Bobbie Lee Working at Age 90
Bobbie Lee was born in 1931. When she was three, her mother abandoned the family after the birth of her brother. Their father remarried and left soon after, leaving the children to be raised by their grandparents.
Her grandmother taught her to play a pump organ at age 5. Recognizing her emerging talent, they bought her a piano at age 6. When she was 11, her brother reports “I would sit next to her on the piano bench and try to learn what she was doing….”
Years later, in 1973, her brother formed a new band and asked her to join him on keyboards. They call the band The Family. You may have surmised that Lee is a middle, not a last name. Her surname is Nelson. Her brother goes by Willie. She has played his keyboards for 47 years and counting. Until COVID hit they were still touring, traveling from city to city by private custom bus RVs, 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off, about 150 nights a year.
Of COVID, Willie says “This is the worst time of my life. I have never been this frustrated. I try to think positive, but I feel like I’m in jail — I can’t go here, I can’t go there — and that really pisses me off.”
Once COVID recedes, I expect that Bobbie and Willy will be on the road again. He is 87. She is 90.
Willie shares a tip for longevity. “If you want to live a long time, you have to take care of yourself. You have to pay for the day, every day. As you’ve always heard, if you don’t use it you lose it. You need to move. So every day, I’ll jog or walk, do some sit ups — just a little something to pay for the day!”
I’d bet that the sense of family, camaraderie, teamwork, and creativity add many productive years as well.
Photo; By Bobbie_Nelson.jpg: ChunkyGlassesderivative work: GDuwen — This file was derived from: Bobbie Nelson.jpg:, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20124955