Sons in Retirement
Retirement; The Good Life, Right?
“He’s gonna be the end of me, I tell you” a woman was overheard exclaiming to her friend at the salon the other day. “Ever since he retired he is under foot all the time. I love the man dearly but he better find something else to do. If he prunes my roses one more time I’ll ring his neck!”
So many look forward to retirement and yet when they get there it may not be all that was expected. Mario is another great example. He had dreams of completing his endless lists of projects and couldn’t wait to retire. He was experiencing some problems with his knees and really worked hard at keeping active. After eight months his projects were complete and he found himself “moping around the house, unmotivated and in pain”. In time, Mario withdrew from the few outside contacts he had and no one seemed to notice.
Does this sound too familiar?
Statistics show women out live men 3-5 years and social connections are considered an attributing factor. Women tend to be more social. According to UCLA neuroscientist Shelley Taylor, “women are much more social in the way they cope with stress, men are more likely to deal with stress with a ‘fight or flight’ reaction…with aggression or withdrawal. But aggression and withdrawal can take a physiological toll and friendship brings comfort that mitigates the ill effects of stress. That difference alone contributes to the gender difference in longevity.”
We love our men and want them to live long healthy lives yet just not ‘under foot’ all day. Men want to live long healthy lives yet not in the shadow of the women in their lives. While women may gather for social connections, men tend to gather for a purpose; watch the game, go a few rounds of golf, hit the watering hole. But what if those activities no longer interest our guys?
The difference one person can make is clear when a certain Damian Reynolds came up with the idea to organize a group of retired male friends to meet up for lunch back in 1958 in San Mateo. Understanding the desire and need for social connection, his companions agreed and by the second luncheon Sons In Retirement was born and incorporated in 1959. The basic rules were simple and are what drive this program to date:
1. It was to be a luncheon club composed of men retired from gainful employment.
2. There were to be no dues, initiation fees or assessments other than normal voluntary contributions at each luncheon to cover expenses.
3. The organization would espouse no political party, religion or sect of any kind.
4. Eligible men would be invited to join after attending at least one luncheon meeting and being introduced by the member who would sponsor him.
5. The club would meet monthly for lunch, at the member’s expense, and a program would become part of each luncheon.
IR is a non-profit public benefit corporation with over 20,000 members in 150 branches in northern California. Membership is open to retired or semi retired men regardless of age, race, color or religion, there are no dues or fees and members volunteer to administer and govern each Branch. They prohibit discussions of politics and religion and members are not allowed to sell anything to other members. Members must be sponsored by an active member and attend the monthly luncheons – at their own expense.
Local SIR Branch 4
The local branch meets up at the ELKS Lodge in South City the first Wednesday of the month and start with an 11:00am social hour and lunch at noon. Cost of lunch is $15. Each month a different speaker presents on a variety of subjects and decide on various field trips and activities. At the April 4th meeting members were treated to speakers from the SS Jeremiah O’Brien which led to the group’s tour of the Liberty Ship on April 14th. While they share many local trips there are many opportunities within the SIR organization to travel to exotic places such as their August cruise along the Rhine and Danube or the October trip through the Gems of Provence and Italy.
The local branch also meets for bocce, pinochle, glee club, computer club and antique cars as well as great golf tourneys at local courses. In addition they share activities with other branches to pursue bowling, bridge, amateur radio (Ham radio), gardening, beer tasting, dominoes, discussion groups, fishing, tennis, wine tasting, and more. SIR Branch 4 is a very active group with over 211 members and high attendance at their monthly meetings.
New member Stu Etzler is a history buff and a member of the San Francisco Historical Society. He has found like minded members in SIR branch 4 and enjoyed touring the SS Jeremiah O’Brien last month. “It’s been great meeting up with old friends, people I haven’t seen in years, that happen to be members.” Stu shared. “I like to keep active and this is another avenue for me to explore”.
Board member Ken Reed, an avid runner, has now turned his passion into hiking and is looking forward to the SIRs first hike in June. “My running days found me up on the trails of Mt. Tamalpais and other wilderness areas of California in all kinds of weather.” Ken said “But now with aching knees I’ve come to enjoy walking and hiking in some beautiful local areas; Mt. San Bruno, Golden Gate Park and ocean beach among them.”
While members are generally recruited by personal invitation, Reed has offered his services to anyone interested in more information. “By all means, if someone would like to know more, have them give me a call.” When I recounted the overheard conversation of the women in the salon, he laughed and said, “I’ve heard the same story before.”
For more information contact Ken Reed at 415-810-3832 or Membership Chair and South City resident, Bill Gipe at 650-878-5746 and on their website http://branch4.sirinc2.org/
By Kamala Silva Wolfe
Peninsula Progress May 9, 2012 Edition
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