When Fred Henney turned 90 last year, he reflected on his life and wondered how he lived so long. He had no definitive answer, but he wanted to pass along his thoughts.
“So I started thinking maybe I should write a book about how my wife and I progressed through our 60s and 70s and 80s,” he said. “I thought it might be informative and helpful to people, not that they would do anything that we did. But just show the kinds of things that occurred to us during these years, and how every decade things got a little bit more difficult.”
In September, his book titled “Ageing From 60 to 90: What I Learned May Help YOU!” became available on Amazon. In a three-day stretch in mid-October, it was available to download for free. He said about 40 people did, and close to 200 people had read it.
“That’s pretty good. I’m pleased with it,” he said, adding a paperback version should be available in early November.
Henney, who spent 25 years as an English professor at Thomas Nelson before retiring in 2000, has been especially surprised at his longevity because he had a rough childhood. He suffered from bronchitis and pneumonia, and was allergic to numerous things, including milk.
“I was in the hospital lot. I missed a lot of school,” he said.
And he was a smoker from his teenage years into his early 40s. Still, he and his wife (Carolee) of nearly 70 years have three children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. However, he had a grandfather who lived to be 93, and his wife had an aunt who lived until her mid-90s.
He stresses his book, which is just 54 pages on Kindle, should not fall in the “How To” category. Instead, it provides observations of how he and his wife navigated through their senior years, and beyond.
“I want (the readers) to know I’m not a doctor,” he said. “I try to reinforce the idea that don’t do what we’ve done. Do your own research, talk to your doctor, pay attention to yourself. You are responsible for your own life, don’t blame me.”
He does say daily exercise, as well as taking vitamins and supplements have helped him and his wife. He also points out in the book what he and his wife did not do or take.
“I’ve got lots of information in it that is very helpful to people,” he said. “It turned out to be quite an informative book, and you don’t have to be 60 to benefit from it.”
While this is his first book, he’s not new to publishing. Since the 1990s, he has been helping his wife publish children’s books and novels. They are redoing those, so he will put his next book on hold, even though he knows what it will be about: what he learned after turning 90.
“I am going to do that,” he said.