Evita with her “gentleman friend” at the 2016 Meals on Wheels Derby Day event.

Evita with her “gentleman friend” at the 2016 Meals on Wheels Derby Day event.

The first thing you notice about Eva (although she prefers to be called Evita) Stewart is that she doesn’t look 95. Always elegantly dressed, vivacious and upbeat (what else can you say about someone whose license plate reads “No Give Up”), she strikes you as decades younger.

And she’s also pretty youthful in her approach to dating. She’s regularly seen in the company of a man who is 12 years her junior. “Anyone my own age wouldn’t be able to keep up with me,” she says with a smile.

And among their outings have been a hot air balloon ride and ziplining (yes, soaring through the treetops on a zipline, an activity that intimidates people much younger). Says Evita of the experience, “It was fabulous. I was never afraid, but you do have to pay attention because it’s challenging.”

How did this wonderful pairing of Evita and her gentleman friend come about? Well, that’s a story in itself.

Widowed in 2000 a er a “beautiful marriage” of 44 years, Evita sold the house she had shared with her husband in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and moved to the couple’s second home in Indian Wells, near Palm Springs. Adapting to life alone, she periodically visited one of her daughters, grandchildren and great- grandchildren in Santa Rosa. She ultimately sold the house in Indian Wells and bought a home in Santa Rosa to be closer to them.

As time went by, she desired a more active social life and male companionship. “So I visualized not being alone and I made a list and talked to the man upstairs. Number one, he must be a widower who had had a happy marriage. Number two, he must be a gentleman—respectful and loving.”

Two days a er imagining her perfect partner, she received a card from Varenna at Fountaingrove retirement community describing the social life available there, inviting her to attend lunch and a tour.

Evita was so impressed by what Varenna had to o er, she immediately decided to sell her house in Santa Rosa and become a resident of the community. While she was waiting for her house to sell, Varenna invited her to a monthly party called “Sip and Savor.”

“While I was at the party, this very nice- looking gentleman made eye contact with me. When he heard I was going to move in, he said, ‘may I call you?’ and I replied with a smile, ‘that would be nice.’”

Since meeting three years ago, Evita and her gentleman friend have been constant companions who truly enjoy each other’s company. Her hunch, that a man who had previously experienced and contributed to a ful lling and long-lasting relationship, has paid o .

“We speak freely about our former spouses. We do love them, but we let them go. However, we feel that they are still with us in spirit and that they approve of our relationship. So it’s a beautiful discussion about our past experiences. You can love people and miss them, but you can’t bring them back. And they would want you to move forward and nd love like you had.”

by Cheri Lieurance Marketing Coordinator at the Council on Aging
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