When Judy Gaman met larger-than-life centenarian Lucille Fleming in Dallas, the award-winning author knew she had to write a book about their encounters.
Fast forward, and today Gaman is the author of Amazon best-seller Love, Life, & Lucille: Lessons Learned from a Centenarian, published in April. Gaman, the CEO of Dallas-based Executive Medicine of Texas has spent nearly a decade offering advice on longevity and vitality as a voice of the nationally syndicated “The Staying Young Radio Show.” She now hosts the podcast “Stay Young America!,” and regularly serves as a healthy living expert for Fox News. Gaman is so passionate about longevity that she wants to give you a free copy of the book “Age to Perfection.” Just click here.
How did you meet Lucille?
While writing the book Age to Perfection: How to Thrive to 100, Happy, Healthy, and Wise. After gathering all the research studies, I set out to interview people over 100.
In what way was your meeting Lucille the “right place, right time?”
Lucille was not what I expected a centenarian to be. She was bright, joyful, beautiful and ready to answer any questions I had. Little did I know that she was going to have such an impact on me and my future self.
If Lucille walked into the room, how would she look.
Lucille always had a ribbon in her hair and another around her neck. Her makeup was in place and a flower always graced her lapel. Each outfit was perfectly coordinated to match her expectations for the day.
Centenarian Dallasite Lucille loved the spotlight, and her outfits were always coordinated.
Photo courtesy Judy Gaman
What are some of Lucille’s secrets to living to 100+?
She knew what it meant to be a friend and to be friendly. Socialization has long been touted as a secret to longevity, but Lucille had more friends than most people half her age. She also took time to exercise daily, even if it was just walking the halls of the retirement home to get her steps in. However, the single most important thing Lucille ever taught me about living a long and healthy life, the one thing that forever changed me, will have to be found on the final page of the book.
What were some of the fun trips and activities that you did together?
Lucille had a new calling after we met. She became a longevity expert, traveling around with me on book tour. We even took the stage with Suzanne Somers one evening.
An avid Texas Rangers’ fan, the the most memorable moment of her life was when, at 102, Lucile threw out the opening pitch. Photo courtesy Judy Gaman
Where were some of your and Lucille’s favorite places to go to lunch?
We loved the Four Seasons in Las Colinas, the Crescent in Dallas, and Al Biernat’s on Oak Lawn. Oh, and who could live without the soufflés at Rise n1? One thing we both could appreciate was great food.
Lucille was an avid Texas Rangers fan. Did she have a favorite player?
Lucille was an AVID Rangers fan. I think the most memorable moment of her life, the one that created clips and memes that went global, was when her strong 102-year-old arm threw out the first pitch at the Ranger’s baseball game. As for the players, she loved them all, but I believe she secretly wanted to be consulted by management for those trades.
In what way did the time you spent with Lucille affect your work and personal life?
When Lucille and I met, I was a multi-generational workaholic. My life was all too much about my career and that never ending to-do list. Lucille showed me how to take things in stride, how to overcome my addiction to work, and how to love unconditionally. I have said many times that everyone needs a Lucille in their life. Actually, that’s why I wrote the book, to give a bit of Lucille to them.
Author Judy Gaman. Photo Jacqueline Paetzold
What kind of impact do you think you made on Lucille’s life?
Lucille told me many times that she was having a ball, that life became so interesting and that she found herself loving the spotlight. All those years she was dressed to the nines, ready and waiting in the wings. Once she was given a microphone, a camera, and some lights, she just came alive. I think there was a little bit of Old Hollywood hidden inside, just waiting to emerge. Maybe that’s why she hung around for so many years. She knew she still had something to offer this world.
What do you want readers to learn from your time with Lucille?
The big takeaway for the reader is not what I tell them, but how those stories help them work through their own memories and life experiences.