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Growing old

Project during workshop with Marcus Bleasdale

Story by Nina Frydenlund May 24th, 2015

Life lived

- We got married in Fagerborg church and had a big reception at Bristol. Sjøwall took this photograph. He was the best photographer in town, Bitten tells me.

In 1956 Bitten moved to an apartment in Brattlikollen, Oslo, with her husband Roy, and their two daughters. At the age of 88, she still manages to live by herself in this very same apartment. She has been a widow since 2002.

Stunning couple

At home

Routines are very important to Bitten. She claims she sleeps in every morning, and reads the paper at the breakfast table. This particular day she was astounded when discovering she was up an hour earlier than usual, and not quite sure to do with her extra time.

- There are so many things wrong with me, but none of them will kill me, she jokingly says before swallowing a handfull of different medications.

- My daughter told me that seemingly my mental health is stronger than my physical, and I think she`s right. I use my computer mostly for games and looking up phone numbers. Oh, and by the way; what IS Instagram?

Breakfast and news
Moving around
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Out and about

Several times a week, Bitten joines her friends at the local community center for seniors; Bekkelaget senior center. Sirri from Iceland is working with the ladies in their handcraft-group, but is soon retiring. – I´m actually tearing up because she`s leaving, Bitten says. – She is one of my best friends. And who will replace her? We don`t want some unorganized youngster.

There are different activities at the senior center. This particular day there was a screening of a short movie about the liberation from Germany in 1945. – I was 13 when the occupation started, Bitten tells me. 5 years later, when liberation came, I was russ and we had so much fun celebrating.

Friendship and social network is just as important when you grow old. – I still keep in touch with a girl I grew up with. Her health isn`t always good but she keeps bouncing back.

– We all sit at the same table every time we meet. There are mostly women here, and a lack of men.

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Movie screening
Holding hands
Eager conversations


After dinner nap. The apartment is quiet except for the big clock in the living room.

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Evening in

The piano used to be the center of attention when her husband Roy was alive. – I don`t remember much of the day of his funeral she says regretfully. His handwritten notes are still there as a witness of his former presence. - I miss his playing sometimes.

- I stay up late so I get to watch the news at eleven. I`m used to being alone, and I enjoy sitting here in the quiet with my crosswords or knitting.

Roy`s Boys
Quiet evening
Footnote: Do not regret growing old. It is a privilege denied to many.
Brattlikollen, Oslo, Norge