92 Years Young

Rouye Rush stopped aging when she was 72.  She didn’t die. She just stopped aging. It was as if her body and mind woke up one day and simply said, “To hell with it! Forget slowing down.  Forget shuffling around all bent over. Forget losing muscle mass. And certainly forget losing memory and clear thinking.”  If you’ve ever been one of the lucky ones to meet Rouye, chances are there’s no way you would ever deny the fact that she stopped aging at age 72.

But step into a gym with her and, like anyone else, you’ll begin to wonder how is it even remotely possible that she is…

Excuse me, but where can I find Rouye Rush? Oh she’s the one over there passing the basketball with her personal trainer.  Yep, that’s her–the one dribbling the ball between her legs. The one making the backwards bank-shot off the backboard. The one executing perfect behind-the-back passes. Good lord! How is it even remotely possible that she is…

Ladies & Gentlemen! Step right up! Come witness the Main Event. The spec-tac-u-lar Rouye at work in the weight room!  The single fact that she can effortlessly leg press 150 pounds without the slightest look of exertion should be proof enough that she is a miracle of nature! After all, how is it even remotely possible that she is…

92 years old?

Envision a person her age, and most of us have no problem formulating the image of someone who you would never trust behind the steering wheel of a car.  Especially when you’re a passenger. But hop in the car with Rouye and watch her effortlessly and efficiently navigate a downtown area laden with construction. There’s no need to cringe or worry about the route she chooses. For it is, after all, the route you would select.  And so you sit in the passenger’s seat, completely at ease with her navigational expertise.  Every lane change, stop light, congested intersection, pot hole, iPod-wearing bicyclist…anything and everything that you might have to circumvent as you drive to your destination, she too does it with ease.  A stereotypical 92 year-old she is not.  It is as if there was a time when she just stopped aging.

The fact that she can do all of this (including shuttling people to and from a metropolitan airport, as well as hosting the annual Thanksgiving dinner for 34 people), it has a way of putting Rouye in a league of her own.  She’s like a pro athlete in that regard.  Someone who has simply been blessed with a set of genetics that is incredible and uncommon.

Of course great genetics doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have to endure plenty of days of exhaustion. Such as the time she was en route for the Golden Gate bridge.  Pretty much a typical day except for the fact that it was two days before Christmas and she was not only experiencing pregnancy contractions, but was traveling in a car with malfunctioning headlights. (Kind of a critical issue especially when you encounter a dark rainstorm near sunset.)  There was no option but to drive back home and switch cars with a friend.  Fearing Rouye might deliver the baby while traveling on the highway, her husband picked up speed in hopes to attract a policeman who might pull them over and then be convinced to give them an escort across the bridge to the hospital. Well, no cop in sight, he just pressed the pedal to the metal and went for it. Twenty minutes later he eventually made it in time.  Stanely & Rouye Rush became the proud parents of newborn Dianne.  Thinking back over the events of that evening and in particular what time of the year it was, Stanley said half-joking, half-serious, “How ‘bout we name her Chris?  You know, Chris, short for Christmas. Christmas Rush.” Clever, but Rouye swiftly axed the idea.

There have been countless milestones throughout Rouye’s life that she can recall in an instant.   If you ask her about them she will describe the events in amazing detail. Tragedy, happiness, pain, the unexpected—the stuff which she has accumulated for nearly a century—she can tell you all. In 2009, she lost a daughter to kidney disease. It had been an on-going illness that eventually overcame her. “It shouldn’t be that way,” she says, “When a mother outlives her daughter.” But it is what it is, and Rouye was left with no choice but to move on. Though she’ll be the first to tell you that life is never easy, she’ll also be the first to tell you that life is incredibly beautiful. You just never know what each day will offer.  However, if after 92 years you happen to possess the gift of having a sound mind and body, then by all measures, count yourself lucky.

Perhaps if you ever get the privilege to talk to Rouye you might catch her on one of those days when she’s at the gym, passing a basketball with her personal trainer or heaving a 10-pound medicine ball. Rest assured it’ll be one of those humbling encounters when you’ll walk away and want to share the moment with a friend, to claim bragging rights to having met a living person who, twenty years earlier, stopped aging at 72.

 Copyright Ros Hill 2015

 

 

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