April 26, 2013
Life with Mom
—-This is a story of a shared life with Mom after her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.—
My mother and I keep piling things up for each other to look at. Yesterday, she handed me a little stack of old newspaper clippings. One was of my father before she even knew him. The Headline reads: “Ike Comes Home: Pentagon Turns Out the Brass.” My father was in the Honor Guard with the Air Force, and for some reason, was at this event. He even drew an arrow, and wrote the word ”Me”, which added so much meaning to this sea of uniformed faces. Without that clue, we would have never known where he stood. I’ve never seen this picture before.
30 years later, Dad poses for a picture with his famous tomato plant on the grounds of his employer. I read the article, and can’t completely understand what transpired, but it seems as though he had something to do with a tomato plant, who he named Arthur, growing near his building. My mother explained that he decided to draw attention to it by tape-recording a short documentary about tomatoes and tomato plants and hiding the recorder behind the plant. He had a volunteer who would sit in her office, and whenever anyone stopped to look at the plant, she would hit the remote play button, and the visitor would be subjected to Dad’s narrative.
As I look around and see a variety of pieces of my father’s life, I’m gaining a different understanding of him that is afforded to me by space and time. I see a creative and fun-loving streak that I never knew existed. There was Al – the father, and Al – the man. Two different people, it seems.
I imagine that this can be said about any of us in our varying life roles.