Senior sex and commitment

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – October 21, 2022

By Columnist Tom Blake

Senior dating is difficult with a myriad of challenging issues–trying to meet people to date, the lack of available single men, ghosting, scamming, gaslighting, dating married men, and a plethora of different relationship types such as long-distance, non-romantic, friends-with-benefits, and living-apart-together relationships, for example.

And then there’s another important senior dating issue that I tend to avoid: senior sex and intimacy. Why? It’s too personal! I feel uncomfortable writing about it, although I think it’s an important issue for seniors and I admit I’m physical myself.

Usually, the topic of senior sex and intimacy gets included in this eNewsletter when a Champ fires off a question or comment that makes me squirm a little. It happened this week when Champ Jerry, not his true name, sent an email. He and I have been buddies for a couple of years and I thought this is an important topic for seniors.

Jerry emailed, “It is weird being out there at age 81. Many of the women with whom I talk say that all the men they meet just want to get into the sack with them but with no real ongoing relationship. Generally, those women state it’s not worth the bother. Consequently, many senior women simply avoid the dating scene entirely.

“It is just my impression, but when you start sleeping together it becomes more emotional. At some level that implies more of a commitment.”

Comment by Tom: “Geez, Jerry, thanks for clarifying the sleeping together/commitment issue. That may be helpful to some of those men referred to above who just want sex without a commitment.”  

Jerry continued: “I really like sex, but I have not been pursuing it because I don’t want to hurt the other person by not following through with an emotional and enduring commitment. The other side of that is I am picky so that is frustrating as well. I suspect I am not unique in my feelings but, who knows?”

Quirky but not kinky

Jerry added, “So here is the quirky thing. I live in the city of Laguna Woods, in Orange County, California, with 18,000 people over the age of 55, mainly property owners. Of those, 6,000 are men and 12,000 are women. I am assuming that 5,000 of the men are married, which leaves 1,000 single men.

The dreaded senior dating ratio

“The remaining 5,000 married men are married to women of Laguna Woods, which leaves approximately 7,000 unattached women living here. That represents an approximate ratio of single women to single menof seven-to-one. I have heard the ratio is more like eight-to-one, also a ballpark figure. Some women–consistent with the lack of interest in dating that I mentioned above–are not available to date. Regardless, that still suggests there are lots of ladies out there.”

Comment from Tom: I have referred to this ratio in previous eNewsletters and newspaper columns as “The dreaded senior dating ratio.” An 8-to-1 ratio is pretty dreadful, and so is seven-to-one.

Jerry continued, “I have some lady friends that appeal to me on one level or another, but it just hasn’t reached the Physical stage, a la the Olivia Newton-John 1981 record. I suspect it will come but who knows when?  ‘T’is a conundrum.”

Tom’s comment: Often, when a song is mentioned in an eNewsletter or one pops into my head, a link is included to that song. But I must admit I wasn’t a fan of that Physical song, and the video is kind of sleazy so no link to it is included today.

2-WAY STREET

Jerry concluded with: “The final issue is, while someone might appeal to me it does not necessarily follow that I would appeal to her. It is not her fault that I don’t float her boat. The ending remark is from a friend who a lifetime ago said “Om, All will be revealed. Om.”

Tom’s summary comment: I would think an 81-year-old single guy living in the same small community as 7,000 single women aged 55-plus could find a compatible woman who appeals to him physically and she to him. Perhaps, he’s undecided because there are so many desirable women from which to choose.

And then there is the commitment issue that accompanies the senior sex topic.

Of course, how single seniors define commitment as it pertains to senior sex needs to be decided between consenting partners. Dating exclusively? Living together? Getting married (doubtful)? Personally, I think an exclusive commitment is the way to go.

Let’s hear what Champs have to say about this touchy subject.

And speaking of commitments, to enjoy these “Humps,” a commitment of 300 yards is required

A variety of senior topics

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

By columnist Tom Blake

September 9, 2022

Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition dated Feb. 12, 1990

3 Topics from the Mailbag

1. Too good-looking to pay her restaurant tab

I read this little tidbit online Monday, September 5, 2022. Nothing surprises me anymore:

At the Harry Reid Airport (Las Vegas), a 28-year-old woman left a Chili’s restaurant at the airport without paying her tab a week or two ago. She was arrested by police.

She reportedly said that the police arrested her because they had never seen anyone so good-looking. Apparently, she threatened to spit at the police.

Delightful. I guess she felt that being “so good-looking” allowed her to skip out on her restaurant tab.

Judit Masco, a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition front-cover model, pictured above, was pretty “good-looking” and not only paid for her tab in 1990 at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, but also left a large tip). 

2. Comments from Champs responding to last week’s “Senior non-romantic love” article. (also known as senior platonic love)

Kaitte said, “Some of my best friends are men. I have met and known several women who have married younger men. One man was 17 years younger, and they are as happy as a clam.

“All of the items you listed–keeping your independence, keeping your life, and staying friends are important–they will know if their situation changes but after 10 years together, I doubt it will.”

Brenda emailed, “I have a senior unromantic love relationship. My man friend and I have played very important roles in each other’s lives and shared many laughs and tears. We have confided things to each other that we’ve never discussed with others. I wouldn’t trade his friendship for anything.”

Ted (a Jackson Michigan, high school classmate of mine) emailed, “Regarding your ‘Live at the Ryman’ article two weeks ago, I’ve always envied your relationship with Johnny Cash. I knew very little about country music until my days working at WALM radio in Albion, Michigan.

“One of my colleagues there came to Michigan from Tennessee as a young man and brought with him a love and deep knowledge of that genre.

“We had a program at WKHM radio in Jackson (Michigan) that was hosted by a guy who called himself ‘Georgia Boy Ben Worthy,’ who used Johnny’s Orange Blossom Special as his theme music.

“I have two or three favorite Johnny Cash albums that I listen to as I mow my lawn. (Yes, I still mow my lawn, maybe just to prove that I can!) My wife Marcia says that sometimes I sing along with Johnny as I mow, but of course, I attribute that to her imagination.

“I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite Johnny Cash song, but Sunday Morning Coming Down would be near the top of the list.

“‘I Walk the Line’ always reminds me of our classmate Lee Taylor because it was on the jukebox in a tiny restaurant he and I visited during one of our extended fishing trips 200 miles or so north of Sault Ste. Marie.”

3. Senior scams. Scammers at work

On Friday, August 26, I received an email from a comcast.net address with this subject line: “question!!!!!!!!”

It read, “Please can I ask you something important?

Jon”

I thought it was strange. Not only was the question grammatically incorrect–“can” is wrong here; “may” is the correct word, but why does someone need permission to ask? Normally, I would just delete an email like that, but I didn’t want to be rude in case it was one of our Champs asking the question. So, I replied, “Sure, what’s up?”

The person, using the same name, replied from a different email address(<axxxxxxxx34474@gmail.com): “Thanks I’m glad you replied back. Sorry to bother you, today is my niece’s birthday and I promised her and her friend a Sephora gift card for her birthday. I’m traveling at the moment and have tried every means possible in purchasing one online, which is to no avail.

“Please, I would appreciate it if you could help me purchase it in a store around you. Am only looking to spend a $400 Sephora gift card ($100 each denomination 2 cards) on it. I’ll pay back as soon as I get back. Please let me know if you can handle this.

“Await your soonest response. Best regards, Jon”

Of course, I knew it was a scam. And then I realized that the name on the original email seemed familiar. I checked our eNewsletter subscriber list. Sure enough, the name and email address belong to Jon, a Champ. I had received 16 emails from him between 2007 and 2013, but none since 2013. However, our eNewsletters are still being opened by him.

Hence, I sent him an email to notify Jon that he had been scammed. Jon responded: “A lot of people got stuff like this. It’s all nonsense. Ignore and discard.

“I’m still seeing Sharon. Today is our mutual birthday. Going out for dinner when her cat recovers.”

Hence, Jon is aware of what happened. I also reported the scammer’s Gmail message to Google. They are investigating.

And then this Tuesday, I received another suspicious email from needles@progidy.net, with the subject line: “Urgent.”

It read: “How are you?

“I need your help. I’d appreciate it if you could email me back. Am unable to talk on the phone right now due to a serious sore throat.

“Please let me know if you are online. Thanks. Deanna.”

A sore throat? Really? I did not answer.

These two emails are samples of methods scammers are using. Please beware.

That’s it from the Mailbag for this week. Let’s hope this heat wave eases; we all need a break. 

Senior dating: Don’t burn bridges

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

August 19, 2022

By Columnist Tom Blake

Part 1 -Seniors Don’t burn your dating bridges

Pam, 77, Placentia, Ca., emailed: “I was married for 28 years and then was a senior ambushed by divorce. I have been single for 30 years and have been enjoying your newsletter for nearly that long, or, for however long you have been publishing it online.

“We used to pay for it and it was worth every penny! I love the stories, both personal and champs. Your wise advice is always appreciated. Thank you for the generosity of your time and compassion for the singles of a certain age.”

Tom’s response: “Wow, Pam, thank you. I used to charge for the eNewsletter but decided when I expanded the reach to other than just senior dating to include life situations that I would no longer charge for it.

I have no plans to start charging for it again (unless the majority of Champs insist!). I benefit by selling a few books. Plus, I also benefit from the material that Champs provide, which keeps our topics and material fresh for future eNewsletters and newspaper articles. 

I admit, there are times these days when the information received slows to a trickle, sort of like the drought here in California with the water.

Pam said, “I have an interesting story. A year after my divorce I dated Dan, whom I met in the singles Sunday School class at the E V Free Church in Fullerton. A girlfriend of mine from the class (Jeanne) dated another man from the class (Jim)) and he and Dan were good friends. The four of us did a lot of fun things together. We were all dumpees (perhaps a new senior dating term).

“After six months Jim’s wife decided she wanted him back. Because of his family, he reconciled with her. As much as he cared for Jeanne, he explained what he felt he needed to do. I never forgot that he told Jeanne that the four of us made a great couple!

“Not too long after that Dan broke up with me and everyone moved on. Dan and I remained friends and would date off and on through the years.

“Jim was remarried for 10 years and then his wife kicked him to the curb again. In the meantime, Jeanne married a terrific man.

“Dan and I were in one of our dating-again times. He invited Jim over for a BBQ. During the evening, Jim and I discovered that we had a lot of interests in common. We decided to do some activities just as friends. Well, we had so much fun together that our friendship turned to love.

“He told Dan and Dan was angry for a while, but he got over it. Jim told Dan that Dan had his chance for years and he blew it! Jim and I were so happy for 14 years. I have no family and I was included as part of the family by his married daughters and grandchildren. Jim and Dan remained best buddies. Jim jokingly told him that he was leaving me to Dan, in his will.

“Last December, my sweet Jim passed away from heart failure. He was 80. I saw Dan at the service for the first time in 14 years.

“A few months later, Dan asked me if I would like to go out to dinner. We are now dating if you can call it that at our age. We thought we were old when we were divorced in our 40s but now, we really are! He’s also 77. We are comfortable talking about Jim and sharing stories about him and I like that. Neither wants to be married.

“Dan is still a homebody with few interests but that’s OK now. In 2018, I had five vertebrae in my neck fused and in 2019 I had 10 vertebrae in my back fused with two long rods, 20 screws, and five spacers. I am doing well but have limitations which Dan is very understanding about. So here we are together 30 years later, senior comfortable companions.”

Tom’s comment: I told Pam I needed to create a flow chart to understand all the ins and outs of her Jeanne, Jim, and Dan saga. Pam’s story provides two senior-relationship lessons.

1. Seniors shouldn’t burn their bridges. We never know when old friends or old flames might reappear. In Pam’s case, if she had pushed Dan out of her life forever after he dumped her, she likely wouldn’t be with him as “a comfortable companion” 30 years later. Having a companion is a lot better than going it alone when we are in our 70s or 80s.

2. Previous relationships can rekindle. We hear of people reconnecting at high school and college reunions. And in Pam’s situation, after being with Jim for 14 years, she’s spending time with Dan who was Jim’s friend. They can talk about Jim without either one getting wigged out.

I wonder if Jim put words for Pam about Dan in his will. That’s kind of a cute twist to this somewhat hard-to-follow story.

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 tompblake@gmail.com for details

SOS – ABBA RETURNS TO LONDON

SOS – ABBA RETURNS TO LONDON

On Life and Love After 50 e Newsletter

JUNE 24, 2022

By Columnist Tom Blake

In the last two eNewsletters, I included an SOS message of sorts, reminding Champs to send in their experiences, stories, and questions, so that the articles will keep coming on a weekly basis. Many of you responded, which I appreciate.

Last Friday, while online, I received an email with this subject line: “SOS – The New Lyric Video!” At first take, I thought it was a Champ response to my send in your information appeal. Then, I noticed it was someone else who sent out an SOS message.

As some of you know, ABBA, the Swedish singing supergroup from the 1970s is making a comeback, of sorts. A new custom-built venue called ABBA Arena opened on May 26 in London, which features “Voyage,” ABBA’s first album in 40 years since the group split up. Is the foursome performing 40 years after they split up? Yes, of course, with lots of their old hits, plus some new material also. But there is a twist.

New Abba Arena (photo by Nick F June 2022)

The four original members, Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid have created a concert called Voyage using the same sensational music but digital versions of themselves. The four appear as avatars showing what they looked like in the 1970s, not what they look like now in their 70s.

The London ABBA Arena “Voyaged” show is backed by a live 10-piece orchestra. The show includes the magic of ABBA using motion-capture technology in a spectacular virtual reality show.

They did appear on opening night in person on stage before the concert. The concertgoers went crazy.

In a way, the ABBA members are like we Champs—they are in their 70s now and they’ve aged as we have. In YouTube footage I watched of them appearing on opening night on stage, Agnetha was using a cane. Most of us can relate to them: we loved their music then and they are older like us now.  

Bjorn said it so well in an interview about the story behind the Voyage album. “We’ve aged, but the spirit is still there.”

There are two links listed below to ABBA’S new material. The first is to the new spicy version of SOS. Plus, I’ve included another link to an interview with Benny and Bjorn explaining how the Voyage album came together. The group spent six weeks in a studio perfecting the album and videos.

Performances are sold out for most of the summer. The Voyage website is filled with information, including directions on how to reach the Abba Arena, via train and the London underground tube.

I mentioned ABBA recently in an eNewsletter and how in 2013 Greta and I were in Stockholm on a cruise, and we found the ABBA museum while riding on a Hop On, Hop Off bus. It was the opening day of the museum. They were sold out. We were told we couldn’t go in.

Tom and Greta with Abba look-a-likes in 2003 (photo by Tom Blake)

However, in her gracious, sweet, and convincing way, Greta was able to persuade the museum manager to allow us to enter on that opening day, a memory we will never forget. And while there, we were able to watch while standing four feet away, Natalie Morales of the Today show, interview in person Bjorn and Anna-Frid. That interview aired in the United States live on the Today Show that day.

Natalie Morales of Today show interviewing Bjorn and Anna-Frid in 2013 (photo by Tom Blake)

Will Greta and I go to London to see the Voyage concert? Probably not. But, if we get a call from Bjorn or Anna-Frid inviting us, well, we might rethink it. In the meantime, enjoy the links below.

Link to SOS

Link The story behind the album “The spirit is still there” Bjorn.

Has the senior dating scene changed in 28 years?

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter April 8, 2022

By Columnist Tom Blake

Has the senior dating scene changed in 28 years?

This week, I was rummaging around my computer desktop when I came upon the first newspaper article I wrote. It was published July 8, 1994, in the Laguna Niguel News and the Dana Point News. Those newspapers created a new category called “Middle Aged and Dating.”

“Home alone, with only dogs for company,” was the title of that first article. When I re-read it this week, I thought to myself, “Oh my, age 50-plus dating has changed in many ways in 28 years, but, in some ways, it hasn’t.

Why did I start writing about dating after 50 in 1994? An unexpected divorce was the triggering event. I had been happily married for six years. I spent Christmas 1993 visiting my 83-year-old mom in Northern California. Simultaneously, my wife was taking what furniture and belongings she wanted and moved out. The catch? She hadn’t informed me of her plan.

I wasn’t a writer back then, but I’ve always kept a diary. That move-out event started an entirely new diary chapter. I wrote about the move out, the subsequent divorce, and the rather unsuccessful attempts at trying to date in the first few months after the divorce. I had blind dates, first dates, expensive dates, frigid dates, frustrating dates, and last dates. After each date, I wrote the woe-is-me details in the diary.

Five months later, I converted those diary notes into a 70-page short story. I thought perhaps that some newspaper or magazine might be interested in my hard-luck story, written from the man’s point of view. Luckily, the Laguna Niguel News and Dana Point News editors gave me a chance. They thought my articles would agitate but attract women readers.

At that time, the Internet was just in its infancy, so responses from readers were either faxed to me or left on the newspaper’s telephone InfoLine. There were no Internet dating sites.

As predicted by my editors, that first article struck a chord with women readers. The first message I received on the InfoLine was: “Who is this sniveling puke?” The second message was, “Get the boy a crying towel.” My editors loved those comments.

Tom’s first article July 7, 1994

In that article, I described the middle-aged dating scene as a “jungle.” Not much has changed in that regard, senior dating is still a jungle.

The biggest change: the Internet and online dating. Seniors are able to cast their nets far and wide to try to find a potential mate, which can dramatically improve their chances of meeting someone. However, with the good comes the bad; scammers prey on vulnerable older singles and are a menace to internet dating.

And then, for the last two years, we’ve had this thing called the pandemic, which has made meeting people face-to-face challenging at best.

The terminology has changed. In those days, there were terms like “breaking up” or “petting.” Now, words like ghosting, catfishing, cupcaking, cuffing, breadcrumbing, phishing, and LATs (living apart together) are now tossed around.  

One of the biggest changes in the last 28 years is the ratio of single women to single men. Back when the column began in 1994, the ratio of single women to single men was very close to being equal—one-to-one.

But now, as we seniors reach 70, 80 and beyond, that ratio has reached 4-to-1 or 5-to-1, or even larger, making dating more difficult for women.

Some things haven’t changed: networking through friends to meet potential mates is still an important way for singles to meet. And single people are still lonely, in many cases, even more so. Frustration with dating is still an issue.

And most of us are not with the same partners we were with 28 years ago.

So, yes, things have changed since the middle-aged dating era. We aren’t middle-aged anymore, we’re seniors. To keep up with the times, I’ve changed my column name from Middle Aged and Dating, to Finding Love After 50, to On Life and Love After 50, to Senior Dating. I haven’t figured out what the next term will be. Hopefully, my readers will make suggestions.

In 2013, I changed newspapers from the Orange County Register to the three newspapers that make up Picket Fence Media in South Orange County: the Dana Point Times, San Clemente Times and The Capistrano Dispatch. It was the smartest journalism move I’ve ever made. I’m blessed to still be writing for printed newspapers.

I look back and am grateful for the 28 years of writing columns. There have been nearly 4,430 columns and eNewsletters combined and five printed books published. Some of my readers have been with me for nearly the entire time. I appreciate their friendship and support.

And speaking of appreciating Champs, as I was composing this article on Monday, I received an email from Champ Larry L. in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He sent me a video of Glen Campbell singing the song, “Yesterday When I Was Young.” I hadn’t thought about that song but always enjoyed it. And it seemed to summarize today’s topic of what has changed in 28 years. I also liked Roy Clark’s version.

Here’s the link Larry sent of Glen Campbell singing “Yesterday When I Was Young.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZVm-vHeG9Q

A senior love story revisited

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

March 4, 2022 – eNewsletter #9

by Columnist Tom Blake

It’s a small and fascinating world: A senior love story revisited

On March 18, 2017, I published an eNewsletter about Phil and Sue, two of my Jackson High School (Michigan) classmates, which included the above photo I took in February of that year. The three of us graduated together in 1957.

Growing up, Phil and Sue were friends but never dated. He once told me he liked Sue since the fourth grade. After high school graduation, they did not see each other until our 50th class reunion in 2007. There, they only talked for 20 minutes. Both expressed that they had been in unsatisfactory marriages.

Ten years went by. Phil and his wife had not lived together for five of those years, but Phil was her caregiver until she passed in 2016.

After Sue was divorced, she also became a caregiver for another classmate of ours.

Phil and Sue lived far apart; he in Palm Springs, California, and Sue near Grand Rapids, Michigan.

After Phil’s wife died, he wondered about Sue. He got Sue’s phone number from Marty, our class historian. He and Sue talked by phone a few times in January 2017.

Then, on February 1 of that year, Sue called Phil to tell him that the person she had been caregiving passed away. Phil and Sue agreed to talk more frequently.

From February 3 to February 6, their phone conversations revealed how much they cared for each other. Phil invited Sue to fly to California to see him.

On February 8, Sue flew to the Ontario Airport (east of L.A), close to where Phil lived. During the next week, their conversations revealed they had always liked each other, and that future time was very precious.

On February 15, Sue said to Phil, “If we are going to get married, why don’t you ask me?”

Phil replied, “OK, I just did.”

Sue went back to Michigan to retrieve more clothing. On February 24, she flew back to Ontario Airport. Her plane landed at 10 a.m. At 11 a.m., Sue and Phil were married at the Orange County Clerk office in Fullerton.

The next day, they stopped to see Greta and me at our Dana Point home, which is when I took the above photo of them. Greta remembers how happy Phil was because he was now married to the woman he had been smitten with since the fourth grade.

Pretty amazing story. It all happened in three weeks. They were like Storybook Children, the name of a song that Nancy Sinatra made popular. (link at the end of today’s article).

However, tragically, four months later, Phil had a heart attack and died.

Sue later remarried her first husband.

A 2022 update on Phil and Sue’s story

This January, I received an email from Norma, a Champ, who wrote, “In your article about Sue and Phil, I suspect there might be something fishy about Sue’s marriage to Phil and then remarriage to her first husband.”

I was baffled by her question. I replied, “Where and when did you read my article about Sue and Phil? I wrote about them five years ago.”

Norma responded, “I read about them in your March 22, 2017, article in The Capistrano Dispatch newspaper. I picked up that newspaper at the train stop in San Juan Capistrano. What a surprise! I knew Phil. He had been in our small church group in Riverside County. Our group members didn’t even know he had been previously married.

“After reading your article, I subscribed to your eNewsletter and read about Phil and Sue a couple more times. I’ve been a Champ ever since.”

I said, “I am dumbfounded. What a coincidence that you knew him. But why did you write me about Sue and Phil five years later?”

Norma said, “Last October, I listened to your online Senior Dating speech to the Alzheimer’s Society. During the speech, you talked about the importance of seniors putting estate plans in order and you mentioned that Phil had died just four months after marrying Sue and hadn’t updated his estate to include her.

“Then, you wrote that you helped Sue get a portion of Phil’s inheritance funds. And later, she remarried her first husband. I thought that was fishy.”

I said to Norma, “When I shared Sue’s plight with my estate planning attorney, Jeffrey Hartman, of San Clemente, he said that under California law Sue was entitled to certain widow’s rights, even though she wasn’t mentioned in his estate. She had accepted in her mind that she had been disinherited. Instead, Sue ended up receiving thousands of dollars.

“There was nothing fishy about Sue’s story. Phil was crazy about her and had admired her for more than 60 years; he would have been thrilled that she got some money.”

Making this story even more serendipitous, I had noticed that Norma’s email was identified as being from East Liverpool, Ohio. I thought her email might be about my dad’s family who grew up there. Dad’s father was well known–a state of Ohio senator. I mentioned that to Norma. She said her family lived two blocks from the Blake’s.

And Norma’s father and my dad had both graduated from The Ohio State University, both majoring in ceramic engineering. I wonder if they ever met? Probably so.

We’re all connected in this world.

Two senior lessons from today’s story

 1. In searching for a mate, don’t forget to attend class and family reunions, weddings, and other social events. One never knows whom you might meet and what adventures are lurking out there for you.

2. Do your heirs a favor. Have a written estate plan, and or a will. Don’t pass intestate (without a will). You don’t want your assets to have to go through probate. Make those documents a top priority as we are all getting older. If you already have those documents, update them often as times and people’s situations change.

Here’s the link to Phil and Sue’s story on my website from March 2017:

https://www.findingloveafter50.com/single-post/2017/03/18/instant-senior-marriage

And a bonus link to Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood’s song Storybook Children from their 1968 album, “Nancy and Lee.” I’ve mentioned that song in previous articles; I enjoy the song so much, here it is again. Take particular note of Hazelwood’s incredible voice.

Winter Dance Party – a quiz for seniors

day the music died
Surf Ballroom poster announcing Buddy Holly Concert dated Feb. 2, 1959. The day the music died was Feb. 3
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – January 7, 2022

2022 eNewsletter #1

Winter Dance Party – a Doo Wop Quiz for Seniors

Columnist Tom Blake

On Wednesday at about 6:30 a.m., I was sitting in front of my computer pondering what to write about in this week’s eNewsletter. The senior dating news from Champs has been a little slow with the uptick of the Omicron variance.

Events are being canceled and older singles are “sheltering in place,” trying to avoid getting Covid. Not to mention the horrendous weather that has hit the USA since Christmas. Dating and trying to meet a mate isn’t a top priority now. 

I checked my inbox. I had an email from one of our most devoted Champs, Larry Leach, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. If his name and city sound familiar, it’s because Larry and his wife Bonnie have been featured or mentioned in our newsletter previously.

They’ve been married for 61+ years. Larry is a couple of years older than I, and was a classmate of my brother Bill in Jackson, Michigan, “a long, long time ago” (opening words to the song American Pie). Larry’s email subject line got my attention: Doo Wop Test. 

The test included in his email has 30 multiple-choice trivia questions about the 1950s – 1970s music. And the email also stated: “Answers at the bottom, don’t cheat!” Larry wrote: “I got 9 of these 30 questions right. Give it a try.”

My curiosity took over. I’m pretty darn good at identifying oldies songs from the 1950s – 1970s. The test that Larry sent was taken from the St. Louis Park School (Minnesota) Class of 1958 website (link listed below). With a cup of morning coffee on my desk, I decided to take the “Doo Wop” Test. I grabbed a pen and a blank sheet of paper to write down my answers.

It was fun and boy did the questions bring back memories. They will probably bring back memories for many of you as well. So, I decided to include the test in today’s edition. I hope today’s eNewsletter doesn’t bore our younger (70 and below) Champs.

My brother Bill loved music. His love of music rubbed off on me. I’m an oldies nut.  I remember listening on the radio on Saturday mornings, often with brother Bill, to the Marty McNeeley Morning Music Hall Show on WJR, Detroit, which was a top-10 countdown program.

Plus, McNeeley would play new songs on the show that had just come out. I heard a new song previewed one morning. Bill hadn’t been listening. I walked into his room and said, “I just heard a song that I predict is going to be a huge hit.” Bill said, “Who sings it?” I said, “A guy named Elvis Presley.” What’s the name of the song?” “Heartbreak Hotel.” I was right; it went quickly to the top of the charts.  

Sometimes, Greta plays YouTube music and I nail most of the 50s, 60s, and 70s on the first couple of notes. For example, Tuesday night, I drove her crazy identifying songs. Included were: Heart of Gold – Neil Young. Turn The Page – Bob Seger. Carol – Paul Anka. American Pie – Don McClean (see postcard above). Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond. Bolero – Andre Rieu Orchestra.

Speaking of oldies history, one of the first radio stations in the states to play Bill Haley and His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” was WIBM in Jackson, Michigan. The overnight D.J. used it as his theme song before it became popular. That’s the same station where Jack Parr got his start. 

I got to see Bill Haley in person perform that song at the Atlanta Underground in 1968.You can take the test in one of two ways. By scrolling down this page. All of the questions and answers are listed here.Or, just click on the link. Again, the test that Larry sent was taken from the St. Louis Park School (Minnesota) Class of 1958 (Minnesota) website, so credit to them.

Here is the link:https://www.classcreator.com/St-Louis-Park-MN-St-Louis-Park-Sr-1958/Doo-Wop-Trivia-Quiz.htm 

Remember, just scroll down, don’t sneak a peek at the answers until the end. Count your tally. If you wish, let me know how you did. I share my score at the end of today’s eNewsletter.

Here are the first 3 Doo Wop questions and the answers follow: 
1. When did ”Little Suzie” finally wake up?
(a) The movie’s over, it’s 2 o’clock
(b) The movie’s over, it’s 3 o’clock
(c) The movie’s over, it’s 4 o’clock

2. ”Rock Around The Clock” was used in what movie?
(a) Rebel Without A Cause
(b) Blackboard Jungle
(c) The Wild Ones

3. What’s missing from a Rock & Roll standpoint?
Earth _____(a) Angel(b) Mother(c) Worm

Answers to the first three questions :
1. (c) The movie’s over, it’s 4 o’clock
2. (b) Blackboard Jungle
3. (a) Angel
I missed the first question, “What time did little Susie wake up?” But, I nailed 25 of the 30, which included a couple of lucky guesses. How did you score on the test?

Senior downsizing and getting rid of stuff

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter May 21 2021

by Columnist Tom Blake

Senior downsizing, relocating and getting rid of stuff

As we age, we start to realize that we may need to make some changes in our lives such as possibly relocating, downsizing, and clearing out clutter and “stuff.”

Last week, the above message was delivered to me loud and clear.
My nephew Derek made a special trip from Dallas to California to meet with me for three hours and then he met with my sister for three hours in heart-to-heart discussions.


Derek’s dad, our brother Bill, passed away on January 19. Derek is the executor of Bill’s estate. And while there was a will and estate plan, Derek said there was so much stuff that executing the estate had been a nightmare.

Looking me directly in the eye, he emphatically stressed the need for older people (as in yours truly) to clear out “stuff” while they still can, and not leave the task for their kids or someone else to try to figure out who gets what, and what to keep and what to toss out.


In some cases, growing older necessitates starting over in one’s life. Today, we share situations that three of our women Champs are dealing with. It’s called “starting over.”


Joanne, Albuquerque, New Mexico On April 24, Joanne wrote, “No one needs extra stress right now. I’m waiting for an apartment on the west side of Albuquerque to become available. It’s HUD so it could take a while. 

“In the meantime, I will be staying with friends in Reno. I’ve rented for 40 years and have never been treated like this. We’ve had three property managers in 10 months. When they don’t want to be bothered by you, they block your phone number, etc…


“So, I’m putting my ‘stuff’ in a storage place on May 17 and plan to leave for Reno on the 18th. It’s a two-day drive from Albuquerque. I’ll stay in Reno to help my friend for a couple of months and when the next apartment is available, I’ll come back to ABQ and live on the west side of town. I swore I wasn’t ever moving again.”

 Jackie, Illinois “I’m selling my house, the home in Illinois that Randy provided for me in his will, to move back to Georgia to be near my children. I’m starting over.


“Once I get settled or after I do some traveling, I’ll see if God has someone once again for me as I had with Randy, and like the Italian love story from last week’s eNewsletter.


“I’ve been told it’s a good real estate seller’s market now and I have no reason to be here anymore. I’ll take the leap to put it on the market on May 24. I hope once everything is over I can visit my sister and we came come to another one of your Meet and Greets at your former deli, Tutor and Spunky’s in Dana Point, as we did in May 2019.

“I’m sure you will be giving us an update from last week’s eNewsletter on Annalisa and Carmen. The ‘Where Do I Begin?’ song by Andy Williams took me back to the 1970s.”

Susan, Virginia, 

“I hope the meeting between Annalisa and Carmen will lead to something. I am lonely too, been alone for a very long time, was okay with it for a while, but now feeling it much more. I’m getting ready to move and that in its self is very stressful. Downsizing. ‘Where do I begin?’


“I keep shredding paper and there is a lot of it. I got rid of 11 pounds of paper today and about eight pounds last week.


“I don’t have much big furniture, so that is a plus. I once had a big house and moving from that place where my kids grew up was hard. I moved in with my daughter for a while and that was fun. I then moved in with my son, before he was married, and then I moved to an apartment, and now, moving again!


“When my ex-husband passed away eight years ago, he left nothing in order! My daughter handled the estate. It was very hard on her to sort everything out! 

“I have to move again because the rent where I am now living keeps going up, so I’m moving to a less expensive place–an over 62 community. 

“It has been a long journey for me divorcing in my 60’s and the things I went through. I could write a book on divorcing later in a woman’s life. There was nothing out there at that time to help women and I still don’t think there is now! 

“A good divorce lawyer is worth his or her weight in gold. I didn’t have one to protect me, and I didn’t have the money to continue fighting the ex. I also was just getting out of treatment for breast cancer, but, I did walk away with something: my health. 

“I am 79 and wishing that I was younger. Having to make a change again at his late date is not fun.”


Tom’s comment: Relocating, downsizing, and/or getting rid of “stuff” can be a pain in the rear, I understand that. But, it also can be a positive new beginning. It’s something that nearly all Champs need to get busy on, especially getting rid of “stuff.” Greta and I know we need to get that done.


And the result of relocating can be rewarding. A new environment will mean new challenges of learning the local area. One will meet new people, make new friends, and encounter new adventures. It’s a chance to start over, to stimulate one’s brain and muscles. It could lengthen and enrich a person’s life.


Good luck to the above three Champs. Please let us know how it’s working out for you.

Senior love story

On Life and Love after50 eNewsletter May 14 2021

by Columnist Tom Blake

“Where do I begin?” was the instrumental theme of the 1970 film Love Story. In January 1971, Andy Williams’ version was released. The first four words of Andy’s rendition are also “Where do I begin?” It is one of my favorite songs of all time. There is a link to Andy singing the song at the end of today’s eNewsletter.

The son popped into my head this week when I received two emails almost simultaneously. And because of those two emails, I didn’t know how to begin this column.

The first email’s subject line caught my attention: “Ciao from Milan.” Greta and I have spent several days in Milan and we love that city so I opened the email.

The email was from a woman named Annalisa, which in itself, is a beautiful name. Annalisa wrote, “I always read you eNewsletters. I am a 69-year-old Italian woman. I have been alone for 12 years since my ex-husband left me for another woman. Our family has suffered a lot.

“I do not speak English well, but I can make myself understood. To write this letter, I am using a translation app so excuse me if some words are improperly used.

“I am looking for a mate who is an American citizen. I’ve been online for 10 years and haven’t found anybody desirable. I am disappointed with the online dating sites.

“You have a lot of acquaintances. You probably know of older men who are lonely like I am. I am looking for a widower aged 67-77 years old who is intelligent, unattached, cultured, and socially active. I reside in Milan and I’d like the gentleman to visit me here. I will host him.

“I do not want a divorced man for the reason that I have suffered and I’ve seen the sufferings of children and families from divorce. I prefer a widower without children for a serious and loving relationship.

I hope you can help me.”

My first reaction was: Doesn’t Annalisa know I’m not a matchmaker? My second reaction: “Wow, this is incredible. A Champ who lives in Milan Italy is reaching out to us. And my third reaction: Annalisa probably doesn’t understand that there are many Champs who live in the USA and Canada who would like to meet a quality older man. Hence, I think Annalisa has competition and a challenge on her hands.

I promptly responded: “I received your email. I need a little time to think about it. I will get back to you. 

“Did you say you are willing for the man to come to your country and stay for a while? What about the pandemic, is Italy allowing foreigners into the country?

“Thanks for writing. Your email is one of the most interesting I’ve received in my 26 years of writing columns and newsletters.”

Within a minute after sending my response to Annalisa, another email arrived. It was from Champ Carmen (Carm to me), who lives in Barra de Navidad, Mexico. He and I were high school classmates and have remained friends for 60+ years. Carm was featured in this eNewsletter a few months ago.

Carm wrote: “I’m toying with the idea of selling the place (in Mexico) and moving to Italy for the final few years.

“Plan B is to rent out the place for a few months (would have to be Nov.-April — tourist season here) and spending that time in Italy to test the waters. But that’s wintertime in Italy so I couldn’t do the north that I haven’t seen yet. Do you think I could do it on $2,000/month?”

I read Carm’s email in disbelief. Italy? What a coincidence. I wondered if he and Annalisa might meet in person someday.

I wrote Carm back and mentioned Annalisa and described her email.

Long story short. Within 24 hours of me opening those two emails, Annalisa and Carm had exchanged emails and photos with each other. The thought of them meeting in person wasn’t as far-fetched as I first thought.

And what if a relationship formed? And if they ever married, I hope they’d play “Where Do I Begin?” at their celebration. Maybe the NY Times would want to cover the event (Tom is smiling).

When I mentioned this story to Greta, she said: “Let’s return to Milan.”

Milan was in the news on Tuesday. The world-renowned La Scala opera house reopened after a seven-month closure due to Covid.

                       La Scala Opera House in Milan

                                              (photo by Tom 2016)

The link to Andy Williams singing “Where Do I Begin?” is below.

Andy Williams singing Where do I begin?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUrxm4z9I-c