GERTRUDE B. AGE 95
I was born in Manhattan and my parents were from Russia. We were five sisters. I am in the middle. I got married and I have three sons. I used to work at NYU and I lived on the next block from there. And then they closed up so I worked at Lehman College. After that I did office work in Manhattan. I worked full time even after I had my children. We used to go to the country in the summer, and when the children were grown my husband and I went to Florida in the winter. I look back on my life with a sense of peace.
Thank God I am feeling okay but when I walk I am shaky. My doctor says its my age and there is no medication for it. I never put a cigarette in my mouth; I never drank coffee. If I wasnt shaky I would feel great.
I like to spend my days crocheting and knitting. My hands are still able to do that. I must have made about 100 blankets and I give them away as gifts. I also read a lot. Stories about families; I dont like murders. But I have to read large print books now. I also read the paper every day. I like to watch television, especially the Yankees. They are my team! The last time I went to a Yankee game was when we still lived in the Bronx. I saw Reggie Jackson hit big home runs. I even watched the Yankees last night and I watched them the night before. At 10:00 I get into bed.
I do my own shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, everything. Nobody helps me.
I have one friend in the building now. I have friends in the neighborhood; if I meet them outside Ill talk to them, but otherwise I dont go to anyones house and they dont come to my house. My sons are very good to me. They call me almost every day and they come as often as they can. My son in Massachusetts is coming in a couple of weeks. My son in Florida doesnt come that often but he calls me. And Bob lives nearby.
The most important thing to me now is that I am as well as I am. I have
one sister left who is in a nursing home, so when I see what is going
on with her, I am very happy I am the way I am. She used to smoke and
I guess that affected her mind. She was living in Sunnyside near me, but
her son is in Louisiana, so now she is in Louisiana in a nursing home
near him. I still talk to her on the phone but she keeps repeating everything
over and over. It surprises me to see that my sister, who is five years
younger than me, is in such bad shape while I am pretty well.
What advice would I give to young people? None, because whatever I tell them, they wouldnt listen.
Interview conducted by New Jersey artist Janet Boltax
for this exhibition.