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The Bonus Years
by Lynn Peters Adler

"The power of this book lies in letting the 100-year-old contributors tell their stories in their own words and in the many useful anecdotes."

— The Bloomsbury Review

Centenarians: The Bonus Years
is also available printed in Japanese.

Centenarians: The Bonus Years by Lynn Peters Adler, J.D. 

. Click the Amazon button to purchase a copy of Lynn's book.

Lynn at the American Bookseller's Association convention 
Lynn attended the American Bookseller's Association convention in 1996, where her book, Centenarians: The Bonus Years, was selected by Publishers Weekly for a sponsored book signing. 
       In its review of the book in the Show Daily as one of the noteworthy books of the year, Publisher's Weekly stated: "Lynn Adler probably knows more centenarians than anyone." 


Herb Kirk, 102, is a marathon runner. After reading Lynn's book, he had written to Lynn that it inspired him to do more!

      Herb Kirk, 102, is a marathon runner

Excerpts from
Centenarians: The Bonus Years

From Chapter 2
The Pinnacle of the Third Age 

Theodore Gibson celebrated his 100th birthday on the West Coast late in March 1988. His ninety-nine-year-old sister, Helen Gibson Cope, flew to Los Angeles from New York for a weekend of parties, with other family and friends flying in from all over the country.

The following year on the East Coast, in November, there was a 100th birthday party for Helen, who, like her brother, celebrated her centenary at a round of parties decorated in blue and gold, the colors of their shared alma mater-the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Helen Gibson Cope & Ted Gibson at her
100th Birthday Celebration.
Photo courtesy of Lois and the Gibson
family. Photograph by Marian Hesemeyer.

"Our mother and father and many other family members spanning four generations are alums also," Ted explains. "In our family, when the Michigan fight song is played everyone stands."

A few years before his 100th birthday, Ted Gibson had moved from his Connecticut home, where he had spent the previous thirty years, to California to live with his son and daughter-in-law. Although vastly different from the Northeast and his native Michigan, the California lifestyle is one this centenarian says he enjoys. From his perch on a hill in Culver City, in a ranch house overlooking Los Angeles on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, Ted says, "The setting is magnificent and the weather is wonderful, but what I particularly enjoy are the warm pleasures of having my family close by."

Helen Gibson Cope, who also moved late in life from her native Michigan to Connecticut to live with her daughter, says she regretted giving up her Detroit apartment, her friends, and her car; but she finds life surrounded by her extended family and the new friends she has made pleasurable. For the last few years, she says, "I have lived in my daughter's lovely home. I have a comfortable bedroom and private sitting room, which I use as my study. I have my typewriter and my books and many of my antiques.... And I, too, have a view of the water-Long Island Sound. I take my daily walk around the broad porch that surrounds the house, so I get a lot of exercise. And there's a fine view of Greenwich Harbor, with all the sailing boats."

Both Ted and Helen consider themselves fortunate to live in such idyllic spots, thanks to the generosity of their families. "We take care of each other," son Jim Gibson tells. "Mom and Dad did a lot for us when we were first married and raising our family, and now it's our turn to reciprocate."

[At Helen's 100th Birthday Celebration]

..."I know Helen is anxious to have the floor, so I'm going to close now with a parting thought. If there were one way to characterize Helen over the century I have known her, I would say this: She is an individualist, independent-and likes to be her own boss."

"Thank you, Theodore," Helen said as she rose to address her guests. "This is indeed a happy day for me, and one I've looked forward to. I come from a long-living family. My brother has told you about Uncle David, who lived to be 104, but we also have a cousin who is almost as old as I am, and our maternal grandfather was over 100 when he died. I remember him as bright and outgoing to the end. …

… "What I like about living here is the proximity to the wide variety of cultural events in New York City. We go to plays, opera, theater, ballet—it's all so accessible. I think one of the many advantages of modern times is the availability of cultural events and entertainment, for everyone, through television, radio, public libraries, and free concerts. And I enjoy having family nearby. There's one grandchild each in Boston, Philadelphia, Connecticut, and Washington. I often visit them by train. I love the train—it's my favorite mode of travel. …

… "I am still enjoying this wonderful life I've been given, every day. I was married when I was thirty years old and had one child, my lovely daughter, Lois. I married again when I was sixty, to an old family friend, a widower, five years older. Fortunately for me, both my husbands liked adventure, for as my brother told you, I do love to travel. Just in the last three years I have traveled with Lois twice to Mexico, once to Paris, and then a barge trip for a week in France and have visited many friends and relatives in other states. I look forward to more of the same. I would like to conclude with a little poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay ("Travel," 1921), a contemporary of mine, that rather sums up the way I feel at this time and place in my life:

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
and better friends I'll not be knowing;
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
no matter where it's going!

"May all the bright threads of our lives continue to be woven together across the miles and across the generations. God be with you one and all."

One hundred and sixty guests rose and sang "Happy Birthday" to the triumphant centenarian. When they finished, Helen turned to Ted and said, "I'd like a copy of your speech, I liked what you said." "I can't give it to you," Ted replied. "Why not?" asked Helen indignantly, piqued at being refused any request on her 100th birthday.
"Because it's in here," her brother answered softly, smiling as he patted his chest over his heart.

Then they were off, hand in hand, to cut Helen's cake and to dance the first dance. be continued

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