Blog: Life Begins at 80

Burt Ross

I don’t know why, but the other day I was thinking about a tv show which had a good run in the early 1950’s. The show was called “Life Begins at 80” and featured a few octogenarians, mostly in their early to mid 80’s who answered questions sent in by the show’s viewers. Most of America was quite impressed that these “old folks” were able to breathe and think at the same time, let alone say something witty every now and then. 

Of course, this show would make absolutely no sense today. We all know people who are older than these panelists were then, and doing quite well, I might add. Recently I phoned Helene Eisenberg, a driving force behind “Friends of Malibu Urgent Care.” She said she would call me back after she played some tennis. Helene is 89.

My dear friend Senator Loretta Weinberg is retiring from her position as Majority Leader of the New Jersey State Senate. She will be stepping down a month before her 87th birthday. Loretta continues to be a force for positive change.

Another friend of mine is Sam Mann, also 86. Sam and his wife Emily are the only people to win Best in Show at Pebble Beach’s Concours d’Elegance four times. Sam, who winters here in Malibu, keeps busy sailing, driving on vintage car rallies, and maintaining his car collection. This August he will once again be entering an antique car in the Pebble Beach competition.

My Saturday breakfast buddy Don Maclay couldn’t make breakfast the other day because he was out taking flight instruction. Don is 88.

And then there is Ellie Somerfield. Ellie had me and my bride over for lunch. She prepared a tasty curry soup and a delicious bean salad. The table was set beautifully on her deck, and she discouraged any help from the two of us.  Ellie vacations in Mammoth Lake, where she snowshoes regularly throughout the winter. Ellie is 91.

If I were producing a new tv show, it might more accurately be called “Life Begins at 100.”