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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Dreaming of France: Notre Dame


When we were in Paris in early May—before the height of the season—my husband waited in the long line to see the inside of Notre Dame while I took pictures of a couple getting their wedding photos taken. 


It turned out the line looked longer than it was and after just a few minutes were able to go inside. It's no secret that Notre Dame is stunning and we both got our cameras out and started shooting before hunting down the passageway that led to the tower stairs. I'd climbed the tower stairs to the top on my last trip to Paris many many years earlier and while my husband isn't a huge fan of heights he agreed to do the climb with me. We went earlyish in the day so we weren't too wiped out from walking.


My recollection from the last time I'd been here—in 1989—was that there was a small arched entry near the back of the cathedral. We couldn't find it anywhere so we asked the woman manning the souvenir counter inside. What I didn't realize was that there was a whole different line—a really massive one—outside that led to stairway that climbed to the very top. We were told the wait was at least an hour. I don't remember it being that way back in 1989 but again, I'm reminded, it's not only me that's changed in 27 years. We decided to skip the climb this time around, it was cold and neither of us was keen to wait in an hour long line. Besides I'll always have this memory. You can't even get this close to the chimera now, the area is fenced off.




Comments

  1. It's always a different experience, yet still thrilling. Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France.

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  2. Oh, I can't believe that you used to be able to hug the chimeras like that! Love the photo of you climbing the steps too. It took me 4 visits to Paris to manage to climb the steps of Notre Dame. The first visit I didn't really try, but I really did try the second and third times, that queue always beating me. But on the 4th trip, I made it a priority, we got there early one morning and I waited the wait, it's still worth it. I really meant to make a post about it for Paris in July, but I was overwhelmed with other stuff and didn't get ANY Paris in July things done sadly.

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    Replies
    1. I know! Looking at it, I can't quite believe it either! So glad I have that under my belt, to show my grandkids when they come along. Here, look what your stuffy old grandma did!

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