A couple of years ago, several young men in their early 20s snuck quick peeks over to the opposite end of the gym during lulls in the action of their game of pick-up basketball. There stood Elizabeth Herring, perfectly balanced on her left foot as she raised and grabbed her fully extended right foot by her toes at shoulder height. She’s old enough to be their grandmother. Maybe even great-grandmother.
When asked, “Can you do five or six more of those?” Elizabeth replies with a smile, “Of course!”
What the basketball players didn’t know is that Elizabeth was 87 years old, and had her hip replaced a little over a year ago. Now, at the age of 89, she is just as active.
A Whirlwind Youth
A St. Louis society girl and member of a prominent Ladue family, Elizabeth took a path in life that few of her fellow debutantes could imagine.
“I ran away to the circus, then I ran away from the circus and married a cowboy,” she said, succinctly summing up her 20s.
She left behind her East Coast boarding school education and formal training at the American School of Ballet in New York City to join the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. After touring the country for three years, she bumped into a cowboy in a Wyoming saloon and immediately fell in love. They married and raised three children on their 520-acre family farm in Pike County, where they lived for more than 50 years.
Quickly Regaining an Active Lifestyle
Elizabeth’s hip surgery briefly limited her fast-paced lifestyle. After surgery, Elizabeth spent three weeks in rehab at Bethesda Dilworth, followed by home care from St. Andrews & Bethesda Home Health. She said the Bethesda rehab staff was encouraging and helped her quickly get back to the active lifestyle that she has enjoyed all her life. Elizabeth is somebody who takes her wellness seriously and is not one to sit around too long.
Elizabeth is one of the many examples of vibrant seniors who live active and fulfilling lives – with a little bit of help from Bethesda.