Friday, November 21, 2014

Bread Cast Upon the Waters

On Life and Love After 60 Newsletter

By Thomas P. Blake   November 21, 2014

Bread cast upon the waters

I am constantly reminded of the geographical diversity of where are Champs live. They reside all over the USA, Canada and in many foreign countries.

While this newsletter focuses on life and love issues for people age 50-plus, it reaches people in their 30s and 40s as well who want to learn from the experiences our Champs willingly share with us.

In response to my 75th birthday column last week, Craig from Ohio wrote, “I have enjoyed your column for the past several years; ever since my wife of 28 years decided she did not want to be married anymore.

“In November, 2010, I went through open-heart surgery and she walked out of our marriage. I had a good friend who either called me or texted me every day for six months. He saved my life, along with a counselor I saw for about a year.”

I responded to Craig, “My wife left 21 years ago on Christmas Eve with no prior notice. As it turned out, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. That may become your experience as well. Are you dating and meeting women?”

Craig said, “I have lived in Ohio my entire life. When I was a senior in college in 1976, I started dating Debbie from my hometown who was attending the same college as I. Although our families attended the same church, I never really noticed her or spoke to her until we both became students at that college.

“We dated on and off for several years, but, ultimately, we each married someone else a week apart in 1984. We raised families while living a few blocks from each other. She has two adult children and I have three.

“In August, 2012, Debbie’s husband died in an automobile accident. Shortly after this tragedy, in an effort to pay it forward like my friend had done for me following my divorce, I began sending weekly texts to Debbie that were notable quotes on grief, hope, faith, etc. Aside from my visit to the funeral home following his death, we never spoke to each other until mid-summer of 2013 when Debbie began to text me.

“We had our “first” date on August 30, 2013. I continue to send weekly texts to her even though we are seeing each other.”

Craig is a lawyer, still working, and Debbie is a retired school teacher, after teaching 33 years.

Craig said, “This September, we took an Alaskan cruise and followed it up a couple of weeks later with a trip to Kiawah Island, South Carolina. We still live just a couple of blocks from each other.”

Being the prying journalist who tries to present questions the readers are curious about, I asked if Craig and Debbie planned to always live separately.

Craig said, “I can walk from my home to hers in about five minutes, and drive it in a minute. I am living in my childhood home because it was vacant and I needed a place to live following the divorce. Our marital home was sold. I do not plan to live where I’m residing for the rest of my life, but it has been a godsend for me. Ironically, my ex-wife lives within walking distance, too, but we don’t communicate.

“Debbie’s adult son is in his first year of teaching and living at home with her. We have no plans to live together while he is living there. His plans are unknown after this school year but he is in a committed relationship with his college girlfriend, also a teacher. They may or may not decide to get a place together next year. If they were to get their own place, Debbie and I would most likely take a look at living together. At this time, neither one of us is interested in pursuing marriage.”

A simple lesson from Craig’s story: When people unselfishly and without ulterior motive, reach out to help others, often, they are blessed in return with something positive in their lives. And now because of Craig’s caring gesture, he and Debbie have a special friendship.

My incredible Mom, who would have been 104 on my birthday last week, not a particularly religious woman, but a woman of great faith, used to remind me of that principle, by quoting Ecclesiastes 11: 1: “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.” Mom usually just said, “Bread cast upon the waters…” and left it at that. My siblings and I knew what she meant.

I am sure Craig will keep us posted on his relationship with Debbie.

Part 2

I love hearing from our Champs, not only with their questions or experiences, but just where they live and where they are originally from. Such was the case again this week. Two women contacted me from Florida.

Cecilia emailed, “I was born in Cuba and live in Miami. I really look forward to your newsletter and thought you would enjoy knowing how far your reach is and how many people you impact.”

I would love it if Cecilia would fill us in on growing up in Cuba.

Nancy, who I have known since we both worked for the restaurant chain Victoria Station in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s, sent an update: “I have been with Michael since 1998. He has been a pastry chef all of his adult life and has taught at culinary schools. He has had a passion for his craft all of his life.

We just opened a retail bakery on our own called St Pete Bakery, 1961 4th Street North in St. Petersburg. It is fun, exhausting and rewarding. I am hoping to retire from my office job soon to work the bakery full time.”

I checked out the St Pete Bakery Website and it left my mouth watering for those yummy pastries:

If you are in the St Petersburg/Tampa area, stop in and say hello to Nancy and Michael. 

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