Take control of your brain health with Staying Sharp! Visit today.
by Juanita McClellan, AARP Bulletin, June 12, 2009
I learned about eternal youth from my dad. He turns 84 this month and is on the move constantly. On his 80th birthday, he walked from Hoboken, N.J., over the George Washington Bridge into New York City. He walked about 15 miles before taking a bus back home. I bet there are many people half his age who couldn’t do that—even if you paid them. It took him eight hours at a leisurely pace, but he made it, smiling and talking to people on the way.
Along with a daily walking routine, he has a talking routine as well. He loves to stroll down to the Hoboken pier that overlooks the magnificent Manhattan skyline and talk to people. Young, old, male, female—it doesn’t make a difference to him. He’ll introduce himself and before you know it, he’s telling one of his amazing tales. He has stories about dancing with all the pretty nurses when he was in the Army, and delivering newspapers to the mother of Hoboken’s favorite son, Frank Sinatra. Before they know it, his listeners are telling him their life story, too. People from all over the world have spent time telling my dad their history.
That’s what keeps his mind young and sharp. He surrounds himself with friendly, engaging people who love life. He takes a daily walk and watches what he eats. He has a sense of purpose and looks forward to each day as if it’s a new adventure, not knowing who he’ll meet next and what exotic places they’ll have been.
So the next time you’re in Hoboken and meet an elderly gentleman who smiles, tips his fedora and says, “I’m the other Frankie … the good-looking one,” that would be my dad.
AARP Bulletin’s "What I Really Know" column comes from our readers. Each month we solicit short personal essays on a selected topic and post some of our favorites in print and online. Juanita McClellan is a reader from Jacksonville, Fla.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at