Saturday, April 23, 2016

I Know Why I Believe

The flights were great (to Paris and then New York); the Dowager Duchess is still amazing; the Kid Brother is still one of a kind; and I´ll share lots more some other time.

What I have to share today is much too big [to me] and important [to me] to delay. First is a story that actually matters. A very special day with some very special relations. Following that will be a story that shows how truly shallow I am.

My wonderful cousin Evie drove in from her home in New Jersey today. She, The Dowager Duchess, and I then went to visit my Aunt Sylvie. Evie´s mother, Lilly, was the eldest of seven. Sylvie (who will be 94 in December) was third in line after the only brother. My mother was number 5 (nine years younger than Lilly and nine years older than the youngest sister).

Aunt Sylvie has been living with dementia for many years and now doesn´t know anyone or anything except her heaven-sent care-giver Leah who has made it possible for her to remain in her own home all this time. We´ve all had our experiences with people with dementia and Alzheimer´s. It´s heartbreaking and sometimes surprising. Today was both.

Sylvie used to visit us every year when we lived in California — first in San Diego, and then San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara. She and my uncle Harry had had a very difficult life. They had two severely developmentally disabled sons who required all their attention. Thankfully, both sons now live in group homes and are well taken care of.

AUNT SYLVIE AND UNCLE HARRY´S WEDDING, 1946.
HARRY´S PARENTS (LEFT), MY GREAT-GRANDPARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS (RIGHT).

Sylvie had never been on a plane until she began to visit us after my uncle died in the mid-´90s. Dale, Chucky, and I were always very close with Sylvie and Harry. And Jerry and I treated Sylvie like another mother. When we arrived at her apartment today, she was extremely unfocused. We each gave her a kiss and told her who we were. It didn´t register. When I knelt beside her I reminded her, as I always do, that I was Chucky and Dale´s brother. She squeezed my hand and said, "When are you going on a plane? I want to come, too."

Flirting
Whenever we visit Brooklyn, we make a point of having at least one lunch at Parkview Diner. It´s not far by car from The Dowager Duchess´s apartment. So, after visiting Aunt Sylvie, we three drove to the restaurant where San Geraldo met us for lunch.

PARKVIEW DINER, CROPSEY AVENUE, BROOKLYN.

Our waitress was someone we had never met. She was warm, charming, professional, and adorable (early 20s adorable). She and I really connected and she kept commenting on how much she liked me. She finally asked me my name. I introduced myself and then introduced everyone else. ¨This is my mother, Mimi; my cousin, Evie; and my husband, Jerry."

MY THREE-EGG OMELETTE, BACON, MUSHROOMS, AND CHEDDAR; WITH HOME FRIES.

MY NEW GIRLFRIEND, DEE. SHE HATED ¨THAT CHEESY GRIN.¨
(SHE MADE ME PROMISE HER BOYFRIEND WOULD NEVER SEE THIS.)

Dee blushed scarlet and said to Jerry, "Oh, my god! I´ve been coming on to your husband!" She rushed away to compose herself before coming back to apologise. I told her she had made my entire year (but, honestly, I think I´m now covered for life). The Dowager Duchess commented, "Well, she wasn´t really flirting."

As for me? I believe.


"Then I know why I believe." (OK, but I really don´t believe)...

37 comments:

  1. A real 'yin and yang' day for you, Mitch. My heart was crying for your Aunt Sylvie especially when she wanted to go with you!
    And Dee....what a sweetie! I believe she liked you!
    Hi to Jerry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim:
      It felt good to see Sylvie and that little flash of connection was amazing. As for Dee, just don´t tell her boyfriend.

      Delete
  2. yeah, she was flirting with you. you broke her heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. anne marie:
      Oh, yeah, she looks heartbroken, doesn´t she?!?

      Delete
  3. Laugh, cry, smile and sigh.... you make me do it all. Hugs to the Duchess... have a great visit!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Replies
    1. Michael:
      As usual, much longer than intended. Thanks!

      Delete
  5. You're the best judge as to whether or not she was flirting with you. A terrific ego boost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen:
      I KNOW she was flirting with me. How could anyone resist?

      Delete
  6. It's the black touches in the beard and mustache! :)
    Ha!
    Okay, okay, that is a GREAT photo of you and Dee, and that three-egg omelette comes in a close second... but, of course, the wedding photo is at the TOP TOP TOP of the list :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judy:
      Sylvie had told me they were told to kiss and Harry grabbed her in that dramatic embrace. It was shocking. She was embarrassed. And everyone, as you can see, thought it was wonderful.

      Delete
  7. Never visit a farm, you wouldn't be able to beat the chicks off with a broom!

    I now want to give your Aunt Sylvie a huge hug.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cranky:
      At one point, I asked Sylvie if I could hold her hand. She said, "OK." A moment later, she said, "You can let go now."

      Delete
  8. That wedding photo is so wonderful - look how everyone is smiling, each in their own way.
    I believe you made some neurons connect for your Aunt Silvia; how sweet that she associates flying with you. You know you made as big an impact on her life as she on yours.
    I can see why Dee would flirt with you! Judith is right that you have the touches of black in the facial hair just right. Distinguished and intriguing, not smarmy.
    Enjoy your visit. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wilma:
      I´m sure I´m now completely irresistible because of the hair color.

      Delete
  9. Lovely post, Mitchell. The ups and downs of life!

    I really wanna go to that diner!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Knatolee:
      It´s a great diner with huge proportions and a menu the size of the bible (but I find it much more interesting).

      Delete
  10. Mitchell lovely photo from the past

    ReplyDelete
  11. God, I would have burst into tears when she squeezed your hand and said "when are you going on a plane, I want to come too". That is so wonderful and you must have all felt like hugging each other and Sylvie.
    And Dee was just great too. I love waitresses like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel:
      Amazingly, Evie and I simply looked at each other with joy.

      Delete
  12. Your charisma was at full volume that day. What a sweet moment with your aunt, and as for Dee- you sly dog, you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marty:
      Dee apologised to Jerry and he told her he really was´t worried. It was a truly great day. It´s the small things (oh, and being irresistible).

      Delete
  13. I too think this a tender post; thank you for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spo:
      One of those simple days that will never be forgotten.

      Delete
  14. What a sweet post - both stories

    ReplyDelete
  15. That moment of connection must have been worth the whole trip.

    And of course she was flirting... who wouldn't??????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. William:
      That one moment with Sylvie did make the day worthwhile. And, I know, I'm irresistible and ageless. (Uf!)

      Delete
  16. What a nice day you had with your family. The connection with your aunt Sylvie reminded me of my mother who also had Alzheimer and how when she had forgotten almost everyone, she knew who I was, that shocked me. Enjoy your time with them all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurent:
      I was stunned by Sylvie's comment. As quickly as the connection appeared, it was gone. But it was a very powerful moment.

      Delete
  17. San Geraldo better keep o his toes, you know, just sayin'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob:
      Jerry had the nerve to tell Dee he wasn't the least bit concerned!

      Delete
    2. That sounds like Carlos talking!

      Delete
  18. Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

    ReplyDelete

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