Category Archives: General

Signing Out with Style

We all spend a lot of time contemplating, then planning for, our departure. It goes with the territory, especially after you’ve done that for your mate.

We try and put our paperwork in order, check our wills, and do our best to let our kids know how we would like them to distribute our treasures “when I’m through with them.”

But one of my Chicago-area friends began what I hope will become a new trend.

When Marilyn Drucker’s husband Leonard died, she drew on her famous wit as well as her love, and had his headstone in Sholom Cemetery in Arlington Heights IL,  read: “Leonard Drucker, Family Man, Gone Golfing.”

And when Marilyn died one year ago today, July 19, 2016 ,and her family was faced with the same headstone question, they followed her lead.

“My mom had a sense of humor for my dad, so we thought we should have a sense of humor for her,” recalls her daughter Denise Drucker Blinick,

As a result, Marilyn’s headstone reads, “Gone Shopping.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if all our kids remembered us with a sense of humor?


86–And: Still Writing Steamy Sex Novels

Curious researchers are beginning to affirm that some seniors still enjoy sex.

And those who work among seniors in assisted living residences report that the few men there (who usually have their choice of many widows) will often develop a romantic alliance, gallantly escort  her away from the bingo table, and lead her to his apartment for an evening of pleasure.

No one asks what goes on behind those closed doors, nor should they.

But my dear lifetime friend, Charmaine Gordon, now 86, can tell you all about it–and she does in the 25 romantic novels she’s been writing since she was 78.

Charmaine developed her own reader  niche: senior widows like herself who are still attractive and active, and find new romance when and where they never expected to. And lo and behold, either from experience or imagination, Charmaine treats those loyal readers to very steamy sex scenes in every book.

In fact, she just completed her 25th, “Beware the Blue Eyed Thunderbolt,” about a gorgeous, recently widowed business woman in her 60s, who meets an unbelievably handsome doctor ten years younger in the veterinarian’s office, and mad, passionate love ensues. Our heroine can’t resist our hero’s gorgeous manliness –and he can’t resist her unbelievable beauty, long golden curls and phenomenal body. Of course they both have blue eyes, ergo the title.

But hey, this isn’t Charmaine’s first rodeo, as Dr. Phil might say. Some of her other titles in this same new “senior steamy romance lit” genre include: “When Doubles Become Singles”, “Charlie’s Family Secret,” “She Didn’t Say No”….and many more.

Check them out at, and buy one. We guarantee a fun read.



Airport Electric Cart Gets You There in Time

Wheelchairs aren’t the only help offered to travelers in the airports.

I was rushing across two huge terminals lugging a heavy carry -on bag and a purse, and feared I’d never make my next flight in time.

Flight #1 had been late, leaving me 10 minutes instead of an hour to make this impossible transfer. Huffing, puffing, and in panic, Iran on.

Suddenly I heard a beep and turned to see an airport electric cart pulling up beside me. “Hop in” the driver said, and as he checked my gate number on his computer, he assured me we’d not only arrive on time, but I could  even use the ladies room before boarding.

I asked what that cost and he assured me the carts  are a free airport service, but  gratuities are accepted–which I gladly gave him.

Some airports don’t provide the carts yet, but you should always ask any airport employee if they do, and if so, ask them to call one for you. It’s also wise to ask you flight attendant to call one to meet  you at the gate if you have to change planes.

The downside of the carts is some go too fast and have been known to hit pedestrians, but airports are working on that.

Although I had plenty of time to change planes on my return trip, I called for a cart when I got off Plane #1 anyway, and I was able to enjoy a restful lunch before reboarding.



What’s Proper Wedding $$$ Gift?

It’s been ten years since I was part of a couple, one that lasted a happy 55 years.

But after my my husband died, I learned to “go it alone” to social and family events. It may have been easier for me because, as a journalist, I had gone alone to cover events in all kinds of places. So I have never, and still don’t feel self conscious when I appear without an escort anywhere.

(As I often say, “I’m not lonely. I”M there.”)

And since I was employed and independent most of my adult life, my survival in widowhood may have been easier than some others’.

But there always are questions to consider and answer. Take a distant relative’s recent wedding:

  1. Do I stay overnight with the group in a downtown hotel because I live in a suburb?

2. How much should a widow to give as a gift when she attends alone?

Fortunately, if one can afford it, both are easily answered spot.

It was far less expensive to hire a  driver to take me home after the event than it would have been to say overnight downtown. Also, I had the advantage of being in my own bed, not having to bring a bag with night clothes, etc. to the party.

I checked the Internet to answer the money question and, since I had already sent a shower gift, the suggested amount for a person attending alone these days seems to be $75-$100 if he or she can afford that. ($150 will do if you bring a guest.)

That’s certainly changed since my wedding when we were thrilled to receive a silver-plated butter dish, hoping we would someday  be able to buy butter instead of oleo to put in it.



Grief: That heavy stone in your heart

They were more deeply in love than most couples are after 35 years of marriage, so it was even more tragic when the husband died of cancer three years ago.

His widow, only 60 at the time, was fortunate in that she had two loving grown children, a professional career and sufficient income to live comfortably.

But widows face many issues, especially if they are young and still in their “active, social” years. Life, as she had known it, stopped abruptly.

Friends, family and colleagues were considerate and tried to help her feel life is worth living.

She gamely attended a recent family wedding and seemed to enjoy the ceremony and cocktail hour, but as the reception got underway she felt more and more alone. She missed her husband even more sitting among family members and friends who all were in couples.

After salad had been served, she rose abruptly and said, “I’m done. I must go home.” And all at the table felt her sorrow.

Coincidentally, this week The Dr. Phil Show repeated a program focused on a 60-year-old widow with two grown children and a successful career, who was having trouble returning to a normal social life.

Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, chief medical advisor for Pfizer, was also featured and she gave this advice:

  1. Social Isolation (such as that experienced by many widows) is an addiction, as serious as any other, like alcohol, drugs, or obesity. It deserves to be treated as such.
  2.  This emotional paralysis caused by reminders of life with your husband may cause anxiety, depression, and especially fear. The greatest being falling in love again and losing that person too.
  3. Both this counselor and Dr. Phil emphasized that the length of time you grieve is no indication of how much you loved the deceased.
  4. The advice wasn’t unusual. It included getting back into civic and religious organizations and doing volunteer work. But also stressed the need for therapy, where talking about your feelings gives the most relief.

As one of our readers has remarked, “It’s like carrying a heavy stone in your heart. In time it gets lighter, but it’s never gone.”

And most of us don’t want or expect it to be.



There in spirit

Sunday ranks as one of the most splendid days in our family’s history, when our first grandchild, and only granddaughter, Sara Preis married Wayne Brin in a spectacular ceremony.

But, of course, for this widow, it was bittersweet. Sara’s birth father died tragically when she was three, and, though she was adopted by a devoted step-father soon afterward, her grandfathers also stepped in to  help fill that void and probably became closer to her than is ordinary.

“Papa George,” her father’s father, was at the wedding, and paid tribute to “Papa Hal,” my husband, who was not.

Everyone in our family had many moments during the memorable and festive weekend when we felt the pain and sorrow of his loss. We wished he was with us on this so special day. It helped that Sara arranged a special table at the reception with photos of beloved family members who were gone. And it included one of our handsome Papa Hal, holding his beloved, 4-year-old Sara in his arms.

Today, looking with joy at photos of all our children, grandchildren, dearest cousins and friends who were with us, I  thought about whether I want to go the rest of the way seeing such glasses “half full or half empty.”

I chose half full because I’m so grateful to have this family and know that as long as some of us are together, Hal will be with us in spirit as he was Sunday.

Face it! Own it! And You’re not a victim!

She was alone for the first time in 43 years. When her husband died, she thought she could handle day to day issues. She knew how to care for the car, the house, pay bills, manage financial arrangements.

Oh, don’t pity her. She was going to be fine.

Except she wasn’t. The day- to- day lonliness, coupled with sincere grief and sorrow at losing her best friend and loving mate at a time in life when she could no longer go out and start a career, or make new friends. (And when someone called to say they tried to reach her but she was out, she said, “Try Saturday night.”

“Tough.” That’s what everyone said she was, with some admiration. And she tried to maintain that image.

But it was stressful, and then, horror of horrors, her hair began to fall out.

All her medical experts said it possibly (and probably) was caused by  stress from suppressed sorrow.

The good news is there was a satisfactory solution: Get a wonderful wig (or two) and start wearing them so you won’t constantly be reminded of the  loss.

“I just can’t,” she protested. “l’m afraid people will notice it,” she protested.

“And what’s the worst case scenario if that happens?” I countered.

“They’ll ask me if I’m sick and if I have Cancer!” she said, tearing up.

“The best news is you can smile and say, ‘NO, thank God. I have hair issues so I bought these, so I can look nice. Do you like this one or should I try another color?”

Face it, own it, and you’re not a victim!

And once you can again look in the mirrow and see yourself looking normal, you can focus again on your very real grief and take steps to start diminishing it.

It will never be gone entirely, and perhaps we don’t want it to be. If one had a good relationship, the remaining partner will constantly be reminded of that missing mate. “Grapple them (those good memorie) to your soul with hoops of steel,” (Thanks, Shakespeare) and talk about them with others who are doing the same.

They may be the people sitting at your bridge table– who just told you your new wig is pretty.



‘Remember Me’

At a beautiful funeral for a very special friend this week, I found the following poem by English Painter and Poet David Harkin in thre program. It seemed especially fitting to read again during the Menmorial Day holiday:


You can shed tears that she is gone

or you an smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back

or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her

or you can be full of the loe you shared.

You can turn  your back on tomorrow and live yestrday

or you can be happy for tojorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she’s gone

or you an cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can c;ry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,

or you can do what she’d want: smile, open  your eyes,

love and get on.

I’ve Been ‘Tired’—–By My Car

Ever been ‘tired?”

I have—by my car.

When my granddaughter and I left a local restaurant last weekend, she commented, “Grandma, your front tire looks low on air.” The parking valet, standing near by, warned me not to drive any father than home on it.

You must understand that when my husband died, I didn’t know any more about air in tires than I did about working the gas pump gas or changing the oil. He did all that, and until this week I was still in the dark about tires.

That night, I went home and began worrying about which towing company to call in the morning so I could drive it to our local Just Tires franchise and have whatever was wrong fixed. I was already mad about having to pay God know what for the tow.

Then a wise friend told me to look at my car insurance policy, because most have road service coverage and a low tire fits that description. I looked. I had it and the next morning I called the insurance company’s help line.

In 45 minutes, the road service car pulled up in front of my home and a friendly young man hopped out. He checked the valve and said it was fine and it didn’t look as though any had slow leaks in the rims, or anywhere else, Then he filled all the tires to proper levels and gave me the astounding news that I’m supposed to check the air pressure every few months (Duh!) and have someone fill any tires that are low.

Because I drive far less than when I worked, I have less auto checkups and fewer oil changes, so the service people probably didn’t get to check the tires every few months.

I now have a schedule—with encouragement from my Just Tires franchise—to drive over there every ow and then, have someone help me check the pressure and fill them with air.

I feel rested.