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Esther Martinez, nonagenarian Tewa linguist, 2008 honor

For more on the remarkable Ms Martinez see the earlier post

Esther Martinez: ‘A way to honor her spirit’ Historical roadside marker celebrates Tewa linguist and renowned storyteller
11/8/2008 – 11/9/08
OHKAY OWINGEH — New Mexico honored Ohkay Owingeh storyteller and Tewa linguist Esther Martinez Blue Water (P’oe Tsáwä) on Saturday by unveiling a new roadside marker at the pueblo north of Española.

“It is an honor to have a marker that recognizes her contributions to her pueblo and to others,” said Martinez, speaking to the large crowd gathered at the site along N.M. 68. “She was a person steadfast to the end.”

The wooden marker is the second of 55 that will be installed around the state in recognition of influential New Mexico women. .. The marker program was conceived by three women — Pat French, Beverly Duran and Alexis Girard. They created the New Mexico Historic Women Marker Initiative and lobbied the Legislature to fund the project.

“As we drove around the state, we realized all the historic markers up and down the road were all for men,” French said Saturday as she waited for the cutting of a silver ribbon around Martinez’s marker. “This is to create a better balance.”

Martinez, born in 1912, was known as an exceptional storyteller. Her family said she could use almost anything as the source of a good yarn, even everyday events. “My mother’s stories had such life and character,” daughter Josephine Binford said with a chuckle. “You could see what she described. When she spoke, it was like she cast a spell.”

… Martinez received many national honors for her work in preserving the language and stories of her people. She taught Tewa in the Ohkay Owingeh (formerly San Juan Pueblo) schools for years and created a Tewa dictionary. She traveled widely to share stories with non-Pueblo people. She received the Teacher of the Year award from the National Council of American Indians in 1997 and a year later was given the Governor’s Award for Excellence.

In 2006, Martinez was named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts.


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Nonagenarian autobiographies

Ruth Gruber, woman of letters, tells her own story.
The Truro Daily News

Witness: One of the Great Correspondents of the 20th Century Tells Her Story by Ruth Gruber

With her perfect memory (and plenty of zip), 95-year-old Ruth Gruber – adventurer, international correspondent, photographer, maker of (and witness to) history, responsible for rescuing hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees during the Second War II and after – tells her story in her own words and photographs.

Gruber’s life has been extraordinary and extraordinarily heroic. She received a B.A. from New York University in three years, a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin a year later, and a Ph.D. from the University of Cologne (magna cum laude) one year after that, becoming at age 20 the youngest Ph.D. in the world (it made headlines in The New York Times; the subject of her thesis: the then little-known Virginia Woolf).

At 24, Gruber became an international correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune and travelled across the Soviet Arctic, scooping the world and witnessing, firsthand, the building of cities in the Siberian gulag by the pioneers and prisoners Stalin didn’t execute … and when she was 33, Ickes assigned another secret mission to her – one that transformed her life: Gruber escorted 1,000 Holocaust survivors from Italy to America, the only Jews given refuge in this country during the war. […]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill 192pp, Granta Books, £12.99

http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2239306,00.html
It’s a relief to find an amusing look at getting old, says Katharine Whitehorn
Saturday January 12, 2008, The Guardian

Diana Athill is 90 and has almost no regrets, despite having lived a life which most women of her class and era might have thought regrettable in the extreme.

And she still thinks so; that’s the joy of it. Although she sees with grim clarity the drawbacks and horrors of old age, illness, death, what comes across most is her acceptance and interested curiosity about the condition. She knows she has to be a carer for Barry, who has become diabetic and has other health problems and won’t control his diet. She dislikes being a carer very much and grumpily asks herself: “If a life so severely diminished is shortened by eating doughnuts what will it matter?” But she accepts it.

From The Times, January 11, 2008
Reflections on the gravity of growing older, Jane Shilling
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/jane_shilling/article3166519.ece
I’ve just been reading Somewhere Towards the End, Diana Athill’s memoir of old age

From The Times, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article3168331.ece

January 11, 2008
Sleepwalking into a crabbit old age– What are we doing introducing more health screening to allow us to live even longer? Valerie Grove

As Jane Shilling wrote, reviewing Somewhere Towards the End, by 90-year-old Diana Athill, Athill is cheered that women in her family “make old bones and good deaths”. But there is a chilly coda to this. Athill looked after her own dying mother.

…Athill has observed that good deaths tend to require the presence not merely of the principal actor, who is too busy dying to take charge of the manner of his or her demise, but also a producer and director, in the person of a daughter.

“But I have no daughter… And I haven’t got the money to pay for care of any kind. If I don’t have the luck to fall down dead while still able-bodied, it will be the geriatric ward for me.”

Even her redoubtable mind shrinks from this. “Fortunately, if a prospect is bleak enough, the mind jibs at dwelling on it,” she stoically adds.

We all jib at it: but for most the geriatric ward is the reality,

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/01/11/boath106.xml

Nonagenarian is world’s best squash player

“All my life, that’s what I’ve wanted to do – hit that ball,” said Hashim Khan, one of the sport’s all-time greats.

Khan recently took a tumble on the court, fracturing a hip and straining a rotator cuff. Doctors have said no more squash.

He refuses to listen.

Even at 93, Khan can’t bring himself to lay down his racket – he simply loves the game too much.

And squash – a game similar to racquetball – has given him so much in return. He’s travelled the world, found fame by winning seven British Open titles and become a national hero in Pakistan, his homeland…. He also started a stretch during which he or a member of his family won 13 straight British Open championships, considered the most prestigious squash tournament. […] http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/OtherSports/2007/12/28/4743861-ap.html

Hashim Kahn

See also the resources at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashim_Khan

I know next to nothing about squash but I do know his name.

Love and respect never grow old

Love never grows old condom card

Safe sex for older people is a major concern of A Little Red Hen http://alittleredhen.typepad.com/a_little_red_hen/ who has been reminding people with her condom amulets.

2007-11-30 [revised] Stop the ‘tubes! A Little Red Hen has a new blogzine announced here–
Knit A Condom Amulet, the Blogzine

and click image to see the new site–
button for knitacondomamulet

Fortunately, there has been recent news coverage about the need for HIV and STD testing, and practicing safe sex, by those over 50.

Experts and older patients are teaching a belated lesson to battle a risky HIV generation gap that has left many unprotected and infected.
By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 26, 2007

…although the number of HIV and AIDS patients in the over-50 crowd nationwide had grown in recent years, some of the increase was attributed to people who are living longer with the virus or disease, thanks to improvements in therapy treatments.

But without widespread testing, “we don’t really know what the true prevalence [of STD infection] is in this group,” Lieb said. “There’s reason to think, at least anecdotally, this is a combustible situation that is being overlooked.”

That’s why some social service and public health officials have turned to HIV-positive patients like Fowler to speak out and try to get their peers’ attention…. Fowler recently met up with a graying group to commiserate about sexually transmitted diseases, and recounted her cautionary tale. How a divorce in her 50s led her back into the dating pool, and how she enjoyed a New Year’s Eve fling with a former co-worker. Fowler said she never considered using condoms, given that she had already gone through menopause.

“I had lived what I considered a conventional, traditional life. I had been a virgin on my wedding night in 1959,” said Fowler, a founder of the National Assn. on HIV Over Fifty, who now coordinates the speakers bureau at a local AIDS organization. She has spoken before hundreds of groups over the years, including medical researchers and HIV/AIDS advocates to senior centers.

“I remained monogamous for 23 years of marriage. . . . After the divorce, I didn’t consider myself promiscuous. I didn’t frequent the singles bars. I went out with men my age who, like me, had been married and were divorced.”

Her own physician, she said, dismissed her questions about getting tested for HIV as unnecessary for someone her age. Her early symptoms were dismissed as routine ailments of aging.

Read the rest at

The National Association on HIV Over Fifty (NAHOF) was founded at the National Conference on AIDS and Aging in October of 1995 in New York City. Our mission is to promote the availability of a full range of educational, prevention, service and health care programs for persons over age fifty affected by HIV.

People over age fifty are affected by HIV in numerous ways. People in their mid or later years may be infected with HIV, the virus associated with AIDS. Ten percent of all AIDS cases are persons age fifty and up, a quarter of these are over age 60. Older women appear to have higher incidence rates than older men, and persons of color are especially at risk.

AIDS and HIV affect families, both traditional and families of choice. Increasingly older adults care for relatives and friends infected with HIV. Many adults with HIV turn to older parents for help and care. Increasingly grandparents are substitute parents for their grandchildren whose own parents are unable to care for their children due to HIV-related needs. Many of these are “AIDS orphans” and grandparents have stepped in to be full or part time caregivers for the children; middle-age and older adults with adult children may need emotional support….

Older people with HIV/AIDS face a double stigma: ageism and infection with a sexually-or-IV-drug transmitted disease.
http://www.hivoverfifty.org/tip.html

Safe sex is needed especially in what seems to be a new tourism–

By Jeremy Clarke, Sun Nov 25, 2007
Older white women join Kenya’s sex tourists

MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) – Bethan, 56, lives in southern England on the same street as best friend Allie, 64….

Hard figures are difficult to come by, but local people on the coast estimate that as many as one in five single women visiting from rich countries are in search of sex.

Allie and Bethan — who both declined to give their full names — said they planned to spend a whole month touring Kenya’s palm-fringed beaches. They would do well to avoid the country’s tourism officials.

“It’s not evil,” said Jake Grieves-Cook, chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board, when asked about the practice of older rich women traveling for sex with young Kenyan men.

“But it’s certainly something we frown upon.”

Also, the health risks are stark in a country with an AIDS prevalence of 6.9 percent. Although condom use can only be guessed at, Julia Davidson, an academic at Nottingham
University who writes on sex tourism, said that in the course of her research she had met women who shunned condoms — finding them too “businesslike” for their exotic fantasies.
[…]


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Nonagenarian long-lived arts figures

List of 10 long-lived arts figures

The article has good reviews of two of Bergman and Antonioni films.

After Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni died on the same day, those shocked by their passing were outnumbered only, perhaps, by those shocked that Antonioni had still been alive, at age 94. Here is our list of 10 quietly long-lived arts figures who are still with us:

Sid Caesar, 85. Pray for a screen comeback for the TV legend so his final credit won’t be as “Old Army Buddy” in Comic Book: The Movie.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 88. The oldest living Nobel laureate for literature, the author of Cancer Ward returned to Russia in 1994 after his exile, and now writes speeches and pamphlets in which he rails against East and West alike.
Arthur C. Clarke, 89. How great a sci-fi writer is the creator of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Childhood’s End? So great, he has actually found the secret for travelling into the future: take care of yourself and just wait.
Vera Lynn, 90. The British songbird whose songs like “The White Cliffs of Dover” kept morale high in World War II has outlasted the Nazi threat by 62 years. The optimism of her wartime hit “We’ll Meet Again” was made to seem outdated at the climax of Dr. Strangelove, but then again she has outlived all of that movie’s principals. Who’s old hat now, Stanley Kubrick?
Olivia de Havilland, 91. Hollywood’s full of humiliations for older actresses. For example, de Havilland’s onscreen paramour Dick Powell (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1935) has been dead for 44 years.
Les Paul, 92. Never mind mere survival: The man who pioneered the solid-body electric guitar – without whom rock `n’ roll couldn’t have existed – is still playing every Monday at New York’s Iridium Club.
Budd Schulberg, 93. He helped write A Star Is Born – the original 1937 version, starring Janet Gaynor – and also won an Oscar for writing On the Waterfront. So you kids stay off his lawn.
Pinetop Perkins, 94. Three years ago, this piano bluesman became the oldest person ever nominated for a Grammy. He still gigs weekly, like Les Paul, at the Broken Spoke in Austin, Tex.
Studs Terkel, 94. The famed broadcaster and documentarist of the U.S. working class recently said, “The older you are, the freer you are, as long as you last.” The productive Terkel seems to believe it; he’s got a memoir coming out in November. (J.D. Salinger, seven years younger, hasn’t published anything new for 42 years.)
Albert Hofman, 101. Not strictly an artist, but this European scientist’s creation of LSD in 1938 made acid rock, Robert Crumb and other ’60s innovations possible. Here’s a one-hour NFB documentary on him: tinyurl.com/yr44r7
-Garnet Fraser

But, there are others, too, such as Jack LaLanne and Wow!!! Lena Horne

Born Sept. 26, 1914, Jack LaLanne says he started life “as a weak, sick, miserable kid,” who was addicted to sugar. He learned about exercising and eating healthy when he was 15 and began his fitness crusade. At age 35, he was a living example of the positive effects of exercising and eating right.”

Trained as a chiropractor, LaLanne began advocating weight training in the 1930s even though doctors at the time thought the new practice would give people heart attacks and lower their sex drives. Science has since proved LeLanne was right…

LaLanne took his ideas on health and fitness to the national airways with the Jack LaLanne Show, which ran from 1951-1985. The show earned LaLanne a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. […]

http://www.wpostflash.com/wp-srv/photo/gallery/070608/GAL-07Jun08-77378/captions/PHO-07Jun08-77383.html

Jack LaLanneJack LaLanne — who’s planning a long swim for his 95th birthday — demonstrates how to keep in shape in the gym of a Washington hotel. (Photos By Carol Guzy — The Washington Post)

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