The day got away from me today! It was a day with Mom. She’s 91 and has limited vision and nearly no hearing left. True to a typical Mom, when I sat down across from her, she said, “Do you feel well enough to go today, you look so peaked?” I thought she couldn’t see much. Well, I assured her I was ready to take her to get a haircut, have lunch, and go to Target. I wouldn’t have driven twenty-five miles from Gretna if I didn’t feel like going.
There were two other ladies in our friend’s beauty shop in South Omaha while we were there. I noticed a gigantic Lincoln Continental parked out front and a smaller, older car. The two people there were having a comb out and a specialty color job. The comb out was an elderly lady, the other, a younger woman. After a while, the elderly lady got up to leave. The younger woman asked Mom how old she was. “I’m 91.” You ladies sure show it well, the other lady here was 93. She was the owner and driver of the gigantic Lincoln Continental. How outstanding! I hope she made it home safely.
The younger lady revealed she was “nearly 70” and I thought about how hard it is to tell women’s ages when they color their hair. The neck usually gives it away. I’m glad I quit coloring my hair over ten years ago. It’s just so much more natural at this age. I am very fortunate to still have very thick hair, fairly straight, and it’s nearly all the same length now. The cancer treatment (radiation only) didn’t bother my hair a bit, just all my hormones. That was the worst. You never recover from that. No one tells you about that “side effect.” Even eleven years later.
So, Mom likes Village Inn for lunch no matter what. We had no trouble at all finding a seat, There were only two other tables were occupied. So, it was pretty sparse. Mom loves Rueben Sandwiches and Chicken Noodle Soup. I could order an omelette and fruit, no other carbs. I sent the fruit home with Mom, along with 1/2 of her sandwich. The day wiped her out. I’m afraid that enormous home is too much for her – bathroom upstairs or in the basement and lots of room. She’s lived there since 1949, when she was twenty years old. They married in April 1948. They moved into the house in very early 1949; I believe. She hasn’t budged since. I doubt we’ll be able to pry her out of the house.
Since Shopko has closed, Mom has no place to shop. She doesn’t want to go to Wal-Mart, but I think she’d like it. She asked to go to Target, and I tried to get her to go sit down somewhere, but no, she didn’t want to. She would stay in place and I’d go look for stuff, come back and report to her. She’d determine if I’d go back and get the item or not. Clearly, she is declining faster than she’d like to admit. A slippery slope. A prayer here and there would be nice. Thank you.
The old neighborhood changes a bit from time to time. Last week, when I delivered her Mince Pie for Thanksgiving, I took a photo of the block a couple blocks from home where Grandma and Grandpa Jewell had their drugstore.
The corner building is the old Brown Derby. It was a bar the whole time we grew up. In high school, we would wait inside their building for our bus to high school. The driver knew we were inside, so he’d wait. Today, I think there are still apartments above, but I’m not sure. It has been a clothing store and now maybe a health food something; they advertise smoothies in the window. In the middle is a tire/rim store. It used to be the grocery store, Paskach’s. The orange building was the original brick when Grandpa Jewell owned “Jewell’s Sundries.”
He had a pharmacist, Cliff Chase, who was the father to a lady I met later in life. Dad was a huge fan of hers since she was a DJ on “Cathy Fife, and the Music of Your Life.” She played Big Band Music on the weekends, and Dad loved her. Later in life, I dated her partner on the Radio, and she visited Dad while he was dying of Cancer. He was so happy about that. I’m so glad they met.
My dad passed away December 7, 1988. It was a long time ago, yet it was only yesterday. He missed his grandchildren growing up and graduating from high school; he missed two of his children retiring; he missed growing old with his wife; he was only 64; she was only 59. They got cheated. That has always been the worst part. Cheated of enjoying retirement; and out of his first real vacation. He was to go with his Blackhawks Division, Patton’s Army, reunion trip through Europe, following the route they were on as they liberated Europe; Auschwitz; and other areas under Hitler. If only I could ask him about those things now, when I could write about them. But it was not to be. There are so many stories buried with our fathers. Try to hear them before you cannot anymore.
Have a beautiful rest of the evening. It will be a short time until the next post; just know, we have a short day tomorrow, there is so much to talk about! Be safe, Be courteous. Let’s see each other again tomorrow.