R.I.P. Olive, Ave Maria!
Australian great-great-grandmother Olive Riley, who was the world's oldest blogger, dies aged 108
Email Article  Print Article Eric Shackle (shack)    

Oysters for Olive (and Others)
Cinderellas, Aged 10 to 108

▲ Author Eric Shackle visited Olive Riley at her aged care hostel a few weeks ago.
ⓒ2008 Mike Rubbo
Thousands of bloggers around the world are mourning the death on July 12 of Australian great-great-grandmother Olive Riley, who was the world's oldest blogger. She would have been 109 on Oct. 20.

Messages of condolence have caused her website to crash, although it still displays a moving eulogy from her friend and scribe, Mike Rubbo.

Heartwarming emails expressing affection and admiration for Olive and sympathy to her family and friends have poured in to her proxy website. They came from dozens of countries, from young and old, Christians, Muslims, Hindus and atheists, united in their love, admiration and sorrow at the passing of a simple soul with a mighty spirit.

Here's a small selection from more than 200 emails:

  • the Razzler (Johore, Malaysia) said... Oh gosh.. I am so sad!! A message for Olive. Though we've never met, you have always been my inspiration to be strong, to live life to it's fullest! We love you so very much Olive!! We'll continue to sing happy songs.. May your soul rest in peace!

  • Alireza Ashtari (Iran) said... i found out about you and your intersting blog in an iranian newspaper! God Bless you.

  • Texas 1st (Dallas, Texas) said... I read about Miss Olive late last year, and was not able to find her blog until I saw the story today. As I read the stories, they touched me very deeply, and bring back memories of listening to my Gramma Lee tell her stories of growing up in the Oklahoma Territory, USA. It was a sad day when she left us. And it seems a sadder day still now that Miss Olive has left. Mine and my family' thoughts and prayers are with you all. Miss Olive seems to have reached out and touched the whole world. I'm glad she touched me...

  • Rod Landaeta (computer scientist, Caracas, Venezuela) said... Condolences from Venezuela... The world has just lost a great blogger.

  • Shaan Jadhav (Pune, India) said... Sad to hear the news about olive. My condolences.

  • kassy pajarillo (23-year-old hoterlier and nanny, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, US) ) said... My condolence to Mrs.Riley. She's such a woman of might and love.

  • FxDi@mOnD (Paulo Faustino, "23-year-old gambler and tipster", Leiria, Portugal): said... My condolences from Portugal to Miss Riley. All bloggers from Portugal and Brasil already know there history and she's loved by is amazing life history. All the best to the family.

  • Christine (54-year-old semi-retired theatrical costume-maker, Sydney, Australia)said... I'd like to send condolences to Mike and Katya, and all Ollie's family and friends. Also to the staff at the nursing home, my deepest sympathy and good wishes to you all.

  • Devonshire Dumpling (care assistant, Devon, England) said... Thank you for sharing your memories Olive, what an inspiration you were.

  • Nopiedra (Nelson Piedra, 32, information engineer, Loja, Ecuador) said... Mis condolenscias desde Ecuador.

  • barbara (born in US, grew up in Hawaii, living in Paris) said... I'm very touched to read about Mrs Riley and her blog. I'm of course a blogger & I salute this incredible lady. She is a living example that one is never to old to try things in life. Rest in peace.

  • 81duz1d0 - 81duz1d0 (biduzido), Programmer, Brazil said... R.I.P. Olive. You can be gone, but your posts will last forever in the internet.

    With Olive's depature from the blogosphere, the Spanish media have rejoiced that Maria Amelia Lopez has apparently regained the title of the World's Oldest Blogger, a ranking that Olive took from her 18 months ago. Maria Amelia is 96 years old, although her blog is confusingly titled A mis 95 anos/ 95 years old blogger.

    The now outdated heading reads "My friends in Internet, today I am 95 years old. My name is Amelia and I was born in Muxia (A Coruna - Spain) on December the 23rd of 1911. Today it's my birthday and my grandson, who is very stingy, gave me a blog."

    Amelia, like Olive, has an amazing memory. She writes entertainingly about her girlhood, Spanish politics past and present, and any other subject that interests her alert mind. Her grandson Daniel records and transcribes her observations, then posts them word for word on the internet.

    Unfortunately for internet surfers, Maria Amelia's native tongue is Galician, a little-known language spoken in the northwest of the Iberian peninsula, akin to Spanish and Portuguese.

    Her website has attracted nearly 1.3 million hits. If only someone fluent in both Galician(*) and English could offer to tranlate her words and comments every day for an English version, perhaps that number would double.

  • (*)POSTSCRIPT. Since writing this story, I've received this email from Carlos M. Padron, who lives in the Canary Islands:

    Maria Amelia's blog is written in Spanish. What could cause confusion is that she was born in Galicia, but the so called Galician language ─ spoken only in Galicia ─ is no more than a dialect that the modern nacionalism wants to impose as official language in that part of Spain. It sounds pretty much like Portuguese. If her blog were written in Galician, forget about her having so many visits.

    FOOTNOTE. To see a video of Olive Riley enjoying an oyster lunch with the author, click here.

    2008/07/16 오후 5:34
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