Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | November 23, 2010


I’ve been spending the past few days hanging around the campground with a group of long-term residents who all happen to be in their 80’s.

Some live here year-round, while others only spend the winter and move elsewhere during the humid Florida summer months.

Most of the residents are younger than these octogenarians, but these people really intrigue me because they have managed to live so long, keep their independence and remain in at least fairly good health.

I was never around many older folks when I was a child. We didn’t live near my grandparents so I never had the chance to get to know them.

My parents didn’t even make it to 70, let alone 80, and these people are the age my parents would be if they were alive today.

Spending time with them is like hanging around with my parents, and it’s interesting.

Ron and Norman are World War II veterans, like my dad. I can only imagine how he would have enjoyed hanging out with these two guys on Veterans Day, and going to Hardee’s for their free meal in honor of those who served our country.

Ron was in the Air Force, and I guess it never gets out of your blood. He pilots these intricate remote control helicopters around the campground – his hobby. Today he showed Keith how to make paper airplanes that actually fly, out of styrofoam plates.

You’d never guess this guy was in his 80’s if you saw him. He is trim and active. His eyes have a twinkle and his mind and wit are quick. After coming to two of our Friday night shows, he shared some humorous songs on CD with us, and we have learned one for this Friday’s show, in his honor.

Norman and his wife will both be 87 in April. She is 9 days older than he is, so for 9 days out of the year, she says she can be “the boss”. Hazel still takes a daily walk down and up the 60 stairs to the river. Keith and I are doing it too, but we can’t make it yet without getting out of breath. It’s crazy that this 86 year-old woman can do it more easily than we can!

Another octogenarian who shares my name, still works in the office a couple days per week. She is feisty and a talker. Her nails are always “done”, and she has a contemporary haircut – a short “bob” – rather than the teased and sprayed look of so many women her age. Her clothes are stylish, and she always seems to find something to keep her busy.

I am grateful for the company of these wonderful people. They opened their lives to me and Keith and extend the hand of friendship. They are too old to play games, and just “come as they are”. It’s refreshing, and I hope that they can continue on enjoying life for many more years to come.



  1. Barbara – I’m glad you have such good folks for company. I remember when I was much younger suddenly realizing that I could have friends of all ages. Up to that point my friends had all been school chums. It was a revelation! Good to hear from you – SB

    • We always enjoy your comments, and appreciate your being a blog “regular”. Give our best to the gang, and have a wonderful holiday!

      • JUST MADE MY DAY ron

      • Meant every word šŸ™‚

  2. […] (of “Caught Pink-Handed” fame) and her husband, Ron (of “Octogenarians” fame), brought cherry cheesecake shortcakes to the coffee in Keith’s honor, and we all sang […]

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