Archive for the 'nonagenarian' Category



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. […]

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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

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Supercentenarian milblogger

(nonagenarian blog posts)

World’s Oldest Milblogger Tells All, William Henry Bonser (“Harry”) Lamin
from Kris Alexander at Danger Room from Wired.com http://blog.wired.com/defense/

Military blogs have changed the way we follow and understand war. One British soldier’s “blog” is gaining a large readership on the internet as he details the daily routine of being a soldier…in WWI.

Bill Lamin, Harry’s grandson, has done an excellent job of researching the historical background and weaving an interesting narrative of both the battlefield and the homefront. Worth a look.

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/01/worlds-oldest-m.html

WW1: Experiences of an English Soldier This blog is made up of transcripts of Harry Lamin’s letters from the first World War. The letters will be posted exactly 90 years after they were written. To find out Harry’s fate, follow the blog! http://www.wwar1.blogspot.com/


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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.

Older, more able

This is an interesting summary of trends in aging in the US. Part of the reason for less disabling aging is the involvement of people in their medical and health decisions [see also Preventive health care in elderly people needs rethinking], technology (from microwave ovens to walkers), smokers died before now and quitters started quitting awhile ago, availability of surgery from eyes to knees, older people exercise more than in the past, changes in attitude towards aging capabilities (changing expectataions of older people by older people and others. Off those rockers!), better availability of foods, etc.

Frank Greve of McClatchy Newspapers says, “The remarkable thing about National Public Radio senior news analyst Daniel Schorr, 91, who only recently gave up tennis, and Landrum Bolling, 94, the globe-trotting director at large for the relief agency Mercy Corps, is the same: They aren’t as remarkable as you’d think they are.

A surprising decline in disability rates among older Americans since the 1980s is enabling millions more to lead longer, richer, spryer lives. … older Americans typically are disability-free for the roughly 10 months of life expectancy that were added from 1992 to 2003.

…According to Dr. Eileen Crimmins, a professor of gerontology and sociology at the University of Southern California, 25 percent of Hispanic and black Americans older than 65 need help with basic tasks. For whites, the rate is 17 percent. Differences in disability rates linked to income and education also persist, Crimmins and others have found, and while women live longer than men, they endure more disabilities. […]

Growing Older May Be Getting Easier, Tuesday 11 December 2007

http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/121107HB.shtml


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Alaska senior center blogroll addition

Thank you to Charles Osborne for letting us know about the Anchorage organization for older people. Mr Osborne is their Programs Coordinator and invites everyone to stop by to visit when in Anchorage.

There are several interesting things about the non-profit compared to Bethel’s–

  • the senior center is run by the organization which is composed of those over 55 years of age

In Bethel, older people were not allowed to participate in the senior center transfer from City to tribe (both groups said elders are unable to run their own center).

  • their operating budget is about half of Bethel’s

Their By Laws and Policies are on-line as are the extensive membership benefits, staff list, events, dance bands (including KOLIGANEK RIVER BAND), etc. They even have a nonagenarian club.

Anchor-Age Center is a non-profit corporation. Anchor-Age Center was incorporated effective August 31, 1981 with the State of Alaska.

Mission Statement

Anchor-Age Center is a non-profit organization that operates the Anchorage Senior Center. The Anchorage Senior Center enhances the quality of life for people 55 years old and older in the Anchorage Bowl and serves as a resource:

1. To encourage independence through socialization and the promotion of healthy lifestyles;
2. To assure that all seniors in the Community are aware of the various services for seniors at the Center and in the community; and
3. To provide a central meeting place for senior organizations and others.

Operations

Anchor-Age’s purpose is to improve living conditions for elderly. To advance that purpose Anchor-Age Center operates the Municipality of Anchorage’s Senior Center by providing seniors with access to services and information key to senior living, health and housing. Anchor-Age members enjoy other benefits such as instruction in crafts, arts, computers, and fitness. Members can also take advantage of recreational pursuits such as billiards, cards, dancing, monthly birthday party, and other social events.

A voting member of Anchor-Age must be 55 years old or more. Associate members can be any age. Dues are paid annually.

Anchor-Age Center must engage in fund raising activities to cover the approximately $350,000 annual operating obligation. Anchor-Age operates a restaurant, a gift shop, catering services, individual room and facility rental as funding raising tools. Anchor-Age also sponsors fund raising with annual community events such as the fall bazaar, spring plant sale, book sales, raffles, and monthly events such as dances.

http://anchorageseniorcenter.org/aacpage.htm

Nonagenarian passion for solar

The problem with being ahead of one’s time is that it isn’t conducive to ever getting caught up. There must be a better way.

By Elizabeth Douglass, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 10, 2007

Forty years ago, Harold Hay came up with a way to heat and cool homes using water and the sun….

Now 98, Hay is making what he knows will be his final push.

The retired chemist promotes his cause by funding research. He vents his frustration in letters, e-mails, phone messages to anyone who will listen, and on his own website,

“The main point that he’s trying to make now is that all of our hopes are pinned on all of these complicated technologies, and it’s not that complicated. We could solve a lot of the problems by building our buildings correctly.”

Hay calls his invention the Skytherm system, and it was a wonder in the 1960s because it used the sun to heat and cool a home. The earliest version operated without any electricity, making it a purely passive solar technology.

Skytherm was the first of what’s known today as a roof-pond system….

Hay says he spearheaded the creation of the St. Louis Progressive Party, which helped get him labeled a communist. He came up with a chemical to purify drinking water, and he found a way to chemically toughen fiberboard to broaden its use. During World War II, the self-proclaimed pacifist worked on the development of synthetic rubber to avoid military service and jail. Along the way, almost as a hobby, Hays did groundbreaking research in the origins of medicine. […]

Read the very interesting article here
http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fi-haroldhay10nov10,0,3607880.story

His website is
This series of Needles is written by Harold R. Hay, Trustee, H.R. & E.J. Hay Charitable Trust, Los Angeles, CA. at the age of 97. Fifty years of dedicated research in solar energy, plus prior successes in government, industry and academia permit a broad evaluation of reasons why solar energy (not renewable energy – a culprit) is not more uniformly accepted. The fault is with all involved – including me.


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Paul Tibbets, nonagenarian

Reuters | Friday, 2 November 2007
Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the US bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan on Aug 6, 1945, died on Thursday at age 92, a newspaper reported.

Tibbets, who died at his home in Columbus, Ohio, had suffered strokes and was ill from heart failure, the Columbus Dispatch said in its online edition.

An experienced pilot who had flown some of the first bombing missions over Germany during World War 2, Tibbets was a 30-year-old colonel commanding the Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress bomber named for his mother <http://www.stuff.co.nz/4259151a12.html

Pilot Who Dropped A-Bomb on Hiroshima Dead at Age 92 – Cleveland Leader

and others,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/secondworldwar/story/0,,2203557,00.html

General Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay, dies at 92International Herald Tribune
Hiroshima bomb pilot dies aged 92BBC News
Hiroshima bomber dies at 92 TV3 News
Bloomberg

all 292 news articles

Tibbets was just the pilot, but certainly a more approachable person than the massive Manhattan Project. Unfortunately, the Hiroshima airdrop has to be put into the historical context of the Tokyo air raids and the Dresden air raids, as well as the Bataan campaign, Nankin, the Aleutians, etc. No wonder the 20th century experienced the worst mass disasters, maybe even given the smaller world population of earlier times, such as the Black Death. Maybe excepting whatever the Africa bottleneck was that supposedly reduced all humankind to just a handful of mothers.


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O’Folks (off their rocker)

Old age isn't a disease.

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