In August, 2019 we went to Philadelphia to visit relatives who live downtown on the Delaware River. The nearby Independence Seaport Museum, is home to two ships; the Cruiser Olympia, launched in 1892, and the Submarine Becuna, launched in 1944.
Most people have not been on a submarine or a cruiser, and have no idea how confining they are especially when they are as old as these are, and as I am. These are not cruise ships.
We toured the two ships and the Independence Seaport Museum. Having recently come to enjoy cruise ships due to our advanced age, we were impressed by the older ships. And, coming from Kansas and Iowa, I have always been attracted to ships.
A third ship, next to the other two, has a formal restaurant and a cafe. No one in the formal restaurant, but in the cafe, we had a shared lunch on a sailing ship. Half of a Cuban sandwich.
The submarine is not for someone who cannot manage tight spaces; narrow passageways, and low doors from one waterproof chamber to the other. It is a single narrow path through the submarine. It is climbing up and down ladders and keeping your head down. Things have probably changed in the last 80 years, or so, but I think that they must still be confining. Going through the sub is difficult, especially if you are my age, and/or have knee or balance problems. The sub is divided into sections with small (3 ft) water tight doors between them, and you have to step up and over. The hall is narrow – a fat man in front of me almost couldn’t make it through. Old person alert!
A submarine is out of my comfort zone, but irresistible. You wonder how sailers managed to get along; and, the psychological testing that they must have gone through to be assigned to a sub.
The Cruiser Olympia, is larger and had a crew of 33 officers and 396 enlisted men. Except for officers, all the sailers slept in hammocks suspended from the ceiling throughout the ship. They were narrow and suspended from hooks only when in use. You wouldn’t believe the bathroom facilities, medical areas, and the kitchens.
On the shore next to the ships is a museum of nautical exhibits. Three of the exhibits are especially interesting.
The first is devoted to the slave trade and Philadelphia, complete with photos, bills of sale, and slave success stories. They describe the horror of the slave trade which brought from 20 to 50 million slaves to the US. A moving exhibit that everyone should see. They also feature a number of slaves who were successful in Philadelphia.
The New York Times Magazine in its 1619 Project, devoted to slavery, is worth reading, and helps understand the Seaport Museum Exhibit.
The second, the ship building exhibit, follows the life of a sailor on board a ship and sailing in Philadelphia.
The third, Workshop on the Water, is not an exhibit, but a fully equipped boat building shop. There are complete boats in various stages of completion, lots of tools, and an amazing assortment of wood in various stages of shaping. Four men concentrated on the construction of several boats the day we were there.
There is one completed boat for sale for $3000.
A notice seeks teen-age apprentices who want to learn the boat-building trade. I was surprised that there were not a thousand teens lined up. If I was 65 years younger, I would be there.
The bottom line is that it is worth seeing. The space available in 100 year old ships and submarines makes assisted living facilities look like palaces.
The Seaport Museum is on the Delaware River, which runs from the Atlantic to Downsville, NY where there is a dam and the Pepacton Reservoir, a 101 miles NW of New York City. It supplies about 25% of New York’s water. It is patrolled by New York City Police Officers and is fenced and limited to boats without motors.
THINK OLD! TRAVEL MORE!
Chez Colette’s, is a French Bistro in Belleair Bluffs, Florida, next to Indian Rocks Beach. It is small, about 24 seats, simple, with a delicious menu, French House Wines, and a pleasant atmosphere. On the menu are Beef Bourguignon: (Angus Beef slow cooked and reduced with Red Wine, Carrots, Onions, Bacon and Fresh Mushrooms) and Filet Mignon: ( with Red Wine Shallots Sauce or topped with Garlic, Butter, Parsley and Onions confit served with French Fries). In addition, there is fish, chicken and crepes along with a special, depending on what the chef found at the market that day.
I am waiting for the lamb shanks special, which I have had in years past.
Deserts are the usual plus:
Profiteroles, Chocolate Mousse and Crème Brulee
There is a nice wine list with French wines. Try the house red wine; reasonable, French and smooth.
You can share a plate; always a plus for us and we always share the desert. Closed on Sunday but open for lunch and dinner the rest of the week. Closed during part of September when the owners take vacation.
Parking in front. Quiet and seems to cater to our age group.
I don’t carry books on trips any more. There is too much bulk, weight and trouble for a person my age. I want to share alternate reading solutions with you.
Indian Rocks Beach, Florida has a number of free mini libraries. Take one/leave one. I have seen them in other places including Albuquerque, New Mexico and Waynesville, North Carolina.
If a mini-library is not available, consider the following:
- Kindle – I have downloaded thousands of books, including a number of free ones from Amazon to my I-pad or my Kindle. You can also subscribe to magazines.
- Kindle via your library. Your library may allow you to download e-books to your pad or computer for several weeks. You will probably need a library card, but I can download from the Albuquerque Public Library anywhere I can find Wi-Fi. And, no waiting. It is instant gratification. You will need a library card. And, of course, since you are old, don’t forget “large print” books. Especially if it is a popular book with a long waiting list. Usually the “large print” waiting list is much shorter. And, they are easier to read.
- Libraries. Every library has a room where they sell old books and magazines cheap. Usually $1 to $2 for a hardback and a fourth that for paperbacks; frequently best sellers.
4. Senior Centers – You can find donated books for free. An additional advantage is their bulletin boards which tell you about trips, programs, etc. A cheap tour may be available as well as a computer center with an expert. You can also get cheap meals and a 25 cent cup of coffee.
5. YMCA’s – When you finish your Silver Sneakers work-out, you can take a book from their shelves of donated books. You can also leave books there.
6. Foreign Countries – Check out the bars where ex-pats hang out. You will frequently find shelves of take-one/leave-one books; in English.
THINK OLD! READ FOR FREE! Reduce the weight of your suitcase.
Like many old people, I am interested in learning something new; in my case genealogy, but also hiking and perhaps something totally new like wood carving. Almost every active old person is trying for a new hobby. Painting, pottery, writing a blog, hiking, etc. I have one friend who makes pottery and is good enough that she spent time on a cruise ship teaching pottery to other old people. An interesting and unusual experience.
Community colleges are full of courses that will teach you something. As are senior centers. The problem is that the materials that they use are frequently too complicated, too advanced or too long for old people.
While sitting in the Smithtown Public Library, I got to thinking about this; and, about some sort of handbook for old people. This naturally led me to think about how I learned when I was young. A tremendous influence on me was the Boy Scouts. So I checked the card catalog for the Boy Scout Handbook; it was at another branch. But, I did find the Boy Scout Merit Badge Series.
This was just what I needed. There are 132 of them. I checked the ones on genealogy, hiking, and wood carving. Each provided the basics for the topic selected and a list of resources; not to mention the tools that you need and how to use and care for them. Each provided several hours of interesting reading and was thought-provoking. Thought-provoking is good for the old.
Each provided something that we didn’t have 60 years ago, such as discussing GPS receivers; but, reminding you, that if the battery died, you were back to “navigating the backcountry with traditional tools.” Tradition, I know; GPS is a bit more difficult and dead batteries haunt me all the time, from hearing aids to cell phones.
I may order some; or check out my library at home. Travel should be enlightening, even if you are only in a strange library.
For more information go to: www.scoutstuff.org. The merit badge pamphlets are $4.99 each. You can probably afford a dozen. While at the site, take a look at the packs, etc. They have a lot more stuff than they did 60 years ago when I was paying 25 cents for a Merit Badge Pamphlet.
My wife is taking painting, so I may have to get her the Painting Merit Badge Pamphlet.
You might also try Amazon.com and get a $4.95 Merit Badge Pamphlet for your Kindle.
You are never too old to learn from the young.
I haven’t seen a Travel Merit Badge pamphlet, but ….
WARNING! DON’T RELY ON THIS; OR ANY OTHER BLOG. IT IS TOO EASY TO SPREAD FALSE INFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA, WEBSITES AND BLOG SITES. READ THIS, CHECK IT OUT AND USE IT AS YOU WILL; ALWAYS REMEMBERING THAT YOU ARE OLD AND MORE SUSCEPTABLE THAN MOST TO THIS SORT OF THING, ESPECIALLY IF IT INVOLVES HEALTH, MEDICINES AND AVOIDING DEATH.
How much medicine do you really need? What does it do for you? A simple idea: go to your pharmacist and ask her to look over all the pills that you take, both prescription and over-the-counter. Ask about interactions and dangers. Then rethink! Rethink with your doctor. I just can’t imagine how you can choose a pill to take, given the thousands in the typical drug store; not to mention on-line pills.
There are 5 tricks to healthy aging. The idea is to live well, not to live long. Your goal should be to live your best life, leave quickly and with as little pain as possible.
- Walk:– I have never seen, or heard of, any scientific study that said walking was bad for you.
- Strength training: Keep your muscle tone. Don’t do it at home, go to a gym, preferably one that takes Silver Sneakers or the YMCA. Just showing up will insure tht you do some exercises; at home it is too easy to skip it. Silver Sneakers and the YMCA are good across the country, so you really have no excuse. If you can’t drive – think it through. There are free services and now Uber and Lyft are everwhere.
- Eat non-processed foods: Follow Michael Pollan: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
- Simplify: Old age should be simple, not complex. You don’t need a lot and I have yet to see anyone who took anything with them. Downsize now, especially in your closet.
- Blog: You need something to do and you need to know how to use a computer and web sites. By blogging you learn new things, develop eye/hand coordination and are stimulated. It beats painting plaster of paris molds at a hobby center; I think. You need something to do. Anything that challenges your mind, no matter how silly or foolish it may seem to others.
Do you really want to save up for a life in a nursing home? A little planning and exercise will go a long way toward a happy, healthy life. Drop dead at a well-lived old age. Skip the nursing home.
Rethink end-of-life. Probably 99 % of us will die, so unless you suddenly find yourself in the 1%, you have a finite existence. You should make the best of it. I can find nothing positive about living the last few days/months/years as a vegetable, or in pain.
THINK OLD! LIVE BETTER NOW!
Most old people have trouble keeping track of passwords. Even when they write them down, they lose them, or have trouble typing them in to their phones or iPads.
Or, their passwords are so simple or common, that any 10 year old can hack them
There is a simple solution. Use your fingerprint as your password.
I am writing this blog after signing in using my index finger on the sign on button.
I access my Bank of America Account, (“sign in with Touch ID”) not with a password, but with my index finger. I suppose someone could cut off my index finger and access my accounts, but at 79 this is not a major worry.
Some of the newer tablets and phones have facial recognition; but do I want to smile at my iPad to sign in? And, I have a very old face.
There is voice recognition which is what Vanguard uses. I call my broker, repeat a sentence (provided and prerecorded) and have secure access to my account,
I like 2-factor sign-in, or multi-factor authentication, where you get a 6 digit number in an iPhone messages or by e-mail. This is after you have fingered your way across the threshold identification. You add the 6 digit number and you are in.
You should use this for all financial accounts.
I still like my index finger. I may insure it.
Ask your financial institution about multi-factor authentication.
THINK OLD! – THINK SIMPLE!
I like a restaurant that reminds me of my past (60 to 70 years ago); and, like most people my age, I prefer non-chain restaurants. In Largo, Florida there is Venus Restaurant. It has been family owned since 1985, is small, and seems to cater to an older neighborhood population.
There are booths, tables and an outdoor seating area where smoking is apparently allowed; at least I could smell cigarette smoke which is unusual; even in Florida. The walls are covered with pictures drawn by grade-school grandchildren, the waitresses are friendly and the parking lot is always crowded.
The food is simple, not processed and reflective of by-gone times. Where else can you find beef liver and onions (small portion) for $7.49 “served with a choice of the following sides: cup of soup, or side salad, potato, vegetable or a pudding dessert.”
They also serve fish, meat-loaf, burgers and pasta; plus an assortment of Greek dishes and pudding for dessert.
Of course, since there are a lot of Canadians who vacation in Indian Rocks Beach, they served their version of poutine, with gravy on the side – no cheese curds:
2441 West Bay Drive
Largo, FL 33770
THINK OLD – TRAVEL MORE:
Salt Lake City, Utah, the home of the Mormon Church, is also the repository of one of the largest genealogy collections in the world. It is not just a collection, but a large and active group of genealogists.
We recently went to Salt Lake City because I have an interest in genealogy and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Family History Library is the place to go. And we had to use up two Southwest Tickets. I had not been there since 1953 (Boy Scout Jamboree in Irvine, California) when we stopped on the way.
My focus was on the Genealogy Center. I am a member of the New Mexico Genealogy Society and like many old people am interested in stories out of my past. For example see: Bertha and Gertrude.
The Center is several stories high with several basements. The main floor provides a hands-on genealogy experience; complete with the latest audio-visual equipment and interactive exhibits. You can track your ancestors.
The main research room consists of hundreds of computers and dozens of Elders who are available to assist you in your research. All you have to do is raise your hand and a knowledgeable Elder is at your side explaining what you need to do. They are genealogy experts.
You can spend all day there.
The library has every thing a genealogist needs; and, they are adding to it every day.
Every day at noon there is a free organ concert; well worth attending.
The rest of Salt Lake City is interesting. We stayed a block from Temple Square in an AirBnB. We could walk everywhere, but there was also a tram.
There was a good restaurant for breakfast in a Church Building; however, no coffee. They directed us to a cafe down the street where we could get coffee to go. By the time I picked it up, my breakfast was ready.
We had dinner at Lyon House; cafeteria style.
The food is simple and the portions generous. Again, no coffee; and, no alcohol. Eating at non-church restaurants allowed us wine with our meals.
The 3 night trip exceeded our expectations. We arrived in the afternoon, took a $11 Lyft ride to The Kimball a block from Temple Square and settled in.
There are several church related museums.
We watched people line up outside the Temple to get married. There were dozens of groups waiting their turn to go into the Temple; non-church members are not allowed in.
There are genealogy sources in all states at Mormon Churches.
You can find out about your ancestors without exposing yourself, your age, your ignorance, etc. Old People like to find out things anonymously.
What do old people want to know? Five “old” keys to the Salt Lake City trip:
- Ease of getting there and around.
- Cost – Salt Lake City is reasonable and walkable in the downtown area.
- Safety and security. Salt Lake City felt safe and secure.
- Interesting stories to tell when you get home.
- Preparation. Salt Lake City is easy to search and prepare for.
Think Old! Travel Now!
After 79 years I have just barely managed to work my TV at home. Now, every time I am in a new vacation rental, I face an impossible learning experience. I have yet to be able to turn on a TV with ease. Why, I am not sure. This week in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, a favorite place of ours, was the worst.
There are three TV’s in the unit and NINE TV remote devices. Fortunately the master bedroom only has one.
The living room TV has 6 remotes.
The first night, and over the week-end, I could only make the TV in the master bedroom work; and that only by punching several buttons at random. The TV in the living room simply flashed “No Signal” and “35 Animal Planet.”
On Monday I went to the management company and they suggested that I contact the cable provider. They gave me a number.
The cable provider telephone call consisted of a series of messages and suggestions; none of which did any good and ended up suggesting that I unplug the system, wait 20 minutes, and attempt to restart. I did this. Nothing. I then unplugged the system again, waited an hour, restarted the system. Again nothing. So, I turned to drink.
After a few hours, I called the cable provider again, and by carefully punching buttons on my phone, finally got to a live operator. She was very nice. She must have a nice grandfather.
She suggested I punch “source” on my remote. At first I couldn’t find it; but then hiding at the bottom in small type, was a button that said “video source,” right next to the red button that said “light.”
I punched the video source button and got several choices. By sorting through them (it took me a couple minutes to figure out how to go from one to another), I hit on one that turned the TV on. Not clear, but after a while the TV got to the point where could find some familiar channels.
For the next several days, it took several attempts with the remote to get the cable. I never could make it work in the guest bedroom, but….
Even after I managed to start getting the cable channels, I got ads popping up suggesting that I upgrade this or that. There seemed to be no way to get away from them except by powering off and restarting the TV.
The one remote that finally worked has 63 buttons; each with small hard to read (and harder to understand) words.
On a prior trip, but a different condo, all of the clickers were dead. After a couple of days, and calls, we discovered that the batteries were not only dead, but corroded.
The remotes are not labeled. They each control a different tv, vcr, or some other electronic device.
I realize that I am 79; that my grandchildren were not with me; and, that I am not versed in “remotes;” however, I notice that a lot of old people rent condos in Florida during the school year, when things are quieter. You would think that there could be a simple solution.
Old people tend to watch TV. Imagine if my life revolved around Jeopardy? I would go crazy if the remote did not allow me to access that.
I have come up with a simple check list. This should help, not just with tv remotes, but with most of the problems old people have with electronics.
- Don’t wait. Face the problem now.
- Prepare- whoever you contact is going to want information that you don’t have, so get it.
- photos on your cell phone
- contacts – owner – manager
- Think it through
- Use your age as a bargaining chip. “I am 79 and need your help.”
- Try everything. Whomever you contact will ask you.
- Be nice.
- Seek help; in person, if possible.
- Finally, call your grandson or granddaughter.
Transporting old people is a pain. They complain, are difficult to work with, and it is time-consuming. Think of a cross-country car trip with the Geezer. Not to mention the expense and the time missed from work.
The Geezer has developed “GeezerPack.” If you have a loved-one over the age of 70, packed (perhaps “boxed” is more accurate) and ready to go by 5:00 PM, live delivery anywhere in the continental United States is guaranteed by 10:00 AM the next day. Included is a packing box with a comfortable chair, portable light with extra batteries, boxed lunch, water bottle, tranquilizer, portable tape-player with the hits of the 50’s, oxygen, blanket, diaper approved by NASA and identity card.
Couples packs are available. International shipment is being planned. An emergency walker is also included. Each GeezerPack is also waterproof as there have been delays due to inclement weather.
The pack can be used at the destination as a temporary home. It fits through most doorways and stairways. It is clearly marked “THIS SIDE UP!”
We have shipped over 1000 seniors without a complaint.
Each GeeserPack is barcoded and you can track your loved one on your home computer or smart phone. Each GeezerPack is delivered to your address by two strong men and a truck. For a slight additional fee they will help rearrange your furniture. The box and chair are yours to keep.
Please carefully wrap your senior as sometimes the GeezerPack gets dropped or falls.
Frequent shipper cards available. Every 10th shipment is free. Get your card punched by the driver.
And, when you think about it; this is not so far-fetched. Think of all the astronauts sent into space and to the moon. Why can’t old people travel the same way?
DON’T DELAY, SHIP YOUR SENIOR TODAY!