104 Years Young – Reggie Gooch

104 Years Young – Reggie Gooch

Millie and Reggie – Casper, Wyoming 1942

At age 10, Reggie worked at a grocery store earning 50c per shift, except on Saturdays, when he worked from 7am-7pm and earned $1. This was during the economic decline as America headed towards the Great Depression, so Reggie loved his job because any extra produce was his to take home. He would share his food with his family of 7, plus all his neighbors.
At 15, he worked in a theater parking lot from 6:30PM -1AM and would do his homework on the job. “It didn’t bother me that I didn’t get enough sleep, because it allowed me to take my mother to England on a ship. I saved up for 3 years to do that.”
Indeed, by the time Reggie was 18 he had saved enough money to take his for 3 months to England via a cruise ship. That’s Reggie – a generous spirit.
Reggie tells me that he was married to Millie, and that they never had a fight, not once, in their 77 years together. Millie, who was four years older than Reggie, lived until 103 herself. Together they lived harmoniously in mutual respect and shared a deep love of adventure and travel. Talking about Millie and travel, Reggie’s eyes light up. These are the two things he loved most, and luckily, Millie loved traveling just as much as Reggie did. They traveled extensively, mainly on cargo boats, visiting almost every place on earth.
My favorite story was that at age 97, Millie looked at Reggie and said “there’s a Norwegian boat headed for Buenos Aires in 10 days from now. I think we should be on it.” And they were. They even extended their trip for a month long journey through South America. Reggie laughs, “People asked us, aren’t you worried about running around in those cities – and we said “Why should we worry?”
That’s what I love about this remarkable man: no squabbles with his wife, no reservations when traveling the world (literally and figuratively), no worries, no fears, and another thing, no medications. Reggie claims he has taken zero medications. He’s also never had an auto accident, and though he bought his first car in 1928, he quips that, “no insurance company has ever paid out on me in all those years. Plus, I never had to take any tests because I’d never had an accident.”
Reggie stopped driving at 100 of his own volition.
In keeping with his upbeat nature, as the interview was coming to a close, Reggie said “make sure you come to the lunch for my 105th birthday next year in June”.
You got it, Reggie. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

What do you enjoy most in life? What is your favorite thing to do?
I love traveling. So did my wife. We went on numerous trips over the years, all over the world, but we never made a reservation in our life.

Where have you spent the bulk of your life?
I was born in Canada but moved to Los Angeles at the age of 2. I’ve lived in LA ever since then. That’s 102 years in LA – I love this place. I’ve also traveled all over the world, my favorite place being Bavaria, though I Italy too.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen to Los Angeles?
East LA had an alligator farm and an ostrich farm. There were fun houses and roller coasters, and the Red Street Car. And the thing to do on a Saturday night was go to the movies. They had a huge movie theater with plush chairs that had a wraparound balcony that held 1500 people. This was five hours of entertainment that started with cartoons, the newsreel, a live performance, then intermission and after that, the feature movie. It was 25c to go in, but for 15c extra you could have nicer chairs.
I would save all week to go to the movies.
Plus, I’d walk up Laurel Canyon, except it was a dirt road, and at the top you could see the city, and in 1918, there were 3 properties – all big palace style homes. All the streets were named after the owners of properties. The biggest change is in land prices. After the depression in 1936, we bought 2 lots of land – each cost $350. We put $3.50 down and repaid $3.50 each month. We sold them for about 30k, but they are probably worth over a million now.

What are some of the places that you’ve traveled to?
Thailand, Burma, India, Egypt, Europe, Bali, Alaska, Singapore, Iran, South Africa, all over South America…I got stuck for 30 days in Kenya. I’ve lived on a house boat in Kashmir. I spent Christmas in the heart of Afghanistan. We bought a new car in South America then spent 9 months driving through Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica. We shipped the car to Columbia and drove down through Peru, Chile doing the Pan American highway. And I loved going on the cargo ships. You can go explore while they unload their cargo, and they’re cheaper – especially the Polish ships, but you may be on a ship for 5 – 6 months.

You’ve lived through both World Wars, and the Great Depression. What was the scariest time for you?
On March 20th 1944, I was stationed in Pompeii as part of the air force, when Mount Vesuvius erupted. 138 aircraft were lost. We had to go to Corsica to get new airplanes, but sadly we lost them all as well.

Which was your favorite era?
They were all good. I traveled a great deal, and spent 8 years out of the country. I was drafted into service in 1942 and spent four years in the air force. I wrote to Millie almost every day for four years…and she wrote back. 

(At this point, Reggie brings out two boxes of beautifully preserved letters.
It’s really a touching moment.)

Did you know you were going to live a long time?
My mother lived until 83, but my dad died of heart problems at 55. I never thought about it. I used to be live one year at a time; now I play with one month at a time. (Reggie smiles his winning smile)

We want to know your secret. Do you eat healthy, exercise, smoke, drink?
I’ve never smoked, and hardly drink. I may have a glass of wine at dinner. My meals are perhaps a little beef or chicken, but mainly I eat masses of veggies and fruit. I took care of 142 avocado trees at Wattles, and I was on their board for 33 years. I love vegetables. I still go every Saturday morning to tend the garden, if I can.

If you could tell young people one thing, what would it be?
I’d say don’t worry about anything – life is too short to get in a fight or to argue

   

 LIVING LONGER

The proportion of people reaching 100 is growing over time – it was rare in the 1940s, but today, it doubles roughly every year.

The oldest person ever on record was Jeann Louise Calment who lived until 122.

The oldest known living person in the United States is Delphine Gibson, who is 114.

Oldest person to give birth: Omkari Panwar is the oldest mother in the world, gave birth to twins at age 70.

Country with most longevity: In Monaco people live to be nearly 90 years old (89.5, to be exact), which is four years longer than any other country and almost an entire decade longer than the average American. Monaco also happens to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Next on the list is Okinawa, Japan

Oldest driver on the roads: Fred Hale was issued with a driving license in 1995 at age 104, and drove until it expired on his 108th birthday in 1998.

At 98, Tao Porchon-Lynch, is the oldest yoga teacher in the world and Ernestine Shepherd at 81, is the oldest competitive female bodybuilder in the world.

Camp Roberts, Paso Robles – 1942

NIKI SMART |  managing editor

Niki Smart is a writer living in Los Angeles.  Her first memoir “Hell Camp” won her 2 x eLit Awards, an invitation to read at the LA Times Festival of Books, was a Top Ten Best Seller at local book stores, and garnered rave reviews from readers. Smart’s second memoir is set for release in early 2018. Smart is currently the Managing Editor for the SoCal Magazine (previously managing editor for the LA Fashion Magazine), and her writings have been published in More Magazine, Laguna Beach IndependentAspen Times, StuNewsThe LA Fashion Magazine, SoCal Magazine, and the Gemeindezeitung.

Ascencia – Lifting People out of Homelessness

Ascencia – Lifting People out of Homelessness

 

Ascencia is not only a safe haven for homeless individuals and families, but also a multi-service center that includes street outreach, employment services, substance abuse recovery assistance, benefits advocacy, has an onsite health clinic and offers psychiatric services, as well as an adjacent shelter. Plus, they have a transitional housing program and a permanent supportive housing program. Their mission is to lift people out of homelessness, one person, one family at a time.
Ascencia envisions a community where people in need can find services, resources, and safe, affordable housing.
Please support Ascencia in their efforts to help people find their way back from homelessness.

There are several ways you can help:
Ascencia welcomes donations – (please click on the link to see how and what to donate)
Or if you prefer you can volunteer – (please click on the link to see how to volunteer – tutoring, arts, cooking etc..)
Or support their fundraiser in January 2018 – A Royal Night   (Click on the pages below to enlarge).

 

20 Great Products for Last Minute Gifts & Stocking Stuffers

20 Great Products for Last Minute Gifts & Stocking Stuffers

Every year, without fail, a handful of people from your holiday gift list slip through the cracks and you’re left scrambling to find the perfect gift. It’s bad enough that the hectic shopping environments of the holidays can be pretty stressful, trying to figure out a good gift on top of that can be quite tedious. SoCal Mag wants to put some ease on the last few days leading up to Christmas day, so we’ve compiled a list of 20 affordable and fun gifts that almost anyone on your list would be sure to enjoy. In no particular order, check out our top picks below.

1. PodPockets

The PodPocket is designed with the Apple customer in mind; those who appreciate both form & function. The pocket is precision molded from high grade silicone to provide a secure fit for the AirPods charging case and it comes with a premium key ring and clasp so that it can be attached to a bag or keychain and the open access along the bottom allows charging while the AirPods are still in the PodPocket. A small investment to protect a larger one & the perfect Home For Your AirPods. (Retail: $19.99)


2. Macaron for Hair (Milk+Sass®)

Macaron for Hair®, a travel-sized Parisian-chic detangling brush and mirror compact that is every bit novel as it is functional. Perfect for every age, gender and hair type, it comes in a rainbow of “flavors”. The removable cover protects bristles from being bent, broken and dirtied inside your bag, and offers a compact mirror for easy styling on the go. The ergonomically designed shape allows for optimum comfort and balance in any hand, compared to conventional hairbrushes. Not to mention it’s shaped like a delicious macaron! (Retail: $12.99-19.99)


3. PortePlay

     

PortePlay is an amazing new tech accessories line designed to organize all of your cables, adapters, chargers, memory cards, phone and all of your electronic gear! Even better, all prices for PortePlay accessories retail under $20.00!
• Durable Textured Fabric. Crafted from long lasting materials, including heavy duty zippers and sturdy fabrics.
• Easily accessible and created to travel with you so you can stay connected on the go.
•  View items at all times through the zippered mesh compartments and customized elastic loops without having to pull everything out of your bag.

4. Pacific Shaving Company

Earlier this year, Pacific Shaving Company disrupted a decades old industry by releasing a breakthrough grooming product — Single-Use Shaving Cream Minis, a proprietary formula of rich shaving cream encapsulated in single-dose water-soluble “pods.” These unisex Shaving Cream Minis are the first commercial cosmetic product to use this technology. Just wet, lather and shave. No mess and zero waste. Perfect for stocking stuffers. (Retail: starting $7.99)


5. RALLY

Based in Los Angeles, California, RALLY makes unique monochrome socks, beanies, tees, long sleeves and other skate wear. For every RALLY sock sold, one is donated to America’s homeless youth through our charity partner, My Friend’s Place. My Friend’s Place is a Los Angeles based non-profit that supports Los Angeles’ homeless youth population through meal services, housing and job programs, and other social services. On each visit to My Friends Place, a young person accessing services receives a new pair of socks. Socks help a young person experiencing homelessness feel cared for, and can prevent foot ailments caused by walking all day in cold or wet weather. Our 2018 Goal is to provide My Friend’s Place with 20,000 pairs of socks, which would cover their supply for the year. (Retail: $15.00)

6. PRÊTE Blowout Packages

PRÊTE is a membership for blowouts at the best salons in the city, located in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego (as well as others across the country) and expanding every day! They are great gifts for the last minute shopper because the gift certificate is completely digital so there is no need to worry about shipping. Prices are as follows:  One Blowout for $35 | Three for $99 | Five for $145 | Ten for $285

7. American Heirloom Cutting Board

      

For the kitchen enthusiast in your life, the state shaped collection from American Heirloom is perfect as a gift. Available in full-size and mini versions of all 50 states. (Retail: $38-48)


8. Crystal Bliss: Attract Love. Feed Your Spirit. Manifest Your Dreams. (Hardcover)

In the spirit of The Soul Searchers Handbook, this guide offers a fresh approach to healing crystals with advice for selecting, preparing, and using crystals for meditation and energy healing. If you’re feeling worn out, uninspired, and unmotivated, you can change your energy with the help of crystals. Crystal Bliss provides you with everything you need to harness the innate energy and vibrations of crystals. This guide walks you through the process of selecting crystals, cleansing and preparing them for use, and incorporating them into your meditation and energy healing process. With the help of Crystal Bliss, you can learn how to boost your own energy, beat back negative vibes, open your heart to love, manifest wealth, and promote good health. (Retail: $14.00)


9. Kitchens for Good – Savory Spreads Gift Set

      

San Diego nonprofit Kitchens for Good (KFG) has created a new festive Savory Spreads Gift Set which is now available on its web site, just in time for the holiday season. More than just jars of mustard or jelly, each purchase of Kitchen’s for Good’s Savory Spreads Gift Sets supports KFG’s mission to break the cycles of food waste, poverty, and hunger in San Diego. Perfect for a holiday present, or simply for flavor and spice enthusiasts, Savory Spreads Gift Sets include three of the organization’s most popular retail products launched earlier this year at local farmer’s markets: Apple of My IPA Jelly, Drunk Mustard, and Orange You Glad We Called it Marmalade. The Holiday Gift Set comes in a festive box with gold confetti wrapped in gold ribbon. (Retail: $22.00 + shipping)

10. OMie Yoga

The only yoga mat and towel that become one. The OMie Mat and Towel Set is built to go everywhere and do everything with you. Our product is all about performance. It is a favorite among hot yoga and vinyasa flow enthusiasts. Our durable and lightweight mat is made from natural rubber, so it’s eco-friendly and nontoxic. Its nonslip design provides excellent traction through every Sun Salutation. The soft, absorbent microfiber towel gives you perfect grip, even when wet. Durable zippers quickly and easily secure it to the mat on both sides, so you can keep your focus on your practice.(Retail: $39.99-149.99)


11. Goddess Garden Organics

Goddess Garden, known for their high-quality, certified-organic sunscreens and facial care, introduces a new line of essential-oil roll-on perfumes and aroma therapy bracelets, just in time for the holidays. The perfumes are scented with pure essential oils, and are free from synthetic fragrances, phthalates and mystery chemicals. The new Aromatherapy Bracelets and Bracelet Blends use the benefits of essential oils in combination with energetic stones to help wearers find their own desired state of mind.(Retail: $14.99)


12. Number 4 High Performance Hair Gift Sets

This holiday season, Number 4 High Performance Hair Care makes holiday shopping quick and easy with four Mini Darling hair kits. Each petite product collection has been designed to complement the lifestyle needs of anyone you may be shopping for – the health and wellness expert, the festival flower child, the fitness fanatic, and even the savviest social media maven. You can find something for everyone in your inner circle and beyond! All Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Mini Darling Holiday Gift Sets are available at fine salons, spas, and retailers nationwide and online. Each include a mix of Hydrating, Volumizing, Styling and Essential products with Anti-Aging, Color Protecting, Vegan, Paraben/ Gluten/Sulfate Free formulas, fine fragrances and organic botanicals. (Retail: $20.00 – 25.00)


13. BevMo! Nickel Wines

BevMo!’s 5 cent wines are quality wines at a great value. You buy one at retail price and the second is just a nickel. You can either keep one for yourself or kill two gifts in one trip! Some of the most popular 5 cent wines in their Southern California stores are: Coppola Chardonnay Director’s Cut Sonoma Coast, Unruly Line, Matchbook Chardonnay, Dolce Vita Prosecco and James Bryant Hill Pinot Noir. (Retail: $20 + $.05)


14. BRINA Leather Wine Sleeves

BRINA insulated leather wine sleeves are chic, innovative, and is a perfect Host + Hostess gift to any holiday party. No need for any more messy ice buckets! All BRINA sleeves are made in Italy and come in three sizes: Wine, Sparkling, & Water/Beer. (Retail: $65.00 and up)


15. Alikay Naturals Luxury Candle Gift Sets

The Alikay Naturals Gift Set includes 1 luxury soy candle & 1 Deep Conditioner, an excellent humectant based deep treatment for getting maximum moisture into dry damaged hair. Penetrates deep into follicle to nourish and revitalize weak, dry, thirsty hair using benefits of natural ingredients such as Babassu and Sage, while Extra Virgin Olive Oil adds shine and softness. This Product is 100% Natural and 90% Organic. This luxurious candle features pure essential oils and wax produced from soybeans grown 100% in the USA. The exquisite glow creates the perfect ambiance for relaxation and rejuvenation after a long hard day at work. The natural biodegradable soy wax assures you receive the full quality over the entire 40 hour burn time. Relieving stress has never been so easy! (Retail: $35.00)


16. Speaqua Portable Waterproof Speaker, The Barnacle+

The Barnacle + by Speaqua is the world’s first 100% fully waterproof, floatable speaker with a 4GB built-in flash drive that can store up to 1,000 songs. It is designed to float with the speaker side facing up to always keep your tunes afloat, and allows for hands free calling, so, that you don’t have to be tethered to your phone to take calls (especially helpful if you’re using your Barnacle in the pool/ocean/bathtub!). It comes in a variety of colors and designs, and has basically merged convenience with functionality to redefine the possibilities of waterproof speakers.  With the built-in suction design, users can stick the speaker to any smooth surface, and bring their music anywhere – on your surfboard, in the shower, in the pool, on your bike, etc. And, with the small size, you can easily stash in your bag, and go. (Retail $39.99 – 64.99)

17. Timex Watches

Watches are timeless, and Timex offers a timepiece assortment for everybody on your list. Whether it’s for your classy BAE, stylish BFF, jet-setter sibling, comic-loving nephew or the extraordinary “rents”, Timex is the perfect gift. (Retail: $69.00 – 105.00)


18. Case + Drift Fashionable Travel Gear

Any seasoned road warrior can appreciate quality goods that are beautiful and function with multiple purposes! Take Case + Drift’s towel, a new twist on a Turkish classic, this compact, stylish piece will double as your scarf, beach towel, picnic blanket, yoga mat, sarong & more! Ever throw a wet swimsuit or muddy shoes in a plastic bag and hope it doesn’t leak in your luggage? Never again with the Drift Wet Bag. Pack wet clothes, toiletries & valuables to keep dry and safe while on your next journey! (Retail: $40.00)


19. FLWRFOOD

     

FLWRFOOD strives to create innovative health & beauty products that you can seamlessly merge into your every day life. They proudly use all organic and natural ingredients including their secret weapon CBD! CBD, or Cannabidoil, is one of the 100+ Cannabinoids that make up the plant. Unlike the widely known THC, it is non-psychoactive so it does not produce a high .. however, it does pack a powerful punch! Accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract, it carries high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has shown great promise in its use for conditions such as anxiety, pain, psoriasis, seizures, cancer and more. (Retail: $16.00 and up)


20. BoxFox Holiday Gift Box Sets

 

Our favorite selection is the uniquely curated gift box, BoxFox. ‘Tis the season for gifting and what better way to look like a gift-giving pro, than with the BOXFOX holiday collection. Now available in small, medium and large sized boxes, each pre-packaged holiday BOXFOX takes the guesswork out of guessing what to gift someone with a selection of items for the home, kitchen, office, and beyond. (Retail: $41.00 – 157.00)


Happy Holiday Shopping!

Volkswagen Celebrates With A Holiday Drive In Screening of Elf

Volkswagen Celebrates With A Holiday Drive In Screening of Elf

After a successful LA Auto Show, Volkswagen got a jumpstart on the holidays by hosting a Drive-In Event where they screened “Elf” on Sunday December 16 at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, CA.

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jennifer Graylock & Justin Edmonds

Celebrity guests included newlyweds Dancer and Actress Julianne Hough and professional Ice Hockey Player Brooks Laich who got into the holiday spirit while they posed for photos.

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jennifer Graylock & Justin Edmonds

All guests got a hands on chance to check out Volkswagen’s three fully electric concept vehicles: I.D., I.D. BUZZ and I.D. CROZZ. Early birds even got to experience from inside VW’s latest models!

Photo Credit: Ely Anne Vedar

The family friendly evening served up drive-in classics hot dogs, sliders, popcorn and ice cream; paired with keepsake VW blankets and lawn chairs.

Photo Credit: Ely Anne Vedar

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWoA) is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. VWoA sells the Atlas, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, CC, e-Golf, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan, Tiguan Limited and Touareg vehicles through more than 650 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at www.vw.com or media.vw.com to learn more.

Ely Anne Vedar

Fashion & Lifestyle Editor

While California feels like it’s always been her home, Hawaii, San Francisco, Las Vegas and the Philippines are just a few places Ely Anne has lived thus cultivating her lifelong appetite for finding, trying and sharing new adventures, especially through food and wellness activities. She loves how food can always bring people together – anywhere, any time – and that’s what fuels her passion for public relations and marketing. Ely finds it invigorating to have a hand in seeing brands thrive in their community by using her PR, marketing and event production skills.