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Louis Zamperini — June, 2011
Louis Zamperini placed eighth in the 5,000 meters at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in 14:46.8 where he was a roommate of Jesse Owens and met Adolph Hitler. Louis qualified for the Olympic team in his second time ever racing 5,000 meters, tying for first place at the 1936 Olympic Trials with Don Lash. He was a two-time NCAA mile champion in 1938 and 1939 at the University of Southern California, his NCAA meet record of 4:08.3 lasting 15 years. Louis was the California State mile champion in high school and established an interscholastic record of 4:21.2 which stood for 20 years. His Personal Best Times are: 880y – 1:53.2 (1938); 1500 – 3:52.6 (1939); Mile – 4:08.3 (1938); 2 miles – 9:12.8 (1939); 5000 – 14:46.8 (1936). In 1941 Louis joined the Army Air Corps, his plane was shot down in 1943, he survived 47 days at sea and was a prisoner of war for two years. Captain Zamperini's awards include the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters; the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster; the Philippine Liberation Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and American Campaign Medal with battle stars. After World War II he became a Christian speaker, was founder of Victory Boys’ Camps for delinquent children and remains a youth counselor at his church. Louis carried the Olympic Flame in the torch relay in 1984, 1996 and 1998. He co-wrote a book entitled, ‘Devil at My Heels,’ and is the subject of the bestseller, ‘Unbroken,’ by Laura Hillebrand. Louis graduated from Torrance High School and the University of Southern California. Locations bearing his name are Zamperini Stadium at Torrance High School, Zamperini Airfield in Torrance, and Louis Zamperini Plaza at USC. The 94 year old resides in the Los Angeles, California area and was married to Cynthia Applewhite for 55 years until cancer took her in 2001. They have two children, Cissy and Luke.
GCR:How did the toughness of your childhood growing up in the depression as a rebellious adolescent and the guts needed to run strong serve you when you were stranded at sea after your plane was shot down during World War II and as a prisoner of war?
LZCompetition helps you all through life because that is what life is about. Competition one way or the other, and the best place to start is with athletics. Whatever situation happens you have to overcome it. Every time you overcome anything you, become more hardy. My key word is to be hardy. That’s my generation from World War II – I don’t like the term the ‘Greatest Generation’ but rather the ‘Hardy Generation.’
GCR:What was the impact of your older brother, Pete, on you as a role model and as a guiding force during your teenage years?
LZHe was a real inspiration. He loved me, wanted the best for me and I knew it and that made a lot of difference to me. Because of his dedication for me I wanted to give him my best. So I was really running for my brother and all of the records I broke and five years without losing a race was all because of my brother. To have a brother like mine who was totally dedicated to his little brother was very important. Of course you have to have proper training and a good coach. I lost my first race and my brother was going into coaching as he was going to college to Compton. I said that I didn’t like to be beaten so he told me to watch your enemy at his school and write down everything he does, then come back to your school and do twice as much. That was good advice until he got his degree in coaching, became a coach and a then great coach. The first thing is you aren’t going to be a great runner unless you are totally committed.
GCR:Did success as a runner come fairly easily in high school, what are some of your most memorable races and foes and what stands out from the race where you set the world’s interscholastic mile record that stood for 20 years?
LZEvery time I broke a record they were the easiest races of my life. The sportswriters were wrong as they said two guys from the Indian Institute set the pace for my record race, but they didn’t set my pace. The year before I broke the state record in the 1,320 yards with a 3:17 and now I was a junior. My brother, Pete, instructed me to run my first three laps in 3:17 and then open up. So I did that and ran the last lap in 63 seconds to break the international scholastic mile record. A week later I was running against the Pacific Coast Conference champion at 1,500 meters and I won that one by thirty yards. My brother held a tape past the finish line at the mile and told me when I hit the race tape to keep running to him and I ran a 4:15 mile as a junior. I knew then that a high school kid could get down to four flat eventually.
GCR:How did you end up qualifying for the 1936 Olympic Trials in the 5,000 meters when you were a miler who may have fared better at 1,500 meters?
LZI was a high school kid and probably the top five milers in the world were Americans so my chances of getting in the top three places in the 1,500 meters were almost nil. I had quit training and then we heard that the second best 5,000 meter runner in the country was coming to L.A. My brother said, ‘You’ve got ten days to train so you can see just how close you can come to a man who will make the Olympic team.’ In the race I was leading him and an official stepped onto the track and we collided. I went down on the ground and my opponent was now ahead of me. I caught him again easily and he beat me by an inch. I knew I could beat him which I did later and that put me on the invitation list to run in the Olympic Trials. For the Trials my brother said since Don Lash is the world record holder I should keep my eyes on the back of his head. I didn’t think there was any way I could beat Lash as he was the world record holder so I made a bad mistake as I waited until the last 220. Lash was in the first lane and Parker was in the second lane and I had to run in lane three for 200 yards. I caught Lash and they called it a tie. If I’d caught him on the back stretch I probably would have beaten him by 10 or 12 yards.
GCR:What were your goals going into the Olympics? Were you aiming to make the final, to place high, to get a medal?
LZWhen I was there the Olympics weren’t that big – the main excitement was meeting foreign athletes. I was a kid who had never been out of his home town, you might say, so at every stadium, whether in New York or a country in Europe, the first thing I wanted to do was to meet these foreign athletes. It was like being on the moon or Mars. That was the important thing. The Olympics were held was during the Great Depression when there was little food and money so I took advantage of all of the food. I just couldn’t believe it and made that my Gold Medal - going after the chow in the Olympic Village! The Village had a restaurant for each country and I had to try them all. I couldn’t work the weight off in time, but I made the finals. I didn’t win a medal, but because I ran the last lap fast I got to meet Hitler. Everything worked out fine as far as I’m concerned.
GCR:You had a fast 56 second last lap passing many runners to place eighth. If you were a bit more experienced do you think you had a shot at medaling?
LZIf I could have lost the ten pounds I gained on the ocean voyage and eating in the Olympic Village and then stayed with the pack, I think I could have beat them at the finish because I’ve never been caught from behind. No one ever beat me on the kick. I gained 50 yards on the field on the last lap. I could have run the last lap even faster as I didn’t start my kick with a quarter mile to go.
GCR:You had the opportunity to meet Adolph Hitler and to shake hands with the Fuhrer. What are your memories of the German leader?
LZHis face stood out as he looked like a comedian. I thought, ‘My God, this guy’s running a nation?’ His hair was combed over the side of his head, he had a funny looking face and mustache and was stomping his feet and pounding his knees. He had a real comical mannerism and we all thought he should be in Hollywood in comical movies. We didn’t see anything then that showed he would be vicious and try to take over the world.
GCR:One of your roommates in the Olympic Village was Jesse Owens who stunned Hitler and the World with four Gold medal performances. Could you share some thoughts of this American icon?
LZJesse was a great guy whom everybody liked. Nothing got him down. If there were any racial remarks made by others, Jesse would just say that they have a problem – not me. So he had the right attitude and everyone loved him because of that. In the 1930s if black people fought back it made it even worse, so Jesse thought, ‘If you hate me, you have a problem.’ And they do. The person that hates is the one who is really suffering. If you hate back then you suffer. When Jesse entered the Olympic Stadium he received a bigger ovation than Hitler.
GCR:How important was it to you and your family for you to earn a track scholarship to USC during those lean depression years?
LZUSC competed each year for the national championships so every athlete wanted to go to USC for the travelling. I was thinking of going to Notre Dame, but I changed my mind and was going to go to Stanford. My brother was running at Compton and USC Coach Cromwell said we’d like both of you at USC together as Pete will be a junior and you’ll be a freshman. So he said they would give us both a scholarship. Being close to home and with my brother convinced me to take the scholarship to USC.
GCR:What was your training like in college in terms of days per week you ran, mileage and favorite track sessions?
LZWe worked out every day but Sunday - I usually took a walk on Sunday which was kind of a break and relaxation from running - As time went on I found that I could run faster and faster if I did things that were considered negative like running on stairways. My coach used to say. ‘Don’t run up stairways.’ But I had found that running up hills helped my running to improve. So the coaches didn’t know what they know today. When I trained for a four flat mile at the collegiate national championships in Minneapolis in 1938 I would do a hard workout on the track in the afternoon. Then I would go to the Coliseum in the evening and run up the stairways and I couldn’t believe how much it helped me to improve. To be able to attempt the four minute mile I would do a half mile in 1:58, walk around for a minute and do another half mile in 1:58. I knew that if I wanted to run a mile in under four minutes I needed to put two 1:58s together. I tried sometimes running a half mile in 1:58, walking for a minute and then running 1,320 yards in just over three minutes. So I built myself up with the endurance, the strength and the power to run a four flat mile.
GCR:You won two NCAA Championships in the mile. What was your race strategy when you first ran in the NCAAs and faced tough competition from across the country?
LZWhen I got to the NCAAs Chuck Fenske of Wisconsin had won it the year before. They introduced the runners but I wasn’t introduced as they introduced only the Eastern runners, but not the Western runners. I made the mistake of telling someone I was going to go for a four flat mile. The collegiate mile record was a record I had to have because Bill Bonthron had beat my hero Glenn Cunningham’s mark and got the record down to 4:08.8 seconds. I had to get the record back for Glenn and me. So I thought, ‘Why should I stop short – I’m going to go for the four flat.’ Word got around because I was with Payton Jordan when Coach Nicholson from Notre Dame came to my room and said, ‘I’m ashamed to say this, but I just came from an East coaches meal and they’re telling their guys to do anything they can to knock you out of the race tomorrow. They’re going to box you in the last half mile.’ I said, ‘Hey I can take care of myself.’
GCR:How did the race develop and what did you have to do to win?
LZSure enough we ran the first half mile in 1:58, I was going to start moving out and they boxed me in. I couldn’t get through, they cursed me and I said, ‘What are you doing?’ Then a guy ran his spike through my little toe. Next another guy in front of me kicked back with his spiked shoes and put two terrific gashes in my right shin and one in my left shin. I tried to break out and one of them came back hard with his elbow and cracked it on my rib. I finally broke out in the last fifty yards and won by five yards though I slowed down as I thought I hadn’t broke 4:20. My coach asked, ‘How fast do you think you ran?’ I said, ‘About 4:20.’ He said, ‘You broke the national collegiate record.’ Then I knew I could have gotten down to four flat or close to it if those guys hadn’t butchered me. There was a picture in the paper and I look like I came out of a hockey game. That was my big thrill breaking the record and winning the national championship and it was also a big disappointment.
GCR:What else stands out from your days competing for USC?
LZI was what they called a versatile runner. I ran for Dean Cromwell and one day I ran the mile, two-mile, half-mile and then a 440 on the relay as I could run a 49 quarter anytime. I could run a 1:50 or 1:51 half mile. Coach Cromwell had me run four races because we were getting beat and he wanted all of the points he could get. I didn’t mind and just brushed it off though after three races I thought I was done.
GCR:Were you focusing hard on returning to the 1940 Olympics which were scheduled to be in Tokyo and how disappointing was it when they were cancelled due to World War II?
LZIt wasn’t just disappointing – it was a physical and mental shock. I couldn’t believe it but then it occurred to me what was happening – the Japanese were building an empire across the pacific so how could they hold the Olympics? The Games were cancelled in Japan but scheduled for Finland. Then Germany started taking over European countries so that was cancelled. When you train four years for one race and then the carpet is drug out from under you it is hard to take, really hard.
GCR:When World War II escalated and the United States entered after Pearl Harbor, was there any thought as to serve or was it just automatic to join in to battle against the enemy?
LZI was only angry, disappointed and disillusioned about the Olympics being cancelled until Pearl Harbor was hit. Then, like all other athletes, I wanted to help the war effort and get it over as quickly as possible.
GCR:How harrowing were the events when your plane was shot down and you faced your first big life-and-death situation?
LZMore than once when I was in a hopeless situation where I should have been dead and then I turned and was free to listen to God, I knew I had help. After our plane was shot down it was impossible for me to break loose as I sank deep in the ocean. I was wedged in severely and painfully and there was no way I could move. I don’t know how anyone could have extricated without unfolding or cutting the tripod that pinned me. Also I was entangled in coiled wires that were all around me. I knew then that was it and there was no way I would get out of there. But then in my heart and mind God helped me and somehow I was free. There is a scripture that helps me to understand it. The scripture is in Psalms 18 and goes like this – ‘The coils of death entangled me. The path of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me. The angel of death confronted me and in my distress I turned to my lord and my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice. A voice came before him into his ears. He reached down from on high, took hold of me and pulled me out of deep waters.’ And that fit my situation perfectly. I feel it was written just for me. Several people have sent me that Bible verse in the mail.
GCR:Could you please describe what you went through during 47 days adrift at sea on a life raft? What allowed you to not give up or was it just taking one day at a time and even one hour at a time?
LZA lot of things were involved in surviving. My competitive attitude helped tremendously. It’s an attitude that all athletes have. Any athlete in my circumstances would have been just as determined as I was. The other two on the raft with me were not. I had Eagle Scout training which included lots of survival training. I also took courses to be a mountaineer which included mountain and glacier climbing instruction and how to survive on land, at sea and on glaciers. Additionally, I took an advanced first aid course at USC and a course on survival in the South Pacific in Hawaii. So I was the only one on the raft who was prepared and qualified for what lie ahead for us.
GCR:You were a prisoner of war for two long years and tortured by guards including the infamous Matsuhiro ‘The Bird’ Watanabe. Were there times when you didn’t think you would survive and how did those two years change you as a person when you saw the evil in other human beings?
LZThe way we were treated as prisoners was hard to take as we realized how evil the Japanese were. They had 200 years of Samurai training starting from when they kids so they were all trained for war. We built up a tremendous hate for them, not just because of the punishment as we could take the pain and I had a high tolerance for pain, but they stripped me of my dignity and that hurt. That happened every day and I couldn’t take that. They treated me like a non-entity.
GCR:When the word went through the prison that the Japanese had a ‘kill all’ date of August 22, 1945, did you start thinking maybe that there was no way out?
LZWhat the Japanese were going to do was have the Field Marshall give the order to machine gun us all. In the camp there were about 1,200 prisoners and about 12 guards so we thought that we would go at them in a mass charge and, though some of us would get killed, we would overwhelm them and take over - which we could have done easily. I’m sure many of us would have died – maybe ten, twenty, thirty, fifty or a hundred of us, but at least they couldn’t kill all of us. That was our plan and we were confident ninety percent of us would have survived.
GCR:After the war with the nightmares you experienced and post-traumatic stress, how difficult was it returning to ‘normal’ life?
LZThose two-and-a-half years were so abnormal to us. Every day we hated the day and hated the guards. We hated the food, which was just seaweed and millet – and that isn’t food – so we ended up trying to steal other food. Everything from the war built up in levels of expanding hate. So a regular life was hard to adjust to.
GCR:After the war you resumed training first with walking and then running for the 1948 Olympics. Could you describe the highs and lows of your comeback when you got your mile time back under 4:20 and were rounding into shape and then you had the recurrence of the ankle injury from the war which ended your Olympic hopes?
LZThe highs were getting back into shape. My desire to train had overcome my desire to drink, and I began to feel better about myself. I started slowly, with walking and climbing stairs, and hiking uphill. It was rewarding to see my health return. Running a 4:18 after the war was very encouraging. The lows happened when I started running faster. (I had injured my knee and my ankle in the prison camp carrying heavy bags of coal, and I think there may have been some scarring.) On one run it felt like my calf muscles exploded. The pain was so sharp that I fell to the deck. It didn’t take long for me to realize the situation was hopeless. Once I gave up training, it was easy to return to drinking. The post-war stress returned with a vengeance.
GCR:You were fortunate to have two wonderful people come into your life when you married Cynthia Applewhite about a year after the war and in the early 1950s attended a talk with a young evangelist, Billy Graham. How much of a positive effect did they each have on you?
LZMy wife was wonderful and was able to persuade me to go to hear Billy Graham. I wouldn’t have gone on my own by any invitation, but she won all of the arguments. She convinced me to go so I finally gave in. Billy Graham said the right words that convicted me of what I did during the war and what I was doing after the war. When I was drifting at sea I had promised God that if he saved me I would serve him. Billy said that when people come to the end of their rope and they don’t know which way to turn, they turn to God. I had said to God that if I made it out alive I would seek him and serve him, but I did not seek and serve God. Billy Graham’s message reminded me of that, I went forward and fell on my knees and my whole life changed.
GCR:How rewarding has being a Christian motivational speaker and opening a youth camp for delinquent youths been?
LZIt was like blossoming into a whole new life. It was a whole new world.
GCR:The book, ‘Unbroken,’ by Laura Hillenbrand recounts much of the story of your life. After so many years since your running days and service with the armed forces, is it exciting in helping more people to learn about the truth of war, your story and that you can inspire a new generation?
LZThe thrilling things about the book are the phone calls I receive and the letters which are sent to me. Everybody reading the book has problems and so many find solutions in the book. To me the only reason a book should be written is not to make money, but to help others. ‘Unbroken’ is phenomenal, has skyrocketed, became number one and even exceeded Laura Hillenbrand’s book, ‘Seabiscuit.’ The studios are now trying to put together a package to make ‘Unbroken’ into a movie.
GCR:Do you think that you would appear in the movie as your older self?
LZNo, I don’t care to be in the movie. First off it’ll take a couple years as they will rewrite the script several times and then find locations where they will film. Then they have to put their team together, pick the actors and spend eight months to a year filming the movie. I’m 94 now – hey, hurry up!
GCR:How is your health, what is your current fitness regimen and what is your attitude for the future?
LZI’m in good shape for 94 years old though three times I’ve broken a hip and I have busted up other bones. I walk a lot of stairways as I live on a hill and have a big yard of around an acre. I do a lot of weeding, and I’ve got a chainsaw and trimmers. I have a positive attitude and believe what the scriptures say that ‘all things work together for good.’ When I broke my hip one time instead of getting mad about it I looked for the good in it and met someone in the hospital who helps me shop for my groceries. And because of my cheerfulness I healed a week earlier than the doctors expected. For longevity and healing you should have a cheerful attitude. When you do you have a constant flow of white corpuscles to your immune system. The key to the door is knowing that this attitude keeps you from getting ill and that is the secret – so nothing gets me down – nothing!
GCR:When you look back on your eventful life as a poor youth in the depression, a dedicated runner, a proud member of the armed services, a prisoner of war, a Christian motivational speaker, a husband and father – what are the major lessons you’ve learned that you can pass along to others and what advice do you give to people reading this?
LZHave a cheerful attitude at all times. Do good because when you help someone in great need you feel good about it. The more you do good in life the healthier you will be and the longer you are going to live. We know it and doctors know it. They even mentioned on television last month that if you are ill and fall in love you will heal more quickly. When you are in love you get the same positive effect on your immune system. If I’m looking forward to the USC-UCLA football game, all week when I think about it I get a flood of white corpuscles and that is what the good feeling is all about. The healthiest people in America are not the people who go to the gym or the athletes. The healthiest people are the Amish people according to reports I’ve seen because they work hard for eight hours a day and that effort puts them in better physical shape than athletes or those who go to a gym regularly. We work hard for two hours in track and field. Amish people work hard all day long which is the way we worked back around World War II - that is why we were the ‘Greatest Generation’ or the ‘Hardy Generation’ because we worked all day long.
GCR:I’ve got a hypothetical scenario – let’s say the course of history was changed, there wasn’t World War II, you went to the 1940 Olympics and earned a Gold Medal. Even though most people would say that was a preferable path, do you think that somehow God’s plan for you and everything that happened allowed you to have a more positive impact on others?
LZAbsolutely. God knew what would happen when he built the foundation of the earth and that is what the Bible tells us. All through my life with the blunders I made and mistakes I made I look back and have seen God’s hand, the right and left, there with me even though I wasn’t a Christian and didn’t believe in anything. I know I had help. There were about eight times in my life where I faced almost certain death that I’m sure I had help, though at the time I didn’t understand what it was all about. Now I know what it is because the scriptures have explained it to me.
 Inside Stuff
Hobbies/InterestsI love to do yard work. One of the most relaxing things in the world and the lowest job is pulling weeds. It’s relaxing and even the psychiatrists work in their yard and tell people to get out in their yards. That’s a good way to pass the time. I do a lot of walking and right now I probably walk a mile or two a day.
Inspirational movieEven though I don’t believe in revenge, when I was getting ready to race at the national collegiate championships and aim for a four flat mile, Peyton Jordan and I went into the city and sat through ‘The Count of Monte Christo.’ It’s about revenge and being Italian my whole body was just charged with adrenaline. We went from there to the track and ran which is why I thought the pace was about 4:25 because I was ready for anything. If an athlete is in top form and gets an adrenaline shot like that they can perform better. I’m a great believer that before an NFL football game they should show the players a movie about revenge, they’ll get flooded with adrenaline and that is what it takes.
Favorite songMy favorite is played every Sunday at Majapony Field and it is ‘Amazing Grace.’ They play it with bagpipes and to me it is the greatest song ever!
Favorite booksAnybody in their right mind knows that the Bible is the favorite book on the face of the earth, so let’s just call it my favorite book because it is way far beyond anything else. Other books I like are those about people’s minds, impressions and idiosyncrasies. Laura Hillebrand’s book, ‘Unbroken,’ is good because she has every little detail finely analyzed. In her book in the back she has noted where to call or look up items to get more information and where the facts came from. Not only is it a great novel, but a great true story of the history of World War II – it’s an encyclopedia because it is historical and absolutely 100% accurate. She won’t take your word for anything – she’ll check it and triple check it to make sure it’s right.
Early carsMy first car was a 1926 Dodge that my brother and I shared. I got a Model T Ford after that which I received in trade for a bicycle and seven dollars. It had four new tires and a full tank of gas! When I got back from the 1936 Olympics I bought a 1931 Ford – it was five years old but like a new car to me. I had that car all through high school and college. Then in college I went down to the studios and bought the first automatic convertible on the west coast. That car kind of ruined me as I was driving around, cutting back on my training and behaving like a playboy. My coach told me to stop playing around with my car, cruising with my friends and to get back down to business. My parents saved the car for me even when I was declared dead in the war. They felt I was alive and kept my car in the garage. When I came home – sure enough, there it was!
Favorite breakfastIt has always been oatmeal or cream of wheat with a slice of butter, a handful of grapes and one egg. I cook the hot cereal, one minute later I add the egg and then I stir in the grapes. I have it with a glass of orange juice or prune juice. That’s what we call an Olympic breakfast.
Favorite mealI try to limit greasy foods and sweets. I have a nice salad and chicken quite often.
Running heroesGlenn Cunningham was everybody’s hero because he did the impossible. He was burnt as a child from his arms to his legs to his feet to his back and the doctors said he would never walk again. However, he was determined to walk and learned to walk. Then he started running the seven mile round trip to his school. He kept on running and running but initially wasn’t very good. As time passed he kept improving until he was the ‘King of the Mile’ and became everyone’s hero. He overcame probably the most adversity in the history of athletics to become a World’s Champion. Glenn Cunningham was a real hero of mine.
Greatest running momentMany people say, ‘It must have been the Olympics’ or ‘It had to be the national collegiate championships or mile records or this and that.’ But it started when I was a grade school kid and I got sixth place in the 660 yard dash in the All-City finals and got a little button to wear on my sweater. Then that summer I went to the mountains at about 6,000 feet and lived on an Indian reservation with a friend of mine in a cabin. I took my gun with me because I had to shoot game for dinner every night. We’d have rabbit and dumplings – food like that. I spent the whole summer running up and down the mountains while I carried my rifle. I didn’t think about track and field but just enjoyed running around lakes and jumping over logs. Then I came down from the hill and I entered the State Cross Championships at UCLA where there were hills on the cross country course and a permanent stream running through the campus. There were 101 runners and my brother told me there were Class A, Class B and Class C runners, but that we were all running together. I was afraid I would come in last place. When the gun went off I can’t even remember my feet touching the ground. The picture they took of me at the end showed beyond the football field a quarter of a mile and there were no other runners in sight. So I won by over a quarter of a mile and I was a Class C runner. I ran a 9:57 for two miles cross country as a sophomore in high school and at the same time broke the Class A, Class B and Class C Sate records. That was the greatest race of my life and it always stuck with me as my greatest achievement.
Funny memoryI had a dinner appointment with a former Miss Virginia who was 40 years old at the time. Afterward she wrote me a letter saying, ‘I had the greatest time with you, we had so much fun’ and ‘If only you were forty years younger.’ About a month later I was at the beach with a group of friends, told them I was having lunch with her again and was going to get even. So after lunch when everyone sat down at the table I said, ‘Last week I had a ball with you, we had a great time - what a wonderful companion!’ Then I added, ‘Kay, if only you were ten years younger!’ She laughed and everyone laughed. I’m Italian so I have to get even! I believe in humor so I do humorous things and laugh every day. As long as you are laughing and cheerful and having a good time you will be healthier.