Mildred Naiman

Mildred Naiman
American Flight 11

Thumbed Her Nose at Age

At 81, Mildred Naiman kept the pedal to the metal. "She had a little bit of a lead foot," said her daughter-in-law Carol Naiman. "She had been stopped for speeding and was totally insulted the officer would give an old woman a ticket."

Despite the number of birthdays that had passed, she lived her life at full tilt. She called her apartment in an Andover, Mass., community for the elderly her bachelorette pad, and she kept her friends there busy, organizing shopping excursions, dinners out and weekend trips. She headed to California twice a year to visit her sons, usually taking American Airlines Flight 11, as she did on Sept. 11. "You'd sort of have to see her between her little excursions," Carol Naiman said.

All this despite two knee replacements, cataracts and a variety of other health problems. "If something was wrong with her," said her son Russ Naiman, "she'd go to the doctor and say, "Fix me up; I've got a lot of traveling to do.' "

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on January 6, 2002.

Mildred Naiman, 81, of Andover, Mass., felt bad about flying American Airlines Flight 11 to California on Tuesday to see two of her sons and their families. She didn't want to miss her son Richard's 58th birthday that same day.

But Richard told her: "Mom, it's OK. You can call me from California," recalled Hope Naiman, 28, Mildred Naiman's granddaughter.

Despite knee replacement surgeries that forced her to be pushed through Boston's Logan Airport in a wheelchair, the feisty grandmother refused to stop her regular trips to see her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

During a family gathering on Sunday, a relative had asked Naiman if she was nervous about flying. "No, I've gone everywhere already--to Germany, the Bahamas," her granddaughter recalled her saying. "I'm not afraid to fly."

Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.

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