This is what 88 looks like. This is the current life of a creative powerhouse, born in Northern Germany in 1919. This is my Oma, Luise. This woman, who raised 3 small children during WW2 while her husband fought and died, is a Renaissance woman. Is an artist. Is a woman who doesn't give up. Don't think I'm not counting my blessings about the gene pool I swim in.
At 88, Oma spent 3 days preparing and planting the garden on the side of her house, just as she has for decades. At 88, Oma knits and embroiders with the fervor of someone half her age. At 88, Oma bends orchids and lady slippers and every indoor flowering plant to her will, keeping them in bloom for up to 6 months straight or coaxing successive shoots for years on end. At 88, God bless her, Oma can still serve up a sit-down dinner for 12. (Guests and family are required to wash the dishes. By hand, of course.)
And now, at 88, my Oma is famous. For at least 15 minutes, or until the November issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine hits the stands. You see, inside the covers of the October 2007 issue of MSL magazine, on page 115, you will find Oma's delectable recipe for her family-famous Quince Cake. On that proud page is a photo of the completed cake and the recipe beneath, titled: "Luise's Quince Cake". Today, at afternoon tea, on behalf of her daughter's birthday, Oma served up that to-die-for torte with freshly whipped cream and just the right amount of fall's little-known fruit. I restrained myself, with much effort, to one piece.
What's the secret of a going-strong 88 year old Renaissance woman, I ask her? Keep moving, she says. Stay involved with family and friends of all ages. Create something each day: a few rows of stitches, a new recipe, a clean room. And let yourself be loved.
All photos copyright(c) 2007 Graciel, and used with permission from Oma.