Recently Eileen Alkabes sent me an email.
“Are you really only as young as you feel?” “Is 80 the new 60?” and “Can having a strong sense of purpose and meaning in life add years to one’s life?” she asked.
I thought about myself, now almost 82, and still working as a journalist. Working helps keep me feeling young. I am active in my church; love baking pound cakes and giving them to people to cheer them up; and most recently, I taught two of my goddaughters, who are 12 and 16, to sew. And I help with my great-grandchildren.
So, with a resounding “Yes,” I say 80 is the new 60. And I am not alone in being an active octogenarian. And while I love my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I have never seen myself as a rocking chair grandma.
Apparently, neither does Dolores Gordon, who at 92, still volunteers one day a week for the Aventura Police Department, and one day for Aventura Hospital. “I’ve been a volunteer for 26 years,” she said.
Gordon lives at the Vi at Aventura, a retirement community. Helping others and keeping busy is what helps keep her young, she said.
“I walk with a walker now, so I just do things that don’t require a lot of walking,” she said.
As a volunteer she collects medicines that are outdated for the police department, which are then burned.
“I also fingerprint children at the police department. The fingerprints are then given to the parents just in case something happens to their child or children,” she said.
Gordon also belongs to a group of eight seniors, Friends Helping Friends. “Every month we do different things. Last month, we collected clothes for the hurricane victims. Next month we will collect food for the homeless and less fortunate. At Christmas, we collect toys for children.”
Gordon was married 72 years to Bernard Gordon, who died in November of 2018. “We had 72 years of happy marriage,” she said.
Peter Fuchs, 89, is a Holocaust survivor and the conductor of three orchestras.
“It’s the music that is keeping me in shape,” he said.
Fuchs, who will be 90 in November, doesn’t see himself slowing down in the near future. For 29 years, he has conducted the Hallandale Symphonic Pops Orchestra.
“I don’t have major complaints. So why not keep on working? I also write music and am now writing a piano concerto, which I will perform sometime this season,” he said.
In addition to the Hallandale orchestra, he also conducts the Sugar Pops Orchestra in Coconut Creek and the New River Symphonic Orchestra in Fort Lauderdale.
When America celebrated its bicentennial in 1976, Earnie Seiler, one of the people who helped build the Orange Bowl into one of the premier bowls in the country, produced “Hurray USA,” and Fuchs was the musical director.
“There were 600 people in the cast,” Fuchs said.
Fuchs met his wife, Veronica McCormick, when they both worked in Broadway shows. She was a singer and he was an assistant conductor and musical director. They have four children “who live all over,” he said.
The Fuchs also live at the Vi at Aventura, where he conducts the choral group — the Vi Choraliers. Their next performance will be in Coral Gables sometime in December.
Hats off to my active counterparts.
Celebrating church’s 100th birthday
A warm Neighbors in Religion Salute to Greater St. James Missionary Baptist Church on its 100th anniversary.
The church was founded in 1919 under the leadership of the late Rev. Joseph Johnson, in the historic Overtown community, at Northwest 14th Street and Third Avenue. It moved to 4875 NW Second Ave. when I-95 uprooted the neighborhood.
The celebration will include a poetic tribute at the 100th anniversary banquet at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. The Rev. Dr. Devin D. Brown is pastor.
Music program registration
Registration is underway at A-Stone Music Therapy/School of Music for students who would like to study piano and/or voice. The 12-week program will start at 2 p.m. Oct. 19, and is open to children, adults, seniors and those with special needs.
Alvin A-Stone Jackson founded the school to help churches develop their music programs. To register, call Jackson at 305-244-8538.
Environmental discussion at FIU
The Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs will present a global indigenous forum entitled “Democratizing the Conversation on Earth Citizenship” at 3:15 p.m. Oct. 15 at Florida International University’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus, 11200 SW Eighth St.
The forum will be led by Thomas Pliske, lecturer emeritus, in FIU’s Department of Earth and Environment and the Department of Religious Studies, and Rubi Hurtado, a musician, dancer, researcher and professional journalist from the Xauxa-Quechua people of Peru.
The event is free and open to the public. Call 305-348-2247.
Mt. Pisgah Seventh Day Adventist Church, 3340 NW 215th St. in Miami Gardens, will host a free, all-day Health Fair on Oct. 20 at the church.
The fair will feature free dental screenings for children, HIV testing, free blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, healthy cooking and natural facial demonstrations.
For information, call 954-303-5193.