Okay, I’ll grant you that most of us have a few aches and pains now that we’re old enough to be grandparents. But the new seventy is fifty and the new sixty is forty and so… let’s take a look at some senior citizens who have a thing or two to teach us.
Lillian Lowe, aged 103 is the oldest facebook user. Lillian says she uses her facebook account to keep up with her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. Her grandson, Steve set up her account for her and even loaned her his ipad to make updates. A retired hotelier and businesswoman, Lillian loves to keep up with her thirty-plus facebook friends. Lillian lives in Tenby, Pembrokshire, south Wales.
Elliot Carter, aged 103 has lived in New York City all his life and remembers when milk was delivered throughout the city by horse-drawn wagons. Carter, still actively composing music today, is well-known in the classical music world. He studied in Paris and was part of an American community there which included Ernest Hemingway. Some of Carter’s most-loved pieces are poems set to music for string quartets.
Norman Corwin, now 101, has never stopped writing, teaching or thinking. He’s known as the “poet laureate of radio” in the U.S. Norman began as a newspaperman and emerged as a top producer, director and writer as radio became the entertainment of choice. Best known for his weekly plays, written entirely by him and performed live by such acting greats as Groucho Marx, Orson Welles, Charles Laughton and Lionel Barrymore, Corwin also wrote the piece that aired on V E day. It was called On a Note of Triumph and captured America’s heart with its call to move into a time of peace.
Alice Herz-Sommer, aged 107 is the oldest survivor of the holocaust. She lived in a creative environment before WWII and was a personal friend of Franz Kafka. An accomplished pianist, Herz-Sommer had a career which took her all over Europe before Hitler and the concentration camps brought it to a halt. But her love of music pulled her through the atrocities. Both her mother and her husband were lost in Auschwitz, but Herz-Sommer and her six year old son were sent to Theresienstadt where she played over one hundred concerts to ease the pain of the surroundings. She couldn’t feed her child, but she could play her music and she did. Herz-Sommer never allowed her heart to hate. She says, “Life is beautiful, I have no time for pessimism and hate.”
Judge Wesley Brown, aged 103 is the oldest living federal judge, serving in the state of Kansas. Although he needs the benefit of oxygen during his trials, he still carries a full load of criminal cases. Still sharp and capable, he has a keen sense of humor. Telling his lawyers to get to the point quickly, Brown states: “At this age I’m not even buying green bananas.”
It’s encouraging to see these centenarians going strong, isn’t it? Keeping both body and mind active seems to be a key for these active seniors. And a kind, forgiving heart along with a sense of humor go a long way toward living a long life too.