1923 was a good year. On February 16, Howard Carter opened the inner burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamen's tomb and found the sarcophagus. Not much later, on February 22, the first successful chinchilla farm in the US was established. Also in 1923, Time Magazine published its first issue, the first sound in a public film performance was at the Rialto Theater in New York City, Interpol was formed in Vienna, Babe Ruth hit two home-runs in a World Series game and the first planetarium opened at the Deutsche Museum in Munich. Above all that, Carleen Bates was born July 15, 1923.
You didn't know me, and I didn't know you. We were merely strangers that shared DNA. The saying blood runs deep is both true and yet, a lie. You see, I will never live without you, even though I did live without you. I will never forget you, though from day to day, you were like a whisper rather than an actual presence in my life.
The very first thing my husband's grandmother ever said to me was, "I hope I don't die in the winter. I don't want anyone driving in bad weather to my funeral."
Now, this is a subject I don't normally talk about without feeling some type of emotion attached to it. Since 2015, I've been watching my beloved grandfather start to deteriorate due to age and his adventures in his youth. In order to get the scope of this story, I have to tell you the backstory of his life. At the age of 19, my grandfather became partly paralyzed on his right side because he was a paratrooper. During one of his practice jumps, he landed on his head, which resulted in a scare that is still present to this day. He is now 77 years old, and early this year, in March, he had a stroke while I was away. Luckily, he survived, but now he is no longer able to care for himself and needs constant care.
My grandmother is an impactful woman. Her voice is shrill, her tastes unusual, her opinions shrewd, and her will unyielding. She dresses like she’s nineteen and it’s 2001. In my rumor-happy Greek and Italian family, she is a favorite subject for colorful gossip, most of which isn’t entirely unfair.
My Grandfather was a good man.
When I was a child, I spent a lot of time with my Grandad. He grew up in a small village in North Wales in the 1930s. He told me all sorts of stories and now, I wanted to tell them to you.
He moved slowly from the hospital bed to the bathroom. I watched his agony. I looked over at my grandmother. She sat quietly, his pain reflected in her eyes. They had been married, my grandfather and grandmother, for over forty years, and had raised two daughters, my aunt and my mother. And now she watched him slowly die.
"Lauren, I need your help,” she weakly said, as she passed me a box of a couple dozen bottles of pills. I was all of six years old and my Nana passed me the large slotted, weekly pill organizer.
Her hair tastes like sour milk. Well, truthfully I never have tasted her hair but just by looking at it, I can imagine inhaling its frothy filth. It is usually put up in a bun but today I watch her take it down. Her grey hair pours down onto her shoulders and I smell its rottenness. I’ve never actually touched her hair but I know I’ll never forget how crinkled it feels, just like the French fries she makes me every Sunday morning. After church, my whole family piles up in the car and we drive to her house. Breakfast will always be waiting for us. The rest of my family always wants eggs and bacon for breakfast but I am picky. No matter what is being served, I always want French fries.
So I was thinking back today and I found myself remembering a road trip that me and my family took when I was REALLY little. A few of them actually that REALLY stuck in my mind. This is all about road trips up to my late grandfather's cabin.
Elder abuse can be a bad thing for an older person, just the same for a young person as well. I know this can happen in nursing homes as well as their own homes where their own children can abuse them when they can't seem to take care of themselves on their own,or bathe themselves or cook either one, and they have to take any punishment that they can. It can be a traumatic thing to go through and see when you are only a teenager of 17. This is a true story of my grandmother when I spent the weekend over at her house in October 1987. This was the time of year when you can just look outside and see the orange and brown leaves all over the ground from the trees outside.