As my United, Canadair flight from Denver descended over Bakersfield toward the Meadows Field airport, my phone indicated the arrival of a text message. My brother Gary was asking, “Where are you?” I responded: “Just landing—early”. It was 8:10 pm Thursday (March 1) with a scheduled arrival of 8:25pm. I noticed that my Brother’s text was sent at 5:15 pm, a bit after my scheduled arrival in Denver of 5:04pm. He picked me up with a smile and no further comment.
Gary delivered me to my father at the Rosewood Retirement residence. My mother’s mother had lived and died there, as had her three daughters, including my mother two and a half years earlier. https://wcoats.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/notes-from-a-visit-to-rosewood/ https://wcoats.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/my-mother%E2%80%99s-funeral/ https://wcoats.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/breakfast-at-rosewood/
My dad’s door on the second floor was locked, which was very unusual. He let me in and explained that some lady down the hall kept coming into his room if he left the door unlocked. We hugged and he said, “You need to lose some weight.”
My dad has always had a very good memory. He has always been a great game player (especially bridge) and still wins regularly at Rosewood bridge games. But his memory is fading in some areas these days (he will be 95 in May). He had slipped in his bathroom some weeks earlier and hit his forehead on the sink on the way down. He lay there pushing on the emergency call button on his wrist wondering why no one came until (after 5 – 10 minutes he said but who knows) he realized that he was pushing on his watch on the other wrist by mistake.
He recently lost his address book of many years (the old paper kind), in which over half of the names are now crossed off, and was trying to recollect the missing phone numbers and addresses. He called a woman he had attended classes with in grammar school, now living in Northern California, chatted for a while, and then carefully wrote down her address information. An hour later he could no longer find it to put in his new address books, which he couldn’t find either.
But he forgets nothing in bridge. He runs a weekly group of two tables and complained how much work and time it takes him to keep two tables filled. People are always dropping out or forgetting to come. He told me that a women’s bridge group had started inviting him to join their group when one of their regulars couldn’t make it. Eventually they asked him if he would like to become a regular member.
He remembers the batting averages of the big baseball stars from before I was born and which team won the World Series each year for the last thirty years. He is also up to the minute on the accomplishments of our local teams. He eagerly told me that the Drillers (his and my high school teams) had won the wrestling tournament over the weekend, totally forgetting that I have no interest in wrestling, baseball, basketball, or football whatsoever.
Most of dad’s life he was happy to sit quietly by while mom ran his life. This was because he had no objections to the way she ran things. When he did, we all knew it. After she died, he stepped forward and became more extroverted. The monthly Rosewood newsletter listed him as Mr. Social. We are all kind of shocked.
He complains that he is very busy all the time. It seems that it takes him much of the day going through his mail. I have not been able to convince him that he does not need to open and read everything sent to him.
Major progress has been made, I think, toward separating him from his car (which, fortunately, he seldom drives). Rosewood provides a small bus for transporting residents to various places. But he doesn’t always find that convenient and the idea of taking a taxi is totally alien to him. It really comes down to his sense of freedom. For several years I have been planting the seed that he should save all that insurance money and give the car to his grand-daughter (Gary’s daughter Kristin) who lives here in Bakersfield. He says that he will. Coming home from lunch Friday I said: “Dad, why don’t you bit the bullet and give Kristin the keys to the car when she comes over for dinner this evening.” He snapped: “I will give up the car when I am ready and I am not ready yet.” An hour later he said, “When I move into the new apartment next week with the larger refrigerator, I want to stock it with food and I will give Kristin the car after that.” Stay toned.