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Modern60

By Modern60, Editorial Team

Last Updated on April 15th, 2024

Meet Norma Floyd, 88-Year-Old Mother, Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother says “I love life, and I want to live”

Meet Norma, a remarkable senior sharing wisdom on life's journey. She navigates financial challenges, stays creative, and embraces technology. Norma's story inspires resilience and living fully. Tune in for insights into her extraordinary life.

At 88 years old, Norma Floyd has lived an exceptionally full and enriching life. From her childhood in New Mexico to raising her own family in Texas, Norma’s story is one of resilience, creativity, and an incredible zest for life. In this interview, Norma shares the intimate details of her journey – from finding love, starting a family, and navigating life’s inevitable challenges, to discovering new passions and embracing the next chapter of her life.

Norma’s life experiences and perspectives offer a unique window into what it means to age gracefully and continue growing, even in one’s later years. Her infectious positivity and determination to make the most of each day are truly inspirational. Join us as we dive into Norma’s incredible story and glean insights that can enrich our own lives, no matter our age.

Early Life and Move to Texas

Norma: Hi, my name is Norma Floyd. I’m 88 years old and will be 89 in May. I grew up in New Mexico until I was around 12 years of age. My father was a carpenter, and my grandfather was a carpenter. After the war, my father decided to go into business for himself. He had gotten acquainted with a gentleman from South Texas, a fruit and vegetable packer, who offered my dad a job until he could get settled and established. 

Meeting and Marrying Jeff

So, we moved there, and I lived in the lower rear Grand Valley of Texas until I went off to college. I went to college at the University of Corpus Christie and had finished my first year there. One summer, we were in New Mexico, went up into the mountains on a camping trip, and that’s when I first saw Jeff. We got married the next February. We wrote letters back and forth since he was in college at ENMU, Eastern New Mexico University, and I went back to South Texas.

We decided letter writing wasn’t much fun, so we got married in February of the next year. We both graduated from college eventually. Then we started our family. We decided we wanted to have our first child, Susan, and then Judy, thinking she would be Richard’s brother, but it didn’t happen. So, we tried again and got Rob. So, we had two boys and three girls. I have six kids, all married, they’ve had families, they’ve got grandchildren, and now they’re grandparents. It’s just an amazing life. I have great-grandchildren now. The children that came to see me today are my youngest two youngest grandchildren. 

My son David was a police officer. He and his first wife separated many years ago, and 17 years later, after they were separated, he found his current wife. They decided they wanted to have a child of their own. My son is in his early 50s. He just retired from the police department.

Modern60:

So, tell us a little bit more of that progression. You were dating, then got married, and then?

Norma:

Yeah, we went back to South Texas, and he stayed in New Mexico. Of course, he was in college. We wrote letters back and forth, and in the process, we decided letter writing wasn’t much fun. So, we decided to be married in February of the next year. He came down for the wedding. We got married and headed back for school Monday. 

That was Saturday. We had to be back and ready to go to class, and I had to register because I was going to transfer to Eastern New Mexico University to go to school. It was a rainy Saturday morning in Texas. We found this real cute little cottage motel, pulled into their parking lot, and got stuck because they had dug a ditch across the parking lot. The rain had softened it, so our front wheels got stuck in that. They had to get a tow tractor out to pull us out the next morning. We just left the car there and stayed, ate dinner at a hamburger place across the street where we could walk to. So that was our honeymoon. Then the next day, we went on to New Mexico and went to college. We both graduated from college eventually. 

Raising a Family

Then we had the family started. We decided we wanted to have our first child, and we’d been married about three years. We decided it was time, so we got Susan, and oh, we were thrilled. Then we decided Susan could use a sister or a brother. We didn’t want to raise an only child, so we got pregnant again. Then after Judy was born, we decided we still might rather have a brother. Let’s see if we can get one. So, Richard came along. We’re doing fine. I’ve got two girls and Richard, and we’re doing fine. Then Richard’s growing up, and I’m thinking he needs a brother. So we got Debbie after we got Richard. I forgot about Debbie. Heaven forbid. How can you forget Debbie? We had Debbie, thinking that she would be Richard’s brother. It didn’t happen. So here we go again. 

Richard still needed a brother, and so we got Rob. And that was it. We had the two boys and the three girls, and everybody was happy. And you know, then there was the oops, which is my youngest son, who is so precious to me. I don’t know what I’d do without him. He was truly a gift from God. As I look back on our life, I had the six kids. They’ve all been married. They’ve had families. They’ve got grandchildren, and now they’re grandparents. It’s just an amazing life. I have great grandchildren now. 

Modern60: How many grandkids do you think you have? You know the number?

Norma:
Actually, for grandchildren, including all my accumulated husbands and wives and in-laws, probably have at least 19 grandchildren. I have, I think, nine direct, but there’s a whole slew of them in-laws that they’re part of mine. They’re my family. And then I have, I can’t remember if it’s 13 or 14 great-grandchildren. I have another one on the way, and we just had one. I’ve kind of lost track too many. Tell us about who was here today.

The children that came to see me today are my youngest two youngest grandchildren. My son David was a police officer. He and his first wife separated many years ago, and 17 years later, after they were separated, he found his current wife, who is amazing. She’s something else. They’ve stayed friends and in touch through all the years, both with his first wife. And they decided they wanted to have a child of their own. 

My son is in his early 50s. He just retired from the police department. They asked him, you know, what are you going to do when you retire? And he says, just raise kids. But he’s very happily retired, and those are my two very youngest grandchildren. They have an older brother, but he wasn’t here this week. So, kind of switching gears.

Norma’s Daily Routine

Modern60: What’s a typical day in the life for you like? What if we didn’t come through today?

Norma:

Okay, I get up and make my bed. That’s the first thing I do. I can’t stand to look at a bed that’s not made. I get up and make my bed, and then I usually go fix my breakfast. And I do my usual breakfast, me and Jimmy Dean. If you don’t know who Jimmy Dean is, he has a breakfast food frozen, and I like his sausage muffins. I go have breakfast, clean up the dishes, and then the next thing I do is I do my daily New York Times wordle, and I do that every day. If I’ve solved it, I’ve only missed it, I guess, about three times in the last year that I’ve not gotten the puzzle in three or four. 

Modern60: Did it mess your whole day up if you didn’t have it? 

Nah, it’s not. It’s just a game, and I’m the only competitor as me, although most several of my children do it every day, and we share scores. And we compliment each other when we get under three and under. Nice, it’s just fun. And then I also do another little spelling game, but that takes longer and more thought. So I start it and then think about it and finally finish it. Then I decide, okay, I think I’ll do some sewing or I’m going to or do some shopping, just whatever I need want to do for the day. That’s what I love about being retired. I can make my own schedule. But I do sew almost every day, a little bit. I do some exercises. And I try to do, I have a goal for steps per day, and I work on that. Make sure I’ve not, make sure I stand up every hour, thanks to the Apple watch. 

Norma’s introduction to computers and technology

Modern60: Yeah, you’re pretty in tune with technology. Talk a little bit about that. What’s, as technology, always been something you’ve been interested in, like especially like as you’ve aged in like, you know, different devices for different things? How’s technology helped you out?

Norma:

Well, actually, my acquaintance with technology started with my two youngest sons, who liked to play arcade games. And after they, after we got along, after those had come along, and they began to computer, the computers began to be available. And my oldest son had the first computer in our family. Let’s see, it was a tape drive computer, and it was just amazing what he could do with that. And then, as time went on, my husband became a minister, and he was publishing materials. And we were needing typewriters and so forth. And this first technology was the good old typewriter, electric selectric that I learned. Well, I learned to type on the old portable old Royal porter back in high school. But then I got a job in the community where we were living, where I was working for the local newspaper office. And they had brought in a computer for the bookkeeper, and they needed a backup bookkeeper. So I said, sure, that sounds good to me. 

So I learned that I could do word processing on that in the sense that I could make labels. So I was the circulation manager, so I made labels for our paper circulation. Then we moved to Texas, and I had been teaching school through the years. By the time we were in Attica, and computers were coming along, my kids were growing up, and they were kind of into computers a little bit. 

And when we went to Texas, I got a job with an insurance company. And I’ll never forget my employer asking me, what do I know about insurance? And I said, nothing. He said, good, I’ll teach you what I want you to know. It was a wonderful experience, my first experience in corporate employment because I’d always taught school. And as I was there, they were already computerizing some of the stuff, and we would get those big thick printouts, you know, big books of printouts for review. And we were going, they were going to individual computers, you know, in the individual offices. So they needed a key. 

Well, they had hired a young lady to be their key operator, but she was such a lousy typist, she kept making errors, and we kept getting our forms back. I thought computers are for the birds. So they had a guy come and talk to us about what our job is, what we’re having, and then they begin to program the computer for that company. And in that, in the meantime, then my kids had grown up, they had gotten involved with computers themselves. They all ended up being very computer literate. It was just natural to them. 

I was amazed when they would pick up, sit down at something and figure it out. And so each one of them, in their own way, had learned how to, you know, had learned computing. My oldest daughter writes for the state of, she writes training manuals for Medicaid and so forth for the state of Indiana. My second daughter is a security specialist with Verizon in Houston, in Texas. My oldest son has his own business. He’s a consultant and does computer programming for his own clients. 

My next son, Rob, is in the insurance industry as a marketing director. And then David, when he came along, when he first came to the police department where he was, they were having to pull up a former form and remove the names from it, the information, and then type over that again. So David, 20, had to do his first report, so this isn’t going to work. So he sat down and made him a template, and that kind of secured his spot in the computer business, and he ended up retiring from the police department recently as a forensics detective. And he had pretty much built their computer department. 

And so if I didn’t, if I didn’t know, be out of the loop, I wouldn’t have known what they were talking about. But when I got to where I could use a computer, like when I worked here in Houston, I mean, in Indianapolis, for I worked for a hospital here, when I worked there, I did input of data for insurance payments, and I learned a lot about the use of it myself. But our home use of the computer had given me a lot of instruction. So I just, it was just natural. It was so easy to do. 

And then the phones came along, and I love them. I enjoy my phone. I have, I get frustrated with some of the stuff I see on it time to time. But for the most part, I have good friends, good communication in social media that are real special to me, some I’ve met and some I’ve never met. But we’re still compatible and communicative and good friends. So outside of social media and seeing things and sharing things. 

How technology has assisted her in daily life

Modern60: how do you use technology in your current life, like on your day-to-day? How does technology help you?

Norma:

Well, I hadn’t thought about that. Let’s see, it keeps me in communication with my kids. It keeps tabs on me. They know where I am, which is a comfort to me because they use a little tracking system that tells them where I am. As far as computing, my car is a computer, and it’s fascinating. I love driving my car because of the technology that’s in it. I enjoy radio, but I don’t want to listen to it much, mainly videos and things like that, just entertainment. Right now, I’m not, I, what I do is just kind of hand sewing. And I can’t really think of anything that I particularly depend on technology for. 

Modern60: Well, you wear two watches. What’s the two watches for?

Norma:

Well, they keep tabs on my steps. My Fitbit keeps, I’ve set the step distance for it when I first put it on. I haven’t for my watch, so they give me two different times of steps. But my Fitbit is my measured step. I measured and said how many steps I took and so much of a foot and put that, so it’s more accurate. It also keeps a better record of my sleep. My phone is a lifesaver. One thing it did, I had a fall recently, for of downtown, and by the time I got back up on my feet and my mind straightened up and could look and see where I was, and I was looking, I knew my watch was buzzing and jumping. 

I looked, and it was the emergency 911 had, was talking to me. And had, in the process, had for me, they had already dispatched an ambulance. And so we were sitting in the, I was sitting in the wheelchair that they brought me into the store on. And somebody behind me said, should we call 911? I said, don’t bother, they’re on their way. So it was really, it’s a lifesaver to me, technology is. 

I love my watch. My kids got it for me because of, it sends a message out. I have actually four, two neighbors and two of my children on emergency calls. It actually called all four of them. So they were all checking up on me. And it’s a lifesaver, technology is, as far as I’m concerned. 

Retirement and Discovering New Passions

Modern60: Cool. You know what type of hobbies do you do? Do you ever feel like you ever get bored, or do you feel like you’re pretty satisfied with everything you do?

Norma:

Actually, I’m very satisfied with what I do. But for the last few years, I was a volunteer for our local community theater, and I made costumes. And it was such fun. I did it for about 12, 13 years, making costumes for our community live theater presentations. And that was pretty time-consuming. They would go from one production to the next every six weeks. And so I would have a few weeks, I’d have about four weeks to put together a costume, all the costumes. And then I would enjoy the show. But that’s the main thing I’ve done in the past few years. I play the piano. I enjoyed sitting down and just playing for my own pleasure. I played for our church for years and played to accompany the congregation. 

I’m not currently doing that. In fact, I miss it, but I don’t because it’s time for somebody else to do it. And I do play the organ as well, but nobody has organs anymore. 

My church does, but and I make doll clothes. I have made doll clothes for years, and I had a pack of Barbies that I’ve made dresses for. And I have my own pattern. I design my own dresses. And usually, when I make something, I do my own pattern. I do my own design. So I guess you could say I’m kind of a designer. And then I do a little painting of flowers mainly because I’m a flower person. 

I love my flower gardens and my plants. And one of my hobbies is plants, greens. And I couldn’t tell, raising the, you know, watching the greens. I’ve got a little, as I was saying earlier today, I have a little lemon tree that it said it’ll only be 15 years before it bears fruit. I don’t think I might be, might not be around when it bears fruit. But I hope to see it grow into a nice lemon tree, and it’s doing really well. So I, I just plants and and out, I don’t do as much outdoor now as I used to, but I still have outdoor plants, mostly potted plants. I do have some flower beds and some yard work, but painting, playing with my grandkids. 

Modern60: Yeah, you visit family quite a bit. Your F and I mean, obviously, I know, but go ahead and tell our audience, you know, how often you see family and all that.

Norma:

Well, I see family pretty often. They’ve kind of scattered in the years, the last few years. I have a daughter near that’s and a son that’s within an hour’s drive, and I interact with them pretty regularly, at least every, almost every other week. The grandchildren that lived here, that live here, I spend time with them. My daughter, Debbie, she and her husband have just moved away to for her to be grandmother to their seven children. And they’re going to be here this week, this next end of this month. Now, my family is very close. We spent a lot of time together. My, I had my youngest, my youngest granddaughter until her little brother and sister came along. She’s also very much into technology. 

She finished her degree at Indiana University last year, and she’s getting, planning on getting married. It’s just a joy. I have a wonderful family. And I don’t travel as much as I used to. I have one sister left in my family, my immediate family. She’s a lot younger than I am. 

She’s as adventurous as I am, though. I made a few thousand mile trips between here in Texas by myself. I’d do it now, but my kids would send the state police out and bring me back. But she and her husband have a motorcycle that they converted to a tricycle, and they’ll be coming up in the spring for a visit. I’m looking forward to seeing her. But that’s, that’s my family. We’re just a great, great bunch, they are. Yeah, I went from having five family members in mine to 100 in your guys’s. 

Norma’s approach to fitness and daily routines

Modern60: So let’s talk more about activity because you’ve been talking about personal training and stuff like that. So how do you stay active? Do you go on walks? Do you do some work, exercises? I know you talk about standing up. Let’s talk about fitness a little more.

Norma:

Well, in the when the weather’s good, I do like to get out and take a walk. But I’m not an exercise person. I just am active. I go up and down my own stairs. I use my stairs. And when and sewing is not sedentary when you’re using sewing machines, you’re up and down. And then of course, at my age, I drop everything I pick up. So I do a lot of bends, almost every few steps. And right now, I’m taking some physical therapy after having had a fall. But it’s, it’s just that’s temporary. I don’t plan to keep it up other than just continue my walking. I have good neighbors. We visit back and forth. As far as activity, I just stay busy. 

I don’t, I read. I read every day. When I have a meal, I like to, when you’re by yourself, you know, you kind of need company or something. So I keep a book open on my kitchen table. And every day when I have my meal, I sit down and I read two or three chapters. Then if it gets really exciting, I might take the book to bed at night and finish it. But I do a lot of reading and sewing, of course, and painting and drawing and visiting with friends. 

Modern60: So you stay active. I mean, I know you are active all the time. 

Norma: Yeah, I and I, I go to go to my church regularly. And I’m not, I’ve been, I’ve done a workshop, a couple of workshops with my stitching to teach other ladies what it’s about. Most of them already know how to sew, but it’s just to teach them my slow stitch methods so that they understand the pleasure of sitting and making something beautiful with scraps. 

Modern60: And that was the one that you, you so, you taught that one right? Cause you told me about that. You want to teach how. Yeah, tell us a little about that teaching experience.

Norma:

Well, it was really, what I do is I, I have supplies that I take for them and line them out. And I have a big bowl full of scraps. And I show them some samples of some of the things that’ve been done. And then let them dig in. And I give them a kit with needles, threads, thimbles, and all that stuff so that they, they don’t have to come, bring anything. They have everything when they come. So we sit and we sew and we talk and we, uh, design. It’s creative. And in the sense that when you design something, it ends up being quite lovely, you know. 

And it’s like this one lady asked one time, what do you do with them when you get them finished? I said, just look at them, enjoy them. Why does something have to have a use, you know? Why do you have to make a placemat? Why can’t you just make, make something pretty to look at? Yeah, cause then you get to keep it. Every time you walk past it, you’re like, oh, I made that. Oh yeah. And I actually, I’ve made some things that I look at, and I think, did I do that? That’s fun. Let’s see here. So, um, so yeah, this, this website is specifically like life after 60. 

Modern60: Do you remember your 60th birthday and how it felt like, you know, just realizing.

Norma: Okay, I’ve hit this next milestone in my life. 

Modern60: Did it, did it make a difference to you, or did it not, you?

Norma:

It didn’t, it really didn’t make much difference. But I was still, of course, working. And I remember my 60th birthday because I was still working at the, I was still working at the, uh, so hold on, let’s, let’s restart the. I remember my 60th birthday. Just when you lean forward, the, the audience. Okay. Um, I remember my 60th birthday because I was still working for the Houston Chronicle in their credit department. But I had to get my resignation because I was moving back to Indiana. And they gave me a big birthday party. And I had kind, I didn’t intend to retire at that time, but I was just going to come back. And my husband promised me he’d make me a kept woman. I didn’t want to do anything. I worked a lot through my life. So I get back up, finish up, and get up here.

And I’m thinking, what am I going to do, you know? I’m re, I. But then my husband became ill, and he ended up having to have some major hospital stays and a big hospital bill. And the counselors asked me how I was going to pay the bill cause we didn’t have any insurance. And I said, you got a job. So they did. They actually gave me a job at the hospital. And what was very, very fortunate for us that the finances were taken care of by the hospital. And then as an employee, it kind of helped us through. And I got back on some insurance. And everything was going fine. And then came time to retire. 60, I was actually past 70 before I actually retired. And because I was busy, and I liked my job. I liked my friends. I liked being out and active. And my husband was traveling. 

And then he passed away. And after he passed away, that was the thing in my life that made me stop and say, okay, what happened, what’s next. And that was when I kind of began my journey and finding who I am, my creative side, doing what I wanted to do. Ended up being able to live alone. I love it. I love having somebody with me, but I don’t mind living with someone. But I enjoy being alone. And so what I do now is just, what how I felt back then was kind of like, okay, you know, I was, I was ready to just kind of be me. But it took me a while to get to that point. Point then, that’s kind of where I am. I feel, I feel like, okay, I’m me. And you, what you see is what you get. 

Modern60: Well, if you don’t mind, diving into a little bit more, so obviously, you know, having a passing is always tough to do. So, you know, what are some ways you kind of pick yourself back up.

Norma: I guess, like how, you know, if someone else is dealing with something like that, they’re dealing with a loss or maybe they’re dealing with a loss of purpose, maybe they’re like, okay, I retired, but well, what am I supposed to do now if I don’t have a job too. 

Norma’s perspective on growing older

Modern60: So how do you find your way, your own way of getting out of those tougher situations and kind of evolving and then kind of coming into where you are now?

Norma:

Well, my husband actually, the evening before he passed away, had finished a book. He’d written four books, I think, and he had just finished his latest book. And we had been in our home, and I, he brought me his back. This is another thing about technology. He brought me his book on CD, and he said, this is, this my book, it’s finished. He said, it’s, say everything I wanted to say, and I don’t want anything taken out. But I want you to edit it for me. And then he handed it to me. And that was the last conversation we had. So he, um, passed away the next day. And everything, of course, the family, friends, I mean, everybody, there was just such love expressed during those times. 

And then, the hard time came for me after he was gone. And I thought, what’s next, what do I do? And that’s when I was called, got in touch with, and they pulled me into the theater. And I began to do the costuming for them. And that’s what worked me out and gave me a challenge and gave me a goal in life and gave me, that’s where I began to really kind of find me. 

And I was never one, um, I don’t like cutting out patterns. So I never was, and my mother, when she sewed, she didn’t use patterns. She, um, she made her own. And so I thought I would see something, and I would sometimes take a, a, a dress or a, a garment from the Goodwill store and re and redo it, build it into something else. And my co-worker, one of us, a co-volunteer, would always say, I don’t see that in that outfit. And I said, well, yeah, just wait till I get through with it. And I loved doing it. And that was, that’s really kind of tied me over to now. And then it got, of course, COVID came along, and then it kind of isolated everybody. And they, I, I was really kind of getting tired at the theater. 

And they began, to uh, we didn’t have shows for a while. And then they finally came back, and I said, and because of other circumstances involved with the storage of costumes and things, I said, I can’t do that anymore. So it’s all yours. And I, I said, we’ve got younger people that need to do it. And you guys need to pitch in and take over. 

Modern60: Do you believe, and which it sounds like you do, you believe in when it’s the right time to end a chapter, it’s the right time to end the chapter. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t go on to something else.

Norma:

Oh yeah. I had no intention of doing anything. I already had something in mind I was going to do. I was going to do my thing, you know. I was going to paint, draw, color, sew, and travel. Of course, my travel got curbed a little bit after that. I travel probably back and forth between Texas. After my husband died, I made oh, maybe two or three 1200 mile trips back and forth. And loved to do it. And my brother-in-law, his, his brother, my husband’s brother lived in Arkansas. And I wouldn’t be back, and he was ill. And I was back and forth with him until he passed away. But no, I wasn’t going to, I wasn’t quitting the theater to do nothing. I was, it was freedom time. 

Go, freedom to do more, to do what I really wanted to do. And then I ran on, stumbled onto some of the stitching sites on Facebook and other places, the videos they make on, on sewing all over you, the YouTube, and so forth, fascinating. Actually, during COVID, I did masks. I probably made 600 masks. I made them for the hospital, for the nurses at the hospital. And I always kind of wondered, you know, I guess it’s okay. But they seemed to think that was fine. So I made them. 

And I made quality masks. They were real nice and real pretty. And then after that kind of faded away, I decided to make potholders. And I got started making pretty, pretty pieces. Had a lady in Michigan, a friend, wanted me to send her mine so she could sell them in her shop. So I, I, I was okay with doing that up to a point. 

But I didn’t, I don’t want to take orders. So now what I do, I had a neighbor that needed a dress hem or a pair of pants or something. And the word got out. And so I do alterations for my neighborhood and for my friends. And when they asked me, you know, could you hem my dress, or one lady asked me if I could fix her, her throw that she used on her couch cause it kind of came loose. So I put that throw back together. Whatever you know, just whatever they need. 

I made a, a, a bridal robe out of one of my friend’s daughter’s wedding trains for her daughter’s wedding out of her own wedding dress. And that was loads of fun to do per all my own design with all the beautiful satin that was there with the designs and everything. I’ve just done that, anything that comes along. Anything creative. 

Sometimes I get paid, but for the little jobs that my neighbors need from here and there, you know, I always, they always say, well, what do I owe you? You got to pay something. So occasionally I barter. I hem a t-shirt for one of my neighbors, and she had cherry tomatoes. I said, okay, the price is cherry tomatoes all summer. So that was for hemming her shirt. 

I had nice little sweet fresh cherry tomatoes all summer. So that’s, and if somebody just says, well, I need to give you something, I said, well, how about a love offering? And it doesn’t matter to me, or just pay it forward. If I need something in the future. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No big deal. Cool. Let’s see here. You talk about the church. We talked about Facebook. So the concept of community is obviously important to you and having a good community. Which the nice thing is, you know, you can do that both digitally and in person. So let’s say someone, you know, you’re pretty well acclimated with a bunch of people around you. But let’s say you weren’t. 

Modern60: How could somebody who’s maybe not as connected, maybe doesn’t have as many family members, get involved with their current community in person and maybe online? What, what advice do you think you have for them?

Norma:

Well, I’m just looking back to how I got acquainted with my neighbors because I didn’t know any of them. I don’t go to church with any of them. Don’t have any other connection with them. And I was trying to remember, my neighbor across the street was a landscaper, and he wanted to, and I was wanting to do some flower beds. And he offered to help me do them. So we worked together and he hid the front flower bed around me. 

My yard happens to be privileged to be the container of all the utility boxes in the community. So we fixed a pretty bed around it and tried to make it look like less than a, a of an isore. I met him and his wife, and we became good friends. And then my, uh, housemate, my roofmate, I have a, this is a condo, and my neighbor across the wall shares the same roof with me. And I, when he moved in, he and his wife were, uh, had just come in from Florida, and she was ill. And she passed away about oh, gosh, it must have been four or five years ago. And she and I had become friends just because of being neighbors. We’d visit back and forth. 

My neighbor over the corner there, we had, uh, uh, I ran into her at the theater. She was with a friend of mine who was a former neighbor. And um, she, uh, uh, he was her fiance. And he moved over here in the neighborhood. And um, she and he, he was my neighbor now since, well, he was my neighbor for a few years anyway, a long time. And um, so it, the world began to get smaller, and I began to get more people acquainted with people in the community. I’ve, uh, I’ve joined a local L’s Bible study. 

There’s also a sewing club and a scrapbook club. I’m just out of time. I don’t have time for everything. I choose the Bible study and, and I choose my sewing, but I don’t have time to, you know, some of the ladies talk about doing their scrapbooking things. I did that. I did scrapbooking. I’ve got some beautiful scrapbooks I could show you, um, that I had done in the past. 

And, uh, but it, it’s just another accumulation of craft supplies. And I have so much already. I, I had friends from the theater and from other acquaintances who were seamstresses. And they, uh, when they quit sewing and they got rid of their stash and all the M fabric and notions and everything, and they generously gave it to me. And so a couple years ago, I just had more than I could possibly have used in a 10 lifetimes. So I began to bundle it up and give it to the neighbors and give it to anybody that wanted it and share it with other people. And, um, but just be a, just you know, be friendly. My next door neighbors are really sweet and friendly. I mean, I’m real connected with all of my immediate neighborhood. 

And it, but organizations like sewing clubs and and, um, if you have time for it as a retiree, I don’t really have time that I want to spend with that. And I’ve gotten to where I kind of like to be, I don’t like to get out at night anymore. I like being at home. And I don’t mind getting out. I can, and I do. But I prefer just, you know, be home and watch a movie or. And I’m not a phone talker, but I have a daughter that calls me every day. And we don’t talk. She’s on her speakerphone, and I’m on my speakerphone. 

And we just do our thing as we go along. And occasionally we make a comment. But she’s in tat with me. And it, it, that, that’s my life. Just a family, neighbors, and it’s rich, full. I couldn’t ask for better. Getting involved in something community, especially theater. There’s more to theater than being on the stage. Yeah, know it’s, I mean, it’s a big effort because it’s, it’s a, you have to put it on. You got to market it. You have to make sure the actors are comfortable. 

You got to make sure the people in the crowd are comfortable. Oh yeah, there’s tons of things that are associated with putting on a production, a local community production. And a whole bunch of people from all kinds of, uh, crafts and abilities, handiwork of artists, seamstresses, uh, coaches, uh, it’s all, it’s community theater is an excellent place to, uh, uh, get acquainted with people. Go volunteer. Now, uh, some people volunteer at hospitals, but that’s never been my, you know, that kind of volunteering has never been. I had too many kids to take care of. 

Modern60: But anyway, cool. These last two, when I asked you the question, if you could just answer them back by restating the question. So the first one is, what drives you forward?

Norma:

What drives me forward? Energy. I mean, I just, I can’t stay still. I just have to go. What drives me is my own desire to do and to be. And I find things that I’m able to express myself and be content within me. And what keeps me going is just, I’m not going to stop. I just, I love life. When I was a girl, I always sang real loud in church. So my parents decided I needed voice lessons. So they gave me voice lessons with this lady. And she gave me a song, one song that I particularly remember to learn. And it was a song by a lady named Manaz Zuka, written way back in the probably the 30s. 

And the words of the song say, “I love life, and I want to live”, to drink of life’s fullness, take all it can give. I love life. Every moment must count, to glory in his sunshine and revel in its fount. I love life. And that’s been my mantra, I guess you could say, through the years. Anyway, an interesting thing about Manuka, over the years, I lost my piece of sheet music, and I couldn’t remember her name, the composer. And I always shared her words, her song. And I, I would, I couldn’t give her credit because I couldn’t remember her name. But I always said, you know, she, there was another composer. 

One day, on social media, of all things, I get a note from her grandson. He said, Manuka was my grandmother. And I recognized the words of that song. And I thought, that’s awesome because now I’ve gotten acquainted with who she is and who she was and how much she meant to me in my life, the song. And anyway, that’s what keeps me going. Loving life and living. Life is a treasure. Being tissue, you need me. Do you need me to get you a tissue or anything? No, you’re good. 

Modern60: Okay. Cool. Yeah. And the last question, it’s kind of the same thing, kind of redundant, but what, what are you looking forward to in life, you know, the things you have look forward to now and all that, like seeing family, doing projects?

Norma:

Well, I’m, I mainly look forward to wondering what’s next. I kind of, I kind of think sometimes at my age, I think, okay, what’s the next adventure going to be like? And it’s not, not like I think of death and dying. It’s like I think that might be an adventure. It’s going to have to happen. I might as well look forward to it and be excited about the next step in the adventure. Right now, I’m just kind of doing what I enjoy doing, living my life, loving my family, visiting with my friends, and just, just being, just being comfortable and loving life. 

Um, that’s about it, that’s about it, as far as looking forward. And meeting new people, I still meet new people. I still learn new things. I’m always learning something. You never know it all. So, and I always say, at my age, my friends have become more professional. My doctor, my dentist, they’re very professional. All these people, and they’re good friends. I’ve been with them for many years. And I have some, I have some variegated friends that if I run into anywhere, I’d get a hug. And I treasure that, even if they are doctors and dentists. 

Modern60: Cool. Well, I think we covered just about everything. Is there anything else you want to add? 

Norma: Not particularly. Cool. We’re all good. Awesome.

The End

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