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