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April 26, 2017

Elderly Mothers and Retirement Communities- Part 2

The evil deed is done. The $1,500 deposit is paid. The room is reserved. She’s moving in Monday. There is no joy in Mudville.

As part of my volunteer work for our little community of Huntsville, I tell stories to the elderly at Carriage Inn. It is a lovely facility, all on one floor, decorations on the doors, flowers in the halls, elegant seating areas, good food (so they say), plenty of help, and lots of activities, including me.

I took Mom with me yesterday while I spoke about Sam Houston’s wives. We had a good crowd of about thirty of the residents and another few from the community. Most were using walkers or wheel chairs but they were not “droolers” as Mom had said of Nursing Home residents. They were alert and interested.

I spoke for about 25 minutes about his three wives. Juicy stuff. Dumping is first wife on her father’s porch after only 6 months of marriage. No one knows why. Taking to drinking and marrying a Cherokee. And finally marrying a beautiful girl 25 years his junior. Margaret Lea cleaned him up, got him baptized and had 8 children by him.

I thought it was a pretty good yarn. Mom nodded off in the middle of it so it couldn’t have been that riveting. Speaking to the elderly after lunch may not be the best venue. For the most part, however, the audience seemed to enjoy the stories.

As people came up to thank me, I introduced my mother. I included, “Yes, she is going to be moving in here.”  My mother’s whole body went rigid. She didn’t say a word. She couldn’t, not in that proper social setting. She knew she had been snookered. Her fate was sealed. Doom loomed.

After the presentation, Emily, the new Director of Sales, took us to see an available room in the Independent Living Area. Two rooms, actually, a living room with a small kitchenette, and a spacious bedroom with large closet and bathroom. We returned to the office and, while Mom waited in the foyer with a bottle of cold water clutched in her hands, I handed over the check and signed the papers committing her to a fate worse than death.

“Drive me around the area so I know where to run away,” she said as we got in the car. I cajoled, begged, argued. Nothing. “It’s my fault,” she said. “I shouldn’t have left Al.” When I suggested she couldn’t take care of herself, she insisted that of course she could. Yea, well, not really.

“Let’s test your theory,” I said. “I’m going to be gone for three days to Pensacola. Let’s see if you can take care of yourself. But you have to be honest with yourself,” I insisted.

Actually, I have called on my maid, Martha, to come check on her in the afternoons. But we’ll see what happens. I’ll report when I get back from Pensacola.

About Caroline Castillo Crimm
Retired Professor Emeritus from Sam Houston State University, interested in writing novels and speaking about topics such as the history of Latin American. Would like to share the AMAZING world of the 18th century in Northern New Spain, that's Spanish Texas and Mexico!
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