Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Three engineering students are sitting and discussing who it might have been who designed the human body. The first student observed that by the shape of the bones it must have been a mechanical engineer.

The second one suggested that because of the thousands of delicate nerve connections in the nervous system it certainly was an electrical engineer who designed the human body.

The third student voiced his disagreement with his friends and said it was obviously a civil engineer who did it. "Who else would be so stupid as to run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?” 

Today’s blog tells the story of two people, one aged and one in the prime of youth, and how they have both successfully found happiness while enduring pain and suffering. Both pain from illness at a young age, and the difficulties we encounter as the aging process infringes on our lives.  

Corey is a personable, enthusiastic and talented young man in his late 30’s. He is a skilled designer and construction manager in the food and beverage industry who, while working his way to the top, had a dream of one day owning his own helicopter flight service and doing what he most liked.

He met the love of his life, Amy, and they are raising two lovely children. Amy, a brilliant teacher and scholar, became very ill and has been dealing with a serious illness for several years. This has not stopped them from making each day joyful and  happy and they are determined to overcome their adversity.

Amy is continuing her education and teaching, and Corey’s talents have recently been recognized by East Bay Restaurant Supply in Oakland, California, one of the largest Food, Beverage and Laundry Design, Planning and Suppliers in the Country, to help them expand their services by opening an office in Southern California.

Rabbi Ed Zerin is a leading teacher of Reform Rabbis in the country. Ed is 93 years old has lost his first wife, and married his long time friend Jill who is in her late 70’s. Jill, a highly respected Speech Therapist, has recently been found to have cancer and is undergoing treatment.

He continues his successful book writing career, and they travel all over the world enjoying life despite their many age related situations. Ed even uses a walker to better get around.

I tell you their stories to remind you that life is what you make of it. Many times in my writings I have said that life can be meaningful and one can have happiness and joy, despite the pain and suffering that is part of the package - providing that you do not let yourself die before you actually die.

Not all of the trees in the forest are full of beautiful leaves and colorful bark, but even those that show scars fit well into the forest’s community and add to its beauty.

So no matter your age, each day of life find the thing(s) that put a smile on your face and meet your individual feeling of happiness and move forward with you life.

My life has been greatly enriched as I watch those like these couples enjoy their travels to their destination without flinching as they get past the glitches in road.

“She built herself a little house,
All walled about with Pride:
Took Prudence as a servant,
And locked herself inside.
She drew the blinds down tight as tight,
When sorrow chanced to roam.
Experience called –she sent down word
That she was not at home.
Then. wherefore, should she now complain
And wherefor , should she sigh,
That Life and Love and Laughter
Had passed unseeing by?"

Morris Mandel

Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, or a personal story about life and aging, please send me an email to

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Till Death Do Us Part

When your life is filled with loneliness and sadness

And your love has turned to pain

It is time to stop and ask yourself how do I restore gladness

And live a happy life again?

When you have the answer don’t waste a day of life

Take charge and make it happen, no matter what others may say

Cherish every moment and eliminate the strife

Find a new love who fills your life with ecstasy each and everyday

And feel the arms around you, of the one whose only goal

Is to give you joy and happiness that excites your very soul.

Bernie Otis

A Message To My Readers:

There are times in our lives when the pain we are feeling does not leave room for humor. This is one of those times. Today's subject matter is of such a serious nature that levity must be put aside. Please read it carefully. Unfortunately, all of us may have to face this issue someday.

No vow is more important than those spoken when two persons exchange rings and enter a bonded love relationship.

But, for me, something has happened that has changed the dynamic and meaning of those words. In fact, several months after my beloved Anna passed away and I was starting my life over - still wearing my wedding band - I found myself constantly being asked where my wife was. I had to explain her death maybe twice daily, on average, which only became more and more painful for me.

One day, I looked down at my hand. I saw the wedding band and asked myself, “Should I still be wearing this symbol of marriage when the love of my life has gone? If I remove it, would it mean I love her any less?" After consulting with my religious leaders and close friends, I made a visit to her gravesite, talked about the ring and my love for her ... and then removed it.

Now, let’s look at the new world of reality. People are living longer but as I have discovered in researching my book, they are also living with diseases like Alzheimer’s (Dementia), physical and other health issues which, in turn, greatly effect their relationships or, better said, “destroy” their many years of loving marriage. These illnesses tend to turn their love partners into full-time caregivers living very lonely lives.

I once interviewed a man who was left in that situation for close to three years. He was distraught, facing the loss of his own physical well-being and lonely beyond words, but he was also (once) a married man. What was he to do now? How could he reconcile his needs with his moral responsibilities? His partner’s life was over – she had, in fact, already died.

Could he - should he - would it be unfair for him and to his family to begin some social activities? And, what if he met a woman with whom he had an emotional connection – and I am not speaking here about physical, although that could enter into the equation?

Even our spiritual leaders and skilled professionals are having a hard time dealing with this question. Maybe because I myself could easily be in this situation, my feeling is that the lonely person is the one to be considered and they need to look at themselves and decide who they are, where they want their life to be and, within the boundaries of honesty and fairness, seek the happiness they are entitled to. Do this while making certain that their mates' care - if their mates are alive, that is - is being addressed properly.

Keep in mind I am not just speaking about “old people.” How many times in recent years have you heard young athletes, business persons and others who are suddenly injured and paralyzed, leaving their loved ones alone and without someone to cuddle with and enjoy life.

Ever hear of Christopher Reeve? Even "Superman" was not immune.

When you love someone who is in deep emotional pain due to their life’s circumstances, you must put your personal desires aside and help them back to happiness, even if the end result does not include you.

Please drop me a note and share your thoughts about this dilemma.   It is something that needs to be discussed with your loved one and family early on in life, as no one ever knows what the next day will bring.

Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, or a personal story about life and aging, please send me an email to

Thursday, January 16, 2014


A 95-year-old man goes for his annual physical check-up. The doctor asks him how he feels. He tells the doctor that he feels great and even has a beautiful 25-year-old girlfriend who is pregnant.

The doctor smiles and tells the patient a story about an elderly patient of his who lives in a cottage near a lake in a forest area.

One day, the man hears a noise and looks out the window. He sees a bear on his property. He reaches for his rifle and, instead - by mistake - grabs a broomstick, opens the door and shoots the bear. The bear dies instantly.

The 95-year-old patient laughs and says, “That is obviously not possible; someone else must have shot the bear."

The doctor responds by saying, “That is exactly my point”

Fifteen years ago, as I approached my 70th birthday, I came up with what I believed to be a humorous response when calling to speak to potential clients, and were told that they were out of town, busy on a call, or in a meeting etc. I just said, “I understand. Please ask them to call me when they can and please tell them that I am going to be 70 years old and I do not have a lot of time.”

WOW! And now, in two weeks,

I will celebrate my 85th birthday. Is that scary? No it is not. 

Today's blog is dedicated to you - all of my family, my personal, talented business and professional friends of both many years and new. All of you who read my blogs. All of you who call me even though we live miles apart, as well who come to visit me whenever you are in California.

These are love affairs of the heart which make each day of life meaningful. I especially want to again thank all of you for the cards, phone calls, baskets and donations sent to me when my beloved Anna, who many in the hotel industry knew through her attendance at conferences with me, passed away.

Sadly we have lost many of our dear friends this past year, but they live on in our hearts.

Finally, I am still active involved as a consultant. My new book, which you have been reading about, is in the final stages of publication and I am out speaking about it. All of you have made this possible by the inspiration you give me through our loving relationships.

So how will I spend my big birthday? To paraphrase one of my favorite songs, “Just thinking of you-and the wonderful experiences we’ve had.”

And what would I like for my birthday? Nothing that will cost a dime. Just share my blogs, get others to sign on and help me spread the word that no matter what cards you have been dealt through the journey - life itself, though filled with pain and suffering, can be happy and joyful, and as I have discovered.

"The past is done and over, the future is ours to mold.”

Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, or a personal story about life and aging, please send me an email to

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


A man is pushing a stroller, wheeling a screaming and crying baby. The man is repeating over and over again, “Okay Bernard, calm down. Come on Bernard, don’t get all worked up. Now Bernard, we will be home soon please try not to be so agitated.”

A passerby asks the man, "Is there anything I can do to help you settle your baby Bernard down?”

The man replied, “No, thank you. And, by the way, the baby’s name is George. I am Bernard.”

Just for the record, my name is Bernard. I have grown up and am writing this blog. And the reason this blog is being written is because the feelings and emotions of our youngsters should be an important matter to the rest of us. 

And ... we further need to consider the emotional impact that sad happenings have upon them, as well as their sincere desire to help ease the pain of others. 

Many times I have been asked, "Why?" I think that Life and Death are subjects we should openly speak about to our children and young families. As you will see from the two stories included below, the answer is because they - our children - are far more curious, sensitive and involved in those subjects then we think, and have questions they want answered but are afraid to ask.

Here is a perfect example of a child's sensitivity: 

Jennifer Partin was a 9-year-old girl when she and her brother visited her grandparents for Thanksgiving. Along the other guests was a well-known Rabbi, whose wife was comatose and in a rehab center. 

Jennifer’s grandfather told the children the story of how the Rabbi’s wife, a lover of horses, had fallen off of one. She was seriously injured. Following dinner, the Rabbi left early to visit his wife, who passed away the next morning.

Before the children left to return to their home a long distance away, the grandfather told them the tragic news.

Two weeks later the man called me, his host, and asked me if I was sitting down. I said, "No." The man then said, "Please sit down as I want to read something to you."

He then read me a note that he had received from my granddaughter, in which she expressed her deep sadness over the death of the man’s wife, promised him her love and support and told him that he should gather strength from the fact that, as her Mom had told her, the man’s wife was now with “God”. In closing, she said that should the man needed anything he should please call her and let her know.

Two grown men were balling their eyes out during that conversation.

The host then called the young girl’s mother to see if she knew about the note that her daughter had sent. She was completely and, of course, pleasantly surprised, although her daughter had told her about the man’s wife’s death.

Two weeks later, the child wrote the following note to the man - as a follow up to his note of gratitude to her:

“Dear ______, 

I was really excited to finally hear from you. I was especially happy to hear that writing your new book helped with some of your grief. I know I told you this before but anytime you want to write to get more grief away I’m always here.

Me and my mom talked about it a lot and my mom told me that dying is a happy thing because you are then reunited with God. I hope you are feeling better because I know from what you told me in your letter to me that you had gotten a lot of letters. Well I have to go. Hope to hear from you soon. My brother Ryan says to tell you “Hi” and is also very sorry about your loss. 

Best wishes always.

These words of wisdom from the mind of my then-10-year-old granddaughter Jennifer, now a grown woman with two young children. The story came unsolicited from my dear friend, Rabbi Edward Zerin, whose tragic story I tell about in my book. 

How could there be any greater example of the reason why such matters have such an effect on every person and why young and old alike need to openly share life’s happiness and sadness?

Then there is the exciting story of Matthew Leonard, a 6th grader who, if he could would live in an airplane. One day, when he was in the 3rd grade, Matthew told his mother that he felt that Veterans were being forgotten and then came up with the idea of starting “Operation: Respect and Honor”

It is a Holiday card drive in which students in schools, including Matthew and his mother - who make and collect cards and bundle them u, with candy canes - deliver them to a veteran’s’ transitional living facility in Los Angeles.

They have enlisted the help of many organizations, including Rotary Clubs. So far, over 4500 cards have been distributed to Vets without families - and what is most important to know is the Matthew insists on delivering them personally.

These stories are just two examples of the kinds of things that demonstrate the passion and concern young people have for those who have needs. The stories also make strong arguments for the priority all of us have to help prepare our loved ones for the travel through life.

“It is essential that we enable young people to see themselves as participants in one of the most exciting eras in history, and to have a sense of purpose in relationship to it."
- Nelson Rockefeller

Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, or a personal story about life and aging, please send me an email to

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Do you believe in Fairy Tales?????

Larry is lying in bed, near death. He calls out to his wife, “Martha, where are you?" Martha runs to the bedside and reassures him that she is there. 

Larry asks, “Where is our son Jonathan?” Martha says, "He is here too." And she calls her 30-year-old son Jonathan to the bedside. 

“And where is our daughter Hilda?” Larry inquires. Again, Martha calls 27-year-old Hilda to the room. Finally, Larry anxiously asks, “What about Eddie?” Martha calls 25-year-old Eddie and tells him to come at once.

Surrounded by his entire family, Larry screams out, “So who is minding the business?"

In other words, staying involved in life is the only way to have a happy ... "landing."

We don't believe in "endings" here. 

As we start out the New Year I want to share with you my experience with the question of Fairy Tales and if they do really come true. Well, as I just found out ... they do!!!!!!

Shout the message to young and old, plan early, keep planning and dreaming and your Fairy Tale "will" come true.

Since January 1, all my efforts have been concentrated on two things:

My book and my ongoing life.

My life as a Food, Beverage and Laundry Consultant has been limited by a physical impairment.

While all of my friends and Clients in the Industry keep in touch, I have been more and more concerned about how to continue to use all of my earned knowledge to help the industry grow.

In my soon to be published book, and in these blogs, I have told the story of the journey from life to death. I have offered advice, based on my experience, about how to live a full and complete life ... as we deal with all the bumps in the road. I advised you to never give up on pursuing your dreams, or on enhancing important relationships.

I have had a good education, but a difficult childhood because of my father’s long battle with diabetes and his early death, my own struggle with Crohn’s Disease, heart and back surgery, as well as struggles resulting from bad choices.

But I never, NEVER gave up!

I had a vision of continuing to use my mind and remaining active as I reach the age of 85 in just a few short weeks, and then my Fairy Tales would come true. BUT THE FAIRY TALE CAME TRUE EARLY!!

I finished the book and sent it off to my Editors to finalize it for publishing and voila!  The very next day I received a call from a dear friend and former colleague who told me that he had just taken a new job with a major corporation in the industry.

He asked if I could meet with him later that day to discuss some business. I agreed, and he drove several hundred miles to meet ... to ask for my help in his new venture and I agreed. We were able to work out how - with my disability - we could do that and are proceeding.

Folks, again to remind you, I'm about to be 85. In some ways, I'm just starting out!

And then, a day later, another Fairy tale came true. I have a very special friend who - for numerous reasons - I had not seen for some time, but was always on my mind. As I was on my way home from a meeting, and on my way to yet another one, it was my intention to run an errand after the second meeting. At the last minute, my mind changed and I decided to run the errand "before" going to the second meeting. I stopped to do that and the person who was so much on my mind was walking by my car. What a wonderful surprise!

Who said age is a detriment? It is an "enabler" of knowledge! Who decreed that physical impairment limit your ability to enjoy life? Who said that wonderful things cannot happen to you at any second of life?

So ... start the year 2014 with renewed vigor - like me - and a strong belief that if you follow the path outlined in my book, you can and will have a happy landing.

Not an "ending." A "landing."

Happy New Year.

Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, please send me an email to