The Elder Goddesses Amongst Us

“Hello, Gorgeous.”


“It’s not what you’ve lost that matters. It’s what you’ve got left and what you do with it.” 87 year-old woman

Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.

See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see… out of fear, conformity or laziness. See the whole world anew each day.

Remember George, No man is a failure who has friends. … You see, George, you really have had a wonderful life.


Katherine Hepburn continued to be active even in her old age, riding her bicycle and swimming in the ocean near her house in Old Saybrook, CT. While she was always somewhat While she was always somewhat reclusive, she appeared in public less and less as she grew older. The last few years of her life, with her health declining, she generally remained at home. Katharine Hepburn died in her home, surrounded by loved ones, on June 29, 2003, at the age of 96.

Hepburn’s career lasted almost seventy years. During that time she made more than fifty films. She became known all over the world for her independence, sharp intelligence, and acting ability. Katharine Hepburn holds the record for the most Academy Awards for Best Actress. She won the honor four times. This star holds a special place in American film and popular culture.

For most of her life Kate was an excellent athlete.She rode horses, swam and played golf and tennis. Here is a recording of Katharine Hepburn from a film about her life. She is talking about the values her family taught her. She says she is not strange, but is fearless.

KATHARINE HEPBURN SAID: “I don’t think I’m an eccentric, no! I’m just something from New England that was very American and brought up by two extremely intelligent people…who gave us a kind of, I think the greatest gift that man can give anyone, and that is…sort of freedom from fear.”

GRANDMA MOSES (September 7, 1860-December 13,  1961)

One of the most familiar centenarians we know is the artist, Grandma Moses, who began her painting career in her late 70’s. As a child, the artist had drawn pictures and coloured them with the juice of berries and grapes. She had a prolific 30+ yrs  in which she painted 1500 paintings by the time she passed away at 101 in 1961. Happy and alert, even towards the end of her life, she continued to be aware of her environment and continued to paint every day. Grandma Moses is survived by nine grandchildren and more than thirty great-grandchildren.

MAYA ANGELOU (April 4, 1928-                 )

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

Dr. Maya Angelou 81 years old, born on April 4th, 1928, is one of the most renowned and influential female voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, Dr. Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.

“You really know you’re getting old when you bend over to tie your shoes and you wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.” Author unknown

Katherine Hepburn- 100???
Estee Lauder- 97
Betty Ford-89
Zsa Zsa Gabor-88
Lauran Bacall-83
Barbra Bush-82
Queen Elizabeth-81
Nancy Reagan-80
Gloria Vanderbelt-80
Shirley Temple-79

Nonagenarians are  90+ year old adults who have  reached a stage in their lives where they are living their future.

They were born more than 90 years ago somewhere in the world.  They have seen many changes. They have been poor and they have been wealthy.  They have experienced many losses. They have relocated. They have lost children and spouses. Yet they continue to thrive, adjust to changes, wake up every morning? Why? What are they doing/what have they done to prolong their lives? I have many questions for them.

What motivates you to wake up every morning?

What was your life like in your early years?

What kind of work did you do?

What was school like then? How far did you walk to get to school?

What was your family dynamic?

Did you get along with your mother/father?

Did you lose any siblings? Were you close to your siblings?

What do you miss most?

What don’t you like about your life now? What do you like? What would you change?

What are your health habits? diet, activity, mental stimulation, hobbies, sleep

What do you attribute your longevity to?

GLORIA SWANSON ( March 27, 1899 – April 4, 1983)

Swanson became a vegetarian around 1928 and was an early health food advocate who was known for bringing her own meals to public functions in a paper bag. Swanson told actor Dirk Benedict about macrobiotic diets when he was battling prostate cancer at a very young age. He had refused conventional therapies and credited this kind of diet and healthy eating with his recovery[8]. Later Swanson traveled the United States and helped to promote the book Sugar Blues written by her husband, William Dufty.

She was most prominent during the silent film era as both an actress and a fashion icon, especially under the direction of Cecil B. DeMille. She was also one of the first stars to challenge the Hays Code by producing the banned Sadie Thompson in 1928. In 1929 Swanson successfully transitioned to talkies with The Trespasser. However, personal problems and changing tastes saw her popularity wane during the 1930s. Today she is best known for her role as Norma Desmond in the film Sunset Boulevard. During her heyday, audiences went to her films not only for her performances, but also to see her wardrobe. Frequently ornamented with beads, jewels, peacock and ostrich feathers, haute couture of the day or extravagant period pieces, one would hardly suspect that she was barely five feet (1.52 m) tall. Her fashion, hair styles, and jewels were copied around the world. She was the screen’s first clothes horse and was becoming one of the most famous and photographed women in the world.


April 26, 2004–The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (EL) today announced the passing of its distinguished founder, Estée Lauder, at her home in Manhattan on April 24, 2004. Until her death, Mrs. Lauder served as the Founding Chairman of the Company, an honorary position that will not be filled. She had not been active in the Company since her retirement in 1995.

The personification of the American dream, Mrs. Lauder began a family cosmetics business that evolved into a beauty empire spanning six continents. Her business and creative instincts, marketing breakthroughs and years of incredibly hard work made her a legend of the beauty and fragrance industry. Hers was not merely a success story; it was an inspirational tale of achievement through dedication. “I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it,” she reminded the Company’s employees during sales meetings. She was renowned for a life of elegance and beauty, and her eye for exquisite detail.

“My mother was passionate about three things: her family, the wonderful Company she founded and her mission of bringing beauty into the lives of women everywhere,” said Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman of The Estée Lauder Companies. “She was an inspiration to the women she touched through her products and appearances through the years, to the many employees of The Estée Lauder Companies, and, above all, to her family, through her constant love and support. We will miss her immensely.”

“My mother was not only a rare businesswoman, but also an extraordinary wife, mother and grandmother,” said Ronald S. Lauder, Chairman of Clinique Laboratories, Inc. “She brought joy, unique vision and determination to all things. Her spirit lives on in all of us.”

Speaking for the Company, President and Chief Executive Fred H. Langhammer said, “I had the privilege to know and work with Mrs. Lauder and witnessed, first-hand, how she was able to bring out the best in both her employees and her customers. I learned a great deal from her. To honor her legacy, we will maintain the standards of beauty and prestige she set, which remain the hallmarks of The Estée Lauder Companies.”

Estée Lauder began by selling four homemade skin care products and in 1930 married Joseph H. Lauder, who became her partner in the business. They remained partners in life and business until Mr. Lauder’s death in 1982. She loved to sell, and those talents led to a counter at New York City’s Saks Fifth Avenue in 1948, which was soon followed by contracts at other leading department stores. In 1960, the Company began business at Harrods of London, the first of many international accounts. Today, The Estée Lauder Companies’ brands are sold in over 14,000 stores in over 130 countries and territories worldwide. The Company’s fiscal 2003 sales were $5.12 billion.

Mrs. Lauder left more than a legacy of business success; she created a culture of beauty and customer service that changed the cosmetics industry forever. She taught her sales force meticulously, personally coaching them during her attendance at nearly every opening of a new Company door. Her advice on one-to-one marketing was memorable: “Telephone, telegraph, tell a woman,” she often remarked. Mrs. Lauder was also a passionate advocate of sampling who used her early promotional budgets to give free gifts at counters and fashion shows. She pioneered the “gift with purchase” by giving customers free packets of other products.

Among her many contributions was the choice of Estée Lauder’s signature blue, which she believed would coordinate with the decor of most bathrooms and bedrooms. In every detail, she sought to make her clients beautiful. In addition to handling the challenges of a multi-national corporation, Mrs. Lauder worked tirelessly to shape the image of beauty in the United States and abroad. She insisted that advertising portray beauty that was both inspirational and approachable. “Whether you are the chairperson of the board or you want to charm him, you need beauty and femininity as well as wisdom and strength,” she said.

Mrs. Lauder was widely acclaimed both within and outside her field. She was awarded both France’s Legion of Honor and the Gold Medal of the City of Paris. She was one of the American Business Women’s Association’s 10 Outstanding Women in Business in the United States in 1967. Cosmetic Executive Women presented her with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989, and The American Society of Perfumers awarded her its first Living Legend award in 1994.

Her father was a custom tailor, but found that he could provide a better living for his family by running a hardware store. Her father’s hardware store provided Estée with merchandising experience. It was her uncle John Shotz, however, who influenced her future business. Shotz was a chemist who created face creams in a makeshift laboratory set up behind her family’s house. He discouraged Estée from using detergent soaps on her face and showed her how to make the cream that, years later, she would improve upon and market under her own name. She launched her cosmetics business during the Depression in New York and later in Miami Beach, Florida.

Estée Lauder remembered an influential experience that had occurred years earlier at a Florence Morris salon in New York City where she sold her products. Lauder recalls in her autobiography (1985) how she admired the blouse of an elegant customer in the salon and asked where she had bought it. The woman scoffed, “What difference could it possibly make? … You could never afford it.” The young Estée walked away humiliated, but vowed that no one would ever say something like that to her again. Some day she would have so much money that she could buy anything she wanted. Lauder accumulated enormous wealth through her business acumen. By the late 1980’s, with personal assets of $233 million, she was listed by Forbes as one of the four hundred richest Americans. She followed her own admonition: “Measure your success in dollars, not degrees.”

Estée Lauder was an exceptionally talented and successful promoter. She was a pioneer in giveaway promotions, always including a lipstick in the gift package. Women tried her products, liked them, and told other women about them. Much of her initial success came from this word-of-mouth advertising. She called her strategy “Tell-a-Woman” marketing. Eventually, she invested in larger marketing concepts, using beautiful models to sell her products. Estée Lauder chose carefully the models for advertising her products, selecting the “Estée Lauder kind of woman,” rather than a movie star. The photographer Victor Skrebneski published a book of his photographs of women who modeled for Estée Lauder products.

Estée Lauder believed in selling her cosmetics at the best department stores, ignoring the advice of her accountant and lawyer, who urged her to get out of this particular business. She started at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, an upscale store where women could charge their purchases. After succeeding at Saks Fifth Avenue, she expanded to Neiman Marcus in Dallas, and then several department stores around the country. Estée Lauder opened each store herself and trained the saleswomen who were demonstrating her products.


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