Norma Stanton: A Profile in Optimism and Hope


Norma Stanton
photo by Annie Uyehara

Norma Stanton: A Profile in Optimism and Hope

By Annie Uyehara

If you envision an 84 year old woman who lives alone as frail, lonely, and dependent on others, throw that thought away. At least when we're talking about Norma Stanton. She just had a double total knee replacement a few months ago. Who does that at any age? And she's walking around doing errands on her own.

Norma has held tubas up long enough to roll the dents out of them; she still drives her lawnmower around in her big yard in the mountains, and cleans her large home by herself and drives 2-1/2 hours to see her daughter.

"I'm a good old country gal," says the gregarious Norma, whose husband died 8 years ago. "I can pretty much do anything."

She doesn't care if people call her a senior, elderly, an older adult. "The phrasing matters not a bit to me. I am what I am."

She considers herself nothing special but she's a picture of resilience and optimism, which can go a long way as a person ages.

Norma had a unique job, especially for woman in the 1960s; She repaired musical instruments in her husbands music store for 20 years. Besides rolling out dents in tubas, she enjoyed repairing woodwinds, since she played the clarinet.

There was no void in her life once she quit her job. Besides her family, her grandchildren and her great-grandchild, she has time to be with her friends. She dispenses wisdom when she says, "You know what's the most important thing in life to have? Friends. I still have the friends I did when I first came here and I haven't had any of 'em quit me," she laughs. "Friends are invaluable, I'd put my life in their hands. They're here to support me, to hold me when I cry, just about anything."

Being old to Norma means seeing change. "Whoa! There's been a lot of changes!" A lot of them she dislikes, but so much of it she does, because it's moving forward that keeps her optimistic.

She doesn't have anything to offer for advise. "Do you think I'm old enough to give advice? C'mon!" She grins.

But she naturally speaks of what's good for us all. She's proud that she's thriving at 84 years of age. "I'm stubborn, I'm not going to have it any other way. It's what's to come that keeps me alive. You can have sadness in your life, but you can't dwell there, you gotta look forward to the future. I'm happy just to look forward to what can be."


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