On any given Friday morning at the Millie’s restaurant in Simi Valley you will find anywhere from eight to fifteen retired older men sitting around a table together having breakfast. The Romeo club is a club for older gentlemen who are retired. The name Romeo stands for ‘Retired Old Men Eating Out.’ The club offers retired gentlemen a place to gather or hang out once a week. The club is for men of similar age and similar circumstances yet sometimes very different interests.
A common complaint of men after retirement is the loss of socialization or other men to talk to. Men who retire are not used to hanging around the house talking to their wives. Although they admit spending time with their wives is not a bad way to spend their time, by retirement age their wives are already set in their ways and don’t have the time to sit around talking about sports and politics. Most men find this lifestyle of solitude to be anything but desirable so the Romeo club offers these men a safe place to go where good conversation, good food and good camaraderie unite them together.
Eighty year old Huey Long, a crossing guard for the Simi Valley school district states, “We all get together and solve all the problems of the world in one hour.” Due to the diversity of professions within the group Huey finds the subject matter of the conversations not only new and interesting but enlightening as well. He states, “About six of our members are retired school teachers. Each one is quite knowledgeable in his own field of study. I find it very interesting to listen to them speak of the subjects they know so well. It is a time of learning for me.”
Ed Aposhian says his time spent with the Romeo club fills a void he never knew existed. Having very few close friends Ed finds access to a new group of friends quite rewarding. His interest in people and the different viewpoints of others keeps him going back. He states, “I like the freedom I have in expressing my views and although they might not always be accepted by everyone they are never put down or criticized.”
The Romeo club is a relationship building opportunity. The spin off of a breakfast meeting offers not only a place for retired men to meet but an opportunity for friendships to develop. Some members put aside other times during the week for coffee or a matinee. With so much time on their hands, extracurricular events are extremely important. One group of men went to an air show. Another small group took a week long road trip up north; the skies the limit. This club offers valuable and necessary time for men to gather and talk about men things.
For those men who aren’t quite retirement age, the Romeo club offers ‘Retired Men In Training.’ Bottom line, all are welcome. Most of the men who participate in the Romeo club are well past the age of 70 but with some men in their 60’s and others in their 80’s there’s a little bit of something for everyone. And if you are ever in the neighborhood on a Friday morning stop in and say hello. Knowing this group of men they’ll probably invite you to sit down and have breakfast with them. You’ll be glad you did.