by Francine Russo.
In the article, Russo mentions a widow named Linda Randall, who lives in Chicago and was widowed in 2016. Randall is now 81 and has a romantic, intimate, relationship with a widower, age 87, who lives across the alley from her and spends most nights at her apartment.
When the widower asked Randall if he could move in with her, Randall said no because she liked where she lived and felt they were different in how they lived.
Plus, a big factor was that Randall didn’t want to become a full-time caregiver. Living apart but nearby, Randall and the widower remain intimate.
Russo also wrote in the article, “In Europe, the data clearly shows that later-life LAT relationships are on the rise. And Russo quoted a Canadian sociology professor who said, “LAT is now a ‘popular option’ in the United States and Canada.”
Champ Joel, emailed this week: “I saw this term, which was new to me: ‘living celibate together.’ When I entered that as a Google search, a lot of articles showed up.”
I responded to Joel, “So now we have LCT (living celibate together) senior relationships? I don’t want to be in one of those.”
Joel answered, “Nor I, an
LCT doesn’t float my boat either.”
Another Champ, Ginny, whom we wrote about in April, a widow, age 80, has had a seven-year relationship with Harry, 87, a widower. They live three walking minutes apart.
Harry was the guy who didn’t want to remarry (he had been married 59 years). In April, Harry changed his mind and a November wedding was planned.
Now, Ginny says, they are planning to marry in September.
I asked her why they are getting married after seven years.
Ginny said, “I visit Harry nearly every evening. But I return home the same night. Because of our faith, we agreed years ago to abstain from sex unless married. It was difficult. After we marry, instead of coming home each night, I will come home the next morning. We can finally have sex.”
Ginny added, “Still, we will have a LAT marriage.”
“Why the LAT marriage?” I asked.
“We will have a prenup. We both have children and grandchildren. Our money stays separate as do our homes. I like my home. It’s a short walk. Why not?”
I love Ginny’s story! Could LAT-M (Living Apart Together Married’ become another senior dating term introduced to the world by our Champs?
I smile at the reason Ginny and Harry are getting married. Intimacy–better late than never–bless them, both. Update on Ginny and Harry: They married in September and a NY Times’ “Wedding columnist” Tammy LaGorce attended and is doing an article on them
There are three primary reasons why these unconventional LAT-type relationships are gaining popularity among seniors:
1. Avoiding being a full-time caregiver (one of the biggest and most often stated reasons)
2. Wanting a companion while keeping one’s home
3. Maintaining independence while enjoying intimacy (perhaps), love, and sharing.
More senior women than men tell me they prefer a LAT relationship.
With these four options, LAT, LCT, CR, and LAT-M, no wonder senior dating is confusing.
|Online dating question from Yolanda:“I am a widow of 11 years, looking for dating opportunities. I saw in an eNewsletter that you mentioned Cupid k 2 or Cupid two. Can you guide me to it?”|
Tom’s answer to Yolanda: “I think the dating website you are looking for is OK Cupid. Their basic package is free. But there are some upgrades that could be helpful that will cost a small amount.
However, if you are beginning to go online with your dating, please be very careful because there are all kinds of scammers out there who try to take advantage of lonely women. Especially widows. NEVER send money to a stranger. If a person claims to be working overseas, that’s a red flag. Do not reveal your home address.
If you come across someone who might be interesting for you, have a background check done on that person. If he sends pictures, verify that the pictures are his via a Facebook or other account.I can’t stress enough to be leery of people you meet online. That being said, the Internet can be a good place to meet people, just be very aware. If you have doubts, feel free to contact me with details.
We can always post your situation in the eNewsletter and let Champs give you their opinions. I assure you, our Champs will leave no stone unturned–they’ve walked the walk and are a wealth of caring and loving information. Good luck. Keep us posted, Yolanda.
|Book update. The first copy of the paperback version arrived yesterday at 4:20 p.m. I am pleased. It’s 365 pages.Thanks to Champs who have contacted me and purchased a paperback version for $23.97, including shipping, about $7 less than if you purchase on Amazon. Simply send me an email if you would like a personalized copy. The Kindle/ebook version is available now on Amazon Link to “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark page on Amazon.com|
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter July 16, 2021
by Tom Blake – Columnist
Stay: 7 reasons why she should not relocate to be with old beau.
One of my readers named Beth emailed, “I need advice on a long-ago love from the 1990 years. We met through a singles ad in a local newspaper. We had great magic (chemistry) between us.
“We have kept in contact off and on for more than 20 years, with ups and downs. I live in Virginia; he lives in Connecticut, 500 miles apart. I am 79; he is 76.
“He has no children. My children are grown with families of their own. He wants me in his life again and wants me to live with him. I can’t seem to move away from my family. He will not visit me.
“He was in a biking accident three years ago and can’t travel a long distance even for a visit to see if we could make a go of it again. I don’t know what to do.”
My response: “From what you described you would be making all the sacrifices. He would be making none. That’s ridiculous! What if you moved there and he got sick or passed away? What would you be left with?
“Why didn’t it work out years ago?”
Beth said, “I want him, and I want my family. I want him to come for a visit, just to see if that magic is still there.
“He was getting over an ex-partner, and I was going through some things also when we met. I had to walk on eggshells at times with him. I think he had a trust issue with women, and he was a lawyer and saw the mean side of people all the time.
“I made the first contact this time after not hearing from him in over a year.
“No one since has made me feel the way he did and I don’t know what to do, he was special and I don’t want to lose him again, this might be the last stop for us.”
My response: “Beth, I don’t usually advise people on what to do. But here are seven questions to ponder.
- He can’t travel long distances because of a bike accident three years ago. He can’t even take a bus or a train? Or, is it, he doesn’t want to bother to travel?
- You hadn’t heard from him for more than a year. You contacted him. That doesn’t sound like a man who is interested in you.
- The same magic, or chemistry that was between you two 20+ years before will not be the same. Age takes its toll on chemistry and senior sex. Also, if he is so debilitated from the bike accident, do you think he would have the same physical capabilities he had back then? And how about you? Would you still be like you were in that category?
- Why, if you had to walk on eggshells with him before, do you think that would be different now?
- You are 79. Do you think you’d want to relocate to be with a man you barely know and leave your family behind? Don’t you think that would be risky?
- What if you moved and then got sick? At 79, it could happen. If he can’t ride on a train, how would he be able to care for you? And would he want to?
- You say you don’t want to lose him again. As it is, you don’t have him.
I hope the above seven questions will clear the air for you. For a new senior relationship to work, both people need to be on the same page. It appears you two are not. You aren’t even in the same book or the same state. As Bob Seger sings, “Turn the Page.”
Speaking of music, you may or may not know that the song I culled the name “Champs” from is “Stay. The Load Out” by Jackson Browne.
Take heed from those lyrics: Stay where you are.
(Link to “Stay” is listed below. See if you can hear where Browne says “Champs.”)