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LOS ANGELES METRO NOVEMBER 2015

southern california

lifeafter50.com

Simplifying 2016

MEDICARE

OPTIONS

REMEMBERING

SOUPY SALES THE FACTS OF

Charlotte Rae’s Life

Frankie

Avalon Musing on marriage, music and more


Contents

November 2015

10

20

26

30

Cover Profile

Departments

10 Frankie Avalon

6 50-Plus: What You Need to Know

The former teen idol offers insight on his music, films, family and much more.    

A quick look at things 50-plusers should be aware of.

  8 It’s The Law

Features

Mitchell A. Karasov on securing disability for the cognitively impaired.  

20 Medicare Open Enrollment What it is, how it works, and how to make it work best for you.

26 The Hallowed Hall Of Must-Knowtables – Soupy Sales Legendary notables that everyone, of every age, should know.

30 The Look Of Life After 50 – Charlotte Rae Working, enjoying life, and grateful for every wrinkle.  

34 Let’s Get Out

Looking to get out and about? Our November/December calendar has some great suggestions.

38 Rick Steves’ Travels

Taking a time travel experience in old England’s York.

42 And Finally…The Bookworm’s Best, A Look Back and Just A Thought Before We Go

A book suggestion, memory, and a little something to leave you with.

Cover photo by Keith Munyan / www.keithmunyan.com All material published within this issue of Life After 50 and on www.lifeafte50.com is strictly for informational and educational purposes only. No individual, advice, product or service is in any way endorsed by Life After 50 or Southland Publishing, Inc. or provided as a substitute for the reader’s seeking of individualized professional advice or instruction. Readers should seek the advice of qualified professionals on any matter regarding an individual, advice, recommendations, services or products covered within this issue. All information and material is provided to readers with the understanding that it comes from various sources from which there is no warranty or responsibility by Life After 50 or Southland Publishing, Inc. as to its or their legality, completeness or technical accuracy.

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Editor’s Note...

Stay booked at the banquet of life

Publisher Valarie Anderson Editor-in-Chief David Laurell

W

hen he was well into his 90s, the legendary comedian and actor George Burns would tell people there was no possible way he could die. “I’m booked!” he would quip. Burns experienced a career resurgence at the age of 79, when he starred in the 1975 film, “The Sunshine Boys,” for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.  He continued to work until shortly before his death in 1996 at the age of 100.  I couldn’t help but think of Burns when I interviewed the two entertainers we feature in this issue – Frankie Avalon and Charlotte Rae. Avalon, who was already a seasoned musician and a member of a band by the time he was 12, is still touring, just put out a cookbook, and completed a film. Rae, who began appearing on radio when she was 16 and was performing in New York clubs and theaters before she was out of her teens, was recently seen in Meryl Streep’s film, “Ricki and the Flash,” is out promoting her just-released autobiography and is preparing to do a play. At their respective ages of 75 and 89-anda-half, Avalon and Rae perfectly fit the pattern of many people who, well into their eighth and ninth decade of life, are still “booked” and living it to the fullest. Prior to the 1970s, continuing to work, seek new adventures and take on new projects into one’s later years was practically unheard of. By the 1980s, it started to happen, but, as with Burns, it was still a novelty. Today, it is common for people in their 70s and 80s to still be actively engaged in working, creating, volunteering, traveling and beginning all sorts of new endeavors. During my conversation with Rae, she told me that, in spite of the challenges and illnesses she has faced, she is “still enjoying the banquet of life.” “I’m incredibly grateful for that,” she said. “So whenever I find myself getting upset over something, I stop and get a hold of myself and realize that I should be enjoying life and savoring every moment.” This month, as we sit down to our Thanksgiving dinner, we should take Rae’s words to heart: To be grateful that we can enjoy and savor not just the turkey and all the trimmings set before us, but the enjoyable and savory spread that each new day affords us to accomplish something – no matter our age or circumstances.  So this Thanksgiving, as you pile up your plate, make a pledge to yourself that, like Burns, you will “stay booked” and partake of all that life has to offer. Promise yourself you’ll push away from the table with a renewed commitment to truly enjoy and savor the banquet of life.  

David Laurell, Editor-in-Chief

4 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

Associate Editors Steve Stoliar Claire Yezbak Fadden Art Director Michael Kraxenberger Editorial Assistant Max Andrews VP Of Finance Michael T. Nagami Human Resources Andrea E. Baker Business Manager Linda Lam Billing Supervisor Kacie Cobian VP Of Operations David Comden

To contact our editorial department: (818) 563-1007 davidl@lifeafter50.com

Account Executives: San Diego County/Orange County Phil Mendelson Phil@lifeafter50.com Los Angeles/ Valley/Travel Beverly Sparks Beverly@lifeafter50.com For advertising/distribution inquiries contact: Valarie Anderson (310) 822-1629 x 121, Valarie@lifeafter50.com 5301 Beethoven St., Suite 183 LA CA 90066 Valarie Anderson Valarie@lifeafter50.com 310 822-1629 x 121

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©2015 Southland Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved

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Find your fit Providence can help you choose a Medicare plan that’s right for you.

Annual enrollment is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2015. Attend a FREE Medicare informational meeting to learn more about your options. Calabasas Community Center 27040 Malibu Hills Road, Agoura Hills • Monday, Nov. 16, 10 a.m.-noon

IHOP 22810 Vanowen St., West Hills • Thursday, Nov. 5, 3:30-5 p.m.

Denny’s 8330 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park • Monday, Nov. 30, 3-4:30 p.m. • Wednesday, Dec. 2, 10-11:30 a.m.

A sales agent will be present. The agent will provide Medicare applications (excluding nonsales meetings). For a complete list of dates and to reserve your spot, call 1-866-909-DOCS (3627) or TTY/TDD 1-800-855-7100, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Let us know if you need special accommodations.

Providence Saint John’s Health Center 2121 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica • Tuesday, Nov. 17, 10-11:30 a.m. (Blue Shield Health Plan) • Thursday, Dec. 3, 10-11:30 a.m. (United HealthCare) Providence Tarzana Medical Center Auditorium 18321 Clark St., Tarzana • Friday, Nov. 6, 3-6 p.m. (Multi-plan, non-sales meeting) Affiliates in Medical Specialties 7345 Medical Center Drive, Suite 600, West Hills • Thursday, Nov. 5, 1-3 p.m. • Tuesday, Nov. 24, 10 a.m.-noon

Can’t attend a meeting? Call 1-866-909-3627 to speak with a licensed agent, or go to providencemedicalinstitute.org/compare to learn more. Word & Brown, CHM Insurance Services and West LA Baby Boomer Insurance Services represent various Medicare Advantage (MA) and Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans depend on contract renewal.


50

Conscientious Consumers

M

PLUS

What You Need To Know By Claire Yezbak Fadden

Determinating Dementia

A

lthough an isolated episode of forgetfulness is hardly reason to call the doctor, millions of Americans are understandably concerned when they see signs of forgetfulness, either in themselves or in a loved one. According to the latest government estimates, about 3.4 million Americans age 71 and older – that’s one in seven – have some type of dementia. Symptoms include decreased intellectual functioning that interferes with normal life functions (such as memory, language, perception, judgment or reasoning, and relationships), plus personality changes and a loss of emotional and behavioral control. While dementia is certainly associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other serious conditions, it also can be caused by reactions to medications, endocrine and metabolic problems, nutritional deficiencies, infections, and heart and lung problems. In addition, other treatable conditions, such as depression or alcoholism, can mimic dementia. A doctor can diagnose dementia with many methods, including the patient’s medical and family history, a physical exam, neurological evaluations and imaging tests (CT scans, MRIs and PET scans). Additionally, cognitive testing is essential to fully evaluate the nature of the dementia. If dementia is identified, the doctor can prescribe treatments to reduce symptoms and slow the progression of the disease that’s causing the dementia.

Fifty Candles

F

ifty years ago this month, Cuba and the United States formally agreed to “Freedom Flights,” airlifts for Cubans who wanted to go to the United States; the Pillsbury Doughboy made his first appearance; the musical “Man of La Mancha” opened in Greenwich Village; a United Nations Security Council resolution recommended that no country recognize independent Rhodesia; Willie Mays was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player; and tens of thousands of Vietnam War protesters picketed the White House before marching to the Washington Monument. Among the notable personalities born in November1965 who are celebrating their 50th birthday this month are drummer Mike Diamond, comedian Ellen Cleghorne, actor Ben Stiller, television screenwriter Ryan Murphy, football players Chris Carter and Eric Allen, actress Kristin Minter, race car driver Eddie Irvine, basketball coach Jamie Dixon and saxophonist Mark Turner.

6 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

illennials – those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s – and baby boomers are the most likely to buy products that align with their values and ethics, according to a new report examining generational cohorts and consumer behavior. “Not since the first wave of boomers came of age in the 1960s have we seen such an idealistic youth cohort,” says Morley Winograd and Mike Hais, co-authors of “Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America” (Rutgers University Press.) “Eighty-five percent of millennials and boomers say it is important that [they] make a positive impact on the world, as compared with only 75 percent of gen Xers – born between the early 1960s and early 1980s,” Winograd and Hais maintain. Despite the age difference between millennials and boomers, their “behavioral motivation” when making purchasing decisions is the same. “Both are members of generational archetypes that are externally focused,” the authors explain. “By contrast, gen Xers come from generational archetypes [who] tend to be focused on themselves and immediate families and less concerned about reshaping society.”

Thinking Thankful

T

his month, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, is the perfect time to reflect on the many ways we are grateful. Keeping a gratitude journal with daily entries focuses on those things we are grateful for – big and small. Journaling helps to slow down our day and to increase our capacity for joy. Entries can be as simple as recording a good night’s sleep or as major as when your adult child lands a soughtafter job. In your journal, you can list just one thing that delighted you that day or expand your list to five or more events that brought a smile to your face. If pen and paper aren’t your thing, take advantage of one of the many free apps for your mobile device, such as Gratitude 365, that offers an electronic gratitude journal. Create a daily entry and list anything you are thankful for that day along with a photo to capture that day’s special moment. Whether you choose an electronic or handwritten version, a gratitude journal allows you to relive the joys you’ve experienced in recent weeks, months and years.


A Little More You Need To Know

The Most Important Thing To Know This Month

‘Tis The Season To Get Covered

N

ovember 1 marks the first day of open enrollment to apply for 2016 healthcare coverage and runs through January 31, 2016. The earliest your coverage can start is January 1, 2016.

“There are a lot of choices when it comes to signing up for health insurance and we want to help make sure consumers feel confident that they’ve picked the right plan,” says Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplaces. “In-person assistance from navigators and assisters has proven to be an incredibly important avenue for consumers to get the right coverage.”

Where You Need To Go

A Magical Trip to Whoville

P

arents and kids alike know all the lovable characters from Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” In this wonderful, whimsical musical based upon the book, the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who, and even Max come to life in the timeless holiday classic tale. Beginning November 7, the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego’s Balboa Park transforms into snow-covered Whoville, right down to the last can of Who-hash. The family favorite features songs such as “This Time of Year,” “Santa for a Day,” “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome, Christmas (Fah Who Doraze),” the delightful carol from the popular animated television version. Don’t miss the annual tree lighting on the Old Globe Plaza on Sunday, November 15 at 6 p.m. This festive kick-off to the holidays will include a free special performance by the cast. A sensory-friendly performance of the holiday musical is scheduled for December 12 for children on the autism spectrum and their families, as well as other families with special needs.

These trained specialists provide consumers in their communities with in-person help, answering questions about their health insurance and financial assistance options and assisting them as they complete their application. Navigators and assisters are knowledgeable about the range of health plans available on Covered California as well as other public health insurance programs offered, including Medicaid. If you don’t enroll in a 2016 plan by January 31, 2016, you can’t enroll in a health insurance plan for 2016 unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. If you don’t have coverage in 2016, you may have to pay a fee, the higher of either 2.5 percent of your yearly household income or $695 per person ($347.50 per child under 18).

For more information, click on www.healthcare.gov.

The Old Globe Theatre, Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego. $37-plus for adults and $24 for children (17 years and under). Performances through December 26. For more information call (619) 234-5623 or click on www.theoldglobe.org.

New Words

Y

ou might not find them in a dictionary yet, but they’re a part of the everyday American vocabulary. Here’s what they mean.

Barm: The foam or froth on beer. Thanksmas: The time of year between Thanksgiving and Christmas that includes preparations, parties, shopping and everything else – both enjoyable and challenging – that comes with “the most wonderful time of the year.” Spoofed Numbers: A deliberately falsified telephone number and/or name displayed on a phone’s Caller ID for the purpose of disguising the caller’s identity.

November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 7


Did you use marijuana when you were younger?

It’s The Law Mitchell A. Karasov

Mitchell A. Karasov, Esq. covers Los Angeles, Ventura County and the Coachella Valley. His focus is in elder law with emphasis in estate planning, Medi-Cal eligibility, trust administration, probate, conservatorships of person or estate, estate and trust litigation and financial abuse litigation. For more information click on www.karasovelderlaw.com or call (818) 508-7192.

or

LATE-LIFE DEPRESSION For those who are suffering from feelings of depression, sadness, hopelessness, memory loss, concentration difficulties, lack of energy, or loss of interest and pleasure in activities; UCLA is conducting a 12-month research study using an experimental combination of two drugs and a placebo (an inactive substance). If you are 60 years of age or older, not currently receiving any psychiatric treatment with effective medications, you may qualify. Medical and psychiatric evaluations and limited physical exams are provided as part of the study. Participants will undergo a PET scan and an MRI scan. Evaluations and study drug are provided at no charge.

For more information, call UCLA at: (310) 983-3375.

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Do you smoke cigarettes now but never used marijuana If you are over 55 years old you may qualify for your research study. For more information please contact: DrugStudyUCLA@gmail. com or call 310-794-1021 Upon completion, you will receive $150 Study conducted by CA Burggren, Ph.D. UCLA Dept of Psychiatry

Are disability benefits available for those who are cognitively impaired?

Q

My husband was recently diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment although he is only 58. He started having some problems a few years ago, which made it impossible for him to continue working. Until the formal diagnosis, we didn’t realize the extent of his impairment, but it became more apparent when he attempted to find another job. His former employer did not fight his unemployment request, but it’s no substitute for his salary. It has become obvious he won’t be able to go back to work, so we wanted to pursue disability benefits through Social Security. However, we’re under the impression that he may have problems qualifying for the disability program, because he’s not physically disabled. Someone told us he might have to go through a retraining program, but he’s not a good candidate for that, because he can no longer follow through on projects. What are his prospects for getting disability?

A

Your husband may be eligible for disability solely based on his cognitive impairments. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does assess cognitive and/or mental health impairments differently than they do physical impairments. For instance, while age is a big factor when it comes to evaluating physical disabilities, age is not as relevant in cognitive-based claims. The bottom line is that a person can receive Social Security disability and/or supplemental income benefits for either a physical or a cognitive impairment, or an individual can receive benefits for a combination of both physical and mental health impairments. The determination is based on the severity of the impairments. When reviewing an eligibility application for someone with a cognitive impairment, the SSA is assessing if the alleged disability prevents a claimant from working. If an individual is unable to perform simple, repetitive tasks or to follow directions, they would be found to be disabled in SSA’s eyes. However, if your husband still has the ability to perform lowstress and unskilled jobs, he would not be found disabled from a cognitive standpoint based on SSA’s regulations. Also, keep in mind that when SSA is assessing one’s disability, they do not take into account how much money the individual used to earn. The administration expects individuals to work, even if their disabilities prevent them from earning income that is comparable to their past wages. As far as your husband being retrained once he’s on disability, there is a Ticket to Work program that helps people with disabilities achieve financial independence. This program provides a variety of service providers, employment networks and state vocational rehabilitation agencies to help a beneficiary achieve work. Through Ticket to Work, an individual can obtain education, training or job support. In return, the SSA expects the “ticket-holder” to achieve specific earnings, education or training goals within a timely manner. Although your husband could be a candidate for disability based on his cognitive impairments, I strongly recommend you consult with attorney who is well-versed in disability law. In addition, you both may benefit from programs at the Alzheimer’s Association and Leeza’s Care Connection.


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Cover Profile

Frankie

Avalon

With a 60-plus-year career and 53 years of marriage, the former teen idol offers insight on his music, films, family and much more By David Laurell * Photos by Keith Munyan / www.keithmunyan.com

10 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015


H

is name – Frankie Avalon. His films – a potpourri of beach party romantic comedies that portrayed a lifestyle every teenager of the 1960s dreamed of living. And his songs – “Venus,” “Why,” “Just Ask Your Heart,” “I’ll Wait for You,” “Bobby Sox to Stockings” and “A Boy Without a Girl.” Together those elements form a vital thread in what makes up the fabric of American pop culture. Born Francis Thomas Avallone to an Italian butcher and his wife on September 18, 1940 in Philadelphia, young “Frankie” was a trumpet-playing prodigy who, before he was even in his teens, was performing on national television programs such as “The Jackie Gleason Show.” Avalon was one of the first in a string of successful teen idol pop singers and movie stars to come out of Philadelphia. His songs and films, which teamed him with actress Annette Funicello, made him a mid-1960s icon – the wholesome, clean-cut kid-next-door who surfed above the era’s incoming waves of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. While Avalon may be best remembered for his “Frankie and Annette” summer romance films, he also carved out a niche in dramas that included roles in the 1960 western, “The Alamo,” with John Wayne, and the 1961 sci-fi classic, “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” with Barbara Eden. Marrying his childhood sweetheart, Kathryn “Kay” Diebel, in 1963, Avalon regularly appeared on popular television programs of the ‘60s including “American Bandstand,” “The Bing Crosby Show” and “The Patty Duke Show,” and continued to capture new audiences into the 1970s and ‘80s. After appearing as Teen Angel in the 1978 film adaption of the Broadway musical “Grease,” Avalon and Funicello reprised their beach party roles in the 1987 feature film “Back to the Beach” and also appeared as themselves in cameo roles in 1989’s “Troop Beverly Hills” shortly before she was diagnosed with the multiple sclerosis that would eventually take her life in 2013. The ‘80s also saw Avalon team up with fellow Philadelphians Bobby Rydell and Fabian Forte as “The Golden Boys of Bandstand,” a touring group that continues to perform today. Today, along with the hectic touring schedule he continues to maintain, Avalon oversees Frankie Avalon Products, which offers a line of health and cosmetic aids. The father of eight and grandfather of 10 has also just released a cookbook, “Frankie Avalon’s Italian Family Cookbook” (St. Martin’s Press, 2015), which presents over 80 recipes. Life After 50 recently spent a day visiting with Avalon at his palatial home on the outskirts of Los Angeles. We began our visit by asking what he thinks was in the Philadelphia water (or was it the cheesesteaks?) that saw the City of Brotherly Love produce so many pop singers during the 1950s. Frankie Avalon (FA): I don’t know what it was, so I always just say we’re all from the same mother [laughs]. It’s true, though. In my era there was James Darren, Mario Lanza, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Chubby Checker, Jim Croce, Al Martino, and Buddy Greco – we were all a part of what became that Philly sound. life After 50 (lA50): Do you think that was because “American Bandstand” originated from Philadelphia? FA: I don’t think so, no. Some people may have thought it was just because I was from Philly that I got on “Bandstand,” but that wasn’t the case. I had released a few records that were bombs and couldn’t get booked on the show. I didn’t get on “Bandstand” until I hit the charts. It wasn’t easy to get on Dick’s [Clark] show. He was very professional about who was booked, and in order to get on “Bandstand,” you had to have a hit record or at least one that was breaking out around the country. Doing “Bandstand” was very important

to me and other singers and musicians of that time. That show – along with making careers – was what helped build that whole music scene. It was a tremendous part of the success of pop and rock music. lA50: Could you have ever imagined, when you and Bobby rydell and fabian were teen idols doing “Bandstand,” that you would still be out there singing for fans in your 70s? FA: It’s great! I love it! I’ve known Bobby since we were both 10-yearsold. I’ve known Fabian since we were 14 or 15. We still love getting out there and doing the shows. It’s not an oldies show by any means. It’s just a wonderfully produced show with film clips and photos that the three of us wrote and put together. We sing the songs that people who grew up with us want to hear. It’s always a wonderful evening of music and memories and friendship. It’s amazing that our fans still follow us. I’ve been doing this for, what, almost 60 years. That’s a long time to still be doing anything, in any business. It’s great to get out there and meet the people who have been supportive of me for so many years. My fans are always like: “Hey, Frankie, how are you? How’s the family?” They feel like they know me,

November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 11


because I’ve been a part of their lives for so long. I love that people find me approachable like that. In 1960, I did a film with John Wayne, “The Alamo,” and when I would go around the country promoting the film with him, I always noticed he was not approachable. I mean, he was a great guy, but he was so much bigger than life and I think people were intimidated by him. The same was true with Frank Sinatra. I remember walking through an airport or into a restaurant with John Wayne and everybody would stop and their jaws would drop and they would just look at him. Nobody would ever come up to him and say: “Hey Duke, how’s the family?” [laughing]. He was just such a huge star that he wasn’t approachable like that. But, it’s very different with me and I love meeting the fans. The thing I don’t enjoy about it, but it’s what you have to put up with, is the traveling, which is just horrible today. But as soon as you’re in the theater’s wings and the curtain opens and you’re on, you forget all about that stuff. lA50: What are you up to when you are not performing? FA: Well, I do perform quite a bit, with Bobby and Fabian, and by myself. When I’m home here in Los Angles, I’m always busy doing something. We have a very large family – eight kids and their spouses and 10 grandkids – so some days are a madhouse around here – swimming, cooking, eating and having fun. We are very family oriented and love it when the house is full. I’m not much of a television guy, but I do read occasionally. Kay and I will go out to lunch or dinner with some friends. I play golf at least three times a week. And we are very fortunate to have a couple of other homes – one in the desert and one up in Lake Arrowhead. So we’ll do the triangle of homes. I also still promote our Zero Pain products that are very popular and came about because of my own bout with arthritis. We were the first to have a roll-on pain reliever with the active ingredient capsaicin and now we also offer homoeopathic creams. So I’m always keeping busy with something. lA50: Besides golf, what else do you do to stay in such great shape? FA: I’ve always been into some kind of exercise program. Now, being 75, I’ve kind of cut back on anything too strenuous, but there is one apparatus I think

12 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

is absolutely sensational – my rowing machine. I do about 10 minutes a day on the rowing machine and I walk at least two miles a day. As far as food is concerned, I eat pretty well. I’ve always eaten well – been careful about what I eat. I don’t think in my entire lifetime I’ve had a case of soda. I never drink soda. I’ve gone through cases and cases of wine, but not soda [laughs]. lA50: Speaking of food, what made you decide to put out a cookbook? FA: It really came about due to two people, Keith Frankel, who is a dear friend of mine, and my agent, Alan Morell. We were all together in Nantucket and I cooked for them. As we were eating, they both said: “You know what? You ought to do a cookbook.” And that’s what it is, a cookbook, not a “chef’s” book. I’m a cook, not a chef. So I kicked the idea around and got together with Rick Rogers, who is an award-winning cookbook author, and we just started going over all kinds of recipes. The book is really a collection of recipes for all sorts of different kinds of foods I have been making and eating all my life. There are many of them that were my mom’s original handwritten recipes. lA50: With the holidays upon us, is there any one favorite recipe in the book you would recommend for our readers to try? FA: Well, my favorite, and it’s one of the simplest ones in the book, is a crab sauce – crab marinara – that is served with spaghetti. It’s so simple, just crabs and tomatoes and a couple of other ingredients, and it is out of this world – a taste of its own. lA50: With cooking and eating being such an important part of the Avalon family life, tell us what Thanksgiving and Christmas are like around here. FA: With a big family, it’s wonderful! We usually have 24 or 25 – the kids, wives, husbands, grandchildren – and it’s a very traditional Thanksgiving. Kay will make two large turkeys and we do all the traditional dishes – the mashed potatoes and string beans and deserts. The girls will also usually bring something. So Thanksgiving here is very traditional. Christmas, on the other hand, is only traditional from an Italian’s standpoint [laughing]. Christmas dinner here is all kinds of pastas and sauces.


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LA50: Your home is so magnificent. It must look incredible when it’s decorated for Christmas. FA: Let me tell you something: You’ve got to go into every room in the house to appreciate what Kay does. She is incredible when it comes to holiday decorating. Whatever holiday it is, she has it all planned. Every year, for each holiday, she comes up with a theme. For Christmas, she has two decorated trees in the entrance, one big tree where we do our Christmas Eve exchanging of gifts, another tree in the den. She always does a great job. lA50: You and Kay will be celebrating your 53rd wedding anniversary in January, so you may be the best person we’ve ever featured in Life After 50 to ask about the secret to a successful marriage.

Ultimately, it’s your experience that matters. To be sure, we’re proud of our 27 years of experience in senior living. But, to us, what really matters is your experience at our communities. We do everything with that idea clearly in mind. So, go ahead, enjoy yourself with great social opportunities and amenities. Savor fine dining every day. And feel assured that assisted living services are always available if needed. We invite you to experience The Village at Sherman Oaks and The Village at NorthRidge for yourself at a complimentary lunch and tour. Please call to schedule. I n de p e n de n t & A s s i s t e d L i v i ng R e s i de nc e s

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FA: I don’t think there is any secret to it. There’s the good and the bad, the ups and downs in every marriage. But you’ve got to hang in there. I remember in the early years of our marriage, when we were kids with kids, we would have spats and they would last a day or two. But now, as the years have gone by, the spats last about two minutes [laughs.] Now it’s just all over and forgotten about. I think if there is one thing that is very important in making a marriage work, it is having respect for one another. I think that’s what’s kept us together. LA50: Along with a long and successful marriage, you’ve had an equally long and successful career. Today, so many people who were born years after you were topping the charts, know you as Teen Angel, the cameo role you did in the film “Grease.” FA: Even though “Grease” came out in 1978, it is still very popular today, even with young kids. It always surprises me how many young kids know it. I was really very fortunate to have done “Grease,” because I didn’t want to do it. I had seen the play on Broadway and my character, Teen Angel, swung in on a rope wearing a black leather jacket with these Elvis sideburns. My manager handed me the script and when he told me what role they wanted me for, I said: “I’m not even reading it! Forget it! Pass!” I remember this so clearly. After I turned it down, my manager told me that the writer, Alan Carr, and the director, Randal Kleiser, were not willing to accept “no” as an answer and really wanted to talk to me. So we had a meeting and I told them I had seen the play and I knew the part wasn’t right for me and, just like that, they both said: “Then we’ll change it! We’ll put you in white and we’ll do this and we’ll do that.” And I was still saying no, because I’ve got a musical style and it isn’t doo-wop. My style and all my hits have always been straight-ahead romantic. And they said: “Then we’ll do it that way!” They just weren’t taking “no” for an answer [laughs]. So I did it and I am very fortunate to have done it, because there are now so many generations that may not know the name Frankie Avalon, but, if you say: “You know, the angel in ‘Grease,’ who comes down the steps and sings ‘Beauty School Dropout,’ ” they go: “Oh yeah! I know that guy!” LA50: Young people know you because of “Grease,” and Tony Bennett because he has teamed up with Lady Gaga. But isn’t it just mind-boggling, and heartbreaking, that so many kids today don’t know so many of the legendary entertainers of the past? FA: It does bother me. This summer I did a motion picture, “Papa,” and during the shoot, I had a driver – a young gal – maybe 19-years-old. On this one day, on the way to the location, she was listening to rap music and we started to have a conversation about today’s music. I told her that I feel a lot of it is very negative and I asked her to put something else on. She asked me what kind of music I liked and I said: “Well, I like my idol, Frank Sinatra,” and she said: “Who?” Can you imagine! I said: “Wait a minute! You’ve never heard of Frank Sinatra?” She said: “No.” Then I asked her if she heard of Clark Gable? Again: “No.” And I just sat here thinking: “If kids don’t know Sinatra or Gable, how insignificant am I?” But I’ll tell you what bothers me even more than that. When I was a boy growing up in Philly, attending South Philadelphia High School, we had a wonderful class called “music appreciation.” I don’t know if they even do that anymore, but I think that is a class that should be taught in every school. I learned about Mozart and Ravel and Puccini, and then we would talk about some of the people like Mario Lanza, who had attended our school, and some of the popular singers and jazz musicians of the era. Kids


have to be introduced to various kinds of music and composers, and musicians or they will never know about them. That is why there is such a need for music appreciation in schools today. lA50: You told your driver you were not a fan of rap. is there any current music you do find appealing? FA: I think there is a major element missing in songs today – in lyrics and music – and it’s called “romance.” When you talk about the great composers – Irving Berlin – and lyricists, like Sammy Cahn, you had a song that in 32 bars told a story. You had a beginning and a middle and an end that was summed up romantically. I just don’t see that in songs today.

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lA50: What are your thoughts of the intergenerational teaming up of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga? Do you think that will help both generations – his and hers – have a better appreciation for one another’s music? STUDIO PRODUCTION

Title: 11/2 Senior Print

FA: Well, she is a unique talent. She is a trained pianist who studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, so she understands music. She then found a niche and was bright enough and talented enough to have taken it to a level that has given her the ability to do things other artists couldn’t do – to go in other directions with her music. I think she is extremely talented and I

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wonder if she now comes out with an album of her own original jazz songs, will there be that one song that becomes a standard? I mean, when was the last time we’ve seen a real true standard produced? She may be the one to do it. LA50: You mentioned you did a film last summer. Tell us about it. FA: It’s called “Papa” and it stars some great friends of mine that I have worked with through the years – Ann-Margret, Daryl Hannah, Eric Roberts. I really haven’t been too interested in doing film work lately, but this script came along and there were no blow-ups or explosions of things. It’s just a wonderful story about a little boy whose parents were in an accident. The mother died and the father became mentally incapacitated. So my wife and I adopt him and he goes on to become a successful attorney. Then, when he gets older, he wants to know about his birth parents. We have held back on giving him this information because of a circumstance that I won’t spoil. But it’s a really good story. The film was directed by Emilio Roso and will be out in 2016. lA50: Throughout your home you have so many wonderful artifacts and memorabilia from your career, but there is one thing that stands out in your study. It’s a small, framed newspaper obituary on a shelf. FA: Yeah, Annette’s. She was such a sweet person. Her death hit me pretty hard. She was so down-to-Earth and kind. I remember when we were doing the beach pictures, I would be out touring – doing concerts – and come back and tell her how people loved her and always asked me about her. She would always be amazed by that and say: “Really?” I don’t think she ever really understood how much she was loved by people all over America and the world. We made seven pictures together and never had an argument. She was just so sweet and it was terrible that the end of her life – the last 20 years – had to be so miserable for her. But she hung in there. I would call to see how she was doing from time-totime, but towards the end, she was not capable of conversation. But we really

16 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

had some great times together. We both knew nothing was ever going to come of those films we did. They were just fun for us and the kids who loved them. We made them in 15 days with a supporting cast of all these kids we knew, so doing those pictures was really like just going to the beach with our friends. Oh, and by the way, there was a camera there, so we would say this and say that, but, really, we just had a lot of fun and I think that’s the way they showed on the screen and that’s why they were successful. LA50: You just turned 75 in September. As you’ve gotten older, have you come to see life any differently? FA: I think, when it comes to getting older, you think about it, and then dismiss it. You can’t dwell on it. I just feel fortunate to have reached 75 and hope I have a lot more time to go with good health. But who knows? Whatever comes, comes. LA50: As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, we just wanted to express our thanks to you for sharing your thoughts and memories with our readers, and ask you, what are you most grateful for? FA: My life. I wouldn’t change one thing about my life. And that all starts with my wife, Kay, who is a gem-and-a-half. There isn’t one little thing she doesn’t do for our family, for me, for this house. Then, of course, our children and grandchildren, who are – thank God – all healthy. I’m so thankful for that. I pray every night for everybody to be healthy. So I look back and just think about how lucky I have been. I haven’t missed a trick. I’ve been very fortunate and I’m so grateful for having been able to live the life I’ve lived.

For more information on Frankie Avalon, his cookbook and products, click on www.frankieavalon.com.


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Meet Medicare! As Medicare celebrates its 50th birthday, here’s what you should know if you or someone you love is turning 65

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n 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson was successful in completing President John F. Kennedy’s efforts to put in place a healthcare program for older Americans (Medicare) and those with low income (Medicaid). Prior to the establishment of Medicare, half of all people age 65 and older lacked health insurance, which limited accessibility and affordability to a huge population of Americans. Without access to coverage, older Americans faced medical bills roughly triple those of every other age.

MEDICARE – IN THE SIMPLEST OF TERMS The two major parts of Medicare are Part A, which covers hospital expenses, and Part B, which covers doctor visits and outpatient services. In 1972, the program was extended to help those under 65 with long-term disabilities. Medicare Advantage Plans (private health plans to use in lieu of original Medicare) were added as another option in 1982. Medigap or Medicare supplement policies were also introduced around the same time. These plans help pay for the deductibles and cost-shares under original Medicare plans. In 2003, President George 20 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

W. Bush advocated an act that would include prescription drug benefits (Part D). Since then, President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act has seen laws enacted that have further transformed Medicare into what it is today. Today, there are nearly 55 million Americans enrolled in Medicare, and the number will continue to grow as baby boomers continue to retire. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say that since its establishment, Medicare has been a critical component in protecting the well-being and financial security of millions of Americans as they age or if they become disabled.

YOU AND MEDICARE If it hasn’t already happened, it will. Six months prior to your 65th birthday, you’ll reach into your mailbox and find a bundle of official Medicare booklets, mailers and letters from every insurance company imaginable. As you look over this information, the stress will begin to build and you’ll think: “This is so complicated!” Receiving this information should be a time of excitement over the nice healthcare coverage that is now available to you, and yet, you will feel

overwhelmed and confused. Don’t fret. Everyone does. But by learning the basics and using the resources available, you can take everything stepby-step and confidently enroll in a plan that is the best fit for you. With Medicare eligibility, you may sign up for Medicare Parts A and/or B during a sevenmonth period that begins three months before your birthday, the month of your birthday, and three months after your birthday. If you sign up prior to your 65th birthday, your Medicare will start the first of the month of your birthday. If you sign up after, it will begin on the first of the month following the date you sign up. This is what is known as your initial enrollment period. If you are still employed, this is the time to have a discussion with your employer about what will happen if you decide to leave the company’s plan and how your employee benefits work with Medicare (if you do choose to sign up). If you are retiring, remember that COBRA and retiree benefits do not count as employer coverage, and you will need to sign up during the time period when you are eligible to avoid penalties. To get started with Medicare, you must contact the Social Security Administration, which handles


most of the paperwork when you join. Your payment set-up may vary depending on whether or not you are enrolled in Social Security. If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you may be automatically signed up. Social Security may also help lower your costs for Medicare and drug costs if you are financially eligible. You can contact Social Security by going online or by making an appointment with a local Social Security office. You usually don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A coverage if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working. Part B, however, currently has a standard cost of $104.90 per month and you may be charged more if you have a higher income. Once you sign up for Parts A and B, it is important to know what all the parts mean. Knowing the basics will help lead you in making the right decisions for your new healthcare coverage.

KNOWING YOUR MEDICARE As, Bs, Cs AND MORE When you sign up for Medicare, you will have two basic options: original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Option one is original Medicare (Parts A and B) which is the health plan provided by the federal government. Part A is your hospital coverage and Part B is for doctor visits and outpatient services. With original Medicare, you can go to any doctor, facility or hospital in the United States, as long as they accept Medicare. Most of the time, you will not need referrals for services. While original Medicare has wonderful coverage, there are still deductibles, co-insurance, additional copayments and possible excess charges that you may be responsible for. A way to absorb these costs is to purchase a supplement or Medigap plan, offered through private insurance companies. The supplement plans are standardized and have different levels of coverage, ranging from plan A through N. A popular choice which gives the richest coverage is Plan F. Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not cover most prescriptions, so most people with original Medicare will purchase stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (Part D). These plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. They must cover the drugs that doctors most commonly prescribe. A great way to shop and compare drug plans is through the Medicare website (www.medicare.gov.) You can enter your prescriptions, the pharmacy you use, and whether or not you like to use mail-order service. Once you’ve entered this information, it will let you compare over 30 different plans to help you select the plan that best fits your needs. Original Medicare is an excellent option for those people who want the freedom to go to any provider they wish that accepts Medicare without dealing with referrals. They will also have the option to shop and buy from a variety of drug plans. Option two is Medicare Advantage (Part C). Medicare Advantage plans are private insurance

plans (HMOs and PPOs) contracted by Medicare. You must still be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B to sign up for Medicare Advantage plans. These plans must cover what original Medicare covers, but offer additional help with cost sharing and add extra benefits like hearing aids, basic dental and rides to the doctor. You should not buy a supplement or Medigap plan if you choose Medicare Advantage. Most Medicare Advantage plans also include prescription drug coverage. A number of plans have “coordinated care,” which means the plan coordinates your coverage through a primary-care physician who manages the care you receive from specialists and hospitals. Other plans may have you select from a specific network of doctors and hospitals. Different Medicare Advantage plans are available in different service areas and you must live in the plan’s service area to sign up. Every year during open enrollment, you may compare and enroll in the one that best suits you. Medicare Advantage plans are a good fit for those who have a good relationship with their primary doctor and trust in his or her management of their care (for HMOs). People also appreciate the convenience of a plan that covers both their medical and drug expenses. There are a lot of different plans to choose from, so you will want to do your research ahead of time. You can shop and compare plans on www.medicare.gov, or you can get help from an independent insurance agent or a specialized Medicare counselor in your area.

AS EACH YEAR PASSES Once you are receiving Medicare, the end of each year will become an important time for you. The Medicare open enrollment period runs from October 15 thru December 7 of each year. This open enrollment is the time to shop and make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan or prescription drug plan. Any changes you make will go into effect on January 1. During open enrollment, you should review the Annual Notice of Change from your health plan to see if there are any changes in

benefits that may affect you. You should also verify that your prescriptions are still covered on the drug plan and re-confirm the copays. If you are happy with your plan, you do not need to do anything. If you have original Medicare, you also need to review your drug plan during this open enrollment period. If you have a supplement or Medigap plan, you have the option to change to a similar or lesser plan with another insurance company during the month of your birthday without health questions. The only reason to change Medigap plans is if you find one that has lower premiums. There are other times during the year in which you may sign up or change your plan. These are called specialelection periods and can occur if you move out of the area, lose your company benefits, or qualify for government financial assistance. If you have certain health conditions, you may also qualify at a different time. There is also a disenrollment period when you can leave your Medicare Advantage plan and return to original Medicare. The disenrollment period runs from January 1 through February 14 of each year.

HELP IS AVAILABLE! Going through the maze of Medicare enrollment is not something you have to do alone. Medicare’s website has many tools to help you shop and compare plans to find out what is covered. Independent insurance agents specializing in Medicare plans are available to give you unbiased information and guidance at no cost to you. You can also find help through various government agencies and non-profit organizations. The Council on Aging is an excellent non-profit that offers help. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) also provides free personalized Medicare counseling. While it may seem overwhelming, signing up for Medicare and picking a plan that is right for you can be a simple process if you take advantage of the available resources.

MEET LORI VINCENT The owner of Vincent Insurance Services in Huntington Beach, California, Lori Vincent offers over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, specializing in medical, dental and life plans for Medicare beneficiaries, businesses and individuals in Southern California. Vincent can be reached at (714) 593-9990 for guidance and answers at no cost to you. Vincent is an independent agent and not connected or employed with the federal Medicare program. (CA Lic # 0C58898) November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 21


Five Simple Tips

For Success During Medicare’s Open Enrollment By Ronald Bolding, President and CEO, Inter Valley Health Plan

T

his year marked a milestone as Medicare celebrated its 50th anniversary. To date, with almost 55 million individuals aged 65 or older receiving Medicare, 91 percent say they are satisfied with the coverage and that the program is working well, according to a national poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation that was taken in July, 2015. However, in the wake of that poll, USA Today reported that anecdotal evidence suggests many new enrollees are perplexed by what Medicare actually covers and what it doesn’t cover. It’s not unusual for individuals preparing for Medicare to be overwhelmed and confused by the enrollment process as they gear up to register. For that reason, it is critical that new enrollees determine what is important for them from a health, budget and services standpoint. Among the most common mistakes people make when enrolling in Medicare is failing to understand what Medicare Advantage plans cover and how those options meet their needs. Here are six simple tips to help successfully guide you through this current open enrollment period. 22 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

1) KNOW HOW THEY RATE

3) KNOW WHAT YOU NEED

Recognize that the federal government rates plans on a scale from one to five. This quality factor is important because it can mean the difference between enrolling in a plan with a limited network of doctors and hospitals or one that includes the best providers in your area. It also can mean the difference between getting the help you need when you call for advice and being put on hold waiting to talk with a person instead of a machine.

Consider which extra services, such as dental, vision care and gym memberships you may want. Many, but not all, Medicare Advantage plans include vision coverage, and some will reimburse for some or all of the cost of a belonging to a health club.

2) CALCULATE, CALCULATE, CALCULATE Remember that most Medicare Advantage plans have low or no monthly premiums, which make them attractive, but some may also have deductibles and copayments. Enrollees should calculate how much they expect to spend on healthcare based on what they’ve spent in recent years, and then match that expected spending level to the best plan options.

4) DON’T BECOME OVERWHELMED Give yourself time to study the plan options. Talk to friends and family. Some plans may offer Medicare Information Centers in your neighborhood where you can sit down and talk to an expert and ask them questions – others will offer an 800-hotline.

5) LEARN, LEARN, LEARN Take advantage of all the resources and create a checklist of what matters to you. Once you’ve done your homework and review and reflect upon what you’ve learned, you can confidently choose the plan that best meets your needs.


Five More Tips

To Maximize Your Free Medicare Wellness Visits By Valery DeSimone, PA-C

O

ne of the new provisions of the Affordable Care Act is a Medicare-paid Annual Wellness Visit (AWV). What makes these visits special is they are not just a usual doctor’s appointment – addressing acute illness or chronic conditions. Rather, the AWV is a way for people to help themselves maintain good health. It is a visit aimed at those on Medicare who may have health issues as well as those who feel good and don’t otherwise seek frequent healthcare. It focuses less on the physical exam and more on the prevention and early detection of diseases. As a certified physician assistant (PA-C) in an internal medicine practice, where over half of our patients are over 65, I see several patients every week for this type of visit. Here are five tips to get the most from your Annual Wellness Visit.

1) ROUND UP THE MEDS Bring in all of your medications in their original containers, including supplements and overthe-counter medications. This avoids any confusion about what you are taking, the dosage and frequency. It also allows us to discuss any unnecessary duplication or interactions of drugs prescribed by multiple providers.

2) RECORD YOUR HISTORY

RONALD BOLDING is the president and chief executive officer of Inter Valley Health Plan, a notfor-profit, federally qualified, HMO contracted with Medicare and dedicated to providing the best value in healthcare coverage. Headquartered in Pomona, California, the company strives to improve the quality of life for older adults throughout its service area and is one of the oldest managed healthcare plans in Southern California with 36 years in business. Entrusted by individuals from Los Angeles, Orange County, Palm Springs, Riverside, Hemet, Victorville, Temecula, and virtually every city and town in between, Inter Valley Health Plan is dedicated to keeping its members healthy and strong, while maintaining real service values. For more information, click on www.IVHP.com.

Create a health history folder and bring it to your appointment. You may recall retaining an immunization card for each of your children to document health history and vaccinations. This is a helpful tool for adults, too. Make a simple list of prior surgeries and dates. Also include a list of vaccinations and dates. Aging Americans tend to get vaccinations where convenient, whether it is at work, a senior center, or the local pharmacy, and it is not uncommon to forget whether you were vaccinated for flu, pneumonia, shingles, or pertussis and when each vaccine was received. If you don’t have such a list or folder, start one now!

3) LIST THE SPECIALISTS Many of our patients self-refer and may be seeing a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, an ob/gyn or urologist and more. We don’t always receive the consult reports from the specialists. A list of specialists will enable us to better understand your past and current medical issues and help coordinate your care going forward.

4) BRING YOUR ADVANCED DIRECTIVE

it into your chart so there is no question about your wishes. If you don’t have an advanced directive, we will give you one to fill out or take home to discuss with family. This is an important decision for you to make now, while you are healthy.

5) BE OPEN AND HONEST Be prepared for an open discussion and a review of screening and early identification tests. How do you feel about your health? What is your prior history and family history? Are you concerned about memory loss, incontinence, depression or falling? Do you have the support of family or friends if you need it? When was your last mammogram or PSA screening test, eye exam, colonoscopy, etc.? We may refer you for these tests if appropriate. At the same time, we try to be cognizant of scheduling tests or follow-ups, because we know too many at one time can be overwhelming. We will prioritize based on your individual risk factors. The Annual Wellness Visit is important to understanding you as a whole patient, not just for one illness or set of symptoms. The first year it may take a bit longer (up to an hour) as we collect all this data. The second and subsequent years should result in a shorter visit as the information just needs to be updated. Take advantage of this Medicarepaid visit to make sure you are optimizing your healthcare and your health.

VALERY DESIMONE has been a certified physician assistant (PA-C) for 12 years, with the last four focused in internal medicine. She is one of three certified PAs supporting 10 physicians at Premier Physicians Medical Group in South Orange County, California. For more information, click on www.nccpa.net.

We do discuss end-of-life issues at the AWV. When you bring in your advanced directive, we can scan November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 23


SCAN The Stars

Need More Info?

Most Medicare Advantage plans feature all of the basic benefits traditionally covered under Medicare as well as a prescription drug benefit (Medicare Part D). But out-of-pocket drug costs can vary significantly among health plans. According to Cathy Batteer, general manager at SCAN Health Plan, most plans list the drugs they cover on a formulary, which can be found on the health plan’s website. “When considering a plan, be sure to look up any drugs you currently take to see if they are covered and at what cost,” says Batteer. “SCAN reviews its formulary every year to ensure it provides coverage for the medications its members use most. We don’t want the cost of drugs to be a barrier to good health.” Another thing to consider when comparing Medicare health plans is their

For more information on how to navigate open enrollment and improve your Medicare coverage in 2016, click on www.lifeafter50.com and read Dr. James DeCock’s comprehensive feature, “How to Navigate Open Enrollment and Improve Your Medicare Coverage in 2016.”

For Prescription Drug Benefits

24 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

star rating. Medicare’s star rating system helps you compare quality between plans. Plans are ranked on a one- to fivestar basis. SCAN has 4.5-star-rated plans in each of the 12 California counties it serves. (Star ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.) To learn more about SCAN, click on www.SCAN2016.com. SCAN Health Plan is an HMO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in SCAN Health Plan depends on contract renewal.

We’ve Got it!

Dr. DeCock, M.D. is a family physician at Mission Heritage Medical Group, a member of the St. Joseph Hoag Health alliance. He completed his residency in medicine at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center’s Family Medicine Residency program, and has been practicing medicine in Orange County for nearly 20 years. St. Joseph Hoag Health is a non-profit healthcare system based in Orange County. For more health information from St. Joseph Hoag Health experts, click on www.stjhs.org/HealthCalling.


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T H H  M-K By David Laurell Illustration by Mark Hammermeister

S

S

A zany and innovative comedian who hosted numerous radio programs and children’s television shows from the 1950s through the late 1980s, Soupy Sales became known for his quirky quips and puns, interaction with an eclectic group of characters and puppets, and as the recipient of thousands of cream pies to the face. Soupy also branched into music and, in 1965, hit Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with a novelty song and accompanying dance, “The Mouse,” which instructed kids to make like a mouse and: “Shake with your hands wigglin’ from your ears.”

B

orn Milton Supman in 1926, in Franklinton, North Carolina, the kid who would become known as Soupy Sales grew up in Huntington, West Virginia. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served on the USS Randall in the South Pacific during the latter part of World War II. During his time in the Navy, Sales entertained his shipmates by taking to the ship’s public address system as all sorts of crazy characters. Following his stint in the service, Sales attended West Virginia’s Marshall University where he earned a B.A. in journalism and went on to write scripts for a local radio station. Recognizing his innovative humor, the management of the station soon offered him a job as an on-air personality. Taking to the airwaves as “Soupy Hines,” he quickly became the area’s top disc jockey. As for the name “Soupy,” Sales explained it had been derived from the nicknames his family called him and his two older brothers: “Ham Bone,” “Chicken Bone” and “Soup Bone,” which eventually morphed into “Soupy,” to which he added “Hines” during that first radio gig. He would soon drop “Hines,” deciding it sounded too much like Heinz soup, and chose the name “Sales” as a tribute to vaudeville comedian Chic Sale.

In 1950, Sales made the move from radio to television, which also included a move to Cincinnati, where he hosted the nation’s first teen dance show, “Soupy’s Soda Shop.” During his three years in Ohio, he also hosted a variety show called “Club Nothing,” before leaving for “health reasons.” “They got sick of me,” he quipped. Moving on to Detroit in 1953, he was hired by WXYZ-TV, where he quickly became a popular children’s television personality as the host of “Lunch With Soupy Sales.” During his 11-year run in Detroit, Sales also hosted a nighttime show, “Soup’s On,” which presented musicians, usually from the jazz genre, of which Sales was an aficionado. In 1960, Sales headed to Los Angeles where he hosted “The Soupy Sales Show.” Four years later, he took the popular show to New York, where it was syndicated throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The show, which presented comedy sketches and various puppets, characters and celebrities who always seemed to have just wandered onto the set via a knock on the door, was chock full of Sales’ puns that were punctuated with a pie or two (or more) in the face. Taking a kisser-full of cream and crust became Sales’ trademark and he claimed that between him and his guests, more than 20,000

This feature is intended for you to clip and give to your children or grandchildren because…they must-know! 26 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015


custard torpedoes had been launched and successfully met their target during his career. As for Sales’ characters and puppets, the most popular were his two huge dogs – White Fang, “The Biggest and Meanest Dog in the U.S.A.,” and Black Tooth, “The Biggest and Sweetest Dog in the U.S.A.,” of which viewers only saw their giant paws while conversing with unintelligible grunts that only Sales could decipher. His other popular puppet was Pookie the Lion, a hipster who constantly upstaged Sales with his wit and sang along to obscure novelty records such as composer Irving Taylor’s “Pachalafaka,” which was actually recorded by Sales and broke into Billboard’s Top 40 in 1958. Other characters included Hippy the Hippo, Sales’ girlfriend, Peaches, (played by Sales himself in drag), private detective Philo Kvetch and his evil nemesis, “The Mask,” whose henchmen, “Onions” Oregano, could disarm Kvetch with just a breath in the gumshoe’s direction. Of all the craziness Sales brought to the airwaves, nothing matched a stunt he pulled on New Year’s Day of 1965. Not happy about having had to do his show on the holiday, Sales told his young viewers to tiptoe into their sleeping parents’ bedrooms and remove those “funny green pieces of paper with pictures of U.S. presidents” from their purses and wallets. Sales went on to instruct the kids that once they had their haul collected, they were to “put them in an envelope and mail them to me and I’ll send you a postcard… from Puerto Rico!” Within days, envelopes addressed to Sales and filled with dollar bills began arriving at New York’s WNEW studio. The station’s management, along with outraged parents, found no humor in the stunt and Sales was made to explain it was just a joke and that any money received would either be returned or donated to charity. He was also suspended for two weeks, an action that outraged his viewers, who picketed the station, causing an uproar that only increased the popularity of his show. While Sales’ show was technically a children’s show, it garnered a loyal following of teens and even adults including Frank Sinatra. When Sinatra established his record label, Reprise Records, he signed Sales to a recording contract that resulted in two recordings: 1961’s “The Soupy Sales Show” and 1962’s “Up In The Air.” Sales’ foray into the musical world would also produce “The Mouse,” a 1965 novelty dance record that he performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show” prior to The Beatles’ September 1965 appearance. Sales also went on to sign with Motown Records in 1969 and released a single, “Muck-Arty Park,” a pre-Weird Al Yankovic parody of the 1968 hit “MacArthur Park,” and an album, “A Bag of Soup.” Sales also did a comedy album, “Spy With A Pie” for ABC/Paramount, which was rereleased on the Simon Says children’s records label. After leaving his show, Sales continued to appear regularly on television as a panelist on a number of game shows including “What’s My Line?” “To Tell the Truth,” “Match Game,” “The Gong Show,” “Hollywood Squares” and various versions of “The Pyramid.” His later career also saw him return to radio. He hosted a midday show on WNBC in New York from March 1985 to March 1987, when he was fired, mid-show, for making on-air comments about how poorly he had been treated by the station’s management. The twice-married Sales had two sons by his first wife, Barbara Fox. The boys, Tony and Hunt Sales, went on to become professional musicians forming a band – Tony and the Tigers – and also playing with numerous rock legends including Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Sales died of cancer at the age of 83 on October 22, 2009, at Calvary Hospice in the Bronx, New York. His memorial service at New York’s Riverside Funeral Home proved to be as zany as the man being eulogized. His son, Tony, recalled his dad’s greatest advice: “Be true to your teeth, and they won’t be false to you.” Comedian Professor Irwin Corey had to be physically removed from the service after his eulogy turned into a diatribe about healthcare reform, in which he insisted that Sales had died due to inadequate treatment. And a female rabbi told the mourners that Sales’ parents, Irving and Sadie Supman, the only Jewish family in Franklinton, North Carolina, who owned a dry-goods store, had sold sheets to the Ku Klux Klan. Following the bizarre sendoff, Sales was buried at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y.

LEARN MORE Along with his albums and a plethora of clips from Sales’ various television appearances that can be found on YouTube, he authored three books: • “Did You Hear The One About: The Greatest Jokes Ever Told” (Collier Books, 1987) • “Stop Me If You’ve Heard It!: Soupy Sales Favorite Jokes” (M. Evans & Company, 2003) • “Soupy Sez!: My Life and Zany Times” (M. Evans & Company, 2003)

Mark Hammermeister is an award-winning artist. His work is available for purchase at www.markdraws.com November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 27


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Welcome to a neighborhood meeting of the Medicare Skeptics Society.

(

Inter Valley Health Plan knows you weren’t born yesterday. And that you might be skeptical about switching Medicare Medicare Advantage plans. Well, Skeptics Society maybe you should attend a questionand-answer session at Inter Valley’s neighborhood Medicare Information and Vitality Center.

Join us for fresh coffee and a light snack.* Bring along all of your questions. And explore the kind of Medicare benefits that win over some of the toughest skeptics like: $0 Hospitalization $0 Primary Care and Specialist Visits $0 Monthly Premium for Dental Coverage And much more, like vision, gym and fitness benefits** You’ll get all of this and much more from Inter Valley Health Plan — we’ve been serving the community for over 36 years.

Honest answers to your toughest questions. That’s Medicare on your terms. To reserve your seat at a neighborhood meeting call 888-485-3779 or TTY/TDD 800-505-7150 for the hearing impaired, or visit www. eventconnectnow.com/ivhp today. Come to a meeting and get a free travel mug and a bag of gourmet coffee.*

Call: 888-485-3779 or TTY/TDD 800-505-7150 7 days a week, 7:30 am to 8 pm MEDICARE INFORMATION & VITALITY CENTERS CLAREMONT: Pomona Valley Health Center 1601 Monte Vista Ave, Suite 275 Mon, Nov 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 @ 2 pm Tues, Nov 3, 10, 17, 24 @ 10 am Thurs, Nov 5, 12, 19 @ 10 am Thurs, Nov 12 @ 6 pm Sat, Nov 14 @ 10 am COVINA: Covina Joslyn Senior Center 815 N Barranca Ave Tues, Nov 3, 10, 17, 24 @ 10:30 am Fri, Nov 6, 20 @ 9:30 am CHINO: Superior Grocery Store (inside the store) 12375 Central Ave @ 60 fwy, Space D, Chino Tues, Nov 3, 17 @ 10 am Wed, Nov 4, 18 @ 5:30 pm Thurs, Nov 12 @ 10 am

OTHER LOCATIONS Pancakes R US, 2282 N Garry Ave, Pomona Mon, Nov 2, 16, 30 @ 10 am Denny’s, 5603 Rosemead Blvd, Temple City Mon, Nov 2 @ 1:30 pm Brandon’s Diner, 2407 S. Vineyard Ave Suite A, Ontario: Wed, Nov 4 @ 10 am Denny’s, 132 N Grand Ave, West Covina Wed, Nov 4 @ 10 am Inter Valley Health Plan, 300 S.Park Ave 4th Flr, Pomona: Wed, Nov 4 @ 2 pm Fri, Nov 20 @ 10 am Carrow’s, 425 N Mountain Ave, Upland Thurs, Nov 5 @ 10 am / Thurs, Nov 19 @ 2 pm Mimi’s Cafe, 500 W Huntington Dr, Monrovia Mon, Nov 9 @ 2 pm Walters Restaurant, 310 N. Yale Ave, Claremont Wed, Nov 11 @ 10 am / Thurs, Nov 18 @ 10 am

HealthCare Partners 2025 E. Route 66, Glendora Thurs, Nov 12 @ 1 pm James L. Brulte Senior Center 11200 Baseline Rd, Rancho Cucamonga Mon, Nov 16 @ 9:30 am Mimi’s Cafe, 3890 Grand Ave, Chino Tues, Nov 17 @ 2 pm Coco’s, 306 N Azusa Ave, Covina Wed, Nov 18 @ 10 am Marie Callender’s 5455 Philadelphia St, Chino Wed, Nov 18 @ 2 pm Coco’s, 4360 Mills Circle, Ontario Thurs, Nov 19 @ 2 pm PPA Insurance Center 1551 W 13th St, Ste 101, Upland Wed, Nov 25 @ 2 pm

Inter Valley Health Plan is a not-for-profit HMO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Inter Valley Health Plan depends on contract renewal. For more information contact the Plan. Anyone entitled to Part A and enrolled in Part B may apply, including those under the age of 65 entitled to Medicare on the basis of Social Security disability benefits. Members must continue to pay Medicare Part B premium. **The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. For accommodation of persons with special needs at sales meetings, call the number above. A licensed sales representative will be present with marketing information and applications. *No obligation. Limited time offer while supplies last. One gift per person, per meeting, Must be Medicare eligible. This is an advertisement. MKS02352AD 10/15 H0545_FUY2016_33 Accepted 10/01/2015


Charlotte Rae With her 90th birthday in sight, she’s still working, enjoying life, and grateful for every wrinkle Story and photos by David Laurell

H

ere are the facts on the life of Charlotte Rea: Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1926 to Russian Jewish immigrants, she attended Northwestern University, moved to New York City where she performed in the theater and nightclubs, and became a fixture on the stage and screen for over 65 years. Her first significant success came with the early 1960’s sitcom “Car 54, Where Are You?” in which she played Sylvia Schnauzer, the wife of Officer Leo Schnauzer, played by Al Lewis, who would go on to play Grandpa Munster on “The Munsters.” This led to roles on numerous shows throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, including “The Phil Silvers Show,” “The Partridge Family,” “Love, American Style,” “All in the Family” and “Good Times.” Married to Grammy-winning composer, John Strauss, the couple had two sons before divorcing in the mid-1970s, when Strauss revealed he was gay. The 1980s brought Rae stardom when she was cast as Edna Garrett on the popular sitcoms “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life.” Today, at the age of 89, having fought a serious bout with cancer and dealt with heart problems,

30 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

she continues to work and has just released a memoir, “The Facts Of My Life” (BearManor Media, 2015), which will, with great candor, provide readers on these and other details of her life – a life of amazing twists, turns, tragedies and triumphs.

TIME TO TELL THE TALE “I’ve always been too busy to write a book about my life,” says Rae, as she sits in her wellappointed apartment overlooking Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills. “But my son, Larry [Strauss], has always wanted me to do a book. He’s a writer and a teacher and so we decided this was the time to tell the story, and he took the lead.” Strauss, who has actually assigned his students to talk to their parents and write stories about their lives, says that by taking his own advice, he found out quite a bit about his mother he never knew. “I learned details about her relationships with her sisters,” says Strauss. “The good and the bad. How the family got along and interacted with

one another. I was around for a lot of her career, so I knew those stories, but by doing the book, she painted a nice picture of her life growing up that I never knew about.” Rae says the physical act of putting the book together went more smoothly than she thought it would. “Larry would type away while I talked, and then he would ask me questions and just keep on typing,” she says with a laugh. “Then we looked over drafts and I would make some changes here and there. It was a great collaboration, because we were always pretty much on the same page.” Asked if those who have grown up knowing her as the kindly Edna Garrett will be surprised by getting to know the woman behind the character, Rae breaks out in a coy grin. “This book will be a real surprise to some – a real shock actually. Every family has their problems, and life in our family was not all rosy. We had our problems and some of them were not easily solved. Some were very challenging and were never solved.” In addition to her marriage that ended with her husband’s revelation that he was gay, Rae dealt with raising her other son, Andrew, who suffered


THE FACTS OF DOING “FACTS” While Rae says the producers of “The Facts of Life” were never willing to allow her to explore great depth with the character of Mrs. Garrett, she is quick to say she is extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to play that role. “Doing that show was a great time of my life,” Rae recalls. “But at times, it was lonely because I was doing a show without peers. There was no one my age on the show.” While her co-stars – Lisa Whelchel, Mindy Cohn, Kim Fields and Nancy McKeon – had a wonderful on-screen relationship with Rae’s character, she reveals that off-screen, the girls perceived her as a part of the show’s management. “I was billed as the star of the show and was, of course, an adult,” says Rae. “So the girls associated me with the management – the producers. Because of that, whenever anything came up, they weren’t sure they could talk to me. But they were always very sweet and polite and I was involved with them in many ways.” Today, 30 years after Rae left “The Facts of Life,” she still stays very involved with her former co-stars. “I love all of them,” she says. “I’m very

close with Nancy and her husband and their two little girls. They are very loyal to me. I keep in touch with Lisa. She lives here in Los Angeles and is more beautiful than ever. Kimmie, has two kids. She and her husband live in Atlanta and I’m always being kept apprised on everything they are doing. And Mindy is doing very well. She is also here in L.A. and we get together for lunch every once in a while.” Rae also says that, while they don’t cross paths often, she is very proud of a guy who was a young and relative unknown actor when he appeared on “The Facts of Life” – George Clooney. “I knew, right from the start, that he was a good actor,” says Rae. “Viewers really couldn’t tell that, because they didn’t give him much of a role, but it was clear to me that he had what it takes. I had gone to see him in a play and he was just terrific. I really admire him – that he never got into drugs or alcohol and has gone on to be so successful and a wise and strong man.”

past summer appeared in the feature film, “Ricky and the Flash.” “Doing that film was so marvelous,” says Rae. “I had such a good time getting to work with Meryl Streep and Kevin Klein. We would all sit in this tent between takes and share our stories and experiences while the younger actors sat around us and were mesmerized. I still love to work and I have plans to do a Samuel Beckett play in the spring at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.” By the time she walks out on the boards of the Douglas Theatre, Rae will have turned 90. Asked how she views life as she enters her 10th decade, she explains that awhile back, she sat herself down and had a little talk about aging. “I made a commitment to myself to be happy and grateful,” she reveals. “There is no point in getting stressed out about things. I’m 89-and-a-half and God has been so good to me. I’m still here and I’m incredibly grateful for that. So whenever I find myself getting upset over something, I stop and get a hold of myself and realize that I should be enjoying life and savoring every moment. I look out the window and see the beauty of the clouds and try to be a good neighbor and be of service to others and be good to myself. I’ve had so many close calls with death that I’m just thankful to be above ground. And every day, when I look in the mirror, I’m grateful for every wrinkle in my face. I feel that with every new wrinkle there is a new role waiting for me.” For those in and around Los Angeles, you’ll have the chance to meet Charlotte Rae and get a signed copy of her book, “The Facts Of My Life” when she appears at Barnes & Noble at The Grove on November 11. For more information call (323) 525-0270.

A WRINKLE MEANS A ROLE While Rae has had to deal with a rash of health issues, from a 1982 pacemaker implant to a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer that was caught very early and is now in remission, those things have done little to slow her down. She is still on the active search for roles and this

November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 31

Photob By Hayley Sparks

with severe mental challenges and who died in 1999 at the age of 44. “It was very hard to diagnose exactly what his condition was,” says Rae. “We were first were told he had autism and then, as time went by, they told us he was severely mentally challenged. Then he had epilepsy and childhood schizophrenia. It was a very complex bag and it was even more challenging because he looked perfectly normal – like any other child. Because of that, many people just thought he was a very spoiled and misbehaving child.” Explaining that by doing the book, she was forced to think and talk about her ex-husband, as well as Andrew and issues pertaining to her career and health in a much more candid way than she had ever done before, Rae says the process revealed things that even she herself never realized. “I learned that everybody’s life comes with the good times and the challenges,” she says. “Once I decided I was going to do the book, I also decided I was going to let it all hang out and not present myself as this perfect woman who had all the answers that people saw on television. I even used to say that to the producers back when we were doing ‘The Facts of Life.’ I was always pleading with them to make Mrs. Garrett more human. I would say: ‘Please, let me scream at the girls. Let me just get angry at them and be human and not always be so perfect.’ But they wanted her to be warm and sympathetic, and because that was how Mrs. Garrett was presented, people thought that was also who Charlotte Rae was. So now, with my book, people will find out all about the real Charlotte Rae. They will see what my life was really like, and that through it all – the different challenges and the illnesses – that somehow, through the Grace of God, I’m still here and still working, and still enjoying the banquet of life.”


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Directed by Two-time Tony Award winner

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Judith Ivey

After

All on 4

Judith Ivey

Annabella Price

OCT 21-NOV 15

“Betty”

“ ‘Wonderful’ show is theatrical magic.” — SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE

A one-man stage adaptation of “It’s a Wonderful Life” Starring James

Leaming

DECEMBER 8-27

It’s “CSI: Bethlehem” in this holiday mystery extravaganza. From the author of Late Nite Catechism, Sister creates a living Nativity unlike any you’ve ever seen.

DECEMBER 13-15 (858) 481-1055 • NorthCoastRep.org Group Sales: (858) 481-2155, ext. 202 • 987 Lomas Santa Fe Dr., Solana Beach November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 33


Let’s Get OUt A Preview of Upcoming Events for November/December By Claire Yezbak Fadden

LA/Ventura

November/December 2015

eNteRtAINMeNt

and care for beautiful native plants, including irrigation and pruning tips. Bring gardening gloves. Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge. Free. (818) 9494200. descansogardens.org.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15 HUMBLE BOY Felix Humble is a brilliant but bumbling astrophysicist whose mission in life is to unlock the secrets of the universe. He returns home to his bee keeping father’s funeral, only to discover his difficult and domineering mother in the arms of another man. As he struggles to unlock the secrets of the human heart, what emerges is a touching, funny and entertaining family portrait. The Colony Theatre is located at 555 N. Third St., Burbank. Through Dec. 13. Prices vary. (818) 558-7000. colonytheatre.org.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18 DOWNTOWN ON ICE Get your glide on at this holiday season at L.A.’s biggest outdoor community skating rink. Enjoy festive, free events including a holiday concert series, the Snoopy Showcase, deejay nights, a Winter Holiday Festival, championship skating exhibitions and broomball games. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive, Los Angeles. Through Jan. 19. $9/onehour skate session. $3 skate rental. (213) 624-4289. pershingsquareicerink.com.

MAN COVETS BIRD Finegan Kruckemeyer’s internationally acclaimed tale of friendship and optimism incorporates live music, song and lyrical storytelling. 24th Street Theatre, 1117 West 24th St., Los Angeles. $10-$24. (213) 745-6516. 24thstreet.org.

OUTSIDE MULLINGAR Family farms, feuds and fences have separated neighbors Rosemary and Anthony since childhood. But as the heather blooms in the Irish countryside, unexpected charms are unearthed. Gil Cates Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave. Los Angeles. Dates vary through Dec 20. $32-$76. (310) 208-5454. geffenplayhouse.com.

A FLEA IN HER EAR Very strange bedfellows rub shoulders – and more – at the Hotel Coq d’Or in the work that is thought to be Feydeau’s comic masterpiece. Based on older French farces, the demimonde and their caprices are exposed in this entertaining romp. A Noise Within, 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Through Nov.22. Prices vary. (626) 356-3100. anoisewithin.org.

GLENDALE NOON CONCERTS Arnold Schoenberg, Ottorino Respighi, Jacqueline Suzuki, Frank Basile perform. Sanctuary of Glendale City Church, 610 E. California Ave., Glendale, Glendale. Free. (818) 242-2113. glendalenoonconcerts. blogspot.com. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18

JULIA MIGENES SINGS KURT WEILL AWAKE AND SING! Gritty, passionate, funny and heartbreaking, Odets’ masterpiece beautifully captures the hopes and the struggles of a lower-middleclass, three-generation Jewish family living in a Bronx apartment during the Great Depression. Starring Marilyn Fox and directed by Elina DeSantos. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. Dates vary through Nov. 29. $34. (310) 477-2055 x2. HYPERLINK “http://www.OdysseyTheatre. com” odysseytheatre.com. WESTERN MUSIC ASSOCIATION SHOWCASE Musicians and cowboy poets perform stories and songs of the romantic days of the Old West, contemporary music of the American West and songs of the open range and the American cowboy. The Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park, Los Angeles. $6-$10. (323) 667-2000. theautry.org.

34 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

In a minimalist performance that pares things down to the bare essentials of voice and piano, the celebrated mezzo-soprano takes the audience on a musical journey to the heart of Kurt Weill’s music. From Berlin to Paris to New York, she explores the work of this brilliant composer and the powerful texts — in German, French and English – that elevate his music. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. Wed., Fri., Sat. through Nov. 28. $35. (310) 477-2055 x2. odysseytheatre.com.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17

THE PAINTED ROCKS AT REVOLVER CREEK Aging farm laborer Nukain has spent his life transforming the rocks at Revolver Creek into a vibrant garden of painted flowers. Now, the final unpainted rock, as well as his young companion Bokkie, has forced Nukain to confront his legacy as a painter, a person and a black man in 1980s South Africa. The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles. Sat.-Mon. through Dec. 19. $15– $35. (323) 663-1525. fountaintheatre.com.

BREAKING THROUGH Set in a tiny sewing factory in East L.A., this is the story of five full-figured women racing to meet an impossible deadline to keep their tiny sewing factory in East L.A. from going under. The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave. Pasadena. Tues.-Sun. through Nov. 22. $47$87. (626) 356-7529. pasadenaplayhouse.org. NATIVE PLANT CARE Get a jump on fall planting, Expert horticulturalists demonstrate how to plant

UNCLE VANYA Vanya and his niece, Sonya, have toiled for years to maintain the crumbling family estate. When Sonya’s father, the retired Professor Serebryakov, returns with his dazzling, much younger wife, old resentments explode and secret longings come to light. The Antaeus Company, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Thurs.-Sun. through Dec. 6. $30$34. (818) 506-1983. antaeus.org.

THE MONEY FISH Sometimes you have to journey to the end of the world to find yourself. From Army Airborne Ranger to Dutch Harbor, Alaska fisherman, John Cox learned the hard way that what you want in life isn’t always what you need. Hudson Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. Thurs.-Sun. through Nov. 21. $20. (323) 960-7780. coxtheshow.com.


November/December 2015 LA/Ventura ALL MY SONS A ferocious indictment of the American Dream and ethos, Arthur Miller’s play holds up a mirror to the soul of American business and morality. How family ties bind – to ideals and the realities of daily life – is illuminated with a bright light in this searing touchstone of the American stage. A Noise Within, 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Through Nov.21. $40-$62. (626) 356-3100. anoisewithin.org. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20 BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY The Canyon, 28912 Roadside Dr., Agoura Hills. $28-$54. (818) 879-5016. canyonclub.net. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24 VENTURA BLUEGRASS JAMS Milano’s Italian Restaurant, Patio, Ventura Harbor Village, 1559 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura. (805) 658-0388. milanositalianrestaurant.com.

Mountain pine tree with over 7,500 warmwhite LED lights. Town Plaza, Culver Blvd. at Van Buren Pl., Downtown, Culver City. Free. downtownculvercity.com. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL Beloved characters from the television classic holiday show soar off the screen and onto the stage. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Also Nov. 28. Prices vary. (562) 467-8818. cerritoscenter.com.

POMONA HARVEST FESTIVAL Hundreds of artisans showcasing more than 24,000 handcrafted originals, stage entertainment, a Kidzone, strolling performers, contests, a pumpkin patch, specialty foods, and more. Pomona Fairplex Building 4, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona. Also Dec.5-6. $4$9. (800) 346-1212. harvestfestival.com.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5

UNDER THE STREETLAMP This vocal group delivers a variety of classic doo-wop, Motown and rock ‘n’ roll hits from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. $41-$55. civicartsplaza.com.

CULVER CITY TREE LIGHTING Celebrate the season of goodwill at this annual event. See Santa Claus as he makes a very special visit all the way from the North Pole. There will be hot cider, hot cocoa, cookies and other festive treats to make everyone feel merry. Local choirs perform and the mayor will light the 22-foot artificial Rocky

—The New York Times

—Variety

NOVEMBER 10–22

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3

“A stage extravaganza” “Old-fashioned, lavish showmanship”

DECEMBER GLENDALE NOON CONCERTS Sanctuary of Glendale City Church, 610 E. California Ave., Glendale, Glendale. Free. (818) 242-2113. glendalenoonconcerts. blogspot.com.

Photo by Joan Marcus

L.A. ZOO LIGHTS While zoo animals themselves are asleep, L.A. Zoo Lights depicts them in displays made of millions of lights that beckon you to stroll through a section of the zoo and be surrounded by dazzling sights and colors. The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Griffith Park, 5333 Zoo Dr., Los Angeles. Dates vary through Jan. 3. Prices vary. (323) 644-6042. lazoo.org.

SEGERSTROM HALL

NOVEMBER 21, 2015 at 2pm

HOLIDAY TREATS FOR THE ANIMALS Santa Diver delivers an ocean of gifts to the penguins, sea otters, seals, sea lions, lorikeets and fish. Guests can see Santa Diver with sharks and watch aquarium animals receive their special treats and enrichment gifts. Enjoy holiday music, crafts, special presentations, unique photo opportunities and shopping. The Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach. Also Dec. 6. $26-$29. (562) 5903100. aquariumofpacific.org.

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CALeNDAR

November/December 2015 LA/Ventura

WREATH MAKING Make a beautiful wreath from natural materials for your winter decorating. Staff will provide expert instruction to get you going. Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge. $40 includes materials. (818) 949-4200. descansogardens.org.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10

FREE FIRST SUNDAY Free admission to the Museum of Ventura County including its galleries and any special events. Museum of Ventura County, 100 East Main St., Ventura. First Sunday of each month. (805) 653-0323. venturamuseum.org.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES ART WALK This self-guided, public art walk brings art lovers and community friends together in downtown Los Angeles. 411 S. Main St., between Second and Ninth Streets, Los Angeles. Free. downtownartwalk.org.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8 VENTURA BLUEGRASS JAMS Milano’s Italian Restaurant, Patio, Ventura Harbor Village, 1559 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura. (805) 658-0388. milanositalianrestaurant.com.

MERLE HAGGARD AND KRIS KRISTOFFERSON Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. $68-$125. (888) 645-5006. sabantheatre.org.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Celebrate the season with Scrooge, Cratchit, Marley and three ghosts. Full of music, laughter, love and family, this show is designed to put you in the holiday spirit. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Scherr Forum Theatre, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd.,

Thousand Oaks. Through Dec. 13. $29. civicartsplaza.com. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12 COLORS OF CHRISTMAS With Peabo Bryson, Oleta Adams, Bebe Winans, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Also Nov. 28. Prices vary. (562) 467-8818. cerritoscenter.com. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13 SECOND SUNDAY CONCERT Pasadena Central Library, 285 E Walnut, Pasadena. Free. (626) 398-0658.

NEW ACQUISITIONS Featuring the Kaufman Collection, this exhibit presents nearly 60 paintings, sculptures and works on paper. Organized thematically, the artworks are set alongside quotes that describe aspects of experience and identity in the West. These words support, challenge or complicate the artworks, creating a dialogue that reminds us that a work of art—like any form of representation—does not always tell the whole story. The Autry National Center, Norman F. Sprague, Jr. Gallery, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park, Los Angeles. Through July 9. $6-$10. (323) 667-2000. theautry.org.

LEANN RIMES: TODAY IS CHRISTMAS Pepperdine University, Smothers Theatre, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. $40$89. arts.pepperdine.edu.

eXHIBItIONs SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15 THE NATURE OF WILLIAM S. RICE Arts and Crafts Painter and Printmaker. This exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the private world of William S. Rice (1873–1963), an artist and avid naturalist known for his ability to refine nature to its simplest forms. Featuring some 50 watercolors and block prints, the works, some on public view for the first time, illuminate the techniques and approaches Rice used to singularly capture and depict the California landscape. Pasadena Museum of Art, 490 East Union Street, Pasadena. Through April 3. $5-$7. Wed.-Sun. (626) 568-3665. pmcaonline.org. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21 Y.C. HONG: ADVOCATE FOR CHINESE-AMERICAN INCLUSION This exhibition offers a deeper sense of the life of an extraordinary figure in Chinese-American history. Through some 75 items, including historical documents, correspondence, photographs, maps and ledgers, this exhibit examines Chinese-American immigration in early 20th-century Los Angeles. The Huntington, Library West Hall, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino. Through March 21. $19-$25. huntington.org.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1

REINDEER ROMP

See real reindeer in Los Angeles, and enjoy a flurry of seasonal festivities and yuletide flourishes, plus occasional visit by Santa Claus. All activities, except Santa photos, free with paid admission. The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Griffith Park, 5333 Zoo Dr., Los Angeles. Dates vary through Jan. 3. Prices vary. 323) 644-6042. lazoo.org.

36 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

SINATRA: AN AMERICAN ICON This multimedia exhibit explores the life and career of the multiple Grammy Award winner, tracing 100 years of Sinatra’s legacy, from Hoboken, New Jersey, through superstardom. This display features artifacts from the Sinatra family’s personal collection, including neverbefore-seen photos, family mementos, rare correspondence, personal items, artwork and recordings, as well as original artifacts from Capitol Studios, where Sinatra recorded many of his most beloved songs. The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live, Special Exhibits Gallery, Second Floor, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. Through February 2016. $12-$13. (213) 765-6803. grammymuseum.org.

SITTING PRETTY Portrait Photography from the Salon to the Selfie. Formal, framed portraits of well-known city pioneers, such as Dr. Cephas Bard, Dr. Manuel R. de Poli and Mrs. Concepcion Sepulveda de la Guerra, as well as lesserknown names are on exhibit. The works on view range from dramatic, framed portrayals of adults to light-hearted depictions of children, many of which are from the studio of John Calvin Brewster, a Ventura portraitist who established a studio on Main Street in 1875. Museum of Ventura County, 100 E. Main St., Ventura. Through Nov. 29. $3-$4. (805) 653-0323. venturamuseum.org. RAVI SHANKAR: A LIFE IN MUSIC This display features a collection of sitars played by Shankar throughout his life and career; performance attire, including outfits worn at Woodstock in 1969 and the Concert for Bangladesh, rare photographs from the Shankar family collection as well as original correspondences, writings and music. The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live, Fourth Floor, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. Through Spring 2016. $12-$13. (213) 765-6803. grammymuseum.org. LEGENDS OF MOTOWN: CELEBRATING THE SUPREMES Founded as the Primettes, The Supremes became Motown’s most consistent hit makers and the most popular female group of the ‘60s. The polished singing style of original members Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard bridged the worlds of pop and soul. On display are rare photographs from the personal collection of Mary Wilson,


November/December 2015 LA/Ventura

“BIG FUN!

Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of Guys and Dolls makes the golden-age musical sparkle.” – THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

THE OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL PRODUCTION OF

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2

THE CHRISTIANS

After 20 years of growing his congregation into the thousands, Pastor Paul does some soul searching and reaches a conclusion that shakes the church’s very foundation with a message that challenges one of the basic tenets of his ministry. As Pastor Paul summons the courage to lead his flock in a new direction, he faces questions about his motivations, and his personal and professional relationships begin to fray. Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Dates vary through Jan. 10. $25-$85. (213) 628-2772. centertheatregroup.org.

concert posters, tour books, fan memorabilia and an assortment of performance gowns, including the Turquoise Freeze dresses worn during a 1967 appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live, Third Floor, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. Through Spring 2016. $12-$13. (213) 7656803. grammymuseum.org. JELLIES Delve into the mysterious world of sea jellies through this new exhibition. Often referred to as “jellyfish,” sea jellies are actually invertebrates or animals without backbones. Explore the amazing life of these gelatinous animals and learn about their importance

to our ocean planet through new exhibits, educational programs, a film and even art. Ever wondered what a jelly feels like? You can even safely touch them. The Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach. Through April 30. $26-$29. (562) 590-3100. aquariumofpacific.org. Get the Word Out. E-mail your announcements to Claire Fadden, cfadden@lifeafter50.com 60 days prior (or even earlier) to your event. Include a brief description, location, date, time, cost, phone and website. Submission does not guarantee publication.

Psychotherapy

Jungian Depth Work

A Musical Fable of Broadway BASED ON A STORY & CHARACTERS OF DAMON RUNYON MUSIC & LYRICS BY FRANK LOESSER BOOK BY JO SWERLING & ABE BURROWS DIRECTED BY MARY ZIMMERMAN

DECEMBER 1–20, 2015 L to R: Jeremy Johnson, Kate Hurster, Rodney Gardiner & Robin Goodrin. Photo by Jenny Graham.

Individuals, Family, Children Working with the Creative

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November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 37


Rick Steves’ Travels York: A Time Travel Experience Into Old England RICK ST EVES’ T RAVELS

By Rick Steves

W

e Americans have New York, but England has “old” York, one of the country’s top tourist destinations outside of London. York offers a captivating tour of historic sights mixed with an easygoing pedestrian ambience – all lassoed within its formidable medieval wall. The town has a long and rich history, serving as a Roman provincial capital in A.D. 71, capital of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria after the fall of Rome, and as a trading center called “Jorvik” in the ninth to 11th centuries. Henry VIII used the city’s fine cathedral – the York Minster – as the northern headquarters of his Anglican Church. This magnificent cathedral — Britain’s largest Gothic church — is York’s best-known sight and still in use today. When in York, you simply must attend the glorious evensong service to experience the cathedral in all of its musical and spiritual splendor. The York Minster is also famous for its 15th century stained glass, although the Great East Window — which is the size of a tennis court — is behind scaffolding, currently undergoing restoration. Just below the window, a futuristic dome called the Orb shows five of the exquisite panes that have already been restored. If you get to York before next year, you will have the rare opportunity to get a close-up look at the painted and stained glass that will be open until 2016. The details, far too tiny to see from the floor, were intended for God’s eyes only. The octagonal Chapter House to the left of the choir was the meeting place of the Minster’s governing body. The fanciful carvings decorating the canopies above the stalls date from 1280 and 80 percent of them are original. The parade of stony faces — each with so much character and personality — provides a sense of what society was like 800 years ago.

38 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

The new Undercroft Museum, accessed through the Minster’s south transept, takes visitors back even farther in time, focusing on the history of the site and its origins as a Roman fortress. Visitors can view actual remains of the Roman fort’s basilica through a seethrough floor and glimpse patches of Roman frescoes from what was once the basilica’s anteroom. The Minster’s towers serve as a navigational landmark — or you can follow the strategically placed signposts, which point out places of interest to tourists. Just outside the city walls near the train station is the National Railway Museum, showing two centuries of British railroad history. In the Industrial Age, York was the railway hub of northern England. The museum hosts an array of beautifully preserved historic trains fanning out from a grand roundhouse. A steam engine is sliced open, showing cylinders, driving wheels, and a smoke box in action. Exhibits trace the evolution of steam-powered transportation from very early trains, such as an 1830 stagecoach on rails, to the aerodynamic Mallard — famous as the first train to travel at two miles per minute, a marvel back in 1938. Across the Ouse River is the Yorkshire Museum. Built into the ruins of what was once north England’s wealthiest abbey, its exhibits tell the story of life here for the monks, how that all ended, and much more. The ancient Roman collection includes slice-of-life exhibits from cult figurines to the skull of a man killed by a sword blow to the head — making it graphically clear that the struggle between Romans and barbarians was a violent one. York soldiered on, amassing a large collection of weaponry throughout the ages. One of the museum’s highlights is an eighth century Anglo-Saxon brass helmet. The Jorvik Viking Centre shows off the bestpreserved Viking city ever excavated. You’ll

ride a “Pirates of the Caribbean”-type people-mover through a Viking street, complete with jabbering animatronic characters — where sights, sounds, and even smells from the year 975 have been recreated. The ride ends at a gallery filled with artifacts from every aspect of Viking life. Nearby, the York Castle Museum is a more oldschool, sedate Victorian home show. Its one-way plan assures that you’ll see everything, including remakes of rooms from the 17th to 20th centuries, a Victorian street, military exhibits, and some eerie prison cells. In the city core, the 100-yard-long cobbled lane known as The Shambles was once the “street of the butchers” (the name is derived from shammell — a butcher’s cutting block). In the 16th century, it was teeming with red-meat purveyors, and all the blood, guts, and waste were flushed down the street to a mucky pond. Now tourist shops fill the Tudor buildings — and tourists fill The Shambles. To get away from the bustle, linger at one of York’s fine upscale bistros or elegant teahouses, or try the two-mile walk along the Ouse River, over the handsome Millennium Bridge, and back into town. The bridge is delightfully designed with an inviting, reclining-lounge-chair fence — just right for relaxing, people-watching, and contemplating the incredible history of this intriguing city. Rick Steves writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and radio. You can e-mail him at rick@ricksteves.com and visit his website at www.ricksteves.com.


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And Finally... The Bookworm’s Best A Life After 50 book review

by Terri “The Bookworm” Schlichenmeyer

Fear of Dying By Erica Jong

I

t’s the natural order of things. People have kids, they grow old as their kids grow up to have kids, then those kids grow old as their kids grow up to, well, you know how it goes. That’s the way things should be, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to face mortality – yours or your parents.’ In the new book, “Fear of Dying” by Erica Jong, reaching for an anti-aging cure just doesn’t work. Married more times than she’d admit and of an unspoken sixtysomething age, Vanessa Wonderman has finally found some sort of semi-zen in life. She’s about to be a first-time grandmother, which thrills her; and her husband, Asher, who is quite a bit older and quite a bit rich, adores her. Life is much better than it was four decades ago, but Wonderman is still restless. That her parents are dying might be part of the problem. Once upon a time, they were Hollywood royalty and everybody wanted to be in their circle. Wonderman remembers when their home was filled with sophistication and rowdiness, when she and her sisters sneaked Champagne and watched the adult fun from their perch on the staircase. Then came Hollywood’s Red Scare and her parents decided it was time to move to New York and start anew. In their new life in New York, her parents mostly slept and moaned, making Wonderman mourn before they were even gone. This mortality business scared her. Why couldn’t she be like her friend, Isadora Wing, who went through life blithely collecting experiences that she could never talk about in polite society? Dear Isadora Wing, who knew the right things to say when Wonderman’s world imploded and she began to desperately envy anyone young. Wing offered comfort to Vanessa when her dog died, when Asher had a near-fatal aneurysm and when the only running she could do was between hospitals and bedsides. It was too much to bear – and so, reaching for immortality and her fading youth, Wonderman did the only thing that made sense to her: she went online in search of a lover. But, unlike her friend Wing, could she actually go through with it? Getting older or getting better? I think the latter is true of Jong: her writing is off the chart in this latest, most poignant novel that speaks volumes to those over 50. Baby boomers, especially, will identify with Jong’s latest heroine in “Fear of Dying.” Boomers have lost loved ones. They know exactly what Wonderman’s going through, and understand that “who’s-next-to-go” feeling, so it’s easy to grasp her feelings. Though Wonderman’s desperation leads to a little too much navel-gazing, her actions are funny and ribald, just-right wild. Did I mention how wonderful it is to spend time with Isadora Wing again? Yes, there’s a good dose of her in this risqué, semi-sequel to Jong’s 1973 novel, “Fear of Flying,” which fans (old and new) won’t be able to resist. If you’re suffering from those end-of-summer-pre-holiday-preparation blues, “Fear of Dying” may be just what the doctor ordered. “Fear of Dying” by Erica Jong, 2015, St. Martin’s Press, $26.99, 288 pages. The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer who lives on a hill with two dogs and more than 12,000 books. You can read more of her book reviews at www.lifeafter50.com. Just click on “Entertainment” and then “Book Reviews.”

A Look Back

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his Thanksgiving will mark the passage of 50 years since a then-18-year-old aspiring singer/songwriter named Arlo Guthrie was arrested in Massachusetts. After finishing his meal at a little restaurant, Guthrie and a friend offered to do a favor for the proprietor, Alice Brock, and take some trash to the local dump. Finding the dump closed for the holiday, they proceeded to an illegal dump site in a nearby town, deposited the trash, and were arrested for littering. Guthrie pleaded guilty, was fined and ordered to pick up the garbage. This incident resulted in “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” commonly known as “Alice’s Restaurant,” a musical monologue Guthrie wrote and released two years later on his debut album “Alice’s Restaurant.” The song is a satirical account of 1960’s counterculture and a protest against the Vietnam War draft. In Guthrie’s song, he tells of his arrest and experience before the draft board and the surreal bureaucracy he encountered at the induction center. Having unsucessfully attempted to dodge the draft by appearing hung over and claiming he was homicidal, he was then asked if he had ever been convicted of a crime. Mentioning the Thanksgiving Day littering incident, he learned his run in with the law was, bureaucratically, indistinguishable from a violent felony and he was rejected from military service. 42 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

Just A Thought Before We Go “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” – Henry Van Dyk


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“THE GREATEST OF THE GREAT! IT MUST BE EXPERIENCED!” — Chrinstine Walevska, Goddess of Cello, watched Shen Yun 4 times

T

here was a time when the world was full of magic and splendor, and all on Earth existed in harmony with Heaven. You could see it in the arts, feel it in the air, and hear it in the beat of a drum. This was a land of heroes and sages, dragons and phoenixes, emperors and immortals. Known today as China, this place was once called “the Land of the Divine.” What if you could journey back and visit this lost paradise?

Shen Yun brings the profound spirit of this lost civilization to life on stage with unrivaled artistic mastery. Every dance movement, every musical note, makes this a stunning visual and emotional experience you won’t find anywhere else. Banned in communist China today, the non-profit Shen Yun is dedicated to reviving 5,000 years of civilization. Experience the Arts connecting Heaven & Earth! Experience Shen Yun!

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ORANGE COUNTY NOVEMBER 2015

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Charlotte Rae’s Life

Frankie

Avalon Musing on marriage, music and more


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Contents

November 2015

10

20

26

30

Cover Profile

Departments

10 Frankie Avalon

6 50-Plus: What You Need to Know

The former teen idol offers insight on his music, films, family and much more.    

A quick look at things 50-plusers should be aware of.

  8 It’s The Law

Features

Mitchell A. Karasov on securing disability for the cognitively impaired.  

20 Medicare Open Enrollment What it is, how it works, and how to make it work best for you.

26 The Hallowed Hall Of Must-Knowtables – Soupy Sales Legendary notables that everyone, of every age, should know.

30 The Look Of Life After 50 – Charlotte Rae Working, enjoying life, and grateful for every wrinkle.  

34 Let’s Get Out

Looking to get out and about? Our November/December calendar has some great suggestions.

38 Rick Steves’ Travels

Taking a time travel experience in old England’s York.

42 And Finally…The Bookworm’s Best, A Look Back and Just A Thought Before We Go

A book suggestion, memory, and a little something to leave you with.

Cover photo by Keith Munyan / www.keithmunyan.com All material published within this issue of Life After 50 and on www.lifeafte50.com is strictly for informational and educational purposes only. No individual, advice, product or service is in any way endorsed by Life After 50 or Southland Publishing, Inc. or provided as a substitute for the reader’s seeking of individualized professional advice or instruction. Readers should seek the advice of qualified professionals on any matter regarding an individual, advice, recommendations, services or products covered within this issue. All information and material is provided to readers with the understanding that it comes from various sources from which there is no warranty or responsibility by Life After 50 or Southland Publishing, Inc. as to its or their legality, completeness or technical accuracy.

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Editor’s Note...

Stay booked at the banquet of life

W

hen he was well into his 90s, the legendary comedian and actor George Burns would tell people there was no possible way he could die. “I’m booked!” he would quip. Burns experienced a career resurgence at the age of 79, when he starred in the 1975 film, “The Sunshine Boys,” for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.  He continued to work until shortly before his death in 1996 at the age of 100.  I couldn’t help but think of Burns when I interviewed the two entertainers we feature in this issue – Frankie Avalon and Charlotte Rae. Avalon, who was already a seasoned musician and a member of a band by the time he was 12, is still touring, just put out a cookbook, and completed a film. Rae, who began appearing on radio when she was 16 and was performing in New York clubs and theaters before she was out of her teens, was recently seen in Meryl Streep’s film, “Ricki and the Flash,” is out promoting her just-released autobiography and is preparing to do a play. At their respective ages of 75 and 89-anda-half, Avalon and Rae perfectly fit the pattern of many people who, well into their eighth and ninth decade of life, are still “booked” and living it to the fullest. Prior to the 1970s, continuing to work, seek new adventures and take on new projects into one’s later years was practically unheard of. By the 1980s, it started to happen, but, as with Burns, it was still a novelty. Today, it is common for people in their 70s and 80s to still be actively engaged in working, creating, volunteering, traveling and beginning all sorts of new endeavors. During my conversation with Rae, she told me that, in spite of the challenges and illnesses she has faced, she is “still enjoying the banquet of life.” “I’m incredibly grateful for that,” she said. “So whenever I find myself getting upset over something, I stop and get a hold of myself and realize that I should be enjoying life and savoring every moment.” This month, as we sit down to our Thanksgiving dinner, we should take Rae’s words to heart: To be grateful that we can enjoy and savor not just the turkey and all the trimmings set before us, but the enjoyable and savory spread that each new day affords us to accomplish something – no matter our age or circumstances.  So this Thanksgiving, as you pile up your plate, make a pledge to yourself that, like Burns, you will “stay booked” and partake of all that life has to offer. Promise yourself you’ll push away from the table with a renewed commitment to truly enjoy and savor the banquet of life.  

David Laurell, Editor-in-Chief

4 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

Publisher Valarie Anderson Editor-in-Chief David Laurell

Account Executives: San Diego County/Orange County Phil Mendelson Phil@lifeafter50.com Los Angeles/ Valley/Travel

Associate Editors Steve Stoliar Claire Yezbak Fadden Art Director Michael Kraxenberger Editorial Assistant Max Andrews

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©2015 Southland Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved

A November Thought

“ ‘Thank you’ consists of just eight letters that form two of the most meaningful words in the English vocabulary.” – Deborah Norville


50

Conscientious Consumers

M

PLUS

What You Need To Know By Claire Yezbak Fadden

Determinating Dementia

A

lthough an isolated episode of forgetfulness is hardly reason to call the doctor, millions of Americans are understandably concerned when they see signs of forgetfulness, either in themselves or in a loved one. According to the latest government estimates, about 3.4 million Americans age 71 and older – that’s one in seven – have some type of dementia. Symptoms include decreased intellectual functioning that interferes with normal life functions (such as memory, language, perception, judgment or reasoning, and relationships), plus personality changes and a loss of emotional and behavioral control. While dementia is certainly associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other serious conditions, it also can be caused by reactions to medications, endocrine and metabolic problems, nutritional deficiencies, infections, and heart and lung problems. In addition, other treatable conditions, such as depression or alcoholism, can mimic dementia. A doctor can diagnose dementia with many methods, including the patient’s medical and family history, a physical exam, neurological evaluations and imaging tests (CT scans, MRIs and PET scans). Additionally, cognitive testing is essential to fully evaluate the nature of the dementia. If dementia is identified, the doctor can prescribe treatments to reduce symptoms and slow the progression of the disease that’s causing the dementia.

Fifty Candles

F

ifty years ago this month, Cuba and the United States formally agreed to “Freedom Flights,” airlifts for Cubans who wanted to go to the United States; the Pillsbury Doughboy made his first appearance; the musical “Man of La Mancha” opened in Greenwich Village; a United Nations Security Council resolution recommended that no country recognize independent Rhodesia; Willie Mays was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player; and tens of thousands of Vietnam War protesters picketed the White House before marching to the Washington Monument. Among the notable personalities born in November1965 who are celebrating their 50th birthday this month are drummer Mike Diamond, comedian Ellen Cleghorne, actor Ben Stiller, television screenwriter Ryan Murphy, football players Chris Carter and Eric Allen, actress Kristin Minter, race car driver Eddie Irvine, basketball coach Jamie Dixon and saxophonist Mark Turner.

6 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

illennials – those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s – and baby boomers are the most likely to buy products that align with their values and ethics, according to a new report examining generational cohorts and consumer behavior. “Not since the first wave of boomers came of age in the 1960s have we seen such an idealistic youth cohort,” says Morley Winograd and Mike Hais, co-authors of “Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America” (Rutgers University Press.) “Eighty-five percent of millennials and boomers say it is important that [they] make a positive impact on the world, as compared with only 75 percent of gen Xers – born between the early 1960s and early 1980s,” Winograd and Hais maintain. Despite the age difference between millennials and boomers, their “behavioral motivation” when making purchasing decisions is the same. “Both are members of generational archetypes that are externally focused,” the authors explain. “By contrast, gen Xers come from generational archetypes [who] tend to be focused on themselves and immediate families and less concerned about reshaping society.”

Thinking Thankful

T

his month, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, is the perfect time to reflect on the many ways we are grateful. Keeping a gratitude journal with daily entries focuses on those things we are grateful for – big and small. Journaling helps to slow down our day and to increase our capacity for joy. Entries can be as simple as recording a good night’s sleep or as major as when your adult child lands a soughtafter job. In your journal, you can list just one thing that delighted you that day or expand your list to five or more events that brought a smile to your face. If pen and paper aren’t your thing, take advantage of one of the many free apps for your mobile device, such as Gratitude 365, that offers an electronic gratitude journal. Create a daily entry and list anything you are thankful for that day along with a photo to capture that day’s special moment. Whether you choose an electronic or handwritten version, a gratitude journal allows you to relive the joys you’ve experienced in recent weeks, months and years.


A Little More You Need To Know

The Most Important Thing To Know This Month

‘Tis The Season To Get Covered

N

ovember 1 marks the first day of open enrollment to apply for 2016 healthcare coverage and runs through January 31, 2016. The earliest your coverage can start is January 1, 2016.

“There are a lot of choices when it comes to signing up for health insurance and we want to help make sure consumers feel confident that they’ve picked the right plan,” says Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplaces. “In-person assistance from navigators and assisters has proven to be an incredibly important avenue for consumers to get the right coverage.”

Where You Need To Go

A Magical Trip to Whoville

P

arents and kids alike know all the lovable characters from Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” In this wonderful, whimsical musical based upon the book, the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who, and even Max come to life in the timeless holiday classic tale. Beginning November 7, the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego’s Balboa Park transforms into snow-covered Whoville, right down to the last can of Who-hash. The family favorite features songs such as “This Time of Year,” “Santa for a Day,” “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome, Christmas (Fah Who Doraze),” the delightful carol from the popular animated television version. Don’t miss the annual tree lighting on the Old Globe Plaza on Sunday, November 15 at 6 p.m. This festive kick-off to the holidays will include a free special performance by the cast. A sensory-friendly performance of the holiday musical is scheduled for December 12 for children on the autism spectrum and their families, as well as other families with special needs.

These trained specialists provide consumers in their communities with in-person help, answering questions about their health insurance and financial assistance options and assisting them as they complete their application. Navigators and assisters are knowledgeable about the range of health plans available on Covered California as well as other public health insurance programs offered, including Medicaid. If you don’t enroll in a 2016 plan by January 31, 2016, you can’t enroll in a health insurance plan for 2016 unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. If you don’t have coverage in 2016, you may have to pay a fee, the higher of either 2.5 percent of your yearly household income or $695 per person ($347.50 per child under 18).

For more information, click on www.healthcare.gov.

The Old Globe Theatre, Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego. $37-plus for adults and $24 for children (17 years and under). Performances through December 26. For more information call (619) 234-5623 or click on www.theoldglobe.org.

New Words

Y

ou might not find them in a dictionary yet, but they’re a part of the everyday American vocabulary. Here’s what they mean.

Barm: The foam or froth on beer. Thanksmas: The time of year between Thanksgiving and Christmas that includes preparations, parties, shopping and everything else – both enjoyable and challenging – that comes with “the most wonderful time of the year.” Spoofed Numbers: A deliberately falsified telephone number and/or name displayed on a phone’s Caller ID for the purpose of disguising the caller’s identity.

November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 7


Did you use marijuana when you were younger?

It’s The Law Mitchell A. Karasov

Mitchell A. Karasov, Esq. covers Los Angeles, Ventura County and the Coachella Valley. His focus is in elder law with emphasis in estate planning, Medi-Cal eligibility, trust administration, probate, conservatorships of person or estate, estate and trust litigation and financial abuse litigation. For more information click on www.karasovelderlaw.com or call (818) 508-7192.

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Do you smoke cigarettes now but never used marijuana If you are over 55 years old you may qualify for your research study. For more information please contact: DrugStudyUCLA@gmail. com or call 310-794-1021 Upon completion, you will receive $150 Study conducted by CA Burggren, Ph.D. UCLA Dept of Psychiatry

Are disability benefits available for those who are cognitively impaired?

Q

My husband was recently diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment although he is only 58. He started having some problems a few years ago, which made it impossible for him to continue working. Until the formal diagnosis, we didn’t realize the extent of his impairment, but it became more apparent when he attempted to find another job. His former employer did not fight his unemployment request, but it’s no substitute for his salary. It has become obvious he won’t be able to go back to work, so we wanted to pursue disability benefits through Social Security. However, we’re under the impression that he may have problems qualifying for the disability program, because he’s not physically disabled. Someone told us he might have to go through a retraining program, but he’s not a good candidate for that, because he can no longer follow through on projects. What are his prospects for getting disability?

A

Your husband may be eligible for disability solely based on his cognitive impairments. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does assess cognitive and/or mental health impairments differently than they do physical impairments. For instance, while age is a big factor when it comes to evaluating physical disabilities, age is not as relevant in cognitive-based claims. The bottom line is that a person can receive Social Security disability and/or supplemental income benefits for either a physical or a cognitive impairment, or an individual can receive benefits for a combination of both physical and mental health impairments. The determination is based on the severity of the impairments. When reviewing an eligibility application for someone with a cognitive impairment, the SSA is assessing if the alleged disability prevents a claimant from working. If an individual is unable to perform simple, repetitive tasks or to follow directions, they would be found to be disabled in SSA’s eyes. However, if your husband still has the ability to perform lowstress and unskilled jobs, he would not be found disabled from a cognitive standpoint based on SSA’s regulations. Also, keep in mind that when SSA is assessing one’s disability, they do not take into account how much money the individual used to earn. The administration expects individuals to work, even if their disabilities prevent them from earning income that is comparable to their past wages. As far as your husband being retrained once he’s on disability, there is a Ticket to Work program that helps people with disabilities achieve financial independence. This program provides a variety of service providers, employment networks and state vocational rehabilitation agencies to help a beneficiary achieve work. Through Ticket to Work, an individual can obtain education, training or job support. In return, the SSA expects the “ticket-holder” to achieve specific earnings, education or training goals within a timely manner. Although your husband could be a candidate for disability based on his cognitive impairments, I strongly recommend you consult with attorney who is well-versed in disability law. In addition, you both may benefit from programs at the Alzheimer’s Association and Leeza’s Care Connection.


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Cover Profile

Frankie

Avalon

With a 60-plus-year career and 53 years of marriage, the former teen idol offers insight on his music, films, family and much more By David Laurell * Photos by Keith Munyan / www.keithmunyan.com

10 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015


H

is name – Frankie Avalon. His films – a potpourri of beach party romantic comedies that portrayed a lifestyle every teenager of the 1960s dreamed of living. And his songs – “Venus,” “Why,” “Just Ask Your Heart,” “I’ll Wait for You,” “Bobby Sox to Stockings” and “A Boy Without a Girl.” Together those elements form a vital thread in what makes up the fabric of American pop culture. Born Francis Thomas Avallone to an Italian butcher and his wife on September 18, 1940 in Philadelphia, young “Frankie” was a trumpet-playing prodigy who, before he was even in his teens, was performing on national television programs such as “The Jackie Gleason Show.” Avalon was one of the first in a string of successful teen idol pop singers and movie stars to come out of Philadelphia. His songs and films, which teamed him with actress Annette Funicello, made him a mid-1960s icon – the wholesome, clean-cut kid-next-door who surfed above the era’s incoming waves of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. While Avalon may be best remembered for his “Frankie and Annette” summer romance films, he also carved out a niche in dramas that included roles in the 1960 western, “The Alamo,” with John Wayne, and the 1961 sci-fi classic, “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” with Barbara Eden. Marrying his childhood sweetheart, Kathryn “Kay” Diebel, in 1963, Avalon regularly appeared on popular television programs of the ‘60s including “American Bandstand,” “The Bing Crosby Show” and “The Patty Duke Show,” and continued to capture new audiences into the 1970s and ‘80s. After appearing as Teen Angel in the 1978 film adaption of the Broadway musical “Grease,” Avalon and Funicello reprised their beach party roles in the 1987 feature film “Back to the Beach” and also appeared as themselves in cameo roles in 1989’s “Troop Beverly Hills” shortly before she was diagnosed with the multiple sclerosis that would eventually take her life in 2013. The ‘80s also saw Avalon team up with fellow Philadelphians Bobby Rydell and Fabian Forte as “The Golden Boys of Bandstand,” a touring group that continues to perform today. Today, along with the hectic touring schedule he continues to maintain, Avalon oversees Frankie Avalon Products, which offers a line of health and cosmetic aids. The father of eight and grandfather of 10 has also just released a cookbook, “Frankie Avalon’s Italian Family Cookbook” (St. Martin’s Press, 2015), which presents over 80 recipes. Life After 50 recently spent a day visiting with Avalon at his palatial home on the outskirts of Los Angeles. We began our visit by asking what he thinks was in the Philadelphia water (or was it the cheesesteaks?) that saw the City of Brotherly Love produce so many pop singers during the 1950s. Frankie Avalon (FA): I don’t know what it was, so I always just say we’re all from the same mother [laughs]. It’s true, though. In my era there was James Darren, Mario Lanza, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Chubby Checker, Jim Croce, Al Martino, and Buddy Greco – we were all a part of what became that Philly sound. life After 50 (lA50): Do you think that was because “American Bandstand” originated from Philadelphia? FA: I don’t think so, no. Some people may have thought it was just because I was from Philly that I got on “Bandstand,” but that wasn’t the case. I had released a few records that were bombs and couldn’t get booked on the show. I didn’t get on “Bandstand” until I hit the charts. It wasn’t easy to get on Dick’s [Clark] show. He was very professional about who was booked, and in order to get on “Bandstand,” you had to have a hit record or at least one that was breaking out around the country. Doing “Bandstand” was very important

to me and other singers and musicians of that time. That show – along with making careers – was what helped build that whole music scene. It was a tremendous part of the success of pop and rock music. lA50: Could you have ever imagined, when you and Bobby rydell and fabian were teen idols doing “Bandstand,” that you would still be out there singing for fans in your 70s? FA: It’s great! I love it! I’ve known Bobby since we were both 10-yearsold. I’ve known Fabian since we were 14 or 15. We still love getting out there and doing the shows. It’s not an oldies show by any means. It’s just a wonderfully produced show with film clips and photos that the three of us wrote and put together. We sing the songs that people who grew up with us want to hear. It’s always a wonderful evening of music and memories and friendship. It’s amazing that our fans still follow us. I’ve been doing this for, what, almost 60 years. That’s a long time to still be doing anything, in any business. It’s great to get out there and meet the people who have been supportive of me for so many years. My fans are always like: “Hey, Frankie, how are you? How’s the family?” They feel like they know me,

November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 11


because I’ve been a part of their lives for so long. I love that people find me approachable like that. In 1960, I did a film with John Wayne, “The Alamo,” and when I would go around the country promoting the film with him, I always noticed he was not approachable. I mean, he was a great guy, but he was so much bigger than life and I think people were intimidated by him. The same was true with Frank Sinatra. I remember walking through an airport or into a restaurant with John Wayne and everybody would stop and their jaws would drop and they would just look at him. Nobody would ever come up to him and say: “Hey Duke, how’s the family?” [laughing]. He was just such a huge star that he wasn’t approachable like that. But, it’s very different with me and I love meeting the fans. The thing I don’t enjoy about it, but it’s what you have to put up with, is the traveling, which is just horrible today. But as soon as you’re in the theater’s wings and the curtain opens and you’re on, you forget all about that stuff. lA50: What are you up to when you are not performing? FA: Well, I do perform quite a bit, with Bobby and Fabian, and by myself. When I’m home here in Los Angles, I’m always busy doing something. We have a very large family – eight kids and their spouses and 10 grandkids – so some days are a madhouse around here – swimming, cooking, eating and having fun. We are very family oriented and love it when the house is full. I’m not much of a television guy, but I do read occasionally. Kay and I will go out to lunch or dinner with some friends. I play golf at least three times a week. And we are very fortunate to have a couple of other homes – one in the desert and one up in Lake Arrowhead. So we’ll do the triangle of homes. I also still promote our Zero Pain products that are very popular and came about because of my own bout with arthritis. We were the first to have a roll-on pain reliever with the active ingredient capsaicin and now we also offer homoeopathic creams. So I’m always keeping busy with something. lA50: Besides golf, what else do you do to stay in such great shape? FA: I’ve always been into some kind of exercise program. Now, being 75, I’ve kind of cut back on anything too strenuous, but there is one apparatus I think

12 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

is absolutely sensational – my rowing machine. I do about 10 minutes a day on the rowing machine and I walk at least two miles a day. As far as food is concerned, I eat pretty well. I’ve always eaten well – been careful about what I eat. I don’t think in my entire lifetime I’ve had a case of soda. I never drink soda. I’ve gone through cases and cases of wine, but not soda [laughs]. lA50: Speaking of food, what made you decide to put out a cookbook? FA: It really came about due to two people, Keith Frankel, who is a dear friend of mine, and my agent, Alan Morell. We were all together in Nantucket and I cooked for them. As we were eating, they both said: “You know what? You ought to do a cookbook.” And that’s what it is, a cookbook, not a “chef’s” book. I’m a cook, not a chef. So I kicked the idea around and got together with Rick Rogers, who is an award-winning cookbook author, and we just started going over all kinds of recipes. The book is really a collection of recipes for all sorts of different kinds of foods I have been making and eating all my life. There are many of them that were my mom’s original handwritten recipes. lA50: With the holidays upon us, is there any one favorite recipe in the book you would recommend for our readers to try? FA: Well, my favorite, and it’s one of the simplest ones in the book, is a crab sauce – crab marinara – that is served with spaghetti. It’s so simple, just crabs and tomatoes and a couple of other ingredients, and it is out of this world – a taste of its own. lA50: With cooking and eating being such an important part of the Avalon family life, tell us what Thanksgiving and Christmas are like around here. FA: With a big family, it’s wonderful! We usually have 24 or 25 – the kids, wives, husbands, grandchildren – and it’s a very traditional Thanksgiving. Kay will make two large turkeys and we do all the traditional dishes – the mashed potatoes and string beans and deserts. The girls will also usually bring something. So Thanksgiving here is very traditional. Christmas, on the other hand, is only traditional from an Italian’s standpoint [laughing]. Christmas dinner here is all kinds of pastas and sauces.


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LA50: Your home is so magnificent. It must look incredible when it’s decorated for Christmas. FA: Let me tell you something: You’ve got to go into every room in the house to appreciate what Kay does. She is incredible when it comes to holiday decorating. Whatever holiday it is, she has it all planned. Every year, for each holiday, she comes up with a theme. For Christmas, she has two decorated trees in the entrance, one big tree where we do our Christmas Eve exchanging of gifts, another tree in the den. She always does a great job. lA50: You and Kay will be celebrating your 53rd wedding anniversary in January, so you may be the best person we’ve ever featured in Life After 50 to ask about the secret to a successful marriage. FA: I don’t think there is any secret to it. There’s the good and the bad, the ups and downs in every marriage. But you’ve got to hang in there. I remember in the early years of our marriage, when we were kids with kids, we would have spats and they would last a day or two. But now, as the years have gone by, the spats last about two minutes [laughs.] Now it’s just all over and forgotten about. I think if there is one thing that is very important in making a marriage work, it is having respect for one another. I think that’s what’s kept us together. LA50: Along with a long and successful marriage, you’ve had an equally long and successful career. Today, so many people who were born years after you were topping the charts, know you as Teen Angel, the cameo role you did in the film “Grease.” FA: Even though “Grease” came out in 1978, it is still very popular today, even with young kids. It always surprises me how many young kids know it. I was really very fortunate to have done “Grease,” because I didn’t want to do it. I had seen the play on Broadway and my character, Teen Angel, swung in on a rope wearing a black leather jacket with these Elvis sideburns. My manager handed me the script and when he told me what role they wanted me for, I said: “I’m not even reading it! Forget it! Pass!” I remember this so clearly. After I turned it down, my manager told me that the writer, Alan Carr, and the director, Randal Kleiser, were not willing to accept “no” as an answer and really wanted to talk to me. So we had a meeting and I told them I had seen the play and I knew the part wasn’t right for me and, just like that, they both said: “Then we’ll change it! We’ll put you in white and we’ll do this and we’ll do that.” And I was still saying no, because I’ve got a musical style and it isn’t doo-wop. My style and all my hits have always been straight-ahead romantic. And they said: “Then we’ll do it that way!” They just weren’t taking “no” for an answer [laughs]. So I did it and I am very fortunate to have done it, because there are now so many generations that may not know the name Frankie Avalon, but, if you say: “You know, the angel in ‘Grease,’ who comes down the steps and sings ‘Beauty School Dropout,’ ” they go: “Oh yeah! I know that guy!” LA50: Young people know you because of “Grease,” and Tony Bennett because he has teamed up with Lady Gaga. But isn’t it just mind-boggling, and heartbreaking, that so many kids today don’t know so many of the legendary entertainers of the past? FA: It does bother me. This summer I did a motion picture, “Papa,” and during the shoot, I had a driver – a young gal – maybe 19-years-old. On this one day, on the way to the location, she was listening to rap music and we started to have a conversation about today’s music. I told her that I feel a lot of it is very negative and I asked her to put something else on. She asked me what kind of music I liked and I said: “Well, I like my idol, Frank Sinatra,” and she said: “Who?” Can you imagine! I said: “Wait a minute! You’ve never heard of Frank Sinatra?” She said: “No.” Then I asked her if she heard of Clark Gable? Again: “No.” And I just sat here thinking: “If kids don’t know Sinatra or Gable, how insignificant am I?” But I’ll tell you what bothers me even more than that. When I was a boy growing up in Philly, attending South Philadelphia High School, we had a wonderful class called “music appreciation.” I don’t know if they even do that anymore, but I think that is a class that should be taught in every school. I learned about Mozart and Ravel and Puccini, and then we would talk about some of the people like Mario Lanza, who had attended our school, and some of the popular singers and jazz musicians of the era. Kids


have to be introduced to various kinds of music and composers, and musicians or they will never know about them. That is why there is such a need for music appreciation in schools today. lA50: You told your driver you were not a fan of rap. is there any current music you do find appealing? FA: I think there is a major element missing in songs today – in lyrics and music – and it’s called “romance.” When you talk about the great composers – Irving Berlin – and lyricists, like Sammy Cahn, you had a song that in 32 bars told a story. You had a beginning and a middle and an end that was summed up romantically. I just don’t see that in songs today. lA50: What are your thoughts of the intergenerational teaming up of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga? Do you think that will help both generations – his and hers – have a better appreciation for one another’s music?

Photo by Joan Marcus

FA: Well, she is a unique talent. She is a trained pianist who studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, so she understands music. She then found a niche and was bright enough and talented enough to have taken it to a level that has given her the ability to do things other artists couldn’t do – to go in other directions with her music. I think she is extremely talented and I

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wonder if she now comes out with an album of her own original jazz songs, will there be that one song that becomes a standard? I mean, when was the last time we’ve seen a real true standard produced? She may be the one to do it. LA50: You mentioned you did a film last summer. Tell us about it. FA: It’s called “Papa” and it stars some great friends of mine that I have worked with through the years – Ann-Margret, Daryl Hannah, Eric Roberts. I really haven’t been too interested in doing film work lately, but this script came along and there were no blow-ups or explosions of things. It’s just a wonderful story about a little boy whose parents were in an accident. The mother died and the father became mentally incapacitated. So my wife and I adopt him and he goes on to become a successful attorney. Then, when he gets older, he wants to know about his birth parents. We have held back on giving him this information because of a circumstance that I won’t spoil. But it’s a really good story. The film was directed by Emilio Roso and will be out in 2016. lA50: Throughout your home you have so many wonderful artifacts and memorabilia from your career, but there is one thing that stands out in your study. It’s a small, framed newspaper obituary on a shelf. FA: Yeah, Annette’s. She was such a sweet person. Her death hit me pretty hard. She was so down-to-Earth and kind. I remember when we were doing the beach pictures, I would be out touring – doing concerts – and come back and tell her how people loved her and always asked me about her. She would always be amazed by that and say: “Really?” I don’t think she ever really understood how much she was loved by people all over America and the world. We made seven pictures together and never had an argument. She was just so sweet and it was terrible that the end of her life – the last 20 years – had to be so miserable for her. But she hung in there. I would call to see how she was doing from time-totime, but towards the end, she was not capable of conversation. But we really

16 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

had some great times together. We both knew nothing was ever going to come of those films we did. They were just fun for us and the kids who loved them. We made them in 15 days with a supporting cast of all these kids we knew, so doing those pictures was really like just going to the beach with our friends. Oh, and by the way, there was a camera there, so we would say this and say that, but, really, we just had a lot of fun and I think that’s the way they showed on the screen and that’s why they were successful. LA50: You just turned 75 in September. As you’ve gotten older, have you come to see life any differently? FA: I think, when it comes to getting older, you think about it, and then dismiss it. You can’t dwell on it. I just feel fortunate to have reached 75 and hope I have a lot more time to go with good health. But who knows? Whatever comes, comes. LA50: As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, we just wanted to express our thanks to you for sharing your thoughts and memories with our readers, and ask you, what are you most grateful for? FA: My life. I wouldn’t change one thing about my life. And that all starts with my wife, Kay, who is a gem-and-a-half. There isn’t one little thing she doesn’t do for our family, for me, for this house. Then, of course, our children and grandchildren, who are – thank God – all healthy. I’m so thankful for that. I pray every night for everybody to be healthy. So I look back and just think about how lucky I have been. I haven’t missed a trick. I’ve been very fortunate and I’m so grateful for having been able to live the life I’ve lived.

For more information on Frankie Avalon, his cookbook and products, click on www.frankieavalon.com.


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Meet Medicare! As Medicare celebrates its 50th birthday, here’s what you should know if you or someone you love is turning 65

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n 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson was successful in completing President John F. Kennedy’s efforts to put in place a healthcare program for older Americans (Medicare) and those with low income (Medicaid). Prior to the establishment of Medicare, half of all people age 65 and older lacked health insurance, which limited accessibility and affordability to a huge population of Americans. Without access to coverage, older Americans faced medical bills roughly triple those of every other age.

MEDICARE – IN THE SIMPLEST OF TERMS The two major parts of Medicare are Part A, which covers hospital expenses, and Part B, which covers doctor visits and outpatient services. In 1972, the program was extended to help those under 65 with long-term disabilities. Medicare Advantage Plans (private health plans to use in lieu of original Medicare) were added as another option in 1982. Medigap or Medicare supplement policies were also introduced around the same time. These plans help pay for the deductibles and cost-shares under original Medicare plans. In 2003, President George 20 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

W. Bush advocated an act that would include prescription drug benefits (Part D). Since then, President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act has seen laws enacted that have further transformed Medicare into what it is today. Today, there are nearly 55 million Americans enrolled in Medicare, and the number will continue to grow as baby boomers continue to retire. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say that since its establishment, Medicare has been a critical component in protecting the well-being and financial security of millions of Americans as they age or if they become disabled.

YOU AND MEDICARE If it hasn’t already happened, it will. Six months prior to your 65th birthday, you’ll reach into your mailbox and find a bundle of official Medicare booklets, mailers and letters from every insurance company imaginable. As you look over this information, the stress will begin to build and you’ll think: “This is so complicated!” Receiving this information should be a time of excitement over the nice healthcare coverage that is now available to you, and yet, you will feel

overwhelmed and confused. Don’t fret. Everyone does. But by learning the basics and using the resources available, you can take everything stepby-step and confidently enroll in a plan that is the best fit for you. With Medicare eligibility, you may sign up for Medicare Parts A and/or B during a sevenmonth period that begins three months before your birthday, the month of your birthday, and three months after your birthday. If you sign up prior to your 65th birthday, your Medicare will start the first of the month of your birthday. If you sign up after, it will begin on the first of the month following the date you sign up. This is what is known as your initial enrollment period. If you are still employed, this is the time to have a discussion with your employer about what will happen if you decide to leave the company’s plan and how your employee benefits work with Medicare (if you do choose to sign up). If you are retiring, remember that COBRA and retiree benefits do not count as employer coverage, and you will need to sign up during the time period when you are eligible to avoid penalties. To get started with Medicare, you must contact the Social Security Administration, which handles


most of the paperwork when you join. Your payment set-up may vary depending on whether or not you are enrolled in Social Security. If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you may be automatically signed up. Social Security may also help lower your costs for Medicare and drug costs if you are financially eligible. You can contact Social Security by going online or by making an appointment with a local Social Security office. You usually don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A coverage if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working. Part B, however, currently has a standard cost of $104.90 per month and you may be charged more if you have a higher income. Once you sign up for Parts A and B, it is important to know what all the parts mean. Knowing the basics will help lead you in making the right decisions for your new healthcare coverage.

KNOWING YOUR MEDICARE As, Bs, Cs AND MORE When you sign up for Medicare, you will have two basic options: original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Option one is original Medicare (Parts A and B) which is the health plan provided by the federal government. Part A is your hospital coverage and Part B is for doctor visits and outpatient services. With original Medicare, you can go to any doctor, facility or hospital in the United States, as long as they accept Medicare. Most of the time, you will not need referrals for services. While original Medicare has wonderful coverage, there are still deductibles, co-insurance, additional copayments and possible excess charges that you may be responsible for. A way to absorb these costs is to purchase a supplement or Medigap plan, offered through private insurance companies. The supplement plans are standardized and have different levels of coverage, ranging from plan A through N. A popular choice which gives the richest coverage is Plan F. Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not cover most prescriptions, so most people with original Medicare will purchase stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (Part D). These plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. They must cover the drugs that doctors most commonly prescribe. A great way to shop and compare drug plans is through the Medicare website (www.medicare.gov.) You can enter your prescriptions, the pharmacy you use, and whether or not you like to use mail-order service. Once you’ve entered this information, it will let you compare over 30 different plans to help you select the plan that best fits your needs. Original Medicare is an excellent option for those people who want the freedom to go to any provider they wish that accepts Medicare without dealing with referrals. They will also have the option to shop and buy from a variety of drug plans. Option two is Medicare Advantage (Part C). Medicare Advantage plans are private insurance

plans (HMOs and PPOs) contracted by Medicare. You must still be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B to sign up for Medicare Advantage plans. These plans must cover what original Medicare covers, but offer additional help with cost sharing and add extra benefits like hearing aids, basic dental and rides to the doctor. You should not buy a supplement or Medigap plan if you choose Medicare Advantage. Most Medicare Advantage plans also include prescription drug coverage. A number of plans have “coordinated care,” which means the plan coordinates your coverage through a primary-care physician who manages the care you receive from specialists and hospitals. Other plans may have you select from a specific network of doctors and hospitals. Different Medicare Advantage plans are available in different service areas and you must live in the plan’s service area to sign up. Every year during open enrollment, you may compare and enroll in the one that best suits you. Medicare Advantage plans are a good fit for those who have a good relationship with their primary doctor and trust in his or her management of their care (for HMOs). People also appreciate the convenience of a plan that covers both their medical and drug expenses. There are a lot of different plans to choose from, so you will want to do your research ahead of time. You can shop and compare plans on www.medicare.gov, or you can get help from an independent insurance agent or a specialized Medicare counselor in your area.

AS EACH YEAR PASSES Once you are receiving Medicare, the end of each year will become an important time for you. The Medicare open enrollment period runs from October 15 thru December 7 of each year. This open enrollment is the time to shop and make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan or prescription drug plan. Any changes you make will go into effect on January 1. During open enrollment, you should review the Annual Notice of Change from your health plan to see if there are any changes in

benefits that may affect you. You should also verify that your prescriptions are still covered on the drug plan and re-confirm the copays. If you are happy with your plan, you do not need to do anything. If you have original Medicare, you also need to review your drug plan during this open enrollment period. If you have a supplement or Medigap plan, you have the option to change to a similar or lesser plan with another insurance company during the month of your birthday without health questions. The only reason to change Medigap plans is if you find one that has lower premiums. There are other times during the year in which you may sign up or change your plan. These are called specialelection periods and can occur if you move out of the area, lose your company benefits, or qualify for government financial assistance. If you have certain health conditions, you may also qualify at a different time. There is also a disenrollment period when you can leave your Medicare Advantage plan and return to original Medicare. The disenrollment period runs from January 1 through February 14 of each year.

HELP IS AVAILABLE! Going through the maze of Medicare enrollment is not something you have to do alone. Medicare’s website has many tools to help you shop and compare plans to find out what is covered. Independent insurance agents specializing in Medicare plans are available to give you unbiased information and guidance at no cost to you. You can also find help through various government agencies and non-profit organizations. The Council on Aging is an excellent non-profit that offers help. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) also provides free personalized Medicare counseling. While it may seem overwhelming, signing up for Medicare and picking a plan that is right for you can be a simple process if you take advantage of the available resources.

MEET LORI VINCENT The owner of Vincent Insurance Services in Huntington Beach, California, Lori Vincent offers over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, specializing in medical, dental and life plans for Medicare beneficiaries, businesses and individuals in Southern California. Vincent can be reached at (714) 593-9990 for guidance and answers at no cost to you. Vincent is an independent agent and not connected or employed with the federal Medicare program. (CA Lic # 0C58898) November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 21


Five Simple Tips

For Success During Medicare’s Open Enrollment By Ronald Bolding, President and CEO, Inter Valley Health Plan

T

his year marked a milestone as Medicare celebrated its 50th anniversary. To date, with almost 55 million individuals aged 65 or older receiving Medicare, 91 percent say they are satisfied with the coverage and that the program is working well, according to a national poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation that was taken in July, 2015. However, in the wake of that poll, USA Today reported that anecdotal evidence suggests many new enrollees are perplexed by what Medicare actually covers and what it doesn’t cover. It’s not unusual for individuals preparing for Medicare to be overwhelmed and confused by the enrollment process as they gear up to register. For that reason, it is critical that new enrollees determine what is important for them from a health, budget and services standpoint. Among the most common mistakes people make when enrolling in Medicare is failing to understand what Medicare Advantage plans cover and how those options meet their needs. Here are six simple tips to help successfully guide you through this current open enrollment period. 22 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

1) KNOW HOW THEY RATE

3) KNOW WHAT YOU NEED

Recognize that the federal government rates plans on a scale from one to five. This quality factor is important because it can mean the difference between enrolling in a plan with a limited network of doctors and hospitals or one that includes the best providers in your area. It also can mean the difference between getting the help you need when you call for advice and being put on hold waiting to talk with a person instead of a machine.

Consider which extra services, such as dental, vision care and gym memberships you may want. Many, but not all, Medicare Advantage plans include vision coverage, and some will reimburse for some or all of the cost of a belonging to a health club.

2) CALCULATE, CALCULATE, CALCULATE Remember that most Medicare Advantage plans have low or no monthly premiums, which make them attractive, but some may also have deductibles and copayments. Enrollees should calculate how much they expect to spend on healthcare based on what they’ve spent in recent years, and then match that expected spending level to the best plan options.

4) DON’T BECOME OVERWHELMED Give yourself time to study the plan options. Talk to friends and family. Some plans may offer Medicare Information Centers in your neighborhood where you can sit down and talk to an expert and ask them questions – others will offer an 800-hotline.

5) LEARN, LEARN, LEARN Take advantage of all the resources and create a checklist of what matters to you. Once you’ve done your homework and review and reflect upon what you’ve learned, you can confidently choose the plan that best meets your needs.


Five More Tips

To Maximize Your Free Medicare Wellness Visits By Valery DeSimone, PA-C

O

ne of the new provisions of the Affordable Care Act is a Medicare-paid Annual Wellness Visit (AWV). What makes these visits special is they are not just a usual doctor’s appointment – addressing acute illness or chronic conditions. Rather, the AWV is a way for people to help themselves maintain good health. It is a visit aimed at those on Medicare who may have health issues as well as those who feel good and don’t otherwise seek frequent healthcare. It focuses less on the physical exam and more on the prevention and early detection of diseases. As a certified physician assistant (PA-C) in an internal medicine practice, where over half of our patients are over 65, I see several patients every week for this type of visit. Here are five tips to get the most from your Annual Wellness Visit.

1) ROUND UP THE MEDS Bring in all of your medications in their original containers, including supplements and overthe-counter medications. This avoids any confusion about what you are taking, the dosage and frequency. It also allows us to discuss any unnecessary duplication or interactions of drugs prescribed by multiple providers.

2) RECORD YOUR HISTORY

RONALD BOLDING is the president and chief executive officer of Inter Valley Health Plan, a notfor-profit, federally qualified, HMO contracted with Medicare and dedicated to providing the best value in healthcare coverage. Headquartered in Pomona, California, the company strives to improve the quality of life for older adults throughout its service area and is one of the oldest managed healthcare plans in Southern California with 36 years in business. Entrusted by individuals from Los Angeles, Orange County, Palm Springs, Riverside, Hemet, Victorville, Temecula, and virtually every city and town in between, Inter Valley Health Plan is dedicated to keeping its members healthy and strong, while maintaining real service values. For more information, click on www.IVHP.com.

Create a health history folder and bring it to your appointment. You may recall retaining an immunization card for each of your children to document health history and vaccinations. This is a helpful tool for adults, too. Make a simple list of prior surgeries and dates. Also include a list of vaccinations and dates. Aging Americans tend to get vaccinations where convenient, whether it is at work, a senior center, or the local pharmacy, and it is not uncommon to forget whether you were vaccinated for flu, pneumonia, shingles, or pertussis and when each vaccine was received. If you don’t have such a list or folder, start one now!

3) LIST THE SPECIALISTS Many of our patients self-refer and may be seeing a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, an ob/gyn or urologist and more. We don’t always receive the consult reports from the specialists. A list of specialists will enable us to better understand your past and current medical issues and help coordinate your care going forward.

4) BRING YOUR ADVANCED DIRECTIVE

it into your chart so there is no question about your wishes. If you don’t have an advanced directive, we will give you one to fill out or take home to discuss with family. This is an important decision for you to make now, while you are healthy.

5) BE OPEN AND HONEST Be prepared for an open discussion and a review of screening and early identification tests. How do you feel about your health? What is your prior history and family history? Are you concerned about memory loss, incontinence, depression or falling? Do you have the support of family or friends if you need it? When was your last mammogram or PSA screening test, eye exam, colonoscopy, etc.? We may refer you for these tests if appropriate. At the same time, we try to be cognizant of scheduling tests or follow-ups, because we know too many at one time can be overwhelming. We will prioritize based on your individual risk factors. The Annual Wellness Visit is important to understanding you as a whole patient, not just for one illness or set of symptoms. The first year it may take a bit longer (up to an hour) as we collect all this data. The second and subsequent years should result in a shorter visit as the information just needs to be updated. Take advantage of this Medicarepaid visit to make sure you are optimizing your healthcare and your health.

VALERY DESIMONE has been a certified physician assistant (PA-C) for 12 years, with the last four focused in internal medicine. She is one of three certified PAs supporting 10 physicians at Premier Physicians Medical Group in South Orange County, California. For more information, click on www.nccpa.net.

We do discuss end-of-life issues at the AWV. When you bring in your advanced directive, we can scan November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 23


SCAN The Stars

Need More Info?

Most Medicare Advantage plans feature all of the basic benefits traditionally covered under Medicare as well as a prescription drug benefit (Medicare Part D). But out-of-pocket drug costs can vary significantly among health plans. According to Cathy Batteer, general manager at SCAN Health Plan, most plans list the drugs they cover on a formulary, which can be found on the health plan’s website. “When considering a plan, be sure to look up any drugs you currently take to see if they are covered and at what cost,” says Batteer. “SCAN reviews its formulary every year to ensure it provides coverage for the medications its members use most. We don’t want the cost of drugs to be a barrier to good health.” Another thing to consider when comparing Medicare health plans is their

For more information on how to navigate open enrollment and improve your Medicare coverage in 2016, click on www.lifeafter50.com and read Dr. James DeCock’s comprehensive feature, “How to Navigate Open Enrollment and Improve Your Medicare Coverage in 2016.”

For Prescription Drug Benefits

24 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

star rating. Medicare’s star rating system helps you compare quality between plans. Plans are ranked on a one- to fivestar basis. SCAN has 4.5-star-rated plans in each of the 12 California counties it serves. (Star ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.) To learn more about SCAN, click on www.SCAN2016.com. SCAN Health Plan is an HMO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in SCAN Health Plan depends on contract renewal.

We’ve Got it!

Dr. DeCock, M.D. is a family physician at Mission Heritage Medical Group, a member of the St. Joseph Hoag Health alliance. He completed his residency in medicine at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center’s Family Medicine Residency program, and has been practicing medicine in Orange County for nearly 20 years. St. Joseph Hoag Health is a non-profit healthcare system based in Orange County. For more health information from St. Joseph Hoag Health experts, click on www.stjhs.org/HealthCalling.


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T H H  M-K By David Laurell Illustration by Mark Hammermeister

S

S

A zany and innovative comedian who hosted numerous radio programs and children’s television shows from the 1950s through the late 1980s, Soupy Sales became known for his quirky quips and puns, interaction with an eclectic group of characters and puppets, and as the recipient of thousands of cream pies to the face. Soupy also branched into music and, in 1965, hit Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with a novelty song and accompanying dance, “The Mouse,” which instructed kids to make like a mouse and: “Shake with your hands wigglin’ from your ears.”

B

orn Milton Supman in 1926, in Franklinton, North Carolina, the kid who would become known as Soupy Sales grew up in Huntington, West Virginia. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served on the USS Randall in the South Pacific during the latter part of World War II. During his time in the Navy, Sales entertained his shipmates by taking to the ship’s public address system as all sorts of crazy characters. Following his stint in the service, Sales attended West Virginia’s Marshall University where he earned a B.A. in journalism and went on to write scripts for a local radio station. Recognizing his innovative humor, the management of the station soon offered him a job as an on-air personality. Taking to the airwaves as “Soupy Hines,” he quickly became the area’s top disc jockey. As for the name “Soupy,” Sales explained it had been derived from the nicknames his family called him and his two older brothers: “Ham Bone,” “Chicken Bone” and “Soup Bone,” which eventually morphed into “Soupy,” to which he added “Hines” during that first radio gig. He would soon drop “Hines,” deciding it sounded too much like Heinz soup, and chose the name “Sales” as a tribute to vaudeville comedian Chic Sale.

In 1950, Sales made the move from radio to television, which also included a move to Cincinnati, where he hosted the nation’s first teen dance show, “Soupy’s Soda Shop.” During his three years in Ohio, he also hosted a variety show called “Club Nothing,” before leaving for “health reasons.” “They got sick of me,” he quipped. Moving on to Detroit in 1953, he was hired by WXYZ-TV, where he quickly became a popular children’s television personality as the host of “Lunch With Soupy Sales.” During his 11-year run in Detroit, Sales also hosted a nighttime show, “Soup’s On,” which presented musicians, usually from the jazz genre, of which Sales was an aficionado. In 1960, Sales headed to Los Angeles where he hosted “The Soupy Sales Show.” Four years later, he took the popular show to New York, where it was syndicated throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The show, which presented comedy sketches and various puppets, characters and celebrities who always seemed to have just wandered onto the set via a knock on the door, was chock full of Sales’ puns that were punctuated with a pie or two (or more) in the face. Taking a kisser-full of cream and crust became Sales’ trademark and he claimed that between him and his guests, more than 20,000

This feature is intended for you to clip and give to your children or grandchildren because…they must-know! 26 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015


custard torpedoes had been launched and successfully met their target during his career. As for Sales’ characters and puppets, the most popular were his two huge dogs – White Fang, “The Biggest and Meanest Dog in the U.S.A.,” and Black Tooth, “The Biggest and Sweetest Dog in the U.S.A.,” of which viewers only saw their giant paws while conversing with unintelligible grunts that only Sales could decipher. His other popular puppet was Pookie the Lion, a hipster who constantly upstaged Sales with his wit and sang along to obscure novelty records such as composer Irving Taylor’s “Pachalafaka,” which was actually recorded by Sales and broke into Billboard’s Top 40 in 1958. Other characters included Hippy the Hippo, Sales’ girlfriend, Peaches, (played by Sales himself in drag), private detective Philo Kvetch and his evil nemesis, “The Mask,” whose henchmen, “Onions” Oregano, could disarm Kvetch with just a breath in the gumshoe’s direction. Of all the craziness Sales brought to the airwaves, nothing matched a stunt he pulled on New Year’s Day of 1965. Not happy about having had to do his show on the holiday, Sales told his young viewers to tiptoe into their sleeping parents’ bedrooms and remove those “funny green pieces of paper with pictures of U.S. presidents” from their purses and wallets. Sales went on to instruct the kids that once they had their haul collected, they were to “put them in an envelope and mail them to me and I’ll send you a postcard… from Puerto Rico!” Within days, envelopes addressed to Sales and filled with dollar bills began arriving at New York’s WNEW studio. The station’s management, along with outraged parents, found no humor in the stunt and Sales was made to explain it was just a joke and that any money received would either be returned or donated to charity. He was also suspended for two weeks, an action that outraged his viewers, who picketed the station, causing an uproar that only increased the popularity of his show. While Sales’ show was technically a children’s show, it garnered a loyal following of teens and even adults including Frank Sinatra. When Sinatra established his record label, Reprise Records, he signed Sales to a recording contract that resulted in two recordings: 1961’s “The Soupy Sales Show” and 1962’s “Up In The Air.” Sales’ foray into the musical world would also produce “The Mouse,” a 1965 novelty dance record that he performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show” prior to The Beatles’ September 1965 appearance. Sales also went on to sign with Motown Records in 1969 and released a single, “Muck-Arty Park,” a pre-Weird Al Yankovic parody of the 1968 hit “MacArthur Park,” and an album, “A Bag of Soup.” Sales also did a comedy album, “Spy With A Pie” for ABC/Paramount, which was rereleased on the Simon Says children’s records label. After leaving his show, Sales continued to appear regularly on television as a panelist on a number of game shows including “What’s My Line?” “To Tell the Truth,” “Match Game,” “The Gong Show,” “Hollywood Squares” and various versions of “The Pyramid.” His later career also saw him return to radio. He hosted a midday show on WNBC in New York from March 1985 to March 1987, when he was fired, mid-show, for making on-air comments about how poorly he had been treated by the station’s management. The twice-married Sales had two sons by his first wife, Barbara Fox. The boys, Tony and Hunt Sales, went on to become professional musicians forming a band – Tony and the Tigers – and also playing with numerous rock legends including Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Sales died of cancer at the age of 83 on October 22, 2009, at Calvary Hospice in the Bronx, New York. His memorial service at New York’s Riverside Funeral Home proved to be as zany as the man being eulogized. His son, Tony, recalled his dad’s greatest advice: “Be true to your teeth, and they won’t be false to you.” Comedian Professor Irwin Corey had to be physically removed from the service after his eulogy turned into a diatribe about healthcare reform, in which he insisted that Sales had died due to inadequate treatment. And a female rabbi told the mourners that Sales’ parents, Irving and Sadie Supman, the only Jewish family in Franklinton, North Carolina, who owned a dry-goods store, had sold sheets to the Ku Klux Klan. Following the bizarre sendoff, Sales was buried at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y.

LEARN MORE Along with his albums and a plethora of clips from Sales’ various television appearances that can be found on YouTube, he authored three books: • “Did You Hear The One About: The Greatest Jokes Ever Told” (Collier Books, 1987) • “Stop Me If You’ve Heard It!: Soupy Sales Favorite Jokes” (M. Evans & Company, 2003) • “Soupy Sez!: My Life and Zany Times” (M. Evans & Company, 2003)

Mark Hammermeister is an award-winning artist. His work is available for purchase at www.markdraws.com November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 27


Welcome to a neighborhood meeting of the Medicare Skeptics Society.

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Inter Valley Health Plan knows you weren’t born yesterday. And that you might be skeptical about Medicare switching Medicare Advantage Skeptics Society plans. Well, maybe you should attend a question-and-answer session at Inter Valley’s neighborhood Medicare Information and Vitality Center.

Join us for fresh coffee and a light snack.* Bring along all of your questions. And explore the kind of Medicare benefits that win over some of the toughest skeptics like:

$0 Hospitalization $0 Primary Care and Specialist Visits $0 Monthly Premium for Dental Coverage And much more, like vision, gym and fitness benefits** You’ll get all of this and much more from Inter Valley Health Plan — we’ve been serving the community for over 36 years.

Honest answers to your toughest questions. That’s Medicare on your terms. To reserve your seat at a neighborhood meeting call 888-485-3779 or TTY/TDD 800-505-7150 for the hearing impaired, or visit www. eventconnectnow.com/ivhp today. Come to a meeting and get a free travel mug and a bag of gourmet coffee.*

Call: 888-485-3779 or TTY/TDD 800-505-7150 7 days a week, 7:30 am to 8 pm

MEDICARE INFORMATION & VITALITY CENTERS ANAHEIM: Ralphs Shopping Center 927 S. Brookhurst St, Anaheim Wed, Nov 4 @ 2 pm Tues, Nov 10, 24 @ 2 pm Mon, Nov 16, 30 @ 2 pm BANNING Sun Lakes Village Shopping Center, Suite 10-J 300 S. Highland Springs Ave Tues, Nov 3 @ 2 pm Wed, Nov 4, 11, 18 @ 2 pm Thurs, Nov 5, 12, 19 @ 10 am Tues, Nov 10, 17, 24 @ 10 am Mon, Nov 30 @ 10 am

HEMET: Stater Brothers Plaza 214 E Stetson Ave (at State St) Mon, Nov 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 @ 2 pm Tues, Nov 3, 10, 17, 24 @ 10 am Thurs, Nov 5, 12, 19 @ 10 am RIVERSIDE: Lincoln Plaza (at Lincoln & Van Buren) 2995 Van Buren Blvd, Suite A-13 Tues, Nov 3 @ 2 pm Wed, Nov 4 @ 10 am Thurs, Nov 5 @ 2 pm Sat, Nov 7 @ 10 am Tues, Nov 10, 17 @ 10 am Fri, Nov 13 @ 10 am Thurs, Nov 19 @ 5:30 pm

RIVERSIDE continued: Mon, Nov 23 @ 10 am Mon Nov 23 @ 5:30 pm (meeting in Spanish) Wed, Nov 25 @ 2 pm Mon, Nov 30 @ 2 pm

OTHER LOCATIONS Denny’s Restaurant 33540 Yucaipa Blvd, Yucaipa Tues, Nov 10 @ 2 pm Hunny’s Café 402 Corona Mall, Corona Wed, Nov 11 @ 2 pm Coco’s,1140 W. Colton Ave Redlands: Thurs, Nov 12 @ 2 pm

Mimi’s Café 18461 Brookhurst St Fountain Valley Thurs, Nov 12 @ 2 pm Marie Callender’s 1821 N Grand Ave, Santa Ana Tues, Nov 17 @ 3 pm San Bernardino Medical Group 1700 N. Waterman Ave (Conference Rm) San Bernardino Wed, Nov 18 @ 10 am Marie Callender’s 160 E Rincon St, Corona Tues, Nov 24 @ 2 pm

Inter Valley Health Plan is a not-for-profit HMO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Inter Valley Health Plan depends on contract renewal. Anyone entitled to Part A and enrolled in Part B may apply, including those under the age of 65 entitled to Medicare on the basis of Social Security disability benefits. Members must continue to pay Medicare Part B premium. **The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the Plan. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. For accommodation of persons with special needs at sales meetings, call the number above. A licensed sales representative will be present with marketing information and applications. *No obligation. Limited time offer while supplies last. One gift per person, per meeting, Must be Medicare eligible. This is an advertisement. H0545_FUY2016_33 Accepted 10/01/2015 MKS02352AD 10/15


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November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 29 10/23/15 10:52 AM


Charlotte Rae With her 90th birthday in sight, she’s still working, enjoying life, and grateful for every wrinkle Story and photos by David Laurell

H

ere are the facts on the life of Charlotte Rea: Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1926 to Russian Jewish immigrants, she attended Northwestern University, moved to New York City where she performed in the theater and nightclubs, and became a fixture on the stage and screen for over 65 years. Her first significant success came with the early 1960’s sitcom “Car 54, Where Are You?” in which she played Sylvia Schnauzer, the wife of Officer Leo Schnauzer, played by Al Lewis, who would go on to play Grandpa Munster on “The Munsters.” This led to roles on numerous shows throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, including “The Phil Silvers Show,” “The Partridge Family,” “Love, American Style,” “All in the Family” and “Good Times.” Married to Grammy-winning composer, John Strauss, the couple had two sons before divorcing in the mid-1970s, when Strauss revealed he was gay. The 1980s brought Rae stardom when she was cast as Edna Garrett on the popular sitcoms “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life.” Today, at the age of 89, having fought a serious bout with cancer and dealt with heart problems,

30 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

she continues to work and has just released a memoir, “The Facts Of My Life” (BearManor Media, 2015), which will, with great candor, provide readers on these and other details of her life – a life of amazing twists, turns, tragedies and triumphs.

TIME TO TELL THE TALE “I’ve always been too busy to write a book about my life,” says Rae, as she sits in her wellappointed apartment overlooking Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills. “But my son, Larry [Strauss], has always wanted me to do a book. He’s a writer and a teacher and so we decided this was the time to tell the story, and he took the lead.” Strauss, who has actually assigned his students to talk to their parents and write stories about their lives, says that by taking his own advice, he found out quite a bit about his mother he never knew. “I learned details about her relationships with her sisters,” says Strauss. “The good and the bad. How the family got along and interacted with

one another. I was around for a lot of her career, so I knew those stories, but by doing the book, she painted a nice picture of her life growing up that I never knew about.” Rae says the physical act of putting the book together went more smoothly than she thought it would. “Larry would type away while I talked, and then he would ask me questions and just keep on typing,” she says with a laugh. “Then we looked over drafts and I would make some changes here and there. It was a great collaboration, because we were always pretty much on the same page.” Asked if those who have grown up knowing her as the kindly Edna Garrett will be surprised by getting to know the woman behind the character, Rae breaks out in a coy grin. “This book will be a real surprise to some – a real shock actually. Every family has their problems, and life in our family was not all rosy. We had our problems and some of them were not easily solved. Some were very challenging and were never solved.” In addition to her marriage that ended with her husband’s revelation that he was gay, Rae dealt with raising her other son, Andrew, who suffered


THE FACTS OF DOING “FACTS” While Rae says the producers of “The Facts of Life” were never willing to allow her to explore great depth with the character of Mrs. Garrett, she is quick to say she is extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to play that role. “Doing that show was a great time of my life,” Rae recalls. “But at times, it was lonely because I was doing a show without peers. There was no one my age on the show.” While her co-stars – Lisa Whelchel, Mindy Cohn, Kim Fields and Nancy McKeon – had a wonderful on-screen relationship with Rae’s character, she reveals that off-screen, the girls perceived her as a part of the show’s management. “I was billed as the star of the show and was, of course, an adult,” says Rae. “So the girls associated me with the management – the producers. Because of that, whenever anything came up, they weren’t sure they could talk to me. But they were always very sweet and polite and I was involved with them in many ways.” Today, 30 years after Rae left “The Facts of Life,” she still stays very involved with her former co-stars. “I love all of them,” she says. “I’m very

close with Nancy and her husband and their two little girls. They are very loyal to me. I keep in touch with Lisa. She lives here in Los Angeles and is more beautiful than ever. Kimmie, has two kids. She and her husband live in Atlanta and I’m always being kept apprised on everything they are doing. And Mindy is doing very well. She is also here in L.A. and we get together for lunch every once in a while.” Rae also says that, while they don’t cross paths often, she is very proud of a guy who was a young and relative unknown actor when he appeared on “The Facts of Life” – George Clooney. “I knew, right from the start, that he was a good actor,” says Rae. “Viewers really couldn’t tell that, because they didn’t give him much of a role, but it was clear to me that he had what it takes. I had gone to see him in a play and he was just terrific. I really admire him – that he never got into drugs or alcohol and has gone on to be so successful and a wise and strong man.”

past summer appeared in the feature film, “Ricky and the Flash.” “Doing that film was so marvelous,” says Rae. “I had such a good time getting to work with Meryl Streep and Kevin Klein. We would all sit in this tent between takes and share our stories and experiences while the younger actors sat around us and were mesmerized. I still love to work and I have plans to do a Samuel Beckett play in the spring at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.” By the time she walks out on the boards of the Douglas Theatre, Rae will have turned 90. Asked how she views life as she enters her 10th decade, she explains that awhile back, she sat herself down and had a little talk about aging. “I made a commitment to myself to be happy and grateful,” she reveals. “There is no point in getting stressed out about things. I’m 89-and-a-half and God has been so good to me. I’m still here and I’m incredibly grateful for that. So whenever I find myself getting upset over something, I stop and get a hold of myself and realize that I should be enjoying life and savoring every moment. I look out the window and see the beauty of the clouds and try to be a good neighbor and be of service to others and be good to myself. I’ve had so many close calls with death that I’m just thankful to be above ground. And every day, when I look in the mirror, I’m grateful for every wrinkle in my face. I feel that with every new wrinkle there is a new role waiting for me.” For those in and around Los Angeles, you’ll have the chance to meet Charlotte Rae and get a signed copy of her book, “The Facts Of My Life” when she appears at Barnes & Noble at The Grove on November 11. For more information call (323) 525-0270.

A WRINKLE MEANS A ROLE While Rae has had to deal with a rash of health issues, from a 1982 pacemaker implant to a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer that was caught very early and is now in remission, those things have done little to slow her down. She is still on the active search for roles and this

November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 31

Photob By Hayley Sparks

with severe mental challenges and who died in 1999 at the age of 44. “It was very hard to diagnose exactly what his condition was,” says Rae. “We were first were told he had autism and then, as time went by, they told us he was severely mentally challenged. Then he had epilepsy and childhood schizophrenia. It was a very complex bag and it was even more challenging because he looked perfectly normal – like any other child. Because of that, many people just thought he was a very spoiled and misbehaving child.” Explaining that by doing the book, she was forced to think and talk about her ex-husband, as well as Andrew and issues pertaining to her career and health in a much more candid way than she had ever done before, Rae says the process revealed things that even she herself never realized. “I learned that everybody’s life comes with the good times and the challenges,” she says. “Once I decided I was going to do the book, I also decided I was going to let it all hang out and not present myself as this perfect woman who had all the answers that people saw on television. I even used to say that to the producers back when we were doing ‘The Facts of Life.’ I was always pleading with them to make Mrs. Garrett more human. I would say: ‘Please, let me scream at the girls. Let me just get angry at them and be human and not always be so perfect.’ But they wanted her to be warm and sympathetic, and because that was how Mrs. Garrett was presented, people thought that was also who Charlotte Rae was. So now, with my book, people will find out all about the real Charlotte Rae. They will see what my life was really like, and that through it all – the different challenges and the illnesses – that somehow, through the Grace of God, I’m still here and still working, and still enjoying the banquet of life.”


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Let’s Get OUt A Preview of Upcoming Events for November/December By Claire Yezbak Fadden

San Diego/Orange County/Inland Empire

November/December 2015

eNteRtAINMeNt SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15 THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ A new musical adaptation of Frank Baum’s wondrous American folktale about Dorothy Gale and her adventure in the land of Oz. Lamb’s Players Theatre, 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado. $52-plus. (619) 437-6000. lambsplayers.org. ABUNDANCE A stagecoach pulls into a station in the middle of the Wyoming territory. Off step two mail-order brides, one innocent and wideeyed, the other spunky and assertive. For the next quarter of a century, they struggle with the incongruities of fate while clinging to their dreams in a fierce and funny story set in a wild west that would have daunted even Thelma and Louise. South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. $22-plus. (714) 708-5555. scr. org. 42ND STREET Based on a novel by Bradford Ropes and Busby Berkeley’s 1933 movie, this is the story of a starry-eyed young dancer named Peggy Sawyer who comes to New York to audition for a new Broadway musical. When the star breaks her ankle, Peggy takes over and becomes a star. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. Through Nov. 22. $25-plus. (714) 556-2787. scfta.org. HELLO DOLLY Dolly Levi, the well-known matchmaker, attempts to find herself a husband in the wealthy Horace Vandergelder. Welk Resorts Theatre, 8860 Lawrence Welk Dr., Escondido. $48-$75. (888) 802-7469. welktheatre.com. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16 CHAPATTI Two lonely animal lovers in Dublin cross paths, and an unexpected spark begins as they re-discover the importance of human companionship. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Suite D, Solana Beach. Prices vary. (858) 481-1055. northcoastrep.org. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17 INDECENT Alive with popular songs of the 1920’s, this deeply-moving piece charts the history of an incendiary work, the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it, and the evolving identity of the culturally-rich community that inspired its creation. La Jolla Playhouse, UCSD Campus, Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, Mandell Weiss Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Dr., La Jolla. Dates vary through Dec. 10. Prices vary. (858) 550-1010. lajollaplayhouse.org.

34 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27

MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER CHRISTMAS

Experience the magic as the spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller. The show explodes with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. $59-plus. (714) 556-2787. scfta.org.

AS YOU LIKE IT Shakespeare’s most beloved comedy, is a lighthearted look at the fickle and passionate nature of love. When Rosalind is banished by her cruel uncle, she escapes to the magical Forest of Arden—disguised as a boy with her cousin in tow—and soon meets lovesick Orlando. The Old Globe Theatre, Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego. $19-plus. Dates vary through Nov. 22. (619) 234-5623. theoldglobe.org. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18 DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! This whimsical musical, based upon the classic Dr. Seuss book, transforms the Old Globe into the snow-covered Whoville, right down to the last can of Who-hash. The family favorite musical features “This Time of Year,” “Santa for a Day” and “Fah Who Doraze.” The Old Globe Theatre, Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego. $37-plus. Through Dec. 26. (619) 234-5623. theoldglobe.org.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19 THE OLDEST BOY One morning a young mother finds a monk and a lama at her door. She assumes they are friends of her Tibetan husband, but they are really on a mission to meet her threeyear-old son, Tenzi, who they believe is the reincarnation of a high Buddhist teacher. San Diego Repertory Theatre at the Lyceum Space, Lyceum Stage, 79 Horton Plaza, San Diego. Dates vary through Dec. 6. $20-plus. (619) 544-1000. sdrep.org.

through Dec. 27. $34. (619) 337-1525. cygnettheatre.com. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21

JAZZ AT THE MERC Old Town Temecula Community Theater, The Merc, 42051 Main St., Temecula. $15. (866) 653-8696. temeculatheater.org. A CHRISTMAS CAROL Step into a Victorian Christmas card for a unique storytelling of the holiday classic adapted from Charles Dickens’s timeless tale of hope and redemption. This re-imagined, fully staged production features original new music, creative stagecraft and puppetry and live sound effects. Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., San Diego. Dates vary

CHEYENNE JACKSON With a full orchestra and special guests, Jackson performs musical gems from “Gypsy” to “Little Shop of Horrors” as well as the soundtrack standouts from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Casablanca,” and “The Wizard of


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CALeNDAR Oz.” Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 wTown Center Dr., Costa Mesa. $39-plus. (714) 556-2787. scfta.org.

November/December 2015 San Diego/Orange County/Inland Empire Christmas Eve. She has a fantastic dream complete with battling mice, dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers and the delightful Sugar Plum Fairy. Inland Pacific Ballet, Arcadia Performing Arts Center, 188 Campus Dr., Arcadia. Also Nov. 29. Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College, 450 North College Way, Claremont: Dec. 3-6. Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside: Dec. 11-13. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Dr., Rancho Cucamonga: Dec. 17-20. $38-plus. ipballet.org. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29 A CHRISTMAS CAROL Recapture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas with this timeless Dickens classic

CARLSBAD CLASSIC TENNIS TOURNAMENT Top-ranked Women’s Tennis Association players compete. Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, 7100 Aviara Resort Dr., Carlsbad. Through Nov. 29. Prices vary. (858) 255-8972. cldclassic.com.

featuring Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Features Hal Landon Jr. as Ebenezer Scrooge. South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. Dates vary through Dec. 27. $21-plus. (714) 708-5555. scr.org.

JAZZ AT THE MERC Old Town Temecula Community Theater, The Merc, 42051 Main St., Temecula. $15. (866) 653-8696. temeculatheater.org. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5

DECEMBER WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2 A SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS This British holiday tradition dating to the 1700s mixes classic fairy tales, familyfriendly magic and modern pop songs. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach. Dates vary through Dec. 27. Prices vary. (949) 497-2787. lagunaplayhouse.com. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3 THE TEN TENORS: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS Australia’s platinum-selling rock stars of opera perform their unique seasonal selections of traditional and contemporary favorites. With soaring versions of “Joy to the World,” “White Christmas,” “Amazing Grace” and “Feliz Navidad” enjoy a great way to celebrate the spirit of the season. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, Concert Hall, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido. Prices vary. (800) 988-4253. artcenter.org.

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET New York City is turned upside down at Christmas when a department store Santa claims to be the real Saint Nick. Faith itself goes on trial as authorities grapple with the true spirit of the season. Is Kris Kringle who he says he is? LifeHouse Theater, 1135 N. Church St., Redlands. Thurs.-Sun. through Dec. 30. $14-$18. (909) 335-3037 ext. 21. lifehousetheater.com.

HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING AND WINTER WONDERLAND FESTIVAL Celebrate the holiday season with real snow, costumed performers, live entertainment and, of course, Santa. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, Concert Hall, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido. (800) 988-4253. artcenter.org.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22 NEAVE TRIO Considered one of the finest emerging chamber ensembles, this award-winning trio is comprised of violinist Anna Williams, cellist Mikhail Veselov and pianist Toni James. The group has achieved international success with a repertoire that includes Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, Center Theater, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido. Prices vary. (800) 988-4253. artcenter.org. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28 THE NUTCRACKER The holiday favorite tells the story of Clara who receives a magical nutcracker doll on

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

More than 400 animated angels, elves and carolers come alive in a cascade of color featuring nearly four million lights decorating the facade of the historic Mission Inn. Horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating, live entertainment including Dickens’ Carolers, an elaborately decorated Christmas tree, and of course, Santa Claus. Mission Inn, 3649 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside. Through Jan. 6. (800) 843-7755. missioninn.com.

36 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015


November/December 2015 San Diego/Orange County/Inland Empire

MAYA: HIDDEN WORLDS REVEALED The ruined cities of the ancient Maya have captured imaginations since news of their discovery in the jungles of Central America was published in the 1840s. This exhibition tells the story through the eyes of Maya rulers and their loyal subjects. On display are more than 200 authentic artifacts, including spectacular examples of Maya artistry made by masters of their craft, along with objects from everyday life. San Diego Natural History Museum, 1788 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego. $15-$27. Through Jan 3. (619) 232-3821. sdnhm.org.

TEMPTATIONS CHRISTMAS CONCERT Otis Williams started the group in 1961 surrounding himself with four of the best singers he could find who could sing lead as well as harmonies. That formula led to some of the greatest songs of the Motown era: “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “(I Know) I’m Losing You,” “Get Ready,” “I Can’t Get Next to You” and more. Poway Center for the Performing Arts Foundation, 15498 Espola Rd., Poway. $49-$69. (858) 668-4798. powayarts.org. COUNTRY LIVE! AT THE MERC Old Town Temecula Community Theater, The Merc, 42051 Main St., Temecula. Sundays. $12. (866) 653-8696. temeculatheater.org. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6 HANDEL’S GLORIOUS MESSIAH An event of joy, reflection and renewal. Thrill to blazing trumpets, thundering timpani and the electrifying, uplifting “Hallelujah!” chorus. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. $29-plus. (714) 5562787. scfta.org. CANDLELIGHT CLASSICS Ring in the holidays with a Temecula tradition. Old Town Temecula Community Theater, The Merc, 42051 Main St., Temecula. Also Dec. 13 and 20. $25. (866) 653-8696. temeculatheater.org. COMPOSTING WORKSHOP Learn how to use your yard clippings as a resource, naturally achieve a beautiful, health yard and garden and reduce your use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Living Coast Discovery Center, 100, Gunpowder Point Dr., Chula Vista. Shuttle to entrance from parking lot. $9-$14. Sundays. (619) 409-5900. thelivingcoast.org.

DAVID LIGARE: CALIFORNIA CLASSICIST

A self-proclaimed Classicist, Ligare’s perfectly ordered still life, landscape, architectural and figurative paintings occupy their own poetic world, and the perfection of his unblemished subjects and hyper-purity of his paint application seem more unearthly than real. Consisting of approximately 80 oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings, this will be the largest retrospective of Ligare’s work to date. Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach. Through Jan. 17. Closed Wednesdays. $5-$7. (949) 494-8971. lagunaartmuseum.org.

Cultural Center, 4355 Bonita Rd., Bonita. Wed.-Sat. through Jan. 6. (619) 267-5141. bonitahistoricalsociety.org. INDEPENDENT VISIONS Women Artists of California 1880-1940. This exhibition highlights a wide variety of artistic styles, including the Tonalist style of the late 1800s, the Impressionist period of the early 1900s and the Regionalist style of the 1930s and 1940s. The works vary from

objects highlight distinctive materials, excellence of workmanship, and makers’ imaginations. Exploring regional and national craft traditions while expressing each state’s unique contribution to the richness of the American experience, this exhibition celebrates the variety of craft found in America. Mingei International Museum, Balboa Park, 1439 El Prado, San Diego. Through Feb. 21. $7-$10. (619) 239-0003. mingei.org.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8 THIS WONDERFUL LIFE In an amazing display of physical and verbal virtuosity, James Leaming brings to life some 32 familiar people. His Jimmy Stewart-inspired George Bailey leads a cast of characters from Bedford Falls. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Suite D, Solana Beach. Through Dec. 27. Prices vary. (858) 481-1055. northcoastrep.org. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10 LIVE AT THE MUSEUM Celtic Consort of Hollywood. Laguna Beach Live All Stars. Laguna Beach Live, The Ranch at Laguna Beach, 31106 S. Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach. Prices vary. (949) 715-9713. lagunabeachlive.org.

eXHIBItIONs WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2 MAGIC OF THE MAGI Explore hundreds of magi figurines from around the world. Bonita Museum and

CALeNDAR

classically-inspired portraits and still-lifes, to bold Modernist paintings that document the progressive trends of women painters. The Irvine Museum, 18881 Von Karman Ave., Irvine. Tues-Sat. through Jan. 21. Free. (949) 476-2565. irvinemuseum.org. MADE IN AMERICA: CRAFT ICONS OF THE 50 STATES This exhibition, over two years in the making, features traditional and contemporary iconic craft icons that represent each of the 50 states. These

R. LUKE DUBOIS—NOW New York-based DuBois has produced a prodigious body of work ranging from musical composition and collaborative performance to large-scale public installations, film and generative computer works. This survey demonstrates that he operates at the intersections of the visual, the performative and the time-based. Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach. Wed.-Sun. through Feb. 28. $10. (949) 7591-1122. ocma.net.

MODERN TWIST Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art. This exhibition explores the innovative shape bamboo art has taken since the mid-20th century. The display features a stunning selection of works from the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture. With rare wall-hung installations and pieces never before seen in the United States, this exhibition both engages and educates audiences about a vibrant cultural art form. Bowers Museum, Mary Muth Wing 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana. Through Jan. 3. $10-$15. (714) 567-3679. bowers.org ADAMS, CURTIS AND WESTON Photographers of the American West. This exhibition documents the changing landscape of the west and the art of photography through time as well as through the lenses of three of the most celebrated 20th century American photographers: Ansel Adams, Edward S. Curtis and Edward Weston. The photos range in date from 1905 to 1967 and depict a variety of subjects, including landscapes and portraits. Bowers Museum, Mary Muth Wing 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana. Through Nov. 29. $10$15. (714) 567-3679. bowers.org. SAN DIEGO COUNTY PANORAMA The Chula Vista Art Guild hosts this display. Bonita Museum and Cultural Center, 4355 Bonita Rd., Bonita. Wed.-Sat. through Nov. 21. (619) 267-5141. bonitahistoricalsociety.org. INGENIOUS! THE WORLD OF DR. SEUSS The lively and whimsical exhibition features rare early works, ephemera, illustration and editorial cartoons, as well as two newly released Geisel illustrations. The Seussland gallery features giant bronze Seuss character sculptures, anchoring interactive family activities that emphasize the important themes and innovative nature of Seuss books. San Diego History Center, Casa De Balboa, Balboa Park, 1649 El Prado, San Diego. Through Dec. 31. $6-$8. (619) 232- 6203. sandiegohistory.org.

Get the Word Out. E-mail your announcements to Claire Fadden, cfadden@lifeafter50.com 60 days prior (or even earlier) to your event. Include a brief description, location, date, time, cost, phone and website. Submission does not guarantee publication.

November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 37


Rick Steves’ Travels York: A Time Travel Experience Into Old England RICK ST EVES’ T RAVELS

By Rick Steves

W

e Americans have New York, but England has “old” York, one of the country’s top tourist destinations outside of London. York offers a captivating tour of historic sights mixed with an easygoing pedestrian ambience – all lassoed within its formidable medieval wall. The town has a long and rich history, serving as a Roman provincial capital in A.D. 71, capital of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria after the fall of Rome, and as a trading center called “Jorvik” in the ninth to 11th centuries. Henry VIII used the city’s fine cathedral – the York Minster – as the northern headquarters of his Anglican Church. This magnificent cathedral — Britain’s largest Gothic church — is York’s best-known sight and still in use today. When in York, you simply must attend the glorious evensong service to experience the cathedral in all of its musical and spiritual splendor. The York Minster is also famous for its 15th century stained glass, although the Great East Window — which is the size of a tennis court — is behind scaffolding, currently undergoing restoration. Just below the window, a futuristic dome called the Orb shows five of the exquisite panes that have already been restored. If you get to York before next year, you will have the rare opportunity to get a close-up look at the painted and stained glass that will be open until 2016. The details, far too tiny to see from the floor, were intended for God’s eyes only. The octagonal Chapter House to the left of the choir was the meeting place of the Minster’s governing body. The fanciful carvings decorating the canopies above the stalls date from 1280 and 80 percent of them are original. The parade of stony faces — each with so much character and personality — provides a sense of what society was like 800 years ago.

38 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

The new Undercroft Museum, accessed through the Minster’s south transept, takes visitors back even farther in time, focusing on the history of the site and its origins as a Roman fortress. Visitors can view actual remains of the Roman fort’s basilica through a seethrough floor and glimpse patches of Roman frescoes from what was once the basilica’s anteroom. The Minster’s towers serve as a navigational landmark — or you can follow the strategically placed signposts, which point out places of interest to tourists. Just outside the city walls near the train station is the National Railway Museum, showing two centuries of British railroad history. In the Industrial Age, York was the railway hub of northern England. The museum hosts an array of beautifully preserved historic trains fanning out from a grand roundhouse. A steam engine is sliced open, showing cylinders, driving wheels, and a smoke box in action. Exhibits trace the evolution of steam-powered transportation from very early trains, such as an 1830 stagecoach on rails, to the aerodynamic Mallard — famous as the first train to travel at two miles per minute, a marvel back in 1938. Across the Ouse River is the Yorkshire Museum. Built into the ruins of what was once north England’s wealthiest abbey, its exhibits tell the story of life here for the monks, how that all ended, and much more. The ancient Roman collection includes slice-of-life exhibits from cult figurines to the skull of a man killed by a sword blow to the head — making it graphically clear that the struggle between Romans and barbarians was a violent one. York soldiered on, amassing a large collection of weaponry throughout the ages. One of the museum’s highlights is an eighth century Anglo-Saxon brass helmet. The Jorvik Viking Centre shows off the bestpreserved Viking city ever excavated. You’ll

ride a “Pirates of the Caribbean”-type people-mover through a Viking street, complete with jabbering animatronic characters — where sights, sounds, and even smells from the year 975 have been recreated. The ride ends at a gallery filled with artifacts from every aspect of Viking life. Nearby, the York Castle Museum is a more oldschool, sedate Victorian home show. Its one-way plan assures that you’ll see everything, including remakes of rooms from the 17th to 20th centuries, a Victorian street, military exhibits, and some eerie prison cells. In the city core, the 100-yard-long cobbled lane known as The Shambles was once the “street of the butchers” (the name is derived from shammell — a butcher’s cutting block). In the 16th century, it was teeming with red-meat purveyors, and all the blood, guts, and waste were flushed down the street to a mucky pond. Now tourist shops fill the Tudor buildings — and tourists fill The Shambles. To get away from the bustle, linger at one of York’s fine upscale bistros or elegant teahouses, or try the two-mile walk along the Ouse River, over the handsome Millennium Bridge, and back into town. The bridge is delightfully designed with an inviting, reclining-lounge-chair fence — just right for relaxing, people-watching, and contemplating the incredible history of this intriguing city. Rick Steves writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and radio. You can e-mail him at rick@ricksteves.com and visit his website at www.ricksteves.com.


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November 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 39


T RAVEL

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And Finally... The Bookworm’s Best A Life After 50 book review

by Terri “The Bookworm” Schlichenmeyer

Fear of Dying By Erica Jong

I

t’s the natural order of things. People have kids, they grow old as their kids grow up to have kids, then those kids grow old as their kids grow up to, well, you know how it goes. That’s the way things should be, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to face mortality – yours or your parents.’ In the new book, “Fear of Dying” by Erica Jong, reaching for an anti-aging cure just doesn’t work. Married more times than she’d admit and of an unspoken sixtysomething age, Vanessa Wonderman has finally found some sort of semi-zen in life. She’s about to be a first-time grandmother, which thrills her; and her husband, Asher, who is quite a bit older and quite a bit rich, adores her. Life is much better than it was four decades ago, but Wonderman is still restless. That her parents are dying might be part of the problem. Once upon a time, they were Hollywood royalty and everybody wanted to be in their circle. Wonderman remembers when their home was filled with sophistication and rowdiness, when she and her sisters sneaked Champagne and watched the adult fun from their perch on the staircase. Then came Hollywood’s Red Scare and her parents decided it was time to move to New York and start anew. In their new life in New York, her parents mostly slept and moaned, making Wonderman mourn before they were even gone. This mortality business scared her. Why couldn’t she be like her friend, Isadora Wing, who went through life blithely collecting experiences that she could never talk about in polite society? Dear Isadora Wing, who knew the right things to say when Wonderman’s world imploded and she began to desperately envy anyone young. Wing offered comfort to Vanessa when her dog died, when Asher had a near-fatal aneurysm and when the only running she could do was between hospitals and bedsides. It was too much to bear – and so, reaching for immortality and her fading youth, Wonderman did the only thing that made sense to her: she went online in search of a lover. But, unlike her friend Wing, could she actually go through with it? Getting older or getting better? I think the latter is true of Jong: her writing is off the chart in this latest, most poignant novel that speaks volumes to those over 50. Baby boomers, especially, will identify with Jong’s latest heroine in “Fear of Dying.” Boomers have lost loved ones. They know exactly what Wonderman’s going through, and understand that “who’s-next-to-go” feeling, so it’s easy to grasp her feelings. Though Wonderman’s desperation leads to a little too much navel-gazing, her actions are funny and ribald, just-right wild. Did I mention how wonderful it is to spend time with Isadora Wing again? Yes, there’s a good dose of her in this risqué, semi-sequel to Jong’s 1973 novel, “Fear of Flying,” which fans (old and new) won’t be able to resist. If you’re suffering from those end-of-summer-pre-holiday-preparation blues, “Fear of Dying” may be just what the doctor ordered. “Fear of Dying” by Erica Jong, 2015, St. Martin’s Press, $26.99, 288 pages. The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer who lives on a hill with two dogs and more than 12,000 books. You can read more of her book reviews at www.lifeafter50.com. Just click on “Entertainment” and then “Book Reviews.”

A Look Back

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his Thanksgiving will mark the passage of 50 years since a then-18-year-old aspiring singer/songwriter named Arlo Guthrie was arrested in Massachusetts. After finishing his meal at a little restaurant, Guthrie and a friend offered to do a favor for the proprietor, Alice Brock, and take some trash to the local dump. Finding the dump closed for the holiday, they proceeded to an illegal dump site in a nearby town, deposited the trash, and were arrested for littering. Guthrie pleaded guilty, was fined and ordered to pick up the garbage. This incident resulted in “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” commonly known as “Alice’s Restaurant,” a musical monologue Guthrie wrote and released two years later on his debut album “Alice’s Restaurant.” The song is a satirical account of 1960’s counterculture and a protest against the Vietnam War draft. In Guthrie’s song, he tells of his arrest and experience before the draft board and the surreal bureaucracy he encountered at the induction center. Having unsucessfully attempted to dodge the draft by appearing hung over and claiming he was homicidal, he was then asked if he had ever been convicted of a crime. Mentioning the Thanksgiving Day littering incident, he learned his run in with the law was, bureaucratically, indistinguishable from a violent felony and he was rejected from military service. 42 LIFEAFTER50.COM November 2015

Just A Thought Before We Go “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” – Henry Van Dyk


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“THE GREATEST OF THE GREAT! IT MUST BE EXPERIENCED!” — Chrinstine Walevska, Goddess of Cello, watched Shen Yun 4 times

T

here was a time when the world was full of magic and splendor, and all on Earth existed in harmony with Heaven. You could see it in the arts, feel it in the air, and hear it in the beat of a drum. This was a land of heroes and sages, dragons and phoenixes, emperors and immortals. Known today as China, this place was once called “the Land of the Divine.” What if you could journey back and visit this lost paradise?

Shen Yun brings the profound spirit of this lost civilization to life on stage with unrivaled artistic mastery. Every dance movement, every musical note, makes this a stunning visual and emotional experience you won’t find anywhere else. Banned in communist China today, the non-profit Shen Yun is dedicated to reviving 5,000 years of civilization. Experience the Arts connecting Heaven & Earth! Experience Shen Yun!

“ Mind-blowing! Go back and see six times!” —Richard Connema, renowned Broadway critic

“Absolutely beautiful... So inspiring; I think I may have found some new ideas for the next Avatar.”

“Absolutely the NO.1 show in the world, absolutely the best... No other company or of any style can match this!”

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—Kenn Wells, former lead dancer of the English National Ballet

“It was a very spiritual experience and it moved me and I cried. I kept thinking, this is the highest and the best of what humans can produce.” —Olevia Brown-Klahn, musician

MAR 19- APR 30, 2016 Claremont Long Beach Thousand Oaks Costa Mesa

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“Go see it to believe it, because otherwise, you are going to miss the most important thing in your life.” —Joe Heard, former White House photographer, watched Shen Yun 5 times

Tickets: 800-880-0188 ShenYun.com Phoenix, AZ Las Vegas

Early Bird code: Early16 Get best seats & waive service fee by Dec.31

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