Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rest in Peace Ollie

Our dear internet friend Olive Riley passed away peacefully on Saturday 12th July in the morning. For those who didn't discover Ollie's "blob" (as she called it) until after she passed, you'll need to wait a few days to access her official blog, because it appears to be down due to the overwhelming volume of traffic.

Update As of 19th July, you have limited access to recent posts

Olive was 108 in October 2007, yes that's not a typing error. 108 years old and very with it till almost the very end. Her "biographer" Mike Rubbo helped Ollie to record some of her memories, video taped her for YouTube and even made a movie about her. "All about Olive" has been screened on Australian television several times. When Ollie was 104 she decided she'd like to visit her home town of Broken Hill in far outback New South Wales Australia. This was no mean feat for a frail older lady, as they travelled by train with Mike and their entourage. Broken Hill is pretty remote, only small planes fly in, and Ollie needed a wheelchair. Actors approved by Ollie took the parts of her school friends, herself and her family to show what it was like growing up in country Australia. The movie is very poignant, especially when Ollie went to the cemetery to visit her beloved sister Emma's grave. The family couldn't afford a headstone, but on that trip it was finally resolved. I'm sure Ollie will join Emma there soon.

I could fill pages of posts about Ollie, I've been enjoying her blob since I discovered it about 18 months ago. I can't remember where from exactly, but I think it was linked from one of my textile friends' blogs. Mike felt sometimes that he was pushing Ollie to recount her stories which were sometimes painful and upset her. He didn't know if he should continue, having found her himself through Eric Shackle, another older blogger. Recently Mike took his daughter on an overseas trip, and Eric set up a temporary blog for Ollie here
There are several elderly bloggers around the world, including a lady in Spain, but Ollie was certainly The World's Oldest Blogger, VBG. We assured Mike that Ollie's story was fascinating and very worthwhile to tell, and I'm so glad he managed to film her and record her so often. It's prompted many subscribers to think about doing the same with their own family elders. After all we need to learn from the past as well as look towards the future, don't we.

In a few days, I hope Ollie's "blob" will be up and running, and that people will go back to the beginning and read all about this Most Remarkable Lady. In the meantime, pop over to YouTube if you'd like to see our dear girl.


sharonb said...

Yes I am going to miss her too - there was something inspiring about her unbreakable and no nonsense spirit


Hi Christine. Both Mike and I appreciate your comments.
Mike has at last managed to post a long review of Olive's life on the blog, but can't yet post any comments.
He would like you to send him an email or telephone him, as he can't find your address.
Cheers, Eric.

Anonymous said...

Hello Christine I am Olives Great Granddaughter and am greatly disturbed by comments made in relation to our family regarding my Nans involvement in her blog. Unfortunately as you can possibly understand there were many untruthes made about particular family members during the blog and this upset members of the family. As a centarian Nans memories whilst still vivid were often altered. Upon requesting certain things not be commented on as they were effecting the health of some of the family by drudging up painful pasts our requests were ignored. Out of respect for our Grandmother the decision was made to let it pass so as to not further upset those members of the family that were being disrespected.
Now after her passing we find that the knife is still being twisted and it is adding to the pain we are allready suffering.
It is unfortunate that Mr Rubbo has commented to our faces that we are a disfunctional family when it is the complete opposite that during times like this we will pull together as one big great force. THe fighting strength I am sure Olive instilled in us.

Christine said...

My first instinct on reading the previous comment was to hit the Delete button. On reflection though I decided to leave it, as everyone is entitled to their opinion especially one of Olive's relations. However, I failed to find the many untruthes about the family as alluded to in this message when I re-read the whole of Ollies "blob". Mike was very careful with relating Ollie's stories, and after all they were HER memories, correct or not.

The death of a friend or relation brings out strong emotions in everyone, so I'm hoping the family will decide to publish their own book about Olive in the future so we can see another facet of this wonderful ordinary Australian lady.