5 Ways you know your days are Numbered: An analysis of old TV shows, and deceased guests who are more relatable than the current generation of “stars”.  



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1. You are watching Me TV. You feel young when watching these shows. You are the exact same age as Jerry Mathers who played “The Beaver.” Your father reminded you of Beavers father, and your mother had the same values. (Except she didn’t wear heels and pearls. She also had a job  outside the house, and wasn’t excited about cooking.

2.. Although you can appreciate Jimmy Fallon’s talent, you  prefer the guests on old Dick Cavett shows like: the late Marlon Brando, and Charles Heston (before he was president of the NRA, but maybe that’s when his Alzheimers had already started. You hope so because you loved him as Moses.)

3.   It does still hurt to watch old Johnny Carson shows because he was a big part of your life for so many years. Even before he was on the Tonight show you remember him on “Who do you Trust.” You remember the very first ” Tonight Show”. He kept you company from the time you were a teenager until you were solidly middle-aged.

4.  You go to a concert featuring Paul Anka. He shows old videos of Sammy Davis Jr. smoking a cigarette and singing. It’s hard to imagine a time when it was cool and sexy to smoke a cigarette. Paul Anka was “the kid” amongst the Rat Pack. People like Frank Sinatra,  Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin. The good thing is he puts on a dynamic show and sings with a strong, good, familiar voice. So, what happened to music? Really?

5. It bothers you when you realize you’ve spent more time with people on TV than you did with real live people. You wish you had videos of your mom and dad you could play, but you don’t because they weren’t famous. You remember a time when you thought they were really “old” and couldn’t appreciate my good music. Just like my kids think about me.

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Paul Anka: He’s still got it!


 

Paul Anka at the Palace Theater in Columbus, Ohio.

Paul Anka at the Palace Theater in Columbus, Ohio.

What does the name Paul Anka mean to you? If you were running around in the 50’s and early 60’s he was a teen idol. Songs he wrote and popularized include “Puppy Love,” and “Lay your head on my shoulder.”

You also might know him as a popular songwriter. He wrote for various artists including Tom Jones, ” She’s a Lady.” He wrote “My Way” for Frank Sinatra in about 5 hours. It was so successful that it brought Sinatra out of retirement.

Anka appeared at The Palace on October 13, and gave a memorable show.

He surprised the audience by making his entrance from the back of the theater. By the time he got on the stage, it was crystal clear that he still had the voice, energy, and charm. His full piece orchestra situated on the stage was first class.

He kept saying he did the gig because he had a passion for entertaining Luckily, the audience benefited from his spirited performance. He also told funny jokes throughout the show. He danced with a woman in the first row. He shook hands with the audience.

It just wasn’t a former teen idol singing his hits like “Puppy Love” and “Put your head on my shoulder.”  Anka is the real deal, an accomplished musician, and songwriter. He did let the audience reminisce with him by singing along at the beginning and end of the show.

There was a movie screen that came down and showed excerpts of Anka with a lot of famous people including members of the “Rat Pack:, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra. Dick Clark, the perennial teenager from American Bandstand, momentarily appeared in the montage.

There was acknowledgement of the great Sammy Davis Jr. In a filmed segment, Sammy was singing one of Anka’s songs and smoking a cigarette for artistic effect. (Prophetic, considering Davis died from throat cancer at 64.)

Midway through the show Anka, sat on the stage and played the guitar in tribute to Buddy Holly.

Near the end of the show, he energetically performed,” My Way.” The orchestra also did a tribute to Prince by weaving in “Purple Rain.” I’m not sure the audience got the connection.

There was a group of ladies waiting for him at the stage door. They had that look of idol worship on their faces.

If you get a chance to catch Anka on his upcoming tour, go. He’s one of the best.

From Generation to Generation: Aidan’s Great-Great Aunt Rochel


Grandmother Diaries

Three year old Aidan and his great-great-aunt do not concentrate on the past or the future. They both savor the present moment.

Aunt Rochel first held and spoke to  him when he was 1- day old.  Now, he converses with her in his 3-year-old way. “Sit here in this chair, and I will sit here,” he says.

Aidan doesn’t know that Aunt Rochel always had specific seating arrangements when our little family celebrated countless Shabbat and holiday dinners at her home.

Today was the first day the Jewish New Year, 5777.  She went to the temple service, and stood up for all the prayers.  She could very well have sat them out, but she refused.

“Why, I have no trouble standing, it’s just walking that’s a problem,” she says. Her balance is a bit compromised, so she uses a walker.

After services, my husband decided to take some pictures of…

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My Prayer: I did not write this. I found it in some old papers. I thought it was good advice! 


Lord, you know I am growing older.  Keep me from becoming talkative and possessed with the idea that I must express myself on every subject.  Release me from the craving to straighten out everyone’s affairs.

Keep me from the recital of endless detail. Give me strength to get to the point. Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my aches and pains. They are increasing, as you know, with the passing years, and the love to speak of them grows sweeter as time goes by.

Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong! Make me thoughtful but not nosy; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom and experience, you have given me, it does seem a pity not to use it all. 

But you know Lord, I want to have a few friends in this life and the next

Amen 

Ghosts linger around my Passover table 


The Passover of 2016 was tinged with sadness because I couldn’t help thinking of my childhood.  My parents and grandparents faded from sight; one right after the other, mostly without warning.

Grandma was a small, stout lady, with a face that I can’t really ever forget because I look so much like her, especially in my 66th year. My grandfather, was short in stature, but high on everyone’s respect list. He had a head full of beautiful white hair.

I remember going along with my tall, handsome, adored daddy to pick them up at their apartment. My grandmother would have her coat on, and announce to my grandfather that “the machine is outside, and it was time to go.” Why she didn’t just refer to it as the car was a mystery to me. I do remember she wore red old-fashioned shoes, a longish skirt, and a long sleeve blouse. She always carried a  black purse that held Dentyne gum. She would offer this special treat randomly to all her grandchildren.

We’d arrive at my house where we ate the standard dinner we always ate at holidays, it didn’t really matter which one. Mom was in charge and she didn’t appreciate any help.

There was always chopped liver and matzah ball soup, my mother’s tie to her ethnic background. We’d all gathered around  the kitchen table, my grandparents sitting next to each other on one side, my mother, wearing her blue apron, always up during the meal serving us.  My father and

My dapper grandpa, Harry Zelivyansky

My dapper grandpa, Harry Zelivyansky

My Grandmother, Miriam Zelivyansky when she was young.

My Grandmother, Miriam Zelivyansky when she was young.

Marilyn, Mom, Dad and me .

Marilyn, Mom, Dad and me .

My sister Marilyn and I with my dad outside of Grandma and Grandpa's house,

My sister Marilyn and I with my dad outside of Grandma and Grandpa’s house,

L to R: Eileen, Dad holding me, and Marilyn.

L to R: Eileen, Dad holding me, and Marilyn.

two sisters and I would take our familiar seats. It was usually turkey, sometimes a roast, salad, sweet potatoes, and a vegetable.

The Seder I remember was not too formal. I do remember my grandfather singing some prayers. He had a beautiful voice that I can almost hear when I close my eyes and concentrate.

Little did I know that one day my grandparents and parents would be long gone, but their presence would always linger; they’re always around me, like a loving purple aura.

This year I particularly missed them all, but I’m grateful for the love that is still there.

 

A humorous look at finding the Fountain of Youth: at the health club


Two years ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution  to exercise every day  and it’s stuck. Why? I like the high! It gets the blood to my head, releases endorphins. Half-way through I start feeling marvelous.

I look at exercise as an alternative to the FDA’s solution,  pills.

I had to find my own way until  I figured out a routine that suited me.

Seeking the Fountain of Youth at the high-priced Health Club

I’d been doing swimming aerobics at the health club pool for a while, but I thought, why not try for the heavy-duty exercise, the land exercise. Why not try a personal training group?

The first step was signing a contract, and handing over my credit card.

An extra $15o.00 plus monthly membership gave me entry into the newly formed group.

The second step was evaluating my fitness

The next day I headed up to the gym to get my fitness tested. I had to wear headgear that looked like a scuba mask to check my oxygen level on the treadmill. I carefully placed a little gizmo into my bra to record my heartbeat.

When I started by walking as fast as I could, the heart gizmo did not read my heartbeat. I went several times to a back room to put this heart monitor  closer to my heart and aging, sagging bosoms, but to no avail.

” I have another appointment coming, and you’ll just have to try tomorrow,” said the sheepish, red-faced  trainer who was about 19.

I  slowly limped out of the gym, thinking I was already a failure at land based exercise.

The next day, the gym manager, a shapely muscled 24-year old woman, figured out another way to detect my pulse. She read it off the machine somehow, or just made the whole thing up. I was glad to find out I wasn’t heartless or clinically dead.

Joining the personal training class

The next day I showed up bright and early to attend my first class. It was a variety of women of all persuasions. I was the oldest, but I wasn’t the heaviest! They all were running on the treadmills, so I joined them.

Then, the trainer rounded us all up to start our real exercise session.

The affable trainer, Greg, running the session was like a friendly drill sergeant. I furiously rowed on a rowing machine,  rapidly bounced a rubber ball off the wall,  held a plank position, and startled the entire gym when I awkwardly released the weights on a machine and sounded a loud clang.

The worst was the stair-stepper

I would only recommend the stair-stepper for people trying to get information out of a terrorist. They just have to make the thing automatically go really fast. I seriously feared for my life while on this contraption. As my heart began to jump out of my chest, I yelled,” How do I stop this damn thing.” After finding the emergency stop, I thankfully climbed off.

I did last about three months, and I did attempt things I thought I could never do again, like 100 sit ups, burpees, planks and push ups. My stomach was shrinking. I was proud of myself, but I wasn’t  looking forward to the personal training sessions. After a while,  I arrived later and later . Finally,  I didn’t come at all.

So after spending extra money, and torturing myself, I discontinued my contract.

What I needed to do was accept my age and have fun! 

I decided to try things like bike spinning, Zumba dancing, yoga,  running on the elliptical ( while I watch TV with my headphones), and lifting weights with Silver Sneaker (Medicare sponsored) exercise groups.

I also bike ride with my husband, take long walks in the woods, get down on the floor with my grandson and play like a two-year old.

To be truthful, I was never admired for my svelte figure. But I do believe the Fountain of Youth resides within yourself. The right exercise for you, and attitude are important parts of it.

I do have great blood pressure, and an athletic pulse. I have a lot of energy and feel great. Okay, I’m not at an ideal weight, but it’s been worse.

Taking those extra steps makes it possible not to keep 30 or 40 pills organized.

Do you practice age discrimination against your peers and yourself?


A beautiful, positive woman. my 93-year old Aunt Ruth

In this youth oriented society, it is not cool to be old. As someone I know said, It’s knowing what comes next.”

After turning 64 last year, I got the nerve to go into a Senior Center in my suburb which is mainly conservative. Not exactly my cup of tea, but why not?

I asked the director, “Am I too young to join this place.” She looked at me with a funny look; probably because I am way over 55 and don’t look as young as I think I do. So, I joined.

I joined the Senior Chorus, and its been a fairly good experience. They go sing at nursing homes

and rehab centers twice a month. I get to go out in the audience and talk to the people. It is community service. The people in the chorus are pretty nice, and it is fun. The music is just as old as the chorus, but there has only been one song in a year I never heard before. Most of the other songs I already know by heart. I know anyone under 50 would probably not know all the words like I do.

I am still not accepting my age.

Today, I went to a style show at the Center and positivity shone through 

Some members were  modeling clothes from a thrift store that gives their proceeds to cancer.

First, we said the “Pledge of Allegiance” which I haven’t said in a long time. (I wonder if my kids learned the words in school because they don’t say it anymore at schools.)

We ate this great meal because they all brought homemade stuff. Who can argue with that? I, not being exactly a cooking person, bought store-bought sugar-laden cookies.

A group from the chorus came out and sang an old song. They also did a little dance. One of the audience members was quietly laughing at them which I resented. It might not have been Broadway worthy, but at least they were trying!

The ladies came out and modeled the clothes, and they looked like a million bucks. They stood up straight acted proud, and smiled. Some of them wore those clothes beautifully. You still can look good after the age of 65. I guess it all has to do with a positive attitude.

The last model came out in a walker, and lip synced to the song, “Second Hand Rose.” That was a lady with a positive attitude and spirit. She was really giving it all she had.

Suddenly, I looked around and realized, like it or not, I fit in with this group. I am no spring chicken, but that doesn’t mean I’m less valuable than people younger than me. I think it’s too bad that this society devalues age so much, and I have to feel this way.

Inside I don’t feel old because I am physically active, and don’t take tons of medicine. I use exercise and singing as my defense against physically falling apart, and so far it’s working!

What do you think? How do you think people should accept their age. Should they join places like Senior Centers, or is that admitting you’re over the hill?

The enclosed picture is of a close relative of mine who is 93 years old. She has always looked at the bright side of life, and it shows.