Senior Dating: The Age Difference

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – June 2, 2023

By Tom Blake – Columnist

In last week’s eNewsletter, my buddy Jim and I listed six boundary topics for senior dating. Responses to five of them were mellow. However, one topic was hotter than the 4th of July: The age difference between men and women. Here’s what a few Champs said:

Nikol, “To me the best situation is when the man and woman are close in age.
For our age group (60s to 80s), it is important because we feel the effects of aging on our appearance and in our thinking more so compared to our younger days.

“Why should only men want to have younger partners? These days, women want younger men as well. Also, it’s very important how people look and feel. I know a few couples with an age difference of 10 years and more where the women are older, and they have perfect marriages. Of course, they met earlier in life.

“To me, it’s important how people behave, not in an old person manner, but how they dress, exude confidence, and work on being in good physical shape and lead an active life.

“Thanks for giving us interesting and important topics.”

Catherine, “I found your article very informative and agreed–or at least I can understand your position on all points except #3 Age Difference.

“You and Jim said you’d consider women even up to: ‘15 YEARS YOUNGER? PERHAPS?’ Are you serious? I think even 10 years is TOO MUCH at your respective ages (74 and 83).

My ex-husband was 6 years, 7 months older than me when we met in our 20s, it was not an issue. However, as we both matured, he did not age well.

“I was STUNNED to read that you think you are entitled to attract women 15 years younger! Society is sick to have the sentiment that it is perfectly fine for a MUCH older man to have a MUCH younger woman; while if the situation is reversed, the woman is called horrible names like “Cougar” or worse.

“But everyone is entitled to their OWN opinion and thanks for letting me share mine.”

Tom’s response: Women who date younger men may be referred to as Cougars in some circles. However, I don’t think I’ve ever referred to women as that. And never will.

I met a woman in her late 60s recently who called older guys who sought to date younger women Horn Dogs. And when she was really stirred up after an adult beverage or two she called them Man Whores. I’m not sure in what category she placed me. She admitted that her husband was 25 years older and left her millions when he passed. She referred to him as the nicest man in the world. So, whatever floats your boat.

Gloria said, “I don’t want someone 10 years older or younger. If possible, someone around my age with a five or six-year age difference, either way.”

Barabara, “Age is only a number, an important number. Although age doesn’t tell what is happening inside the body, it’s not a good idea to eliminate anyone because of age. Seventy-year-olds often look at 80-year-olds as future patients to care for, not how far they can go Stand Up Paddle Boarding SUP.

Francine, “I am a very active 76. I never think of my age because I date men as much as 16 years younger than me and never see any difference. I just have a difficult time dating someone my age or older.

“When I was younger, I loved dating men older but now it’s turned the other way. I have no difficulty attracting men of all ages. My concern is when the dating pool is limited and there is no chemistry physically or intellectually (both are very sexy to me). I can’t have one without the other.”

Cheryl, “Regarding the age difference issue. What was wrong with the woman you met who was 76 herself and she thought your age preference of 71-79 meant you were looking for a younger woman? Lucky for you that she left, and she sure was rude in how she left! 

“In my work as a physical therapist assistant doing home health therapy, I encountered people who were ‘old’ physically and mentally in their 50s and people who were ‘young’ in their 70s and 80s. 

“I think it’s important to have some concept of an age range that would be desirable, but at our age, physical age can be extremely impacted by health issues as well as emotional issues due to past life experiences. 

“Also, regarding the health issue, a person can be in good or relatively good health when you meet and become very impacted by health problems/illness after you make a commitment to each other. At our age, physical prowess isn’t guaranteed for decades!” 

John, “Quoting from last week’s eNewsletter what the woman told you after she asked you about the age range you were seeking: ‘You senior men are all the same, wanting younger women.” Yes, that is reality. The reality is that men of all ages are attracted to younger women and women to older men. It’s hard-wired in our brains.

“Opposing reality gives people fodder for griping, complaining, and getting angry, but in the end, reality always wins.”

Noelle, “Tip from a wise old soul. Limiting your search to younger women got my attention. I have always dated younger men because they are the ones who are attracted to me. My last relationship had an age gap of him being 10 years younger.

“I am now in a long-term relationship with a man who pursued me who is 74. I am 87. We have a very special, and loving relationship that we both cherish and plan for it to last the rest of our lives. Chronical age is meaningless.”

Tom’s comment: Noelle, neither Jim nor I limit our search to only much younger women. But, we’re cheering for you and your attitude. Keep ‘em Flying. You may become the eNewsletter poster Champ!

Dee said, “Why do you think you need to look for someone between ages 70 and 79? How would you feel if a woman the same age as you said the same thing to you? Any age difference is so much easier in the earlier decades of life, but in the final years of life, it’s not so easy.

“Please remember how sensitive it is for women who have been left by their long-time mates for somebody younger. Do you really think the younger women do it for the simple reason of attraction? That might be so when the men are in their 40s, 50s, or early 60s and still in their prime. But, after that, it’s probably less about attraction and more about security.

“After listening to the story, you shared with me about the 60-year-old woman who posted attractive pictures on her profile, who saw your profile online on the day you initially posted it and couldn’t wait to meet you. She told you that if she moved into your home with you, she’d probably end up taking care of you (23-year age difference) and if you passed, she wouldn’t want to be tossed to the street. Hence, before moving in, she insisted she’d need legal documents drawn and your estate plan to state the house would go to her.

“She didn’t think you were an actual hottie, at least not that hot, she wanted your home to go to her. Please, Tom, alert older people, men, and women, that when someone younger says they love your profile, it’s probably the money or assets they want.

“I’m aware of an older man that happened to. He met a younger woman online who told him something like what the woman told you. He went ahead and made the deal with her, but the result was tragic.

“She didn’t wait for him to die, nor did she give him any caretaking. She quickly managed to take his house and his cars and forced him to move from the home that he had owned for many years. He ended up having to move in with his son.

“Final comment. Why don’t you consider the same age or as little as five years within your age? Are you willing to consider a woman who is two years older than you? And, if not, why not?”

Tom’s response: I’m open to any age difference if there is compatibility and an attraction. (I didn’t ask Dee how old she is).

Part 2 – A point of clarification about the distance to search for a mate in senior dating

Gail, emailed, “I found your article in last week’s issue most interesting. I had to wait a couple of days to send you my thoughts because at first, I was angry.

“After a day or two, I realized that I was jealous. What made me angry? The comment, “20 minutes away.”  At first, I felt that you and Jim are spoiled man-children, but I know better and put the blame on me where it belongs.

“As older gentlemen, you both have the upper hand when it comes to dating. You can afford to want someone no more than 20 minutes away. Not only do you live in a dense population area, but you are also unique in your age and fitness for a male. Now, I can say, “Lucky you!” with a smile.

“I would, however, challenge you to think about a woman who is more than twenty minutes away. Maybe one who lives in an area that is ripe with fabulous things to do and experience. A relationship with someone like this could be full of travel and fun. It does not need to be a 24\7 deal, maybe a week or two here or there, then a week or two off. Just a thought. 

Tom’s response to Gail’s comments: I know Gail. She is delightful. Greta and I met her and her granddaughter for breakfast a few years ago. They live in a beautiful small city in the Sierra Mountains. Senior single men are not abundant there so Gail must search for available men up to two hours and more away. That’s why she became frustrated.

Gail’s situation applies to both men and women who live in remote, sparsely populated areas. For those people, Internet dating almost becomes a necessity to improve their chances of meeting a potential mate.

In last week’s eNewsletter, I should have mentioned that. I will mention distance to search for a mate going forward in future eNewsletters and articles.

Enjoying Love at 80

Widow and widower love

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

July 22, 2022  

by Tom Blake – columnist

How Susie met Jon

One of the most important things seniors can do to avoid loneliness and have a quality life is to incorporate social interaction into their daily routines. That means getting off the couch, out of the house, and being around people. When seniors do that, positive things often happen. Today’s story is an example.

Thirty-four years ago, I was surfing the Boneyard area of Doheny Beach. There was just one other person surfing there that day. He and I were chatting while waiting for waves to break. His name was Alex Rentziperis; he was opening a barber shop called Sports Barber in Dana Point. Alex has been cutting my hair ever since.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Sports Barber for a haircut. The shop is located in downtown Dana Point on the second floor above Stillwater, a popular country dancing restaurant.

When I walked in, Alex introduced me to a woman, whose hair he had just cut. He said, “This is Susie, she’s my only woman customer; I’ve been cutting her hair for 25 years.”

I had never seen a woman customer in Alex’s Sports Barber Shop.

Then, Alex said, “Susie has a senior marriage-success story.”

Alex’s words perked my interest. I told Susie I had been writing about senior dating for 24 years. Susie grinned, “I know, I read your column in the Dana Point Times. I thought your recent column, “Where is John?” was funny because my husband’s name is Jon, just spelled a little differently. I found John, we met later in life.”

I asked her a few questions and then asked if she’d email me her story, which she did.

Susie, who is now a Champ (one of my weekly eNewsletter readers), wrote, “In 2009, three of my girlfriends and I decided to go on a Mediterranean cruise. After unpacking in our staterooms, we decided to check out the activities on each deck of the ship. When we reached Deck 12, we noticed that it was 5:00 p.m., saw an outdoor bar, and decided it was time for a glass of wine. 

“One friend doesn’t drink alcohol, so she went to listen to music coming up from Deck 4. When the three of us got our wine and turned around, we saw our friend dancing with a man. We wondered, where did he come from? 

“After the dance ended, the man introduced himself to we three wine-sippers. His name was Jon; this was the start of a friendship among the five of us.  

“Because of high winds during the cruise, the ship could not dock at four of the eight ports. This gave the five of us time to have many conversations and do activities together. 

“Jon and I got to know each other and became good friends. After the cruise, we communicated often and spent time together. Amazingly, Jon was from Northern California, and I was from Southern California, and we met halfway around the world! Jon’s version of how we met is ‘Susie picked me up on the love boat.’” 

“Jon had been widowed for 1.5 years. I had been widowed for 13 years. Jon told me that if we developed a relationship, I would have more of an adjustment to make because I had been single for so long. A year after the cruise, we were married.

Susie and John Gaare

Susie added, “We decided to live in Dana Point because it was the only place with warm fog and no bugs. Jon says it was simply a ‘no brainer.’

“We purchased a condo together; it has been our ‘pinch-me moment.’”  

When people venture out to enjoy life, positive things often happen. For Susie, meeting Jon was one of them, and sharing her story with a columnist at the Sports Barber is another. 

Michael McLeavy tells of meeting Elvis in a memoir

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.

What Now? What Next? Where To? by Michael McLeavy

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 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.

Tom Blake and Michael McLeavy

The Courageous 8

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – March 11, 2022

By: Tom Blake – Columnist

The Courageous 8

(Today’s eNewsletter has been edited for length and clarity)

Today I mention eight courageous women whom I admire. Seven are Champs. In the future, we will do more articles on courageous Champs – both women and men– because we have a lot of them who fall under the courageous umbrella.

And what helps me identify these courageous seniors is when they email me with stories, experiences, questions, and thoughts. Here are The Courageous 8:

Champ Devone Austin Texas

Devone emailed this January saying: “I moved from Dana Point three years ago to the outskirts of Austin, Texas. 

“I just turned 63. As a single parent, I got two kids through junior high, high school, and college on my own. They are living with their partners and doing well. My daughter, 28, graduated with a degree in psychology from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and recently from nursing school in Scottsdale. She starts her first job as a RN on 1/31/22 in Arizona. She just got engaged to her college sweetheart.

“My son graduated from UC Santa Barbara. He just turned 31 and lives right on Hermosa Beach, in CA, with his girlfriend. He will be proposing to her in the next three months. He is an area manager for a large corporation 

“I have since bought a home at the Lake, outside Austin in Hill Country and plan on retiring in the next 4-5 years when my house should be paid off.  

I’m open to meeting someone in CA, AZ or around the Austin TX area, as I plan on keeping the house in Texas as a base, where there are no state taxes. I will travel a lot when I retire. I am seeking a partner who is also a strong Christian as I attend church, and God comes first with me.” 

Tom’s comment: Any parent–woman, or man– who raises a child or children on their own gets a gold star from me.


I’ve known Donna for nearly 20 years. Her significant other, Bob, and I worked for the Orange County Register newspaper years ago. I took a photo of Bob, Donna and Greta when the four of us had dinner 17 years ago.

Donna notified me last August that Bob had passed away. She said, “He was a kind and gentle soul. He moved in with me two years ago because he couldn’t take care of himself. Very sad. It was difficult.”

At Thanksgiving time, she responded to the eNewsletter about the Palm Springs Living Desert zoo by writing, “Thanks for the reminder to focus on the positive. That’s how I try to live life.”

In early December she emailed: “I am finishing up my last semester at OCC (Orange Coast College) on December 19. I count my blessings every day, and I have my daughter and friends who have been very kind and helpful, as well as pets to ease the loneliness.” 

I asked Donna last week how she was doing. Donna wrote, “I am okay, taking it one day at a time. I took care of Bob full time for two years while teaching full time, with intermittent stays for at least the last five years when he would be hospitalized and needed help when he got out. He was suffering so much at the end. Holding his hand while he died was by far the toughest thing I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t change it if I could.

“He had such a zest for life, so I hold onto that and know he would want me to make the most of each day.”

Bob O’Linto, Donna, and Greta – 2005 (photo by Tom whose reflection is in the window)

Tom’s comment: “A simultaneous full-time caregiver and a full-time teacher for two years” explains why I consider Donna to be a courageous woman.”


Jkaren wrote, “I’ve lived 30 years in San Clemente and have been one of your readers for 25 years. 

“We are all blessed to live in America and have our freedom. Instead of retiring I went ahead and refired. My energy level did not waiver. At 62, I opened my 1st shop–Mobile Sewing and Upholstery—and have been serving our community ever since. I fell into repairing wet suits about 15 years ago and love my surfers who call me ‘Granny J.’

“When the pandemic hit, I loved to go to San Onofre Beach to hear the waves and read a good book, which made my days happy. 

“At 70, each summer I’d drive to BC Canada where I built custom tiny houses. Up there, I SUP (Standup Paddle Board) with beavers and wildlife and fish from a paddle board. I had no problem at the border as I’m legal in both the USA and Canada. I was part of the classic car events that opened the Talega community in San Clemente and the Beach Fire restaurant with my ‘67 Corvette. 

“Last year I came back from BC with an old 1969 classic 12ft trailer I’m restoring. The 1990 red Chevy in the picture has been in San Clemente since I moved here. My dad taught me as a kid that busy hands make the heart happy.

Jkaren towing the trailer

“What’s there in life but to live to help others and stay healthy? Granny J” 

Tom’s comment: A woman who drives from Canada to San Clemente in a 1990 Chevy pickup truck towing a 1969 trailer that she is restoring is courageous.


Norma, 84, emailed: “Your classmate Phil (from last week’s eNewsletter) who married Sue and then four months later passed away was in my church group. He liked to talk, which is why I know so much about him. In the spring of 2016, he made a trip around So Cal to see classmates–you were probably one of them. He was looking forward to his 60th class reunion; he talked about it for two or three years. Sad, he did not get to go. I read your email every week.

Tom’s comment: Any person who reads my weekly column at age 84 has great courage!


Joannah is Greta’s daughter Tina’s mother-in-law. She’s a widow now. She and her husband Bob were special. They were kind, gentle, wise, considerate, and caring. That’s what I remember most about them when Greta and I stayed with them at their home in Mt. Pleasant, Utah about 15 years ago. We slept in their converted basement.

A year ago, although Jo was still dealing with having lost Bob, she sent me a hand-written letter of condolence in January 2021, when my brother Bill passed away. It was the only written letter I received. Jo has the same wonderful qualities my mom had, among those was an amazing empathy for others.

She emailed in early February, “It will be four years in August since I lost my sweetheart…this will be my third Valentine’s Day…and it was one of our favorite days! And still is! Gives me a reason to recall many memories of 63 years of Valentine kisses.”

Tom’s comment: “Jo is a lovely woman with the courage to love life and her family, even after her biggest loss. She’s the type of person who makes others around her feel comfortable and important. That’s a heck of a quality to have.


Althea is one of our Champs. She’s had tough issues in her life and yet exudes a positive attitude and often contributes input to the eNewsletter.

For the last 4 ½ years, she’s lived in the Yuba City, California, home of an elderly couple, Sherman and Norma, caregiving them and helping with whatever needs came up, in exchange for room and board.

Althea explains: “Sherman took me in when I was about to be homeless. In exchange, he got someone to be with Norma when he’s away on fishing trips, someone to help with meals, etc., and to be here anytime he’s out running errands and away for a few hours.

“Norma’s dementia is still in the mid-stages, and she hasn’t gotten much worse since I moved. Norma can be a handful and she argues a lot and asks the same questions repeatedly…within minutes sometimes.”

Althea emailed an update last week: “I wanted to share my excitement and tell you about my new PAD! (hippie speak).  I drove 1 ½ hours to Placerville on Tuesday and signed the lease on my new place. It’s only going to be $365. a month for rent, – YIPPEE – and had to give a security deposit of $500. I wrote them a post-dated check because my Soc. Sec. money doesn’t go into my bank until the 3rd. I told the new landlord, “Please don’t deposit it until today.

“Then yesterday I called movers for quotes, and I have a 5-star rated company coming to pack me on Sunday, THIS SUNDAY (March 6), and then they will move me on Monday.

“I AM SO PSYCHED. My credit cards will skyrocket again!  But I’ll be in my own place and damn, the bill collectors can try and pry me out of that place! LOL.

“I hope my story gives willpower to women to keep persevering even when things look bleak or hopeless.”

Tom’s comment:  Althea’s story will nudge Champs to realize how fortunate they are.


Geody is a woman of enormous courage and strength. She lives in San Juan Capistrano, Ca. Her husband Richard founded Dana Point Auto Service years ago. He was a classic in Dana Point. One of most recognized people in our small city of 30,000 people. Together they did much for charity.

Geody was Richard’s strength. She was a caregiver to him for the last few years. He passed away in 2021. She continues to manage and oversee Dana Point Auto.

At a recent Dana Point Chamber of Commerce mixer, Greta and I met Geody’s and Richard’s children and grandchildren. What a beautiful family.

Not only does Geody arrive at Dana Point Auto most everyday in the morning, but she personally drove her SUV across the country with only her dog for company to see her daughter and grandkids in Florida, while staying overnight at SUV parks, along the way. To do that solo takes courage. Plus, she’s in her 70s.


Candice Appleby with sea lion pup she rescued by hand

Candice is not a senior nor a Champ. In fact, she’s about half our age. But she’s a woman of courage. Her office is small, about 12 feet by 24” wide. It’s a SUP (stand-up paddleboard). Every day at work, Candice faces the elements: great white sharks, sea lions, pelicans, and often iffy weather.

She’s usually at work by 8 a.m., on the ocean, giving SUP lessons to men and women who are hoping to become accomplished paddle boarders.

She’s one of the best woman paddleboarders in the world, having won several world competitions. 

I personally witnessed Candice’s courage a year ago (and wrote about it in our eNewsletter) when she saw an injured baby sea lion, trying to swim while gasping for air in Dana Point Harbor. Sea lions have razor-sharp teeth. Yet, she lifted the pup onto her paddleboard and had a friend who was with her contact the Marine Mammal Rescue Center via cell phone.

When Candice reached Baby Beach, 20 minutes later, a rescue team was waiting on the shore to whisk the injured pup to its facility in Laguna Beach. I took the picture of Candace with the sea lion at Baby Beach.

Candice is an inspiration to the many senior women and men who take paddling lessons from her (often at 8:00 a.m.).


As I stated above, we will do more columns about our courageous Champs—men and women–as the stories arrive in my inbox.

Northern California Road Trip

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter February 18, 2022

2022 eNewsletter #7

by Tom Blakecolumnist


A Costco promotional email arrived in my inbox yesterday morning with this subject line: “Escape the humdrum – spring was made for travel.” Those words are appropriate for today’s eNewsletter.

When the pandemic began in 2020, my partner Greta and I canceled a train trip to Washington state to visit relatives of hers. The Seattle area was the first Covid-19 “hot spot” in the United States. Since then, we have not traveled except on two-hour road trips to our Palm Springs vacation home, and once last fall, to San Luis Obispo for two days.

When Greta received a “use it or lose it by March 1” message from a timeshare company, we decided to use the week to take a road trip. There was a cute place available in mid-February in the city of Napa in wine country that we booked for a week’s stay.

Napa is about a 10-hour drive from our home in Dana Point. That’s too many hours of driving for us in one day. We used to do it when my mom was living in Sonoma, a few miles west of Napa. But our bodies can’t handle that anymore.

We decided to visit as many old friends as possible on this trip. It has been such an enjoyable and nostalgic week, I decided to share some highlights and observations with you today. The cardinal requirement (for me at least) was to be settled into our timeshare an hour or so before Super Bowl kickoff on Sunday.
Day 1, Friday, February 11

We departed Dana Point last Friday shortly after 9 a.m. LA traffic is—well—LA traffic. A nightmare. We arrived at Harris Ranch, on the I-5 Freeway near Coalinga by 3 p.m. This is a wonderful place to stay. Check it out on the link at the end of today’s article. It’s a large historic inn with a gas station and a couple of restaurants.

The inn is surrounded by acres of farmland and a massive cattle feedlot nearby, which is particularly evident when going outside in the early morning. Putting the odor nicely, the cows have been busy during the night.

We decided to have wine and dinner in our comfortable room. So, I walked over to a BBQ express carry-out place within the inn’s grounds and brought dinner back. Harris Ranch has been in existence since 1937. Highly recommended with free parking and 24-hour security patrolling the grounds.
harris front entry Harris Ranch bbqThe express BBQ cookery on the grounds of Harris Ranch, where you just walk into the adjacent store and order bbq meats, sausages, and chicken. About a 200-yard walk from the hotel.
Day 2, Saturday, February 12

We drove north on the I-5, and then west on Highway 152, stopping at Casa de Fruta, a very cute mini amusement park for kids with a well-stocked grocery store featuring locally grown produce and nuts. We bought a bag of pistachios casa de Fruta signCasa de Fruta – a fun place to visit

We bought a bag of pistachios. A fun place and great for the grandkids. Miniature train, and games and shops. We bought a bag of pistachio nuts in the store.

Then, taking Highway 159, we did a quick visit to San Juan Bautista, a quaint town, home to one of the historic California missions, which I wanted to see. it was worth the brief stop.

From there, to the small coastal city of Aptos, to visit the newly acquired home that my Navy roommate from 1962, Charlie Canfield, and his wife Betty, now live in. Amazing place on nearly four acres that a French aristocrat had built years ago. Spectacular home. Their previous home was destroyed by the fire two years ago that damaged most properties on Swanton Road, which is 14 miles north of Santa Cruz.

Charlie and his family own the Boardwalk Amusement Park in Santa Cruz.

Betty served a delicious lunch. She said, “I know you owned a deli and are a sandwich expert; I hope I won’t disappoint you.”

I said, “These are the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.”

From there, we headed up Highway 1 to the Davenport Roadhouse, nine miles north of Santa Cruz, a few yards from the Pacific Ocean, to dine and spend the night. Why there? The daughter of Russell Kerr, my Stand-Up Paddle Boarding buddy, Vanessa Chamberlain, and her husband, Christopher, own the place. They purchased it two years ago. Greta and I wanted to show our support for their hard work in making the Roadhouse a success. The Canfields joined us for dinner there—the finest seafood lasagna I’ve ever tasted!
mission signMission San Juan Bautista founded June 1797mission bell The Mission Bell
Greta, Vanessa, and Tom
Davenport Roadhouse on Highway 1
Day 3 – Super Bowl Sunday

On Super Bowl, Sunday morning, Greta and I drove north on Highway 1 along the coast to Highway 92, which heads east toward San Mateo and then across the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge to the East Bay. Destination: Sunshine Saloon, Pleasanton, to drop off two cases of my “Prime Rib & Boxcars. Whatever Happened to Victoria Station?” books.

Bob Rossi, the Sunshine Saloon owner, opened the Saloon 41 years ago after working at Victoria Station. His saloon is more popular now than ever. Bob and I have been friends for 49 years. We attended the Mardi Gras together in 1974.

Greta said their brunch item Salmon Benedict is the best she’s ever tasted.

From Pleasanton, Greta and I drove up the 680 Freeway, crossing the Benicia-Martinez Bridge over the Sacramento River, to the US 12 westbound turnoff, to the city of Napa.

We arrived at 1:15 at the RiverPointe Napa Valley Resort cabins and were able to check in immediately—more than two hours before Super Bowl kickoff.

An hour later, I attempted to turn on the Super Bowl pregame coverage only to discover the NBC channel wouldn’t work. I telephoned the front desk. They said, “We’re sorry, our wi-fi isn’t working properly. However, we will have the game on a TV upstairs in the main building.” We reserved two spots.

I went to Safeway to get us something for dinner. When I came back, we got pregame coverage on Telemundo, the Spanish-speaking station. We decided we could handle that and enjoy the game in our cabin. The commercials were mostly in English and of course, the halftime was mostly in English. We watched the Rams eke out a victory over Bengals.
rossi at saloonBob Bob Rossi, Greta, and Tom in front of Bob’s Sunshine Saloon, Pleasanton, CAcabinsRiverpointe Resort Napa CANapa Trail is just steps away from the resort
Day 4 – Monday, Valentine’s Day

I was up before 7. I had to figure out how the coffee maker worked and where kitchen stuff was. Thank heavens for the breakfast leftovers from the day before at the Sunshine Saloon.

Greta and I took a ride through the city of Napa and were surprised at how old many of the houses are. We shopped at Safeway, so had food to eat when not dining out. There was a huge Valentine’s Day display inside the entrance. It was our 23rd Valentine’s Day together.

Day 5 – Tuesday, February 15

We departed RiverPointe at 9:30 a.m. Drove an hour to Mill Valley, in Marin County. First stop, the home of Bill and Anne Wamsley, who live in the same Harbor Pointe complex that my sister Christine lives in.

Had a half-hour catch-up with Bill, aka “Wams.” Anne was at work. Wams and I also worked together at Victoria Station in the 1980s.

Second stop, to rendezvous with sister Christine. Greta and I followed Christine in her car to San Anselmo a nearby city. Our mission was to visit the Heldfond Book Gallery, a bookstore that purchases rare books. I had packed in the car two books that came from our mom’s estate that I had decided to sell (as a part of our downsizing), and Christine had one to sell as well.

The street construction around the bookstore made it impossible to park nearby. We walked three blocks to get to the store, only to discover that they were closed. There was no sign on the door; we assumed it was likely due to the construction.

Then, Christine took us to Rustic Bakery – Magnolia, in Larkspur, a great bakery/deli, where we celebrated her birthday with lunch. From there, Greta and I drove north to Santa Rosa, for a quick stop at Oakmont, an age-55-plus community, where Mom had lived for 33 years. We drove past both homes she had occupied. I must admit, seeing those two homes gave me a tug on the heartstrings.

We drove past the real estate office where realtor Nancy DeVoto works. Nancy was the agent who sold both of Mom’s homes. Greta said, “Let’s stop and say hello to Nancy; she might be there today.”

We stopped. We were told she was in a meeting with clients. One of the agents said, “I recognize you. Nancy would be heartbroken to miss you. Let me tell Nancy you are here.”Nancy came out and gave us big hugs. We chatted for a minute. And then, Greta and I drove through Sonoma back to RiverPointe in Napa. A wonderful, heart-wrenching day for me.
wams living roomView of Mt. Tamalpais in Mill Valley from Wamsley’s living room is breathtaking
moms house for 25 yrs
The house in Oakmont where my mom lived for 25 years brought back memories.
Day 6 – Wednesday

Napa Valley wine country

For lunch, we drove north a few miles to an exquisite restaurant named Bistro Don Geovanni, where we were joined by former Victoria Station co-workers, George and Nanci McCullagh. It was their 42nd wedding anniversary. My mom used to love to dine there.

We sat outside, enjoying the view of vineyards surrounding the restaurant. This restaurant is a must to visit, considered by many restaurant critics to be the finest in Napa County. Great service. Great food, and atmosphere.

After lunch, we drove north 15 miles to the city of St. Helena, in the heart of Napa Valley. Our mission was to see the memorial park named for the McCullagh’s son, Stephen C. McCullagh, who died at age 29 in a tragic lightning strike on July 28, 2005, while leading a Boy Scout troop who were camping near Mt. Whitney.
The small park is tucked away on Crinella Drive in St. Helena and hard to find; I went into the post office where an employee gave me directions.
fountain  at don g
Outdoor seating at Bistro Don Giovanni in the Napa Valley. Note the fountain in the middle with a ladder in it and a cartoon character on top.stephen C McC
Memorial Stephen C. McCullagh Park plaque on Crinella Drive in St. Helena
Day 8 – Friday – Meeting family and friends

For lunch, Greta’s brother Peter, and his wife Barbara, drove from Petaluma to have lunch with us.

For dinner, Bob Freeman, one of the three original founders of Victoria Station, and his significant other, Andrea, met us for dinner at Q, a bbq restaurant in Napa. I handed over a case of “Prime Rib & Boxcars. Whatever Happened to Victoria Station?” books to Bob. He uses them for promotion in the BV Restaurant in San Francisco, which he owns. The BV is known inventing the Irish Coffee cocktail. They’ve sold over 50 million of them.

Day 9 – Napa with an overnight stay at Harris Ranch Again
And, in case you are wondering, yes, we did enjoy some nice Napa Valley wine link to Harris Ranch website

Senior women seeking men: stop trying so hard

  On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter –  March 5, 2021

by Tom Blake – Columnist

Senior women seeking men: stop trying so hard

(Note: This eNewsletter has been slightly edited for length and clarity.)

Two weeks ago, this eNewsletter put Sarasota, Florida on the senior dating map. How? Margaret, one of our Champs, had purchased two rental properties there. She mentioned how friendly the people living there are, and that she’s met many senior single men. I, tongue-in-cheek,  raised the question, “Is Sarasota a mecca for senior singles?”

Last week’s article featured responses, which I selected, from 11 Champs about what Margaret had written. Oh my gosh, those responses were all over the place, not to mention the ones I didn’t include.

Some enjoyed what she said, others took shots at her, some made false assumptions, and some wondered why women are even looking for a mate at this stage of their lives.

And the latter point is the subject of today’s eNewsletter. I’m including responses from two women about why women shouldn’t be so focused on finding a man.

Plus, I’m sharing Margaret’s impression and thoughts about the diverse responses to her Sarasota article.

Please note: these are not my opinions; I am merely sharing what Champs have said.

Champ Bev emailed, “I moved to Florida three months ago, and while I did not move to Sarasota, I must say that a person will be happy wherever she or he ‘chooses’ to be happy.  When people stop focusing on just meeting someone, marriage, etc., and instead start to focus on what brings them happiness, they will be happy anywhere. Happiness begins from within you, not from meeting someone to fill empty holes.   

“You need to start by filling the holes yourself. Once you are right in your heart, the rest will naturally fall into place. I liked what Kathy said about not expecting a line of senior single men at the airport in Florida, hoping to meet women. I think that is true of any place, and we need to remain realistic otherwise disappointment sets in.”

Althea shared, “Your newsletters are always interesting. Your Feb. 26 article was cool. I like how you include people’s comments. Maria’s comment was right to the point when she suggested that for all the complaining and searching that some women do to find a single man…that those women were too ‘man-hungry.’ 

“I wonder why divorced, single or widowed women over 65 need a man? Especially so desperately. If they are set financially, have a home, have family and friends around them, why do they need a man to date, or live with? Haven’t they all been there, done that?

“If they accidentally by fate meet a man and the two of them have things in common, sure, why not spend time together? Great!

“But why the need to go looking and acting so anguished and desperate? Are senior women–after they have lived with a husband for 40, 50, or, 60 years–unable to live alone?

“I can understand the ones who need a man to live with to share finances. But the drawbacks and possible problems that could arise might outweigh the benefit. Been there done that. I’d rather live in a tent.” 

Margaret said,  “The funny thing about the Sarasota article is that at age 65, I am not looking for a date or a relationship as I am very busy with my family, friends and maintaining my properties right now.  Maybe sometime in the future. 

“I kept reading in Tom’s eNewsletter articles about women wondering ‘where the men are?’ and thought the Sarasota demographics were interesting.  My suggestion to women who are looking for a man is to stop trying so hard. 

“Go out, enjoy life, be active, have fun with girlfriends and/or men friends, start a book club, play cards, go hiking, bike riding, walk and travel.  Life is too short and precious to waste ‘isolating’ at home or ‘waiting’ for the right person to come along.  And, when I do go out, I wear a mask, contrary to what a couple of Champs assumed.

“You can choose to let life get you down and have a negative attitude but it will show in your face, body language, what you say, and/or complain about. Or you can choose to pick yourself up, be positive, and look forward to all the wonderful possibilities. 

“These past few years I have lost family members that I loved. Then I lost my health due to a bike accident. I could have isolated at home and felt sorry for myself, but I had wonderful friends and other family members that supported and loved me and most importantly made sure I was not alone. 

“Through their love, I was able to live life happily again.  Some ‘holes’ that Bev talked about will never be filled when a loved one is lost, but there is always hope for happier days ahead. The Florida properties have kept me busy and I am grateful for that. Spending time with my childhood best girlfriend who encouraged me to buy in Sarasota has been such a sweet blessing and helped me in showing me around Sarasota. She was originally a CA girl but retired with her husband in Sarasota. 

“Lastly, we can choose to be a “Negative Nancy” or a “Positive Polly.”  I think the reason I have met so many nice men in Sarasota is that I am friendly, have no problem being the first to initiate a conversation (This does not necessarily involve flirting, just laughing/joking while waiting in line at the grocery store or asking for help at the hardware store) and I am generally a happy person, quick to smile or laugh and interested in what the other person has to say.”

                                  Something to ponder

Wayne (written with a big smile) asked, “I got my second Covid vaccine shot. Should I put that on my dating profile?”

My comment: Hilarious. But it’s a good question in that it may reveal people’s different opinions on the government’s and health-care experts’ mandates regarding COVID-19.

Keep the comments coming so I can keep the eNewsletters coming.