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InterView Magazine

Staying Young at any age

 
        A passion for life has kept Maury Richmond young for 84 years.
        The Victorville resident has had many interesting experiences, but it’s his enthusiastic personality, love of music, and sense of adventure that have kept him young-at-heart and loving life to this day.         
        “Attitude is everything,” said Richmond. “It really dictates what you do, and your outlook on things.
The right attitude was critical in helping Richmond get through the experience of breaking his neck last year. The pain was so severe that morphine didn’t even alleviate it, and Richmond’s doctor said the place where his neck was broken is “100% fatal.”
        “My doctor said I should be buying lottery tickets with my luck,” Richmond said. “So I was happy to be alive. I had a very positive outlook.

Childhood Influence
        Maury was raised in the Hawaiian islands. While there he developed a lifelong passion for the violin. His grandfather, a country fiddler, bequeathed his violin to Maury and he started playing at the age of eight. His mother persuaded the concertmaster of the Honolulu Symphony to teach Maury. He perfected his violin skills by performing with the Honolulu Junior Symphony orchestra.
        While playing on the roof at a friend’s house, Maury witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor. (Maury’s father, a civilian employee at Pearl Harbor, rescued 33 men from the capsized battleship, Oklahoma.)
        For the most part, though, his memories of living in Oahu are very positve.  He became an avid surfer in the fifth grade, and was as skilled as the locals by his teen years.
Seeking Adventure
        As an adult, Maury pursued a career in education, earning a bachelor’s and two Masters degrees.  He taught (and surfed) in Seal Beach, California, before embarking on an overseas adventure that would last for over two decades. While in France, he married his sweetheart Jan, who he met in graduate school. They both taught for the U.S. Department of Defense schools in Germany,
France, England, Morocco and Spain. While in Spain, they built a home in Medinaceli, a mountain top artist colony. In his spare time, Maury performed
with various Spanish orchestras, and with the Spanish Ministry of Culture’s sponsorship he also played in many villages. The Richmond’s cherish their 40-year relationship with the town’s cloistered convent of Clarissa nuns.
 
  Not just a classical violinist, Richmond learned to be a  fiddler, performing folk and Celtic music. He recorded two albums of Celtic music with the band Paint a Rose, and was featured on an album of guitarist and singer, Heloise Love. 
        The Richmonds stayed busy while in Spain. They socialized with old and new friends who visited, and Richmond painted as a hobby — and also sold a number of paintings.
        One of the more daring activities he engaged in was running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
        “I just wondered what it would be like to have a couple tons of animal bearing down on me,” he said.
        While it may sound risky, he said that knowing where and how to run helps prevent a runner from being gored. He used his Spanish language skills to gain this insight directly from the Spaniards who knew what to do.

    Retiring - But Not Slowing Down
                Richmond worked for a total of 45 years in the field of education as a teacher and principal at the junior high level.
                “I really loved the kids I taught,” Richmond said. “I had a good time with them. I still have quite a large number of students that keep in contact with me, and some of them have kept in touch for almost 50 years.”
        After retiring from teaching, the Richmonds divided their time between Spain and California before settling in Victorville permanently. They built a European-style home in the Spring Valley Lake community of Victorville, where the lake scenery reminds them of Switzerland’s Lake Lugano. The Richmond’s recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
        Richmond continued playing regularly at Renaissance fairs, folk festivals, concerts, and the Orange County Fair’s Scottish Highland Games. His participation in the Scottish Highland Games led to being knighted by General Bailey McCune of Coll Earn, the Baron of Elphinstone. “Not many Americans have been knighted,” Richmond said. “Music has been a very important part of my life,” he said. Due to his lifelong passion for music, Richmond always encourages people to learn music as a hobby, and he said it’s never too late to learn.
        Getting together to play music with others just for fun is a great way to stay
productive, he added.
        Richmond credits music with keeping him young. Band mates who he performed with never guessed how much older he was. He even had a signature eight-inchlong ponytail—until his neck injury, when it was shaved in preparation for his surgery
        “Music really kept me young,” Richmond said. “I really don’t see how I could do without it.”
     Seeking Adventure
        In 2013, Richmond had an
accident when he stepped down from a curb, resulting in his neck being broken. He spent more than four months in rehabilitation.
        He went almost a year without playing the violin due to the injury. Determined to play, he devised a chin rest that lets him play with a fused neck. He just recently played his first gig. He has also been making plans to get together with other
musicians to join them for jam
sessions . . . just for fun.
“Life is a beautiful thing,”
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