ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. –Ninety-year-old Norma Bauerschmidt’s story starts with an end-of-life decision.
“They wanted to operate and everything right away. I said, no! We’ll just leave it be.”
It was uterine cancer. Two days after that diagnosis, Norma’s husband of 67 years, Leo, died. Her son Tim and his wife Ramie were the only family she had left, and they lived on the road in an RV.
“Tim says, ‘Well, it’s either you come along with us or we’d have to put you in a nursing home,’ because I couldn’t stay by myself.”
“She just sat there quietly for a minute and said, ‘I think I’d like to come along,'” Ramie said.
And so began the road trip with the fab four: Tim, Norma, Ramie, and Ringo … the dog. They left Presque Isle, Michigan and made it to Mount Rushmore. She saw the presidents.
And then she saw Old Faithful at Yellowstone, gazed into the Grand Canyon, looked down on Florida from a hot air balloon, had her first pedicure in Georgia, and indulged in more beer and cake than she can remember.
She never thought she’d be having this much fun at 90 years old.
“I’ve never seen her smile so much,” her son said.
Ramie’s been posting about their trip on Facebook. And now more than 200,000 people are getting to know Norma.
Her own son is getting to know her, too.
“This has allowed me to have discussions I never thought I’d have with my mom,” Tim said. He said he even find out during the CBS News interview that his mom and dad met in a bar.
Norma and crew have logged more than 7,000 miles so far, but there’s still a lot left on her to-do list.
“They’ve given me a new lease on life, I should say,” Norma said. And she might just life the rest of her life on the road. “Yes, I probably will.”
If you see her along the way, wave — because she will make you smile.