Five years ago, I wrote a piece about two fine gentlemen who had lived to the ripe old age of 103, entitled, “A Pair of 103s.” One of them, Stewart Gillespie, Jr., died a few months later. The other one, Don Goode (my sister-in-law’s father) died last March, just before his 108th birthday. Don savored his last lunch (mashed potatoes and beer) before taking his last breath.

I’d like to like to salute these two men and some of the other “little older” folks I’ve had the pleasure to profile. They have inspired me by their zest for life, their quest for discover.

Mike “Big Daddy” Linkovich, a legendary Bowdoin College icon and trainer for decades died at age 100 in the fall. He knew and remembered more Bowdoin graduates than any other person. Not even close. He leaves a big gap beneath the pines of dear old Bowdoin.

Bob Freson, former renowned international photographer, maintains his zest for life, his fondness for females and his connection with friends, even as he approaches his 97th year on the planet.

Liz Loewald published her book this past year, “The Tree Grows Standing Still,” at age 98.

Psychotherapist Sarah Arnold is working on another memoire entitled, “Fourteen,” which, among other items, addresses the 14 marriage proposals she has received over her life. And, oh yes, she’s 91 years old.


My 85-year-old friend Jerry Levasseur, who has survived three bouts with cancer and had a kidney removed, has assembled a team of men 85 and older to try to break the world record in the 4-by-800-meter relay.

Claude Bonang, beloved former Brunswick High School biology teacher, continues to play his eclectic collection of musical instruments (bones, saw, mouth harp, etc.) for delighted audiences. He’s also in his 90s.

A few weeks ago, I profiled 84-year-old retired physician Dr. Mark Wheeler who spends much of his free time fixing up old bicycles and donating them to people who need them. Everybody wins, especially Mark, whom I’ve dubbed the “bicycle whisperer.” In that article, I invited readers to contact me if they had bikes to donate and, lo and behold, the offer resulted in six bikes. Mark was delighted as will be the eventual recipients.

These people are (or were) all distinct individuals, one of a kind, but they share a common trait. They continue to inspire me and countless others by staying engaged, remaining in the game, letting their voices be heard. Compare that with the oldsters who retreat from life’s buffet, who are always bemoaning the way it is versus the way it was or giving endless (health) organ recitals.

I’ve written in the past about the many young people we’ve come to know while they were at Bowdoin and long after they graduate. They’ve helped keep Tina and me young at heart and, a bonus, our high-tech stuff working, mostly. Hopefully, they’ll remember us as we move along in years. I can say this much, however. I’ll pass on a last lunch of mashed potatoes and beer. Give me, say, some iced coffee (with cream) and a piece of mince pie, thank you very much.

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. [email protected]

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