In the fascinating new New York Times article by Ginia Bellafante, we’re introduced to Naomi Replansky, 101, and her wife, Eva Kollisch, 95. They have endured it all, and they have advice for all of us.
In Bellafante’s interview with the couple from their one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side, we learn about their experiences living through the Spanish Flu, the polio outbreaks, the Holocaust, and the Great Depression. They have experienced intense sexism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism throughout their lives.
Bellafante writes, “Naomi and Eva have exhibited a kind of fearlessness ably nurtured by misfortune.”
Despite the hardships and living in times of uncertainty, Naomi went on to become an award-winning poet, and Eva became a professor of comparative literature at Sarah Lawrence. When the two met, they were well past middle-age.
Bellafante writes, “they met long after the tragedies and social disruptions of the previous decades had touched them each with such intimacy. When catastrophe is sequential, it eventually trains its survivors to greet terror with the serenity of the enlightened.”
Until the novel coronavirus outbreak struck, Eva and Naomi went outside often; taking long walks, meditating at a Buddhist Sangha, and shopping at farmers’ markets.
“They find themselves longing for what has been lost more than they dread whatever might come, and they worry more for their ‘generation’ than they do for themselves, even though Naomi had a bout with pneumonia six years ago,” Bellafante writes.
What we can learn from Eva and Naomi, who have lived through the worst of the 20th century, is that we can come out resilient from our experience with the current situation, and that the future is to be lived unapologetically. These women are real inspirations, and leave us a set of lessons and a lens on life that put things into major perspective.
Read the full article here.