Saturday, August 29, 2009

Love Letters

My father is emptying the house--slowly. Every time I stop in, he hands me a bunch of stuff. One of the bags he gave me this week was full of my brother's love letters. What a treasure!

My brother was one year older than me. He was tall and handsome--and there were plenty of young ladies in love with him. Some of them he met while driving an ice cream truck around the county during the summer. Some he met in college. The letters are from his high school and college days--long before he met the woman who became his wife. Married in 1970, he died in 1973 at the age of twenty-five.

Mixed in with the love letters from an assortment of young ladies are a few letters that my brother wrote. Perhaps he decided not to mail them, but to me they are the most precious.

In one letter he wrote, "I can still see your face surrounded by a mist floating above the air, larger than life. Your sparkling, beautiful blue eyes half-closed in a dreamy sort of look. Lips are sparkling in a cream smile of pleasure ad passion. I can't stand it anymore. I'm getting weak. No matter how much I try I can't forget you. Please come back."

In another he wrote, "Venus, my Greek goddess, I do not want to tie you down, or in our slang, pin you. I merely want to see you just to be near your perfection. For how can a mere mortal with his feet anchored to the ground, hold, much less catch, a beautiful goddess such as you who lives among the clouds?"

Yes, I suppose some would consider these letters corny. However, my daughters have gotten emails from young men that say, "U r hot."

It is a shame that letter writing has become a lost art. I am so glad I have my brother's letters.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You Will Get Old

Retiring 1100 miles away from your children is not a rational decision in my opinion. At some point, everyone gets old and debilitated.

My in-laws are 92 and 88. They moved to Florida more than twenty years ago when they could dance the polka all afternoon and then go home and still have enough energy to keep the inside and the outside of their two bedroom ranch spotless. My father-in-law is now legally blind, deaf, has some dementia and a hard time putting one foot in front of the other.

My mother-in-law, saddled with the care of her husband as well as the cooking, cleaning, laundering, shopping, and bill paying is overwhelmed. A call from New Jersey to the Adult Protective Services resulted in getting my in-laws some help. The Cares organization has people who will shop for Mom, help with cleaning, cooking and finances.

Getting my in-laws some assistance has been a blessing, but when Mom is at her wit’s end and doesn’t know what to do we feel helpless.

Our latest visit to Florida was distressing. We wound up taking Dad to the ER.

Yet, my mother-in-law insists she can handle things—she’s a small woman, my father-in-law weighs more than 170 pounds and towers over her. They refuse to move back north. They’ve paid for their funeral and have a mausoleum space reserved.

Hubby asked the APS caseworker for the names of some nearby assisted living places. We checked out several and found one we liked. A few days later, we took Mom and Dad there for lunch.

Dad ate every last crumb of the lunch. Mom ran into an old friend from the Polish club who now lives there. They chatted away in Polish and I breathed a great sigh of relief. So far, so good.

While the visit to the assisted living facility was favorable, there are still plenty of details to iron out.

We had to get back to life in NJ and will try to manage things by phone from 1100 miles away—which we know doesn’t always work.

I felt terrible when we left. Dad solemnly bid me to pass on his regards to our daughters and my father. I got choked up when I gave Mom a hug.

I wish they didn’t live so far away.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


Made a huge effort to get back on track with my writing. Having rainy weather this week helped. I find gloomy days conducive to writing and did actually accomplish quite a bit. I had hopes of finishing the manuscript, but on further consideration there are some plot points that need more thought and there's always tightening to do. The synopsis needs work, too. (I hate working on the synopsis.)

Took Dad to the Surrogate's Office yesterday. The lawyer had sent in all the papers and Dad simply had to sign them and then pay the fee. But Dad still wants to get rid of everything and move into an apartment, so there will be tons of work to do to accomplish that goal. Dad is trying to keep busy but he does look so lost without Mom.

Hubby and I celebrated our thirty-third anniversary yesterday. Hubby bought a new pair of lopping shears--really good ones with gears and long handles--like the ones my sister has. :^) He also bought a 24" hedge clipper. I love it. I asked for these tools because they will make our lives easier. Practical gifts are the best, in my opinion.

I treated hubby to an evening at Allaire State Park. Under the stars, we sat on our lawn chairs and listened to Doo Wop music. The singing group was the Sounds of the Street--and they did quite a few songs a capella with gorgeous harmonies. It was dark so the video did not come out very good, but you can hear the group and they were great! Made us feel younger. :^)

The old songs are the best songs.