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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Twenty-four and counting


Edward Good 1915-1992

Weird how things creep up on you. I was thinking about David Bowie, dying at sixty-nine. Sixty-nine seems young when you yourself are sixty-three. Then it hit me that my dad was seventy-six when he died and that it was twenty-four years ago today that I was in a hospital room in Sherman Oaks, California with my brother and sister and our mother, waiting for my dad to die. I’ve written about my dad a fair bit but I still havent quite hit that day yet, my sister throwing herself on our father’s body when they pronounced him dead, my own throat rough and raw with the ache of a thousand smoked cigarettes. But I did write a short memorial to him a couple of years ago.

Swept Away

I thought he was God. Or Robert Young on Father Knows Best. Take your pick. Except that in my eyes my father was even more glamorous than Robert Young. I didn't know about God.

He and my mother met at the tail end of World War II when he was home on leave in England. He wooed her in French, Italian, Spanish, and Arabic and he danced like a movie star. They fell in love and then he went away again, back to the western desert, back to the end of the war. Her family, her friends, all warned her about him. He was no good. He'd been around. She was only twenty. He was thirty. Forget him, he was too old. At thirty, her grandmother pronounced, he would have done everything already. He would be jaded, world-weary, they'd have little to share together. Forget him.


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Comments

  1. I love your story, Sim. I lost my dad three years ago and it seems like yesterday. Someday I will tell you my parent's story of love and marriage and 6 girls. So glad that there are memories that remain like imprints on our brain.

    Fond thoughts to you,
    Genie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thnx Genie! I look forward to hearing it ... 6 girls! That’s a Bridesmaids movie sequel right there!

      Delete

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