Friday, April 29, 2016

Day trip Paris to Normandy and Omaha Beach - a time to pause and reflect

Day trip Paris to Normandy - a time to pause and reflect

by Tom P Blake

My life partner of 18 years, Greta, and I are visiting Paris for 18 days. We are doing as much traveling as possible while we are able to. We planned to visit a lot of sites here, and a few cities in other parts of France. We have achieved our goal. 

While we were in Paris, it was very important to us to visit the beaches of Normandy where so many of our American soldiers were lost on D-Day, June 6,1944, liberating Europe in World War II. 

On one of the mornings, we took the train to Normandy, two hours north of Paris. Subconsciously, Greta and I must have sensed that we were doing something important that day when we both woke up at 2:30 a.m., even though our alarm was set for 4 a.m.

Our plan was to catch the 5:26 a.m. train from our local Fontenay aux Roses train station, a half-mile walk from our home. We were on the station platform when the train arrived.

These Paris metro trains usually stop at stations to allow passenger to exit and enter for 30-40 seconds or more before the doors close and the train moves on. But at our third stop, the doors remained open. Then an announcement: “This train is delayed because there is an incident.” We glanced at each other.

You must remember, since the Paris and Brussels recent terrorists’ attacks, Paris is on a high security alert. Then, we saw a German Sheppard being walked along the platform by a security man (at 5:45 a.m.). We wondered if the Normandy trip would be postponed. 

But, soon the car doors closed and we were on our way. Thirty minutes later, we got off at Gare Nord, the busiest train station in Paris, and took a one-stop shuttle train to Gare Lazare, the second busiest station in Paris.

From there, we boarded a high-speed train to the city of Caen, and there, changed trains to Bayeux, population 18,000, which reportedly was the first city in France liberated by the Allied forces after the Normandy invasion.

We had not made arrangements for a tour of the beaches. We were just winging it. Online, the tours were too long, and did not mesh with our train times. I had assumed that we could book a tour at the Bayeux station. I was wrong. There were a couple of vans picking up people who had pre-booked tours, but nothing else. 

We walked into the city and followed signs to the Bayeux Office of Tourist Information, a 25-minute walk. There, we booked a taxi to take us on a 2 ½ hour tour, with no narration, just the ride by Arnold, a very nice French driver. Not that the cost was a major consideration for us, but we spent nearly 100 euros less by taking the taxi vs. a guided tour.

To put the Normandy invasion into perspective: 156,000 U.S. troops took part in the D-day invasion. The invasion had been planned for a year.

Our first stop was at the Pointe du Hoc. We got out of the cab and walked to the coastline. This is the spot where approximately 250 U.S. rangers scaled 300-foot cliffs to surprise the German soldiers guarding the big guns that were perched up there. In this way, the giant German guns that protected the beaches could be disabled. At the end of the day, only 93 rangers could continue the battle, the rest had been killed or wounded.

And this is where awe and amazement set in for Greta and me. The courage of the soldiers who had been dumped into the cold waters of the English Channel to come ashore and then to fight was almost beyond comprehension. When you are there, and see where it happened, it gives you the chills. It wasn't just Americans, Canadians, Brits, and other countries were represented as well.

Next, our driver took us to Omaha Beach. One cannot be prepared for the emotion that one feels there. Coming ashore at Omaha Beach, 3,683 allied troops died. On D-day, 2,499 U.S. troops died in the overall invasion.

                               Omaha Beach 
For me, as a former member of the Amphibious Navy, walking on Omaha Beach, I was simply overcome with pride for what happened here. I gathered up six peddles from that beach to share with friends and family who would appreciate a token of the sacrifice made there by our troops.

And then, to the American Cemetery, located atop a hill overlooking Omaha Beach.

For as far as the eye can see, there are white crosses dotting the cemetery. Buried there: 9,387 of our troops, including three women. In investigating the grave stones, we found the burial site of one of the women. The cemetery is just staggering. These brave Americans helped save the world.

Of course, there is so much more to see in Normandy, particularly, if you are a war historian. One could spend 3-4 days. But Greta and I had accomplished what we had planned. All of our emotions had been left on the battle sites and cemetery.

As we walked to our cab, Greta said, “It is a place where everyone who can should come and no one should ever forget.”

In the battle of Normandy over a couple of weeks, 425,000 troops had been killed, which includes approximately 200,000 German soldiers. One has to ask, “Is war really worth it?”

Before going back by train to Paris, we got to spend an hour in the small, charming city of Bayeux. We walked past a restaurant with this sign in the window:

It was nice to see that the French people are grateful to us for the sacrifice we made to liberate their country. 

And let me say this about the French people: we have experienced some wonderful acts of kindness from them since we have been here. Starting with the woman whose home we have stayed in for 18 days, nice gesture.  And on two different times French people have gone out of their way to help us in train stations. And another French man we were visiting with, drove us back to our home here instead of taking us to his local train station. That round trip took him two hours.

As we headed to the Bayeux train station to return to Paris, Greta said, “Not bad for a couple of 75-year-olds accomplishing what we did today.”

I gave her a big hug.

There are lots of photos of our trip on the website listed below, including many photos of Normandy. Click on the "Travel Blog" tab at the top of the home page. There are 26 posts of our trip to Europe. Scroll down to the post # 2 and that is the Normandy post.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Senior dating issues: Clarifying Randy's Mars and Venus comments

Senior Dating issues: Woman seeks clarity to Randy’s Mars and Venus comments from last week
by Tom P Blake

Doreen, “I have a question for Randy from last week’s Mars and Venus newsletter. Could he ask the ladies in his social groups some of the same questions he had asked his male social group members? Seems to be a lot of misunderstanding as far as the terms used between males and females interacting. Are we dating, wanting relationships or just hanging out?

“We ladies certainly have different definitions of each. Not all of us are looking for a ‘relationship’ and packing our bags to move in after the first few dates. Or wanting to be taken care of financially.

“Also I certainly don't expect to be put on the priority list above all else. Does the unstructured senior dating relationship Randy mentioned mean dating or just hanging out? Paying our own way, being picked up, etc? I know there seems to be a lot of assumed information on both parts even now at our ages. I guess we need to have a list of questions to ask before venturing out on the first meeting, on both sides.

“The bottom line is that both sides need to TALK to each other, and never assume anything! We are very different creatures and maybe more so in our more mature years.”

Tom Blake's comment: Doreen is right. Communication between men and women regarding what each expects from a relationship could help each understand what is going on. With that knowledge, each can make a decision whether the relationship is right for them or not. Is that asking too much? I don’t think so.
Also, from last week's newsletter, Champ Michael made a comment about meeting women:

 “I think you are right, re: looking for ways to volunteer and meet new people in the process. A relationship will come if it's meant to be, and there's no need to rush it, so long as I have friends to connect with.  

“I have been active in some meet-up groups, most notably, the OC (Orange County, California) Hiking Club, for which I have led hikes for five or six years now. Trouble is, I haven't garnered much friendship out of the group, but that might reflect my flaws in personality more than anything else, I suppose.”
Tom Blake's comment: Michael, if you want a relationship bad enough, you should be a little more assertive in talking to the women who participate in you hiking club. Making yourself more available would be a first good step. I am not talking about being aggressive, just more assertive. There is a difference.

Women aren't mind readers. You need to let women know if you would be interested in getting to know them. It's on your shoulders, not theirs.

Tom's other websites:

Tom's Victoria Station Restaurant Chain website - Tom's senior romantic travel site

Friday, April 15, 2016

Senior dating issues: Mars and Venus Revisited

Mars and Venus Revisited                    April 15, 2016
By Tom P. Blake
Dateline—Paris, France
In April, 1992, John Gray published “Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus.” Gray used the metaphor comparing men and women as being from different planets to explain the different views they have when it comes to the relationships between them.
The book spent 121 weeks on the bestseller list and more than 50 million copies have been sold.  
After I published the newsletter about two guys breaking up by text message, I received an email from Champ Randy, an older single man, which stated, “As I have matured, I have found there is a massive understanding gap between men and women. One would think by this point in life that we would all be ‘in-sync’ but that is unfortunately not true. The expectations and perceptions between men and women are sometimes so foreign to each other, I truly start to believe the Mars and Venus analogy.”
I have to compliment Randy for such a succinct and well-stated email that zeroed in on how senior men and women differ in their perception of romantic relationships. He said, “For most women, a relationship seems to be, a life-long commitment that is prioritized above all else. There may be some understanding regarding whether the partners will live together and/or share resources, but it still comes down to a life-long, prioritized commitment.  
“I suspect most men in our age group (60s-70s), who have been single for some time, are looking for something a little less-structured and rigid. They are looking for companionship with someone they enjoy and hopefully some mutually common interests without the sometimes pressure and stress of a ‘formal’ relationship.”
Randy belongs to two social groups where he lives in south Florida. The groups have nearly an equal number of men and women. Randy said, “After reading your “breakup-by-text-message” newsletter, I asked almost all of the men whether they were actually interested in a long term, committed relationship.  
“Without exception, all answered yes, ‘If the right woman came along.’Although this sounded pretty encouraging, upon further questioning of what ‘the right woman’ would be, I found that almost all of the men set such high expectations that it would probably take God’s direct intervention to make it happen.  
“When I brought this to the men’s attention, all agreed with my assessment and embarrassingly admitted that they really weren’t looking all that hard and never expected it to happen anyway. What they were actually looking for was a comfortable and unstructured relationship, which included someone they enjoyed being with for trips, dinners, social gatherings and sometimes just good conversation.  
“Believe it or not, sex was rarely a criteria and monogamy was not really a problem. Companionship was the most-often used term and led me to the conclusion that in today’s vernacular, they were almost all looking for female BFF’s (acronym for best friends forever).”  
Randy continued: “I have been in five different relationships since the loss of my wife of 38 years, 10 years ago. All of these women were wonderful and exciting and a great addition to my life and all are now long-term friends.  
“With one exception, I broke up with them after a year or two (in person, not by text message) because they started expecting more that I could give. I came to the conclusion in every case, that since I wasn’t prepared to go that extra step, I was doing them a disservice by continuing the relationship and I should free them up to pursue what they needed, wanted and deserved. Most have now found the long-term partners they longed for and ‘now’ they understand the reason for the breakup.
“If I have a point in the above, it is that both partners need to understand what the other’s definition of a relationship is, and what their expectations are. If these are not ‘in sync,’ each person needs to examine the relationship closely and determine whether to move on to avoid heartbreak and the resulting bitterness.
“There are millions of us lonely people out here searching for our soul mates. With a little honest communication and understanding, many of us can still find for what we are searching.”

John Gray had it right in 1992. To this day, the way men and women view relationships hasn’t changed much.

50plus LIFE On Life and Love after 50 April 2016 edition

50plus LIFE - On Life and Love after 50 - April 2016 edition 

Senior Dating Advice: Importance of Making new friends      

by Tom P Blake

 Senior Dating Advice - Single mom nearing retirement wants to meet new friends

I have often stressed to older singles the importance of getting involved in activities and making new friends. This week, Lynda, one of our newest Champs, emailed asking for advice on how to do that.

Lynda said: “I was a single mom for 17 years and was very involved in my children's lives and their activities. I have had the same type of work for 32 years and have moved a lot due to a military way of life. When I was in my 20s and 30s, making friends happened without even thinking about it.

“Now, in my mid-50s, making friends seems to be tougher than I imagined. I have friends at work but most of them are married and have their own lives outside of work.

“Since I am approaching retirement, I'm trying to figure out what I can do to make friends and get involved in my community. I love animals and have two dogs of my own. I hope to someday find someone I can experience life with although I am very content being on my own with my dogs. I have thought about volunteering with Meals on Wheels and/or helping out with dog-rescue places. Any input would be appreciated.”

Tom’s senior dating advice: Making new friends now is wise. By doing so, you will already have friends when you retire.

Yes, making friends is more difficult compared to when we were younger. For women, having women friends is as important, if not more important, than having men friends. By pursuing activities you enjoy, making new friends will easily follow. You already seem to know what you want to do.

You love animals and have two dogs. You have thought about volunteering at an animal shelter. Go for it; you’re a natural. Two months ago, I rescued a dog named Samson and got to know the volunteers at the San Clemente/Dana Point (California) Animal Shelter. They all had one thing in common: they loved dogs and cats. In addition, they were wonderful people. You would immediately make friends at an animal shelter.  

Next, you mentioned volunteering for Meals on Wheels. That’s a great cause. I suggest you start doing that once or twice a week.

It is important to try new things, particularly after you stop working. After my life partner Greta retired, she became involved in tai chi, yoga and water aerobics classes. Through exercise, she has made many wonderful new friends.

If you need more ideas, check out, a free site that lists all kinds of clubs and activities across the USA that you can join. Pick a couple of activities that interest you and try them. 

One other point: You say you would like to meet a man with whom to experience life, but if that does not happen, you are content just spending time with your dogs. I think you can do both. Make time without the dogs to let a man into your life. Yes, you treasure your dogs, but don’t be so obsessed with them that you shut out potential mates.

The above paragraph is important for people wanting to meet a mate. Often, I see women and sometimes men who are so into their pets they post their pet’s photo on their timeline instead of their own. The message that is sent is loud and clear: my pets are everything to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love all animals. However, wouldn’t it be nice to have a mate in there somewhere and also have my pets?

Back to advice for Lynda. You have many positives in your life: You have worked in the same field for 32 years, which shows stability, dedication and loyalty—great traits to have. Not many people have worked in a job that long. In addition, you were a single mom for 17 years and that required a huge commitment. I have great respect for single moms—that has to be the toughest job in the world.

Pursue making new friends before retirement with the same energy you put forth into working and raising your children. You will accomplish your goal quickly.
Listed below are the newspapers in PA where this article is featured this month.
50plus LIFE Lebanon PA April 2016 edition

50plus LIFE York PA April 2016 edition

50plus LIFE Lancaster PA April 2016 edition

50plus LIFE Cumberland PA April 2016 edition

50plus LIFE Chester PA April 2016 edition

50plus LIFE Dauphin PA April 2016 edition

Friday, April 8, 2016

Senior travel advice: On life and love after 50

Senior dating advice: On life and love after 50

We can’t let the terrorists win

Tom P Blake

Each year, my partner Greta and I take a vacation together. We have done so since meeting in June, 1998. We feel getting away is good for our relationship; it rekindles the flame and gives us time to focus only on each other while away from the day-to-day demands of life in south Orange County.

Now that we are retired, we want to travel as much as we can, while we can. We feel blessed to be able to do so.
This year, we leave for Europe on April 12. To go abroad takes advance planning. We have booked our accommodations, airplane flights, purchased Rail Europe passes and made train reservations, bought trip insurance and acquired euros. We are all set to go.
However, we can’t help but think back to the same time of year in 2004, when we were leaving for Spain.
Our itinerary back then was to fly to Madrid and hop a train from Madrid’s Atocha Train Station to go to the Costa del Sol for a week. While there, we planned to take the premier train to Barcelona and back. And then, we’d return by train to Atocha. By February, we had finalized all of the reservations and had paid for our Rail Europe train tickets and hotel accommodations. We were excited and couldn’t wait to leave.
But, on March 4, 2004, our excitement turned to trepidation. Ten terrorists’ bombs ripped through three Spanish train stations, including Atocha, killing 191 and injuring more than 1,800 people. The tracks we would have been on, were the ones where the bombs hit.
Our first reaction: This could have happened to us; it’s too dangerous to go to Spain. We asked Rail Europe to refund our money and canceled our Madrid hotel accommodations.
But we didn’t cancel our airplane reservations. We agonized over our decision. We asked friends, family and acquaintances for their opinions: Should we go to Spain as originally planned or simply stay home?
In a 2004 newspaper column, I asked my readers, “If you were in our shoes, would you be on a plane to Madrid a week from Friday?” More than 250 readers 
responded. “Go for it" was the overwhelming sentiment. We went, but traveled in Spain by rental car, which was probably more dangerous than traveling by rail.

On the night we arrived in Madrid, we watched in horror on Spanish TV as the terrorists blew themselves up in their apartment.

So, here we are in 2016. We fly to Germany and then take the train across Belgium to Paris, where we will spend 18 days. We have several day trips by train planned. In May, we travel by train to Italy. With the recent terrorists’ attacks in Paris and Brussels, we found we are in a similar situation as we were in 2004. Should we go?

We have looked at each other and said, “What do you think?” We have asked friends and family and they encourage us to go.

We have concluded that if we don’t go, we let the terrorists win. Yes, we understand there are risks involved. But, there are risks involved every time we get on the I-5 Freeway. We will be as careful and as diligent as we can be.

We will let you know how it’s going from over there.

Link to Tom's Dana Point Times newspaper article:

Tom's websites:

Friday, April 1, 2016

Senior dating advice - Text Message Breakup Part 2

On life and love after 50 Newsletter                       April 1, 2016
By Tom P Blake

Senior dating advice: Text Message Breakup Part 2

In Part One, we talk about two senior dating issues that came to light from last week's "Breakup by Text Message" newsletter.

Part 2 - A link to

Part 3 - An update regarding our Facebook page


Part 1 - Why do we stay in bad relationships?

Most Champs who responded to last week’s newsletter agreed that breaking up by text message is a classless way to bail out. Mary Lou summed up our group’s sentiment perfectly: “What a chicken s*** way to end a relationship.”

And Stella said, “Breaking up via text: once a frog, always a frog. You can kiss them for all eternity, and they will always be a frog!”

Mindy added, “Time for the modern-day ‘Dear John’ letter! There will always be people who don’t want the drama of break up—no lectures, or tears, they just want out in the easiest way possible. Immature, yes, disrespectful, yes…but effective.”

As the newsletter responses came in, two bigger senior-dating issues came to light: First, why do seniors put up with or remain in relationships that aren’t right for them?

I reread the email from the woman who had received the breakup text messages. She had written that the two guys didn’t make her a high-enough priority: “I wasn't demanding that I came before all else in their lives but to be a little higher up on the food chain.”

She stated that when she brought up the subject of being a higher priority to them, that is when she saw their behavior toward her start changing for the worse.     

She wrote, “With each of the relationships, career work for these senior men was a serious top priority. Ok, I get it, no big deal but you did say you wanted a relationship, right? Gotta give and take.”

In my book, “Finding Love After 50. How to Begin. Where to Go. What to Do,” 


I recommend a list of the qualities one might seek in a mate. My most important quality: your mate should be willing to make you the top priority in his or her life. And, of course, in return, you must make your mate the top priority.This is a major key to a happy relationship. 

If the person you are dating doesn't make you a high enough priority, why do you stay in the relationship? And, why did she stay in those relationships?

After last week’s newsletter was published, the text-message-breakup lady sent me a second email, which revealed even more about the men she had been dating.

She said, “In the most recent relationship, his being OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) was growing like a monster. He went from sharing a house with his mother to having his own apartment, which I happily found for him and helped him settle in, at his request.

“I also knew we would never live together; it would never work. I was ok with that. With the new apartment nothing could be out of place or he would get upset. That's where I think he was beginning to think I was going to come in and change things.”

So, why did she stay in the relationship?
She also stated, “From his having issues with Mommy Dearest, I was seeing the mistrust he felt with the women in his life, me included.”

Again, why did she stay?

I think more than anything, her pride was hurt because these men broke up by text message. My guess is she will get over being dumped by these two guys rather quickly; she might even see that these guys did her a big favor, which is the second lesson that evolved from last week’s newsletter:

Lesson 2: Often, when seniors get dumped, this might turn out for that person to be a great favor (because the relationship wasn’t going to work in the long run so better it ended now).

Champ Debbi had that experience. She wrote, “I live in a senior community and met a member of the male persuasion (can no longer call him a gentleman or a man) while walking our dogs. After several years as dog-walking friends, we started dating.

“After six months, he stopped calling. I contacted him after the first few days of silence and was told we were fine, that he was ‘just being weird right now.’  

“After three months of silence we ran into each other. He said, ‘I have to call you some time and talk about what happened. I'm sorry for my behavior, I'm just weird.”  

Debbi said, “I walked away laughing, figured I dodged a big bullet with this one. I've heard better lines from high schoolers.”

By giving Debbi the silent treatment, this guy did Debbi a big favor and she realized it just three months after the silent treatment began.

I had a similar situation happen to me (long before text messages existed). On Christmas Eve, 1993, my wife of six years cleaned out the house and left with no notice or warning. I was damned angry. But, it turns out she did me the greatest favor anyone has ever done for me, although at the time I didn’t see it that way. Her action left the door open for Greta to enter my life. We’ve been together for 18 years.

As often happens in life, opportunity arises out of adversity.

The woman who received the two breakup text messages said, “Now I have to accept things and move on, never to know the reasons for the breakups. I can only make my own deductions.”

I have to add, she should also say, “Thanks guys for doing me a great favor, even though you broke up in a chicken s*** way (as Mary Lou described at the top of the newsletter). Now I can move on and make my life better.” That's what she needs to focus on going forward.

And finally, I have a buddy I've known for years. He recently dated a woman for 18 months. It was an up and down relationship. He took her to Las Vegas for her birthday, treated her to the Celine Dion show and tried to make it a special occasion for her. Three days later, she broke up by text message. He's happier now than he's ever been. The text message breakup did him a big favor. 
Part 2 - To order "Finding Love After 50. How to Begin. Where to Go. What to Do," follow this link to Amazon.Com:

If you want an autographed copy, at a better price, email me, which is a new email address for me. 
Part 3 - Facebook page - Several of you (there are 470 members) have had questions about the longevity of the Finding Love After 50 Facebook page. Here is the skinny: I do not plan to shut it down, although that is what I said two months ago because it was becoming too much of a personal FB page for a few individuals. Recently, the posts have been pretty normal so I see no need to close it. I do not want to appoint administrators as I am quite concerned about the people who ask to become members--too many questionable profiles that would concern me being members of our group. I have no problem with people starting their own FB page and inviting our members to join. 
This newsletter, On life and love after 50, is the only newsletter Tom publishes. If you have friends who would like to receive it, they can sign up by going to the following website. It's a little confusing, because the website is Finding Love After 60. The newsletter is On life and love after 50, but this website is where you sign up for it:

Senior Dating Advice - Text Message Breakup

On life and love after 50 Newsletter                  March 25, 2016

By Tom P Blake
Senior dating advice -Text Message Breakup

We have a new Champ. She wasted no time saying what is on her mind. On the day she signed up for the newsletter, she wrote:
“I've been on a dating web site for many years. I am 59 and looking for a relationship. I was under the impression that mature men would act their age and not like they did in their younger dating years. I was wrong.
“I assumed being mature, kind, understanding, honest, etc., were traits that come with gaining wisdom thru the years.
“So far, the men I've dated on these sites are clueless as to being decent people deserving of a good lady in their lives, even though their profiles say they want to be in a relationship. I didn't realize that men in their late 50's and 60's can still be jerks.
“The last two men I dated for over a year. Both broke up with a text message, really?? What kind of an adult move is that?
“Also, there was no discussion as to why the relationships were over. These men were willing to just throw a year away of being in a relationship when maybe with a little tweaking things could have worked out.
“Time is slipping away so to think another relationship is right around the corner would be kidding myself. It's not easy to find someone we can get along with because we all are pretty much set in our ways and won’t change.
“Older men are still just as untrustworthy now, as they were in their younger years. I'm sad to say, a hard lesson to learn for me. So, just because you’re a grown up doesn't mean you will act like an adult.”
Tom responded with senior dating advice: You are not the first woman to feel this way. Not all men are like that. What site or sites were you on? How often did you date these men over the year you were with them?
Was there any indication that the relationships weren't going well? You are blaming the men for their behavior, but how about you? What might you have done differently? Were you too rigid in your ways?
No doubt, breaking up by text message is pretty lame. We’ll see what other Champs think.
Part 2 – Senior Dating Advice - Did you ICE your cell phones and wallets?

Last week’s article about the man who fell and hit his head on the concrete was tragic. But, it did a lot of good. Many Champs wrote about putting the word ICE(An acronym for In case of emergency) next to your emergency contacts on your cell phones and in your wallets.

Champ Doug wrote: “An EMT told me that once a person is stabilized after a serious injury, the cell phone is checked for ICE listings and the numbers are called. Fire and police agencies also do this. Goes for your wallet as well.”

Tom's comment: I ICED my cellphone and wallet, Champs. Have you?
Part 3 – There are good older singles in the world

Champ Army wrote: “Last week’s newsletter about the tragic incident reminded me of an incident from 15 years ago. A guy meant a woman at a dance, asked her out, went north boating on a first date, had a medical problem. When he came to in the hospital, she was by his hospital bed. Because of her dedication, he asked her to marry him. 15 years later, still happily married.”

Champ Andrew wrote: Re: “You comment from two weeks ago: ‘I have great respect for single moms—that has to be the toughest job in the world.” I respect her (the woman in the story) too, having been in a similar position of providing unaided support as a single parent to daughters and sub-teens through to adulthood and now happily settled with partners—meals, laundry, quality time at home and on outings, guidance with education, hobbies and social interactions, providing a safe environment for them and their friends, oh, and working in a demanding full-time job to keep them in a large, clean, comfortable home. But being a mere male, I shall gracefully accept second place in your eyes.”

Tom’s response to Andrew. You are totally correct; I should have written “single parents” and not just “single moms.” Single dads are admired also.

Champs Patricia and Len – A few months ago, we wrote about Champs Patricia and Len who met on 12 years ago. To refresh your memory, here is their picture:

                            Champs Pat and Len
They are featured this month in the six Pennsylvania newspapers I write for. To read the article go to:

Have a Happy Easter!
This newsletter, On life and love after 50, is the only newsletter Tom publishes. If you have friends who would like to receive it, they can sign up by going to the following website. It's a little confusing, because the website is Finding Love After 60. The newsletter is On life and love after 50, but this website is where you sign up for it:

Tom's other websites:


Senior dating advice - Importance of ICE

On life and love after 50 Newsletter                  March 18, 2016

Senior dating advice - Importance of ICE - A brutal reminder on how life can change in an instant

I just now put three personal contact names and their phone numbers into my wallet with the word ICE along them. I intend to leave them there and hope no one ever has to use them. By the end of today’s article, you will understand the word ICE and what I’m talking about.

Note from Tom: At the request of the Champ who provided today's information, I have changed both her name and the man's name. 
Last month, Joyce, 73, met Brian, 70, online. She said, “Quickly, I felt he was very special. We had interesting conversations, he was respectful; he had a cute personality and was interested in me also. After caring for his wife as she fought cancer for many years, he was ready to find a partner and move forward.
“We absolutely clicked. We were into our third date in four days. We were walking up a steep incline at my condo development driveway. I was two steps ahead of him when I heard him say something. I turned to look as I kept walking and saw him falling backwards, straight-bodied.
“His head hit the cement with a loud crack, bounced up and back down, cracking again. He began convulsing; blood was running out of his ear and the back of his head. He was unconscious.
“I yelled for help and called 911. I thought he was going to die at any moment. A neighbor nurse showed up in a few seconds. A doctor who was a friend of mine was driving up the driveway. He stopped his car and jumped out. He put his hands on each side of Brian’s head to stabilize it. Blood was on the doctor’s hands and running down the driveway. Within about five minutes, emergency vehicles were there and quickly left with him.
“A fireman was asking me questions and writing down my answers. He took my contact information and wanted Brian’s relatives’ contacts also. I had none. And that is why I wrote to you.
“I felt the only help I could give Brian was to try to locate his sons, who Brian had mentioned by their names.”
Joyce and the fireman searched Brian’s unlocked car for information but found none. To help Joyce find the hospital emergency room, the fireman drew a map on his arm with a pen.
Although horrified and worried sick, Joyce drove herself to the hospital. She was led immediately to Brian’s bed in the Emergency Room. She said, “There he was, propped up on a gurney, conscious, giving me his cute smile and calling me by my name. It was unbelievable; I was so happy.”
Joyce added that Brian’s phone was on the gurney and with the help of an aide, she was able to send a text message to his oldest son who lived nearby. Brian kept telling Joyce he wanted to go home. The doctor told her that Brian had two skull fractures and bleeding on the brain. The doctor said with strong conviction that if Brian went home, he would die.
Hearing that, Brian looked at Joyce and said, “What do you think?” She couldn’t believe the brief comic relief of his question. Then she said, “I will not let you go home.” He said, “OK.”
Brian was moved to Intensive Care and she was allowed to go there immediately. The hospital asked about her relationship to him. She said, “Girlfriend.” The aide wrote: “Significant Other.”
Brian has been moved to a nursing facility. He is having cognitive and ambulatory issues. Keeping him from getting up on his own has been a challenge; they can’t risk another fall. He is losing weight.
Joyce says, “I have not given up. He is truly a very special man. I believe everyone should carry a couple of names and phone numbers in their wallet in case they become incapacitated. In dating, especially later in life, each person should get a phone number or two from the other. Much time was spent trying to contact Brian’s family based only on the two names of his sons he had talked about.”
Tom’s senior dating advice observation:
Joyce is a remarkable woman. There are two things about her I want to mention. The condo where she and Brian were walking closed escrow the day after he fell. You can imagine the mixed emotions she had dealing with that. Now she lives nearly an hour from the facility where he is staying.
The second thing I want you to know about Joyce involved me personally. In 2014, on Veteran’s Day, a woman walked into Tutor and Spunky's Deli, my Dana Point, California, establishment and handed me an envelope and then left. I opened it and there was a note inside that read, “Thank you for serving our country.” There was also a $20 bill inside. I had no idea how she knew that I had served in the Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Viet Nam War. Her gesture really touched me.
This week, when she emailed me this story, she ended her message with: “Sincerely Joyce, the one who gave you the note of appreciation for your military service.” I did not know who she was until I received this week’s email from her. Adding to the meaningfulness of her gesture, Veteran’s Day is my birthday.
Thank you, Joyce, for having the courage to share this heart-wrenching story. We all have Brian in our thoughts and prayers. Life is delicate; situations can change in a second. Keep those emergency contacts in your wallet.
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