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Cinderellas, Aged 10 to 108
Aussie blogger Olive Riley, 108 on Oct. 20
Eric Shackle (shack)     Print Article 
Published 2007-10-10 16:17 (KST)   
Readers please note: Olive Riley passed away on July 14, 2008, at the age of 108.  <Editor's Note>
Olive Riley
©2007 Mike Rubbo
Australia's Olive Riley is a 21st century centenarian Cinderella. In less than a year she has rocketed from relative obscurity to global internet fame. She is probably the oldest of the world's 107 milllion bloggers.

Dubbed "the world's favorite grandma," Olive will celebrate her 108th birthday on Oct. 20. Birthday greetings from many parts of the world have already been posted on her captivating Web site.

Staff at her aged care hostel in Woy Woy, 50 miles north of Sydney, are arranging a party in her honor. Her friend and helper, film maker Mike Rubbo, hopes to recruit a group of eight-year-old children (a century younger than Olive) to serenade her.

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By an uncanny coincidence, in Redwood, California, the Historical Glass Museum Foundation will present their second "Magic Show and Dinner" on Olive's birthday, although they probably have never heard of her. Where will it be held? At CINDERELLA House, 324 W. OLIVE Avenue! Will they sip champagne from Cinderella's glass slipper?

In Auckland, New Zealand, Emma Forbes, a 10-year-old ballet student, is playing a young Cinderella in five performances by the touring Royal New Zealand Ballet. She told Eloise Gibson, of the New Zealand Herald, that her dance teacher had chosen her for the part because she was the right height for the costume. That probably included the shoes.

Over in the U.K., producers of a Christmas pantomime in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, searched the town for an aspiring actress with a foot that fitted perfectly into their glass slipper, in the same way that the prince searched for Cinderella in the world's favorite nursery tale.

"A horse-drawn carriage, a glass slipper, a fresh-faced bellboy covered in buttons... the only thing missing is Cinderella!" reported the Grimsby Telegraph.

"As the search for the belle of the ball continues, Buttons ... scoured the streets of Grimsby for the lady whose dainty foot must be a perfect fit for the glass slipper during the official launch of this year's Grimsby Auditorium panto."

They finally chose a 15-year-old schoolgirl, Zoe Belding, who will play the leading role when the panto opens on Dec. 7. And would you believe this? One of Cinderella's "ugly sisters" in the New Zealand production is named Zoe Bedford. Another weird coincidence.

Hold on!. It's not certain that there ever WAS a glass slipper. Some historians think that Cinderella's slipper was originally made of fur, which would have been more comfortable but less glamorous.

They believe that long ago, when a linguist translated the story , he mistakenly wrote the French word for glass (verre). Instead of that for fur (vair) "This theory has been widely discredited now and most scholars believe he intended glass slippers all along," Karen Price reassures us, in an interesting story in Britain's Western Mail.

"The earliest version of the Cinderella story is said to be from China where a small foot was a sign of great beauty in a woman," Karen writes. "From those humble beginnings she has gained worldwide status in France she is Cendrillon, in Italy Cenerentola, Germany Aschenbrodel, and Russia Zolushka."

...And in the blogosphere, she's Olive Riley. Happy birthday, Ollie!
Eric Shackle, 88, is a retired Sydney journalist whose hobby is searching the Internet and writing about it. He is author of "Life Begins at 80 on the Internet," http://bdb.co.za/shackle, writes a regular column for senior citizen webzines in US, UK, Canada, South Africa and Australia, and is copy editor of Anu Garg's Seattle-based A Word A Day newsletter, which is e-mailed five days a week to more than 600,000 wordlovers in 200 countries.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Eric Shackle

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