The Oldest Old Project: Millie Garfield
The Oldest Old Project: Mort Reichek

The Oldest Old Project: Naomi Royer

[EDITORIAL NOTE: I am out of town for several days this week. In my absence, are stories from five elders and/or bloggers who have contributed to what I am calling The Oldest Old Project. They had to be at least 80 to participate and I asked how their lives had changed in the 20 or more years since they were 60. Today, Naomi Royer, with an assist from her daughter, Nana, who has kept a family blog for the past ten years.]

Changes between 60 and 87? Too gradual, too subtle to truly enumerate. My entire life has been a quiet, level journey - no peaks, no valleys and I am, have been, very content that it was so. That is, at any rate, how it appears to me no. My daughter frequently brings up events that are completely lost to me. Either my memory is truly lapsing, or hers is getting creative!

I taught school for a few years before I married at 22. Then I was occupied in raising four children, the family moving frequently in the U.S. because of my husband’s work and later, in foreign areas, when our youngest child was still in high school and left in the charge of his older brother.

Following my “mothering career,” I never returned to the work world, not having had any wish to do so, and it not being financially necessary.

I have (had) a minor gift in the arts, which I used mainly in painting portraits of the family. My bigger interest was always the piano in which, whatever skill I developed, developed on my own, with minimal basic instruction. It has always been tremendous therapy for me.

Now, even that interest has been muted by an increasing weariness - physical, and what? Spiritual? I was widowed four-and-a-half years ago and live comfortably alone with Sara, the cat. Not really alone because of the tremendous support I get from my daughter, my firstborn (and her husband too), who lives a scant ten minute walk from me.

Our roles have gradually reversed. She is now not only my daughter, but my mother too! I have three fine sons, but they are geographically distant. Having always been an introverted sort, I am content to live alone. Relaxed in my recliner and reading (none of it very intellectual) is now my main occupation. My recliner faces the TV, which is turned on less and less.

My biggest hope now? An easy exit from this world, and that it will come while I’m still me. I don’t want to make history by the length of my lifetime!

Daughter Nana at 64 and Naomi at 87:

Naominanasm3

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lois Cochran tells of her surprise when she learned of My New Nephew.]

Comments

Both daughter and mother are very very lovely, and I enjoyed your musings very much. A couple of lines really resonated with me. This one: "easy exit from this world, and that it will come while I’m still me" and the last line, "I don’t want to make history by the length of my lifetime!" Both reflect my feelings as well, although I'm in my 60s and plan to stick around for awhile longer. Thanks for sharing your life.

Naomi, your life and mine have many similarities. I moved so many times that I have to stop and think about the number; I believe it was 24. I never want to move again until they remove these old bones to the crematory.

The one thing I do envy you is having your daughter close. All of my children live out of state and I don't have that kind of support. But, like you, as long as I am 'me' I hope to stay on this old planet.

What a list of adventures in your family. I wonder where all your overseas posts were, and how they colored your experiences. Glad you've had music and painting to express yourself. Best wishes!

Naomi: thanks for your post which I found very interesting as well as helpful. Indeed you are very fortunate to have your lovely daughter nearby & both of you look quite serene! I hope that that is the case & that you & I both leave as ourselves. Lovely post. Dee

Thank you Naomi. It seems like you've settled in well. Somehow, I get the feeling that the longer we live, the more we treasure the things that are truly important to us and the less we need of the rest.

On a slightly different note, I can't help but wonder about the fact that all of the "guest writers" (not to be confused with "ghost writers")have been women and this might be due somewhat to the fact that the head "honcha" here is a woman. Call me sexist if you like but I was thinking about how it might be interesting to get a male perspective on "The Oldest Old"

Lovely picture of the two of you.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.

mythster

It's not because the "head Honcha" is a woman that we haven't heard from the male perspective -

I think it's because of these two reasons.

First - there aren't that many male bloggers that read Ronni.

Second - woman live a long longer than men.

Aha!

I'm going to be fairly content to sit and read as was my own mother. You make it sound okay.

You and your daughter are lovely.

Naomi,
Both you and your daughter are beautiful. Your innate kindness shines through your faces.
I have a daughter and a son who live within a 10 minute drive from my husband and me.
I am 78 almost 79 in December so it is such a comfort to have them near with the 4 grandchildren ranging in age from 8 to 12.

I'm a 70 year old man who reads Ronni or her guests every day, without fail! I'm still working so I don't have time to read other blogs but I find you all very interesting.
One can always learn more about one's own self by reading about or listening to the stories of other folks lives.

What an inspiring example of aging gracefully. I think we all wonder how it'll be for us and you present an example of how it can be in a way that makes me not dread the years to come.

What a lovely picture, Naomi and Nana. I too play the piano - and when I feel depressed - visit with my music and though I am no virtuoso (sp.) enjoy reading the lyrics of such composers as Irving Berlin as I play. You can feel their souls and their emotional highs and lows in the lyrics. I guess that is what life is all about...dealing with stages and hoping for an "easy end."

Naomi,

You are a most wonderful person. You have served as my mother in many ways and your children are family. There are no words that can adequately describe your kindness. Life is full of meaning because of you.

Your unassuming words distinguish your humility and grace.

Your art and piano express your beauty as does your photograph and yes your daughter is most lovely as are you.

Life is what it is, but my life has been most blessed because of the fortune of meeting and knowing you.

Praise to a long and continuing life and thanks,

Love,
Steven Jacobs

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