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Over 60 ... And Getting Younger: July 20, 2012


My 6-year-old grandson Lewis is very erudite and speaks remarkably well. He has been speaking in complete sentences since he was 3 years of age. Lorraine, my wife and his grandmother, tries to teach him “reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic.”

She recently asked him this most serious question: “Lewis, what is your favorite word?” Lewis thought for a few seconds and answered “Enthusiasm.” Lorraine shone with delight at his unexpected answer. After a short period, he asked her a question in return. “Grandma, what does enthusiasm mean?”

What does enthusiasm mean, indeed?

The dictionary uses these definitions: fervor, fanaticism, zeal, ardor, intensity, devotion, eagerness, fervency and earnestness.

From my elderly viewpoint, I see we are living in enthusiastic times. Good times or bad are both met with the full force of our energies. The famous Chinese proverb is “May you live in interesting times.” This is not a good wish, as bad times, too, can be interesting.

Looking back on my own life, I had enthusiasm for many different things. The first was ball-playing: street stick ball, punch ball, football (with rolled up newspapers) and playground basketball occupied my day from morn to evening. It was fabulous.

Next, at 12 years old, came my devotion to the Brooklyn Dodgers. My new friends, Pee Wee, Jackie, Duke, Gil, Roy and Carl took over my life then, and I still think of them today. Unfortunately, they are all gone.

I have always been enthusiastic about learning. Junior high and high school led me into college, where the world opened up to me. Even today I take courses to remember what I have forgotten and even learn new and important facts. I am quite excited about the Internet and the words “You Have Mail.”

Next, dating and female company became a huge factor in my life. Saturday dates and movies were fun in the ’50s and early ’60s. I met and married a gorgeous woman and I entered marriage with a new enthusiasm. My three children and six grandchildren are also great sources of enthusiasm. Lewis, you really are a genius.