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Senior Citizens Seize the Day
Elderly take long distance trips, do the splits and record musical hits
Eric Shackle (Shack)     Print Article 
Published 2007-05-09 14:20 (KST)   
Anything you can do, I can do better; I can do anything better than you! That could well be the theme song of the world's two oldest bloggers, Australia's Olive Riley (107) and Spain's Maria Amelia (95).

In her very first post, in February, Olive described how she had just returned from an interstate flight to visit her great-great-grandchildren in Brisbane.

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Now Maria Amelia has trumped her, by announcing that she plans to fly to Brazil on May 12, for a 15-day holiday. She will be further from her home in Galicia (north west corner of Spain) than she has ever been, and sadly, she thinks it may be her last overseas journey.

Maria Amelia has been ill with pneumonia and various complications which have left her weak, so she has decided to got to a resort in Brazil for 15 days to recuperate.

Despite her recent illness, she is determined not to miss the trip, but is apprehensive about the long travel time.

On her last day at the resort she promises to talk online to the thousands of Spanish-speaking people who follow her entertaining and thoughtful blog.

When she went to get her passport, her identity card was so old that the officials were amazed. They had never seen anything like it. They laughed at first when they heard about her planned trip, but then offered friendly encouragement.

Maria Amelia feels this is an instance of "mind over matter." She has a strong will, hates sitting around and likes to have fun and get out and see things, and believes this will help her drag her "weak old body" to her destination.

"God gave me this strong spirit, and I want to live," she says. "I know I will have to die some time, but it doesn't appeal to me one bit. There may be sadness in life, but there is also joy."

She goes on to reflect "I am thrilled to be going (to Brazil) -- if things go well, great! There is no reason for things to go badly. People die in Spain just as they do overseas."

On a happier note, Maria says that while in Brazil she plans to try all the delicious tropical fruit, dip her feet in the sea, and see as much as she possibly can.

She is obviously looking forward to her trip. Her latest post (May 8) says: "Dear grandsons and great-grandchildren: I leave Saturday. The doctor says that I can bathe and everything."

We at OhmyNews wish you well, Maria. Enjoy your trip, have fun, and return home in good health.

Jane Does the Splits at 90

Despite their age -- or probably because of it -- feisty seniors have just become national entertainers in the U.S. and Britain. Off with the new, on with the old!

In America, a group from Utah calling themselves Jean's Golden Girls, whose ages range from 50 to 90, have been performing country and western, tap and jazz dancing all over the country.

One of their stars is 90-year-old Jane Petty, a retired schoolteacher, who performs a solo dance featuring high-kicks and splits that would challenge a dancer a quarter of her age.

"I didn't even know that I could do the splits and never tried until three years ago," she said. "Once while performing at Utah State I had just completed my routine and the school's mascot brought out a wheelchair to escort me off the floor. I gave him a high kick, put him in the wheelchair and wheeled him off the floor."

On May 4, she did the splits for the millions of viewers of Jay Leno's national Tonight show. It drew rapturous applause and ecstatic press reviews, particularly in her home state.

"A 90-year-old dancer from Provo strutted her stuff on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Friday night," the Salt Lake City newspaper Deseret News reported.

"Jane Petty ... ended her routine with splits on live TV.

"Petty blew away the competition, which included a screaming candelabra man and a guitarist who blew a tiny spit bubble after singing the tune 'Tiny Bubbles'... She completed her stint of stardom by boogying off stage left."

On the other side of the Atlantic, a rock group of senior citizens called The Zimmers have achieved YouTube fame for their version of The Who's classic 1965 single "My Generation."

"The lead vocalist is a gap-toothed nonagenarian named Alf Carretta, who sings the lyrics in an endearingly halting manner, while a chorus of his contemporaries chimes in with the recurring mantra Talkin' 'bout my generation!" wrote CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) reviewer Andre Mayer.

He said that while Carretta is the Zimmers' frontman, the most famous band member is Peter Oakley, better known as blogger Geriatric1927 (a reference to his birth year), who was recently featured by OhmyNews.

Rock on, you Zimmers ... and Jean's Golden Girls (especially Jane Petty).
Our thanks to Valeria, of Buenos Aires, for translating Maria's blog into English.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Eric Shackle

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