My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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One more reason to hate laundry...

My son, who shall remain nameless - “Mom, don’t you dare write about me! That’s not fair!” came home today from a week of Outdoor Education in Malibu. Outdoor Education is a program for sixth graders who get to spend a week at Camp Bloomfield in the Santa Monica Mountains. The kids don’t just look at pictures of tide pools, they hike it down to the Pacific Ocean and get their feet wet.They don’t just talk about astronomy. They go out on a night hike and see the stars first hand.
But it's the rainy season here in California so this idyllic sounding time in the great outdoors of sunny Southern California wasn’t quite what you might think.
While “sunblock” was on the list of must-bring items, it had to be the least-used item they packed … unless you count the toothpaste! And when I unzipped his duffel bag to get at the laundry - because, God knows I love to do laundry - I found his extra pair of shoes (drenched), soaked socks (none matching), a dripping wet pair of khakis and his yellow poncho. The poncho was quite dry.There was also a plastic bag full of more clothes.
“Don’t touch it, Mom. In fact, I’d just dump the whole duffel bag in the washer if I were you.”
Easy for you to say, I thought to myself, you’re not the one who actually has to wash, dry, fold and worst of all, put away these clothes.
“Everything’s dirty?” I ask, pulling out a t-shirt from the plastic bag.
“Not totally dirty. It’s just that’s the t-shirt I was wearing when I found the poison ivy.”
Poison ivy?!”“Yeah. They said it’ll take a couple of days before we’ll know if I’m gonna get it or not.”
Standing there, still holding the potentially poison ivy infested t-shirt I can’t help but think Oh, yeah. You’re gonna get it, alright!”

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