Mike Speranza 1906-2011
My dad, Michael August Speranza- Mike, lived to be 104 years young. My parents were “older” when I was born and as a child and teen I always considered them in the category of my friends grandparents…they were really old in my young eyes! It wasn’t until my dad turned 80 that I started noticing that he was so YOUNG and COOL! I love you so much dad!
This is what I learned watching you live your long and beautiful 104 years of life.
Lessons learned from Mike!
1. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! My dad never missed a day without doing his hour routine in front of the full length mirror in the hall bathroom. Push-ups, leg-lifts, squats…I think he was doing Pilates before it became popular. When he and my mom moved into Independence Village (he was 95 when they left their home) he walked a mile a day-every day until he was 103…then he slowed down.
2. Get excited about something. Have passion! and then PRACTICE-PRACTICE-PRACTICE. Mike loved golf and he was really good at it. There is a Cleveland Plain Dealer article here in my office with the headline, Par for the Course…Lyndhurst golfer, 85, shoots a 72. That Lyndhurst golfer was Mike!
When I was a kid, my dad would have me chip 9 iron shots aimed at a box maybe, 15 yards away, and give me a quarter for every shot that made it into the box!
3. Eat healthy and when possible grow your own tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers and swiss chard! Every night in the summer my mom would go out into the small garden and pick the lettuce and tomatoes for that night’s salad. Salad and vegetables every night! Swiss chard was not my favorite but Dr Oz says it’s a must! I have decided to start a garden this fall in honor of Mike!
4. Fill your life with friends and when you get older it’s a good idea to start hanging out with younger people. My dad was very social and both he and my mom did something almost every weekend with friends. When Mike turned 90 he was still golfing almost every weekend. That’s when he started hanging out with the young 70 year olds because people his age weren’t golfing!(and they weren’t living)
5. Nothing good happens after midnight! “Get 8 hours of sleep- God love ya!”
6. Laugh and lot… have fun everyday and don’t take yourself so seriously. Here’s a picture of all of the guys in our family with Tony Soprano… my dad is “Junior” sitting next to Tony! Mike loved a good cigar!
7. Keep learning and growing…never STOP! When Mike was in his early 80′s he was offered a job at Beachwood Place Mall near our house. Mom and Dad’s neighbor was the manager of the mall, and he hired my dad to work form 8 AM – noon each day making sure the plants were watered. Looking back on it, I am sure that this was an innovative marketing idea. My dad was so cute and friendly he became the mall mascot. People would come by just to see Mike! I remember that was when he bough his first pair of Gap jeans, a baseball jacket, and Nike’s…!
8. Everything in moderation!
9. Don’t explain and don’t complain. No excuses ever! Need I say more! I can’t remember ever hearing either of my parents complain about life, aches or pains, or anything! Now that doesn’t mean that they didn’t argue…hey, we’re Italian!
10. Dance like nobody’s watching. My dad was a dancer and he had a beautiful partner for over 76 years.
Mike and Rose you are so loved! Thank you for all you have taught us!
BTW…I took a test on the internet to see how long I would live. I typed in both Mike’s and Rose’s ages and it said that I might live to 118…So, I started smoking!