Actually, she looks better than I feel. Two weeks of making hot tea, hoping one day I will smell and taste again, losing a pound daily for the first 10 days, coughing, nauseated. Oh, what fun it is to have the China virus inside your body, when you never leave home, and a year has passed since any interaction with friends or family. But no matter!
Fanny Thorne presumably lived through the pandemic 100 years ago, and here we see here at the age of 88 in 1951, in the English village of Preston Candover, which today has fewer residents than the amount of students in most of your graduating classes. Fanny’s husband fought in the Boer War, then passed during WWI, while she lived a life of “deliberate sameness,” threshing wheat, sorting potatoes, or cutting kale for cattle because gross, why would humans eat it? At age 86, the great-grandmother of 19 “stooked” an eight acre field of barley sans help in just 11.5 hours. Combined with her years of devoted service to agriculture, the King of England himself awarded her the ribboned-and-silver British Empire Medal.
90-year-old Illinois resident Celia Goldie belts out a rendition of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” in 1988.
Two things I notice right off the bat:
Old peeps are always cold and keep the cardigan market in business.
Men die first.
Just look how even the gender population is at age 64. But by 85, the men are barely represented.
If you’re interested in moving in, the Lieberman Center serves kosher food, and the current daily rate for a room is $278. Wow–that’s more than double our daily household income! But keep in mind that most of that is covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
For her part, Mrs. Goldie was quoted as saying, “I hope I drop dead before I’m here one year.” She was profiled in an October 1988 People article as such:
Nearby, a nurse spoon-feeds ice cream to a man strapped into a wheelchair. Beside him, a woman dozes, her head against her walker.
“Look at them—half of them are dead,” Celia says, waving her hand. “I’m alive. I guess I have to make the best of a bad bargain. What can I do? I can’t go back. So I have to like it here. You look around you, and you realize how grateful you are.”
Per articles.chicagotribune.com, she died in September of 1989 at Rush North Shore Medical Center in Skokie. She had been a resident of the Lieberman Geriatric Center for 13 1/2 months.