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Posts Tagged ‘93’

Photo: Elisa Coltro/Facebook
Nonna Irma, of Noventa Vicentian, Italy, poses with some of the children in the Kenyan orphanage she supports.

News outlets around the world reposted this story about a 93-year-old’s outreach work as described by her granddaughter on Facebook. But I found that BrightSide dug for additional details.

The website reports, “This charming woman from Noventa Vicentina, Italy is Irma, and she is 93 years old. Despite her age, she’s full of energy and desire to change the world for the better. She decided to fly to Kenya to help children in the orphanage there. Her granddaughter shared her grandma’s photos on her Facebook page, which took over the Internet. …

” ‘Irma has always loved life and was never stopped by life’s obstacles,’ her granddaughter [Elisa Coltro] wrote. She knows what difficulties are like and has always tried to help others. Irma lost her husband at 26 and later one of her three children. Her life has not been easy, and she has always relied on her own strength to make it through.

“Many years ago she met Father Remigio, a [missionary] who has spent his life helping the people of Kenya. Irma has supported him for many years. Once she heard that Father Remigio was hospitalized, she made a decision to visit him and all the places he had built during his lifetime, such as hospitals, orphanages and kindergartens.

“Now being in Kenya, Irma helps children as much as she can. She teaches English and Math in the school of Malindi. … Her age never stops her from taking motorcycle rides. Despite all the difficulties she’s faced, she continues to enjoy life. Irma plans to stay in Africa for a few weeks, but there is a possibility that she will want to stay there for good.

“She has always taught her children and grandchildren to help others. Her granddaughter Elisa did volunteer work in refugee camps in Greece in 2016 and 2017.” More here.

One of the things I like best about the story is the sense of a network of fellow travelers. Irma’s daughter went to Kenya with her. Her granddaughter volunteers. And zillions of people loved what Irma is doing enough to share the news on social media. One and one and 50 …

Photo: Elisa Coltro / facebook   

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Photo: Saul Gonzalez/PRI
Kalman Aron began sketching when he was 3 years old and had his first show at 7. Still working at 93, he said if he didn’t paint and draw every day, life would be too boring.

Links to some of the stories that I aim to blog about get squirreled away weeks in advance, and now I’m wishing I used this one in February before a certain artist died. Kalman Aron was 93 and was making art every day.

I heard about Aron from Saul Gonzalez at Public Radio International’s The World.

“When you step inside artist Kalman Aron’s modest apartment in Beverly Hills, a lifetime of creation surrounds you. The walls are covered in paintings and finished canvases are stacked on the floors, a dozen deep. The paintings range from portraits to landscapes to abstract works. They’re just a fraction of the roughly 2,000 pieces Aron says he’s created over the decades.

“Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1924, Aron started sketching when he was 3. At age 13, he won a competition to paint a portrait of the country’s prime minister. But then came the start of World War II; Germany invaded Latvia in 1941. … He was imprisoned in seven concentration and labor camps over the course of four years, not knowing if he’d be alive the next day.

“But Aron was able to survive when German soldiers discovered his skills as an artist. Camp guards and officers asked Aron to make small portraits of family members in exchange for scraps of bread. …

“After the war ended, Aron lived in a displaced persons camp in Austria and received a scholarship to attend Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts.

“In 1949, with only $4 in his pocket, Aron immigrated to the United States with his first wife, settling in Los Angeles. After a stint painting pottery in a factory, Aron started getting work by painting portraits for the city’s wealthy, like the family of Susan Beilby Magee. …

“Magee says you can trace how Aron came to grips with the trauma of his wartime experiences by studying how his work changed over the decades in Los Angeles.

“ ‘At the beginning of his time in LA in the ’50s, [the paintings] are all gray,’ Magee says. “There is no sunlight or people, there is nothing. That was his interior landscape when he arrived. Thirty years later he paints the Hollywood Hills and they are beautiful, full of color.’ …

“Aron says his art has saved him more than once — first, during the Holocaust, and now that he’s 93, it’s kept him from something many people his age struggle with.

“ ‘Dying of boredom,’ Aron says. ‘I’m still talking. I’m still working. They die of boredom.’ ”

The story I heard at PRI is here. And this obit appeared in the Washington Post.

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