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Romance after the rose has bloomed

Published February 18. 2012 09:01AM

It is said that everyone has a book somewhere inside of them.

Often, when I talk with groups of writers, they ask if I will ever write a book. I tell them I don't have the patience to stay with one subject for so long.

Decades of doing the "fast hits" that newspaper work demands has gotten me addicted to that fast pace as well as to constantly switching subjects.

But I'm just like a lot of other people in the fact that I already have the title of a possible book long before the first page is written.

If I ever muster the ambition to write a book, I'll call it, "Love After the Rose Has Bloomed."

It's one way of describing love between two people who already have had decades of living under their belts.

I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but there's a revolution going on with today's older generation. It used to be that people grew old, retired, then did the equivalent of sitting in a rocking chair waiting to die.

Today, older folks are truly rocking, but not on chairs. They're dancing and rock climbing and sailing through life with their sails at full tilt.

They are also doing something that was almost unthinkable for people of advanced age: They're dating and falling in love again.

My husband makes a valid point when he says in his parents' time when someone lost a spouse after many years of marriage, he or she settled down to living a quiet life alone.

All around me I see examples of how this isn't true anymore.

There's a woman in our neighborhood that got married last year at the grand old age of 95. Her husband, we believe, is a decade younger.

When she was asked why she got married at 95, she said: "I thought it was about time."

My husband and I went dancing Friday night and sat at a table with two other couples. The two other couples didn't know each other until that night.

As I sat there talking with them I realized they have something in common: Both couples are now "dating" after losing spouses.

They have something else in common, too. Both couples are nonagenarians, although to look at them one would never think they were past 70.

Virginia just celebrated her 91st birthday this week while Bill, her partner, is a few months younger. When I watched them on the dance floor doing a version of a jive that requires a lot of jumping, I told them I wanted to see their birth certificates because I can't believe they are 90 and 91.

Manny is also 91 but he's going with a younger woman. Sue is somewhere around 75. She told me her husband passed away a few years ago. "I never thought I would meet another man. It never once entered my mind," she said, "And I certainly never expected to be dating again at my age."

These two couples are so much fun to be with because they are lively and are obviously enjoying life.

"I never thought I would be so happy at 90. I feel like a boy," grinned Manny as he made it clear that Sue is the one who put a new spring in his step.

When Dave and I go out dancing we often get to know new couples. And many times as we strike up conversations, I learn the couples are like us in that they are newly married.

As readers no doubt know, Dave and I got married two years ago, something neither of us thought would happen. We both thank God daily for what we call Second Blessings.

I remember the night we got engaged we went dancing at Fishermen's Village, one of our favorite places. When we told our friends we just got engaged, one of them slipped up to the bandleader and asked them to play a special number for a newly engaged couple.

When the bandleader announced it to the audience, he asked us to come up to dance. I'm sure others there expected a young couple to get up and dance. Instead, there we were, two old folks who rewound our odometer and are now enjoying what I call our second childhood.

I remember thinking that night how strange it was for two people our age to have an engagement party. But this is Florida, land of new opportunity.

I have since learned there are many, many couples just like us, not only in Florida but also all over.

After I wrote about our marriage, I received so many nice emails from other couples telling me they, too, have found the joy of love the Second Time Around.

I was surprised to hear from one newly married couple in their 80s. They met on the Internet. Years ago, who would have thought older people would sign up for Internet dating?

"We were two lonely people who didn't want to be alone anymore," wrote the Allentown woman in her email.

I love when people tell me their sweet stories.

If you, too, are an older Valentine, I would love to hear from you.

One of these days I might actually write that book.

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