Join the club! I am 60+ too, and I worked on main frames as well!
You must have some serious experience in programming, so learning a new language should not be a problem.
I would assume that you have at least some knowledge of C. (Cobol is a bit out of date!) This will give you a good start for Php and mySQL.
Don't bother with free web hosts: you'll be more frustrated than happy.
By a domain, rent a LAMP server (less than 100$/year: you can afford that, even on your pension).
Then, you have two options:
- You use a WYSIWYG software, like Dreamweaver or Frontpage, and design a small website (Warning: this will inevitably lead to a dead end when you will want to do something clever)
- You use a classic Notepad++ (free download) to write your codes: the world is your oyster!
You need two serious helpers: www.w3schools.com and www.php.net.
Start with w3s: a lot of examples there, and good guidance. Go for "learning HTML" first. Experiment.
Soon, you will be ready for more!
Good luck and remember: a lot of us here are here to help.
Pro web2 application developer at www.web2coders.com