Cape Gazette
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Retirement 101

Volunteering is key to successful retirement

By Lisa Graff | Mar 10, 2013

I received a lovely email from Jimmy, who calls his retirement a “happy experience.” He and his wife Karen rediscovered Lewes in 2003 and fondly recall camping at Cape Henlopen when their children were young. “Once we got here, we realized that there was only so much golf you could play, only so many books you could read, and lunches you could have with friends.” James finds great fulfillment in volunteering at Beebe Medical Center as a chaplain and also volunteering at Elderinfo of Delaware helping seniors get the best Medicare coverage they can. Karen volunteers as an ESL teacher at church and also at the Community Resource Center. “The four components for the secret of retirement are give, play, love and worship.” James and Karen have been married for more than 50 years and still have date nights. Thanks so much for sharing your story. My husband asked me to sign a 50-year contract when we got married in 1979, and I agreed as long as after that I could walk away a free woman. Every anniversary I lovingly remind him of the number of years I have left before the contract expires. I hope that both of us live long enough to find out what happens. Congrats to you both!

Carolyn from Pennsylvania vacations in Lewes and would love to buy an historic home here. She wrote about her bucket list that she and her husband John are compiling in anticipation of their new life. They want to travel to see Glacier National Park and Kauai, Hawaii. Me, too.

I recently met a woman who fulfilled the first item on her dream list by returning to her father’s native country of Romania to find a family she never knew. Armed with only six photographs in her hand and a smattering of Romanian, she and two of her children managed to locate the baby in the picture, who welcomed them into their home. They hugged and wept and told stories and she finally understood why her father loved his native small town so much.

One of my readers, Alice, said she loves the idea of having a place to dance. Date night, here we come! Alice, I called up the number on the abandoned building across from JD Shuckers on Route 24 to find out about rent. I wanted to lease the space for dancing, but the price he quoted was out of the ballpark of my budget. So if anyone knows of a space we could rent and/or a DJ looking to make a little money, give me a holler. We could have retirement 101 dance night. Swing! Motown! Country and western? Foxtrot? We could charge a $5 entrance fee per person and $1 for bottled water and give the landlord the proceeds! You won’t get rich, but you could lower your cholesterol. Singles could come too and meet other old singles who are either widowed or walked out on their contracts. I watch Ellen DeGeneres dance at the beginning of every show, and I want her job!

Good news! Next to this empty “should be a boogie dance hall” building, a new coffee shop opened up this month. Longtime local residents and family farmers Cheryl and Stephanie Dorman serve up hot hand-dipped donuts, fresh baked goods and great coffee in Dorman’s Donuts across from Peddlers Village on Route 24. Delicious small donuts which hardly have any calories.

People tell me they are enjoying the column, but I don’t get much mail. Please touch the keyboard and our hearts with your story, or I may have to invent some old people doing God only knows what with their spare time.

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