Tomorrow my extended family will gather by zoom to celebrate the 90th birthday of my big sister, Barbara. She lives in a retirement community in Southern California and it grieves me deeply that I cannot be there in person for this important moment. Last night, at about 1 AM, I was lying awake in bed (don't ask) thinking about what I would say at the zoom party. I decided to tell a few stories about the Barbara I knew when we were both kids since I am the only person left in the world who knew her then. As my mind wandered, I found myself recalling the three summers I spent as a teenager at a left-wing "work camp," an eight week sleep away camp in the Berkshires where Northeast comfortably well-off parents of a left-wing persuasion sent their children to get an authentic work experience. One of the counselors was a dumpy young folklorist named Margot Mayo. It was she who introduced us to the work of Alan Lomax and to his greatest discovery, the magnificent Black folksinger and 12 string guitar player Huddie Ledbetter, or Leadbelly as he was known. I got to wondering what had happened to Margot Mayo so I got up and went to my computer to see whether by any chance she was on Wikipedia. Sure enough, there she was! It turns out Margot was born in 1910 which means that she was in her later 30s when I knew her. It also turns out, if Wikipedia can be believed, that she is still alive today at the age of 110!!
Can this possibly be right? If it is, she must be the oldest or almost the oldest person in the United States. As I drifted off to sleep, I gave some thought to what I might post on my blog in 2043.