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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The Trip

I may have to bow out gracefully from the remainder of the #AtoZChallenge. I don't want to. I've been loving the excuse to write daily but we're taking a trip, leaving Saturday morning for the Florida keys, and I want to be as free from obligations as I can, better to blow where the balmy breeze takes me. I'm told that while Florida is mainly hot, sticky and buggy—sorry Floridians but that's what they tell me—I will have a chance to catch the balmy breeze in the Keys.

This will be my first trip to southern Florida since we stopped off in Miami en route from Puerto Rico to Los Angeles when I was a teenager. We stayed at some little Best Western motel near the beach waiting for our car to arrive; my parents had it shipped over from San Juan. I'm sure it was a Best Western, my parents swore by Best Westerns. We drove across the entire country plotting the day's travel by the Best Western Motels with swimming pools.  

I'm not interested in seeing Miami now; I imagine it will be as huge and overwhelming as Los Angeles to a first timer, but we'll take a drive, at least, through South Beach, see what all the fuss is about. Was about? South Beach doesn't seem to be quite the thing it was a few years back.

I'm more interested in seeing Fort Lauderdale. Bahia Mar, home of Travis McGee's Busted Flush is calling. Christian Bale is going to star as Travis in The Deep Blue Good-by, based on the first book in John D. MacDonald's most awesome 21 book series from the 1960's, and I'm following the movie over on my book-to-movie site, Chapter1-Take1. Going in search of Slip F-18 before we head off to the Keys is in order, but the fact that they're shooting at least some of The Deep Blue Good-by in Puerto Rico doesn't bode well for Lauderdale bearing any resemblance whatsoever to McGee's idyllic little hideaway. I'm sure it's just as built up and crazy as Miami Beach.

Fort Lauderdale though, is cheaper to fly into than Miami, and it's also home to the concept of spring break, and the grandaddy of spring break movies Where the Boys Are from 1960. I posted some pictures from the movie over on Chapter1-Take1 today and we've promised ourselves a trip to the Wreck Bar, the 'dive bar' where you can have a mai tai and watch the 'mermaids' swim if you are there early enough on a weekend night. We may not do that, but we'll stop by and see how the place looks. That's Stop #1 and #2 of the Literary Landmarks checked off. Stop #3, Ernest Hemingway's house, awaits in Key West.

See? Obligations galore already and we've barely left the airport!

Photo Source: I found this vintage postcard over at Swampy's Florida;


  1. Hope you have a good trip. The A-Z challenge is definitely a lot easier when you prewrite everything prior to it starting. I didn't do that this year and it was a struggle. I think I'll start putting it together around January for next year.

    Sean at His and Hobbies

    1. That's a great idea, pre-write a month's worth over the course of the year. Oh well, maybe next year:( I did enjoy it though.

    2. I liked Miami-the night life was fun in that I liked the pedestrian area where you could walk and just sit down.

    3. Hi! I’m a minion from the A to Z Challenge. I just wanted to thank you for participating this year and invite you to join in next year. Yup, prewriting and prescheduling is the ticket! Didn't do that this year, so it was a bit rough!

      Maui Jungalow


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