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Founded in 1989 by Lynn Peters Adler, J.D. - Centenarian Expert and Older Adults Advocate

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"Live to be 150"  Behind the scene

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

Click to order a copy of the show from ABC

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

Our Story Begins

       Over a three day period in mid September, 2007, they converged on New York City – five of America’s “best and brightest” elders – all healthy, happy and active at age 100 and over! 

       This was a first-ever event – five centenarians, the youngest just reaching the century mark, the oldest 101 and a half.  They, along with centenarian expert Lynn Peters Adler, had been invited by Barbara Walters to be interviewed for her Special program on longevity. 
       Lynn had worked closely with the dedicated ABC staff for several months, and a great deal of effort had been put into not only finding the right people, but also in making the necessary arrangements for everyone’s comfort and security.  Each centenarian was accompanied by a family member or friend.  Everything was in place.  Now this history-making event was ON!
         Arriving a day in advance at the Yale Club of New York City to be sure all the detailed arrangements were in place for her special friends’ enjoyment and safety, and to coordinate their time schedule, which was critical to ABC, Lynn handled last-minute “glitches” – the arrangement of the rooms, for instance, to be sure they were all on the same floor, and on the same floor as the “hositality suite.”
        “I would have been nervous,” she recalls, “but I didn’t have time!”  Finally, everything was in place in time to greet the first arrival, good friend Rosie Ross of Arizona, and his niece, RoseMary Perner.  Lynn had approached Rosie a year and a half earlier with the possibility of being selected for an interview with Ms. Walters – and now, at last, the time had arrived. 
        “It was a dream come true,” Rosie remarked.  “I always wanted to be on TV.  And I’ve always been a big fan of Barbara Walters.  Woo-ee!”  he exclaimed, all smiles.  The three enjoyed a little celebration and then Rosie and RoseMary were out on the town for dinner. 
       “I haven’t been to New York since I shipped out to England during WWII,” Rosie said. (Please see our February 2007 Calendar about Rosie.)
      
So what did he want to see the next day? RoseMary suggested a double-decker sight seeing bus – “No,” Rosie said, surprising both RoseMary and Lynn, “I’m going to buy a new trumpet!" And sure enough, the next morning, bright and early, he and RoseMary set off to “Trumpet City.”  Rosie related the details of his purchase later that evening during dinner.


(l-r) Lynn, Rosie and RoseMary at the Yale Club.

        Elsa Brehm Hoffmann and her daughter, Joan Textor, were the next to arrive from Florida, the following day. Elsa recalls the trip as “magical."  We were treated like royalty by the staff at the [Yale] Club and everyone at ABC.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” This was a big statement coming from a sophisticated world-traveler like Elsa. 


Joan Textor (Elsa's daughter) and Elsa in their
suite at the Yale Club


Lynn and Elsa visit in Elsa's suite
at the Yale Club.

       Karl Hartzell and his son, Drew, were the next to arrive. Dr. Hartzell had flown by himself to his son’s home in upstate New York, and they then came into the city by train. When Lynn had earlier expressed concern over Dr. Hartzell’s solo trip, Drew assured her: “He’ll be fine - he’s used to doing it.”  And sure enough, there he was looking dapper, as always. “This was quite an adventure,” he remarked, with a smile.
       Drew has contributed some of his recollections of the trip in a letter he sent to his family upon his return. See inset. 


Drew Hartzell and his father, Karl

       While the others were resting, Lynn was busy procuring a black leather jacket for Rosie, as a surprise, to go with his new trumpet and to wear to the shoot the next day.  After several tries, and try-ons, she at last found one that was “just right,” and very cool.  And just in time!  The group met me in the hospitality suite on their floor in the late afternoon to greet one another and to go over the schedule and details for their “big day,” on September 21.


Karl, Elsa, Lynn and Rosie at the Yale Club.

      Unfortunately, Kit Abrahamson of Gloucester, Massachusetts, had become ill and had to cancel. Everyone was disappointed at the news, and wished her a speedy recovery. Lynn’s husband, Jim, arrived from Phoenix, just in time to host their dinner in the roof dining room.  Lillian’s plane was delayed in Atlanta, and everyone wanted to wait for her rather than have her come to the dining room without meeting them first.

Behind the Scene continues  >>>

Letter from Drew Hartzell, Ph.D. to his family
about the adventure.

Drew, Karl and Barbara Walters

September, 2007

Dear All,

Dad returned to Jacksonville today on the 11a.m. Southwest flight.  He changed planes in Baltimore and except for a stop in Norfolk, VA, went directly to JAX. So ends what must go down in our family’s history as one of the more remarkable weeks of our lives.
       He flew to Albany on Monday. On Wednesday he and I took the 11:05 a.m. Amtrak train to New York’s Pennsylvania Station. Three hours later we alighted from the train after a spectacularly beautiful ride down the Hudson Valley into the waiting arms of a red cap who got Dad into the waiting wheelchair, loaded our bags on his hand truck, and took us up the elevator, across a floor to another elevator, through a warehouse-like part of the station, out under a large overhead retractable door, and onto the curb on 31st street. It was a virtuoso journey.
       After all this motion, the taxicab ride to the Yale Club at 44th and Vanderbilt (just adjacent to Grand Central Terminal) was a distinct let down. The ride took 40 minutes, far in excess of what it would have taken me to walk it by myself, but once we got to the club, life improved immensely. We were met in the lobby by Lynn Adler and we were off and running.

Drew's letter continues >>>

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