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August 15, 2017

Elderly Mothers and Romance

Don’t kid yourself. They may be gray and wrinkled and old but sparks can still flare in their aged hearts.

“He dumped me,” Mom says. “He was dancing with me and then he just left to dance with her.”

I learned of the unintended slight when I returned to Mom’s Residential Facility during one of the Ice Cream Socials. Mom loves to dance and the Facility where she lives provides entertainers on a weekly basis. If the singer is particularly good and the songs are old timey dance tunes, the residents, at least those who are still active, will get up to boogey.

Usually it’s just the women, but on occasion, the men get pressed into service. There aren’t very many men, and the few who can still dance are much in demand. Sir C is one of those. I suppose that Mom had noticed that he could dance. I’m not certain who asked whom, but they had gotten up on the dance floor. After one dance, however, Sir C abandoned Mom and “took up” with Lady E, the (gasp!) younger woman.

Lady E is slender and pleasant looking. She dresses nicely, has a neat graying chin-length page-boy haircut and wears a modicum of make-up. She is also the mother of a friend of mine. My friend comes on Sundays to lay out her mother’s meds for the week and we get to discuss our mothers. She told me that Lady E is widowed and suffers a little from dementia, although not the dreaded Alzheimer’s. I don’t think my friend knows about the budding romance.

Several days later, when I saw Sir C and Lady E enter the dining room hand-in-hand, I realized Mom had inadvertently created a ménage a trois. Not that Mom would, of course. She is a married woman even if her husband is off somewhere in Virginia. It is something she brags about to the other widowed women when she condescends to talk to them. They ask me if it is true or if Mom is inventing an ‘alternative’ life for herself. A number of the loopy ones do. I assure them it is true.

It seems that romances have occurred among the residents, even at this late stage in life. One couple who met at the Facility had each been married and widowed before. When they became friends, they decided that being married was more pleasant than not so they decided to tie the knot.

The Facility held a wedding service for them in the dining room with a wedding cake and all the fixings. Mary, the Chef, got to be flower girl and almost everyone at the Facility attended the ceremony. They have now been married nearly five years.

Another couple who also met late in life, has been married 25 years. When they married, rather than quarrel over whose house to live in, they gave up the hassles of home ownership and moved into the Residential Facility. Almost their entire married life has taken place in Residential Facilities.

According to Mary, several of the couples who met and married here have since passed away. They didn’t have much time together, but they enjoyed the few years they had left. Sometimes, the sons and daughters object to these late marriages, perhaps, in part, because they might lose out in the will. The couple doesn’t usually care. They marry anyway.

Lady E, it appears, has decided that Sir C is quite the catch. He is not particularly prepossessing to look at.  Tall and gangly, he is seedy and wears mismatched clothing. He rarely combs his thick white hair which sticks up in tufts and spikes. Although he’s not supposed to, he wears his pajama pants to breakfast. But, he is unattached and still has most of his wits about him. Besides he can dance.  I don’t know if Lady E has designs on him, but this morning I saw them sitting together at breakfast, again.

Fortunately, I don’t think Mom noticed.


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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