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Simone J.

by M.H.

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Discovery of a retiree profile, 95 years old Vannes, France

Simone grew up in Brittany in a very poor rural area at the time, 4th daughter in a family of 10 children.

Lived her childhood and adolescence in a well off family, She did not know luxury but security and a pleasant quality of life while "learning very quickly  at a young age ,the price of things" and the contribution to the tasks of the large  household.

She realized when going to school that she was lucky compared to the other children (Christmas gifts = 1 toy or 2, birthday = a nice outfit, a shared room only 2 or 3 kids,1 week vacation and 1 car before 1930 which was rather exceptional,).

She also realized very early  that her father attached great importance to his work and to the workers of a small local factory which he managed "in a paternalistic fashion, she felt that life was simple because we got along well i, e, the employees and the boss (I quote) on a family mode which she regrets in comparison with the current period where everything is conflicting ».

The mother's role was very different, strictly confined to the education and management of the household, Her father "could not cook an egg! "But it was he who held the authority.


The links between generations were very frequent and important affectively and materially, The grandchildren went to the grandparents on vacation in turns by 3 or 4, Then the age coming the parents and also the grandchildren took care of their elder. Herself  she sheltered and looked after her mother at home when she was still working  and even later when got retired ", It's normal".


Studies: local primary school, then pension in Nantes then at her request Pigier course as a secretary which she keeps a very good memory, and then training at a nursing school without however exercising thereafter, It was more to meet the requests of parents.


Adult: Never married and got involved in voluntary actions with children in difficulty in France then abroad (Tunisia 1950s and Asia thereafter)
Around 1960 became a proof reader  in a local newspaper until her retirement.


Today: Easily went from work to retirement. She has fairly modest but sufficient income while being a tenant in her apartment.
Was very much invested with pleasure in the associative life either in a personal capacity: polymathic society, trips, library, links with nephews and nieces, or in voluntary work: visit sick hospital, Emmaus, neighborhood and parish). That constituted her life up to 90 years, Walking was daily "long before it was a fashion", She is satisfied with this slice of life that she judges "fulfilling".


She was happy to benefit very early from a computer training course funded and organized by the city of Vannes and equipped herself with a computer. She used up to being 90 years “it changed my life by allowing me contacts and free discoveries !!! ", Now it’s completely gone because it’s too tiring.

She reads and annotates 2 newspapers, 1 local and 1 national, follows information and debates but no longer watches films.

She wants to vote in elections.


To the question what makes you go ahead, she answers ironically "I go backward” now evoking her physical and intellectual abilities decrease."


The prospect of death is almost daily, hers and that of her friends.


For her, the role of retirees is to transmit both cooking recipes and moral and spiritual values, memories, especially of what was different in her youth, for example family education, school life, war. life in a family where resistance was very present, and the beginnings of Europe.
It is, moreover, for her this last subject which really interests her, saying that we must "no longer speak of the origins, of the past of European construction."


"Her current life is limited by stillness and memory loss. Loneliness is painful because most of her friends are dead or in retirement homes. However, she prefers " keeping her relative independence and staying alone at home to be free" because she benefits from a home help system, She says she is very aware of the chance to have a health and retirement system that allows it…