209) Session of Memories

January 24, 2008

El Milagro: I’m in the far corner today. Kim the Nurse sticks me after doing a nursing assessment. She is one of the few nurses who stick people. As she sticks me I am listening to Nancy Pelosi in my earphones saying we didn’t get as much as we wanted out of the “economic boost package” since the Republicans didn’t want the benefits to go to people on unemployment benefits and the people on food stamps. Seems like to me that if the idea is for folks to basically spend their boost checks on basic expenses those the unemployed and food stamp populations would be most likely to put the money right back in the economy. Oh well. Instead, taxpayers will receive a financial stimulus that they can use in any way they want. If Lizzie and I get a stimulus, we’ll pay down our credit cards, which won’t help the economy much, but it will help our personal economy. I can’t remember when in history the government has decided to send people money to boost the economy which has been screwed up by the govt. Is this part of the new modern govt.?

My mom’s birthday is coming up and I am thinking about her and my aunt Marilyn on my mom’s side. According to my dad (in a phone call the other day), my aunt is in the hospital with congestive heart failure and pneumonia and probably won’t make it through this. My aunt is about 89 and my mom woulda been 86 this year. As I am picturing my aunt laying in her hospital bed, I wonder what my mom would be like today if she had lived through these last 17 years. I can imagine Mom living with my dad at his USAA Towers condo and know she woulda loved those digs. She would be, in my imagination, wanting to go be with Marilyn, who she used to call Zaz. I never can remember where Marilyn got that nickname.*

As this older generation passes on we are left with memories of their best years. I remember Marilyn wrestling with Katie on the floor of the cottage when we went up for my mom’s funeral back in ’91. Marilyn spent a lot of time playing on the floor with Katie and her grandson who was exactly Katie’s age. Marilyn and my mom always seemed to share a private joke or communal consciousness with each other… I think they were of like mind in many ways, and as Marilyn approaches her own passing on, it is like another part of intricate system of Mom memories is disappearing. Marilyn is my closest aunt, mostly because she served as my second mom through much of my childhood summers at the family cottage on Christi Lake in central Michigan. She used to encourage me to behave and scold my uncle for using ribald language in front of us kids. She chased me around a desk at a doctor’s office once to give me a shot cause she was his nurse and I was probably running from her as my aunt… one of those situations where familiarity leads to a Rockwell-type visual image.

Another ancient memory pushes into my mind as I am relaxing here in dialysis: the memory of a conversation I had a number of years ago with Nan Stackhouse, one of my mom’s best friends. Nan was telling me about her friendship with my mom and she remembered my mom as glamorous in college in her unfashionably short hair… a tomboy, but also really strong willed and, according to Nan, liberal for the times. She was part of the impetus for Nan choosing to be an artist, encouraging her to follow her passion.

A radio announcement pops through my ruminations; home sales in Austin are down but not as much as other places… and the median price of a home in Austin today is 217 thousand. I wonder what our house is worth today and if we are at the median yet, or still below the median. Two hundred and seventeen K sounds like a ton of money to me and I wonder how in the heck people afford houses that cost that much. And the reporter follows with the fact that this is the first decline in home values on record! Also on the local news, Tonya Voss talks about the difficulties with getting state partner insurance when your partner isn’t an opposite sex person, and Dennis Kucinich is throwing in the towel and backing out of the presidential race. And so it goes.

Notes: In at 79.6 and out at 76.0 Kgs.
*1/31/08: My dad thinks Marilyn got that nickname from ZaSu Pitts. He asked her once but didn't get a definitive answer. I pulled up a pic of ZaSu Pitts, and think she does resemble my aunt.

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