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Tom Blake

By Tom Blake

One of the most important things seniors can do to have a quality life and avoid loneliness is to include social interaction in their daily routines. That means getting off the couch, out of the house and being around people.

When seniors do that, positive things can happen. This week’s story is an example.

Thirty-four years ago, I was surfing at Boneyard at Doheny Beach. There was just one person surfing there that day.

While we were waiting to catch a wave, he and I were chatting. His name was Alex Rentziperis; he was opening a barber shop called Sports Barber in Dana Point, which is located on the second floor above Stillwater Spirits & Sounds, a country music restaurant and bar.

Alex has been cutting my hair all those years.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Sports Barber for a haircut. When I walked in, Alex introduced me to a woman whose hair he had just cut.

He said, “This is Susie; she’s my only woman customer. I’ve been cutting her hair for 25 years.”

I had never seen a woman customer in Alex’s Sports Barber.

Then, Alex said, “Susie has a senior marriage-success story.”

Alex’s words piqued my interest. I told Susie I had been writing about senior dating for 24 years.

Susie grinned and said, “I know. I read your column in the Dana Point Times. I thought your recent column, “Where is John?” was funny, because my husband’s name is Jon, just spelled a little differently. I found Jon; we met later in life.”

I asked her how she and Jon met and if she would email me her story, which she did.

Susie wrote, “In 2009, three of my girlfriends and I decided to go on a Mediterranean cruise. After unpacking in our staterooms, we decided to check out the activities on each deck of the ship. When we reached Deck 12, we noticed that it was 5 p.m., and saw an outdoor bar, and decided it was time for a glass of wine. 

“One friend doesn’t drink alcohol, so she went to listen to music coming up from Deck 4. When the three of us got our wine and turned around, we saw our friend dancing with a man. We wondered, where did he come from? 

“After the dance ended, the man introduced himself to the three wine sippers. His name was Jon; this was the start of a friendship among the five of us.  

“Because of high winds during the cruise, the ship could not dock at four of the eight ports. This gave us time to have many conversations and do activities together. 

“Jon and I got to know each other and became good friends. After the cruise, we communicated often and spent time together. Amazingly, Jon was from Northern California and I from Southern California, and we met halfway around the world! Jon’s version of how we met is ‘Susie picked me up on the love boat.’

 “Jon had been widowed for 1.5 years. I had been widowed for 13 years. Jon told me that if we became involved, I would have more of an adjustment to make, because I had been single for so long. A year after the cruise, we were married.”

Susie added, “We decided to live in Dana Point, because it was the only place with warm fog and no bugs. Jon says it was simply a ‘no-brainer.’

“We purchased a condo together in Lantern Bay Villas, and it has been our ‘pinch-me moment.’ ”

When people venture out to enjoy life, positive things can happen. For Susie, meeting Jon was one of them, and sharing her story at the Sports Barber with a relationship columnist is another. 

Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at To comment:

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