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"Live to be 150"  Behind the scene

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Behind the Scene: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6        

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Behind the Scene ...
"Live to be 150...
Can You Do It?"
an ABC
Barbara Walters Special

Our story continues ...
Tavern on the Green

     The centenarians were escorted into the restaurant – another long walk!  At last, they all settled around the table for a leisurely dinner, albeit with cameras rolling occasionally.

       But the film crew, at an adjoining table, was young and friendly and there was a lot of exchange of conversation between the two tables, which added to the fun. Lynn commandeered a bunch of balloons, which added to the festive spirit, and everyone had a glass of champagne to celebrate, toast each other and themselves, and a rousing “Cheers” to our host, Barbara Walters, although in absentia. There was a palpable feeling of camaraderie and accomplishment. 
       “I give the crew top marks,” Dr. Hartzell, the former university professor and dean, proposed, and they were toasted too. It was really a lot of fun and laughter. Lynn couldn’t help wondering, sitting in a position to observe the two tables and their occupants, what the young people might be thinking – they were in their 20s. Were they even thinking about living long – probably not. At that age, they were probably still in their “invincible” stage, the stage of magical thinking, as well they should. 

        Despite the long day, we lingered over dinner, the conversation flowing. We even outlasted the young people, who were probably glad to at last have their day end. But we were not. We were savoring the moment. “We all had a good time,” one of the young crew members said as they were leaving. That was very considerate.
        In the limo back to the hotel, Elsa, Lynn and Joan rode together. Jim went with Drs. Hartzell and continued their Yale/Harvard banter!


Celebration dinner at Tavern on the Green.

        The girls continued discussing plans underway for Elsa’s gala 100th celebration to be held in October, a short while after her actual centenary. Unexpectedly, Lynn’s cell phone rang – it was quite late for a call. But it was the ABC producer calling to say how pleased the ABC staff and crew were with the day’s events, and to say that they had decided to come to Florida to cover Elsa’s birthday celebration!


Elsa and Lynn reminisced about the eventful day.

        The group said goodnight in the lobby; Elsa and Lynn lingered, reminiscing about the day.  “Elsa, you still look great,” Lynn remarked to her pal.  “You have a lot more stamina than I have!”
        Back on their floor, Rosie was just warming up for the evening, so he and Lynn “hung out” in the suite, also reminiscing about the day, and the long two-year journey they had traveled together to get to this point.  Rosie, was very impressed by Ms. Walters and very glad he was there. 

        Lynn turned philosophical: “Well, Rosie, you said when we first met that you wanted to be on TV!, and we’ve done it! Congratulations – you were great". 
        They discussed the dates for the filming of Rosie playing at the Pine Cone Inn at the end of October – still one more piece to complete. That gave Rosie the idea that he wanted to go out to a jazz club to “play his new trumpet,” but RoseMary and Alyson were about to “sneak out” to enjoy a bit of NYC nightlife themselves, and Lynn was exhausted. “You have a very early flight (unfortunately), Lynn reminded him; so after a “nightcap,” he reluctantly went to his room. Later, Lynn met up with RoseMary and Alyson and they
sat in the beautiful lounge of the Club, enjoying a “nightcap” of their own and marveling over the events of the day. It had exceeded everyone’s expectations – a total success!  They stayed on even after the lights were turned out, reluctant to have it end.
The next morning...
       Dr. Hartzell and his son were already in the dining room when Lynn arrived with Elsa and Joan. Elsa went right over to him, like old friends, to say both good morning and farewell. Lynn watched with interest, always fascinated by the interaction between peers, who had experienced a century of life. What must it be like to meet another person in your cohort group, at 100!  How extraordinary!
       During breakfast conversation, Elsa’s only regret was that she didn’t get to wear all the outfits she’d brought. “You always look stunning,” Lynn remarked, and it’s true, not flattery.


The Stylish Elsa!

       Then Elsa expressed her reservations about having the film crew at her birthday gala.  She wanted everything to be perfect, she said, and was concerned that her guests would be disconcerted by the excitement and action of the cameras. It was the large “boom camera” used during the dinner the night before that gave her pause. And she also didn’t want anyone at her very formal party wearing jeans! After a few phone calls, Lynn, ever the centenarian advocate, was able to assure Elsa that her wishes would be honored by the ABC crew, whom Lynn knew they could trust to keep their word. However, she told Elsa that she did not have to agree to this if it was not to her liking. Joan, Elsa’s daughter, intervened to tell her mother she thought it would be just fine, and that all of Elsa’s nearly 200 guests would “get a kick” out of it. And Lynn reassured Elsa that since she would be there any way, as a previously invited guest, she would make sure everything went to Elsa’s liking. Elsa agreed to think it over. It is one of the traits of centenarians that Lynn most admires: they know their own minds and what suits them and what doesn’t and they  aren’t shy to make their feelings known.

       A few days later, Lynn received a call from Elsa saying she agreed; it would be acceptable to have the ABC crew video tape her celebration. As it turned out, the crew (from Miami) was wonderful, courteous and unobtrusive, and all the guests enjoyed the added excitement and attention. But Lynn smiled to herself when Elsa was serenaded during the party with a song she had requested — Lynn suspected it was a theme song of Elsa’s life — “My Way.”    


Elsa bids farewell. It was a wonderful few days!

       Knowing they would be together again the next month made parting easier for the friends, and Lynn waved them a fond goodbye.

Epilogue:
       Dr. Hartzell said he would keep in touch by phone and email. Lillian and Lynn were already phone friends. Dorothy was moving from her home of 50 years in the next few weeks, and was adjusting to that; Lynn would visit her in her condo, in the same building as Stan, the next time in the East. And so they parted – but the memories and friendships linger on.
       For the centenarians who were not able to make the trip to NYC as planned, Kit Abrahamson, John Donnelly and Dr. Frank Shearer, the filming had taken place at their homes earlier in the year.
       Check back for updates on each of these remarkable centenarians – the saga continues—they are all doing well and remain active and involved and loving life!!

Go to our Blog for updates on the centenarians and their activities,
as well as comments about the Barbara Walters Special and more!”

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© 1998-2013 National Centenarian Awareness Project & Lynn Peters Adler, J.D.
No material, in whole or in part, may be reprinted or reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of Lynn Peters Adler and the National Centenarian Awareness Project.