I just finished cooking dinner for fifty people, even though only six are coming.
1. Muriel is one of the most spirited, funny and insightful people you’re likely to follow.
She also happens to be 94 years old. Born and raised in Brooklyn, she now lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her almost-9-year-old Yorkie, Tiger (a recurring figure in her tweets), and as of Thursday has 24,985 Twitter followers.
“My Young Friend put me on Twitter,” she told me in an email, “because she was going back to Los Angeles and knew I would miss her company.” The “Young Friend” in question is comedian and animal rights activist Elayne Boosler and she’s a common character in Muriel’s tweets as well. Boosler is the founder of Tails of Joy, a nationwide animal rescue and advocacy organization, and Muriel helps raise money by selling her quilts through the nonprofit’s website.
“She chains me in the cellar until I come up with at least five new quilted wall hangings a month for her to use for fundraising,” Muriel said. “I didn’t really start quilting until my seventies, so I have a lot of items to make before she’ll let me out. Truly, I love animals, and being able to do something I love, like creating warm and beautiful things, which also save lives, is a wonderful thing.”
3. She tweets about things like food and quilting (clearly).
(“I will confess that sometimes I use a boxed mix in baking,” Muriel told me. “We loved when cans and mixes came in, we wanted time out of the house. You enjoy your organic, cooking from the ground up ‘indigenous ingredients,’ Tiger and I are going to the park.”)
9. But she’s also not afraid to talk politics.
13. And Twitter.
18. And pop culture.
21. And her age.
As for what these 25,000 followers have brought Muriel, she said, “I’ve met lots of wonderful people on Twitter, people I might not have met elsewhere. Twitter seems to work best as a conversation, not a monologue, just like life.” Her children don’t tweet, although “they think it’s wonderful that it has given me so much pleasure. They are amazed that I have so many followers since they don’t listen to me at all.”
“The only other thing I hope people will consider, especially young people,” she told me, “is to always vote, never underestimate pickles and olives, and using cans or mixes is just fine.”