Pavla lives in a two-room apartment on the Spořilov housing estate in Prague. In the bedroom, opposite the front door, he points to an exercise bike. She explained that after her hip surgery, she rides every day after breakfast to keep fit. In the living room, he flaunts reproductions of Alphonse Mucha, his favorite artist. Thanks to Elpida, she now has free admission to the National Gallery, where she and her colleagues weave the installation Tree of Life. On the sofa is a plastic bowl with wool and one pair of socks is running. He usually goes to work on the evening news.
- Elpida, a non-profit association, aims to help the elderly and contribute to improving their quality of life. He also wants to improve the perception of aging in society.
- One of Elpida’s projects is Grandma’s Socks, which is sold at Electronic shop.
- The name of the author who knitted them is on the sleeve of each sock, and her story can be found on the project’s website.
He earns about three pairs a week, but makes the most of it at Christmas. Before the holiday, he will bring about 160 socks to Elpida’s headquarters. She is one of the most experienced women in the senior organization and as a lecturer takes part in workshops for the public every week – and she is currently bringing her art to people from the street. According to her, socialization at an older age is important. She herself seeks contact with the younger participants in the workshop. “I’m more attracted to them,” he says. “We’re all in our 80s and we really have the right to complain, because a lot of things hurt, but I don’t like talking about illnesses.”
She began knitting at the age of thirteen, when she knitted clothes for dolls, modeled after her friends from her hometown of Točná, now part of Prague. Only a year later, when I finished eighth grade, I actually started working. First to Orionka in Modranská, then to the Elektropřístroje depot in the same part of Prague. “I was the youngest there, and ladies perhaps over 20 can love you well. When there was a free moment and we had nothing to give or receive, we sewed behind the curtain by the cupboards, which were there we could not be seen, when we We change. That’s how I got better.”
The first jacket she managed to make was for her brother who was going to war. When her daughter and son were born and she was home with them, she trained as a saleswoman. In her spare time, she knitted clothes for her children. Fully returned to her passion after the revolution, as a mother of adult children, she divorced her husband and moved to her current apartment. A series of difficult events led to the development of depression. She multiplied, “The divorce, the death of my father, I was in transition.”
Pavla was treated for depression for twenty years. She admits that she had suicidal thoughts and that the medication helps her a lot. Her stay in a psychiatric hospital also contributed to her recovery, as she had the opportunity to talk about the traumas she experienced for the first time in her life. “Before, I never mentioned my childhood to anyone. Before, my parents didn’t go to great lengths to spank me. It was normal and my father was very strict with us,” she recalls.
After retiring, she began going to a therapeutic sewing workshop that was supposed to help her with depression. “We sewed pillows or bags there, which were then sold in Zlatá ulička. And when we had time to rest in the workshop, I knitted instead. And the lady from Zlatá ulička told me afterwards that if I knit a hat, for example, she would put it there For sale. In this way I earned extra money for my pension, ”says Pavla. Later, she started selling her creations at the market near Elektra in Hloubětín in Prague. Finally, three years ago, I learned about Elpida.
Depression must come out
Pavla is athletic, she used to play tennis and loved to watch hockey. He still maintains himself by walking, every day he tries to walk for at least an hour. It not only helps her in physical fitness, but also in a gloomy mood. “Some say depression makes you sleepy,” he says, “but I have to go out and at least say hello to the neighbors.” Spořilov’s cubic house seems to be a well-known company, everyone greets it by its full name in the hallways, and even a schoolboy with whom he talks about football will exchange a few words with him. She already has five great-grandchildren, and to the comment that she looks nothing like her grandmother, she replied with a laugh that it would take work.
In addition to sports, she also enjoys traveling, which she discovered after the revolution, although in recent years due to the epidemic it was limited to the Czech Republic. Next year, she will go to the spa and occasionally go out to eat mushrooms with her fellow Elpida. “It’s very important to keep yourself. You also need to do some regular activity and meet people, otherwise you’ll lose your vocabulary,” advises other seniors.
In turn, young people are advised to always think about the rear wheels. “I didn’t think about them before the divorce, and after that I lived a salary to pay. Fortunately, today each of the young people has their own account. It wasn’t for us, the money was put in one pile and then it became pretty bad,” she recalls. Most of all, she wishes to remain independent until the end of her life and to be able to live in her own apartment, which she repaired after her divorce from her husband, and she is proud of that. “Now I have a husband for an hour,” she laughs.