World's Oldest Blogger
March 4, 2007 12:41 PM   Subscribe

"We can’t bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell 'em stories that don’t go anywhere -- like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. 'Give me five bees for a quarter,' you’d say. Now where were we? Oh yeah -- the important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones..."

Seriously though, interesting post. Speaking as an Australian, it's always interesting to hear Australian stories, so I'll bookmark this one and check back on it from time to time.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:52 PM on March 4, 2007

love this--thanks! (and those meat pies look delish)
posted by amberglow at 12:55 PM on March 4, 2007

No………. Is all this going in my blob?

posted by ORthey at 1:16 PM on March 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

dont see too many centenarians around these parts anymore...
posted by subaruwrx at 1:16 PM on March 4, 2007

This is great. Thanks. This is the kind of thing that I really would like to see more of on the internet. I volunteered at a nursing home a few years back as part of a class, and that was my first real exposure to sustained interaction with the elderly. It was a truly eye-opening experience, both wonderful in the people that I met, and appalling/depressing at the conditions and environment that they had to live in, and how it seemed to be what had become the societal norm. I was living in a small town at the time, and some of the people I talked to had such wonderful stories, fond recollections of times past that were fascinating to hear. So much in that town, like the rest of the world, had changed over the decades, and knowing about those changes gave both a greater appreciation for what that it had been, and a new perspective on what it had become. Just talking to someone who had grown up in a totally different society was a great experience. It made me want to know more, to hear all the untold stories that each of those people carried with them, and it made me sad that so few of them seemed to have people that visited them on a regular basis, and people that showed them genuine care and friendship each day. It was hard not to see them as cast-off in a way, and it was hard not to then look again at the larger picture and see that as how America treated seniors in general. How often do you hear about the elderly? In the U.S. they are often treated as a punchline, as the elephant in the room, or a burden. An exceptional few will be treated as dignified or respected. It's not an easy issue, as like all issues there's plenty of nuances and exceptions to it, but in general, the way America treats its elderly is really quite sad, although also not surprising if looking at it through modern American culture.
posted by wander at 1:18 PM on March 4, 2007

I saw this on the telegraph.
posted by dhartung at 1:22 PM on March 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Why is MetaFilter so Australia-centric? There is more going on in the world besides what happens in Australia you know. ;)

Seriously, great post PT.
posted by nola at 1:25 PM on March 4, 2007

Link is dead for me.
posted by dobbs at 1:36 PM on March 4, 2007

This is great. I'm a nurse and I always love to question the centenarians at the hospital. I love to hear about their lives. They always have a longevity secret, like the slow-chewer in the blob.

The teeth pulling story is hilarious. What a trooper.
posted by LoriFLA at 1:40 PM on March 4, 2007

And here I thought I was living the Life of Riley.
posted by owhydididoit at 1:54 PM on March 4, 2007

Good thing she got out of Broken Hill ahead of all the trouble.
posted by washburn at 2:10 PM on March 4, 2007

Those pictures of her at the computer, drinking beer, swimming, out and about in her wheelchair-- I think I have a new role model. Thanks for this.
posted by jokeefe at 2:11 PM on March 4, 2007

This is the kind of thing that I really would like to see more of on the internet.

Me too. Thanks for the post.
posted by languagehat at 3:22 PM on March 4, 2007

Man, I tried really hard, but I can't help but hear the voice of Grandpa Simpson when I read this.

I know, I know...I'm a bad person.
posted by felix betachat at 3:37 PM on March 4, 2007

Mike: I’ll have one if you don’t tell Katya.

Olive: Then you better not have one.


It's posts like these that keep me coming back to MeFi. Nice job PT.
posted by caddis at 4:05 PM on March 4, 2007

Terrific find! Thanks.
posted by trip and a half at 4:41 PM on March 4, 2007

I love the Alvin story, hilarious.
Great find, pt.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:42 PM on March 4, 2007

I'm a nurse and I always love to question the centenarians at the hospital. I love to hear about their lives. They always have a longevity secret, like the slow-chewer in the blob.

Of course they do. It's self-selective by the very nature of the fact that they are centenarians. All the other people who had the same 'secret' & died young are just not around anymore to contradict them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:52 PM on March 4, 2007

I had a pie for lunch in her honour.
posted by Wolof at 6:49 PM on March 4, 2007

I love the part in Patrick O'Brien's Nutmeg of Consolation where Aubrey and Maturin meet that woman when she was only in her 30's.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:54 PM on March 4, 2007

This was really great - thanks.

There's something about the idea of having been witness to the twentieth century which I find mind-boggling. The changes have been so vast, so extraordinary.

Mike says there have been 192,000 visitors but that can't be right.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:16 AM on March 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

'Mike' is I think the same Mike Rubbo who has made dozens of documentaries around the world. He once did a short series on the ABC (the Australian ABC), where he introduced his favourite docos. He introduced me to both Demon Lover Diary and Sherman's March, both of which I loved.

He also screened one of his own, the title of which escapes me, but involved him travelling to Cuba in the 1970s with an American businessman. Mike is clearly taken with Castro's Cuba, the American not so much.
posted by Ritchie at 2:22 AM on March 5, 2007

What is it with old ladies getting all their teeth pulled? My gran (a slip of a girl at 89) tells a story of how she had all her teeth pulled by accident - the dentist thought she was someone else. I hope there's not some sort toothless-driven-longevity going on.

Olive's blob is lovely. I hope she gets to see those olives in 2010.
posted by jiroczech at 2:41 AM on March 5, 2007

They helped me down into the water, one on each side, and I just floated around flapping me arms and drinking me shandy.” (Shandy is half beer, half lemonade)
They gave you a beer in the water???
Too right! A shandy. I had one every day I was up there too.

107 and drinkin' and swimming and blogging. If I reach 2/3 of her age, I'll be happy not to be peeing my pants. Good on yer girl!
posted by lalochezia at 8:26 PM on March 5, 2007

LOVE THIS, and wish to god the text weren't in light gray, I'm going blind here. This is awesome, thank you.
posted by tristeza at 5:42 PM on March 6, 2007

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