Living longer

An Associated Press article Sept. 13 said that 2005 figures just released show that life expectancy in the United States is longer than ever, now at 78.3 for men. The figure for women is five years longer, 83.3 years.

Total 2005 deaths rose by 50,000 from 2004, but fewer people died from top killers, heart disease and stroke. There were slight increases in deaths by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, No. 14.

However, I wonder if the section of the U.S. that people live in makes a difference. I have many friends here in Maine, men and women, who are active at 80-plus years, and also several who have reached 90 years of age. Some of them are still skiing, playing golf and tennis. Walking, is of course good exercise, too. Those over 78.3 and 83.3 that I know are not house bound. They have slowed down, but they have not given up.

Another article, in a Goodall Hospital bulletin, is titled “Outwit Memory Loss: Keeping Our Brain Fit After Fifty.”

It says that strategy for staying mentally sharp may reduce our risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Of course many people over 50 are still working, and maybe will work for many more years.

But the elderly should keep their minds active, listening to music on the radio or on records, watching interesting TV programs, doing crossword puzzles, reading, joining club groups, etc. Just keep up your interests.

Rudy Vallee updates

Rudy Vallee’s family lived in Westbrook for many years, but he was actually born in Island Falls, Vt., in 1901. He was 3 years old when his family came to Westbrook, and Westbrook residents are very proud of all he achieved.

Rudy Vallee’s nephew, Bill, had a memorable experience that Mark Chag has related to our Westbrook Historical Society’s president, Donna Conley.

Bill Vallee and his wife were on a trip to Europe and visited the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam. Bill was amazed to see a picture of his uncle, Rudy Vallee, over Anne Frank’s desk in the museum. It was a very touching experience for him.

You may have read Anne Frank’s diary and learned that her family fled from Germany when the Nazis and Hitler took over, and escaped to Amsterdam, where they were in hiding from 1942-1944. They were discovered, and sent to concentration camps. Anne and her sister were in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and both died of typhus in 1945. Their mother died in another concentration camp. A very sad story.


Rose McDermott Coffin has called me about two changes in the column in our Sept. 13 Ramblings. We reported on the Coffins’ seaside party. Rose’s cousin is Louise Rowell of Gorham. Also Dr. Roland Turgeon, now retired, and his wife Pauline live in Old Orchard, and also spend time in Florida. Dr. Turgeon was a well-known doctor in Westbrook for many years, and members of the McDermott family were among his patients.

Study group

On Sept. 24 the Woman’s Literary Union’s Antique Study Group will meet for a guided tour of the 1789 Marrett House on Route 25, Standsh. For those wanting to eat first, there will be an optional lunch at 11:15 a.m. at the Sebago Brewing Co., Gorham. Call Barbara Washburn for details.

Cookie crumbs

I was pleased to have a call from Dorothy Rich of Gorham about the Aug. 30 recipe we used for Chocolate Fluff Cookies. We included the name of the girl who submitted it in the 1963 Pyrofax Gas Teen-Age Baking Contest. She was Linda Orr of Stanford, Ill. Dorothy taught kindergarten there and lived in Stanford. She decided to try calling the family and learned that Linda and her husband had passed away, but Dorothy talked with their brother-in-law and had a long chat. She asked about a sister, Shirley, whom she had taught, and was able to talk with her, too. She learned about many friends she knew – all sparked by our recipe.

So it is a good idea to include the name of the person who submitted the recipe, I’ve decided. That pleased me, and Dorothy, too.

I’ve made Linda’s recipe twice. The cookies are delicious.

The finich

Do you remember the lines about spinach sung by Popeye?

“I’m Popeye the Sailor Man

I’m Popeye the Sailor Man

I’m strong to the finich

Cause I eats me spinach

I’m Popeye the Sailor Man”

It used to be that we steamed spinach, but now it is used in several interesting ways. This recipe was given me by my friend Kate Hay guest, now living in Lebanon, N.H. It is a favorite at our house – and I’m sure Popeye would love it, too.


1 pound cottage cheese

1/4 pound sharp cheese, grated

1/4 cup butter, melted


3 eggs, beaten

3 tablespoons flour

1 package chopped frozen spinach

Put all together in a casserole, after mixing. Cook 1 hour at 350 degrees.


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