Posted by: shanty | June 19, 2007

“And I Will Try to Fix You”

For those that know me, you know I have an affinity for old people. My grandfather is 87 and I could listen to him talk about WW2 and his childhood in Oklahoma forever. Before my grandmother died in January she was 85 and was a really interesting (if, well, to put it bluntly… racist) woman. She worked for the Department of the Army for 30 years in a time where women–especially Master Sargeant’s wives–didn’t work at all, and moved her family to Panama during the Cuban Missle Crisis so she could be with her husband. So while they are/were not easy going accepting people, they were/are pretty fascinating people.

I’ve always thought of them as sort of walking snapshots of history with all that they experienced in their lives. Kind of like the pictures in Harry Potter. They move, but they’re in one place, if that makes sense. Maybe it’s because they were always really, really old grandparents, not hip, with-it, travelling around the world in their retirement grandparents. Their house is a time capsule, too. Time literally stopped circa 1972. It’s crazy. The only way you’d know that any time has passed at all are the pictures of my brother and I as we grew up throughout the house.

So at any rate, with all of that backstory, I get to the point of my post. At some point this weekend I stumbled across one of the best videos I’ve ever seen online. It’s a video of the Young at Heart Chorus which was established in 1982. According to their website the original “members all lived in an elderly housing project in Northampton, MA called the Walter Salvo House. The first group included elders who lived through both World Wars. One of our members had fought in the Battle of the Somme as a 16 year old and another, Anna Main, lost her husband in the First World War.” Here are a couple pictures from their website:

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Basically they’re a group of senior citizens–some of whom have been performing all of thier lives and some of whom hadn’t performed infront of a group before the age of 80– who formed a chorus at their retirement home. But instead of doing standards, they sing more modern songs like ones by Coldplay, Nirvana, Neil Young, and Sonic Youth.

This particular video is of Fred Knittle–who has congestive heart failure–performing Coldplay’s “Fix You”. It was supposed to be performed as a duet with his friend Bob Salvini, but Bob died unexpectedly. This comes from a Channel 4 (UK) documentary called Young@Heart. I couldn’t find a link anywhere to buy the DVD, and it’s not available on Netflix, but I’m going to keep my eye out for it.

Mr. Knittle’s biography on the Young at Heart website is funny too. It says: “He and his wife, Barbara, have been married for over 55 years. He says that their marriage is based on faith and trust. She has no faith in him and he doesn’t trust her.” That is why I love old people! They’re funny!

At any rate, enjoy the video and check out the website. And just as an FYI, Young at Heart is a non-profit organization and any donations made are tax deductible. 

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Responses

  1. they are from my neck of the woods. so fantastic and inspiring. we all still have a lot to learn from these folks. if only people payed more attention to them!

  2. I too have a great respect and admiration for older folks.

    This video is so touching, and I couldn’t believe how many people were there in the end of the song.

    Wow!

  3. JB Thanks for stopping by! They are inspiring, aren’t they?

    R-uh I’m glad you liked it! xox


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