Thursday, June 18, 2009

Conversation

A classmate at CAU has a sister who lives at G'ma's Old Folks Home. An idle conversation brought that fact to light, names were exchanged, and last night the sister called G'ma. It was a lovely call, and they made plans to meet in the dining room tonight at 6pm.

This was the original intent of moving her into the Old Folks Home. She'd been doing fine living all alone in a one bedroom apartment, but days went by without her seeing anyone but the doorman when she went down to check her mail. It seemed logical that living with 300 other people in similar straits would inevitably lead to friendships.

Silly me. I forgot that she was G'ma and not Daddoooooo. He could talk to anyone, and he did. At great length. About everything and nothing. G'ma, on the other hand, always seemed surprised when someone spoke to her, and I can't remember her ever bringing a friend around for a cup of coffee in the afternoon. She likes her own company, and is annoyed by chattering. Since her memory has gone AWOL, she's even more reluctant to engage with strangers. She doesn't have the answers to the usual questions (where did you.... how many..... since when... ) people ask when you meet. She can carry on a conversation, but she's not much good with facts. She still gives advice, and follows Law and Order and Bonanza on tv, but tonight's encounter is going to be a strange one, indeed.

Two people who don't know each other, one of whom cannot explain her history. It's really a shame, because they're college educated women who came of age during a time when that was a designation to be noticed. They must have similar stories, experiences that ring true 60 years and 1000's of miles later. But old age has hidden most of G'ma's memories, and even with the most patient prompting most of them are irretrievable now.

Too bad. And too sad.

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