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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British Isles Friday: Strange Days

 The Marble Arch
 St. Martin's (where we saw The Mousetrap)
Sir John Soane's Museum

The weeks pass so quickly and are so full of strange happenings these days that Friday hits me in the face hard. How can it be British Isles Friday again? I feel as taken by surprise as if I looked up from my desk to find a whipped cream pie being thrown at my face. 

Hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquake, terror attacks. There’s so much going on, do you feel the same way I do? Overwhelmed by it all? A vulgar, mean-spirited, loose cannon ‘running the country.’ That stupid saying ‘The world is going to hell in a hand basket’ feels absurdly true. 

We had an earthquake here in Los Angeles. A jolt, like an elevator settling, a ‘nothing burger’ as some might say. That was followed by the truly horrible Mexico quake where we watched four story buildings collapse before our eyes, watched first responders try to dig out victims, rubble by rubble with their hands. 

In the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria has devastated the tiny island of Puerto Rico, a place I called home the year I turned fifteen. It’s also a place where one of my husband’s cousins and his wife relocated to from California. His whole family flew to the mainland last week before the hurricane hit, everyone except him. He elected to stay behind with the dog. They have a strong well-made house high on a hillside so flooding wasn't a concern, but the wind could be. There's no power on the island, his wife hasn't heard from him since the hurricane hit.

My son is in Chicago doing a weeklong improv comedy workshop. He's twenty four, not a kid, but still I worry. What if he wanders off into the wrong neighborhood, one of those areas where the violence seems never ending? I needn't worry. He's sent me a couple of texts over the course of the week, even called once to say how blown away he is by Chicago. The other night he went to see a show at Chicago's famed Second City, he sent a photo of some of the great comedians that have come out of there. He texted this morning while he was waiting for the subway, saying last night he'd been to the Chicago Art Institute where he saw Nighthawks, American Gothic and many, many Monets. He flies back to LA tomorrow; if we are lucky, his girlfriend will be busy and he'll choose his dad and me to pick him from the airport. We are much cheaper, after all, than Lyft or Uber.

How is that for an excuse for having such a meager offering for British Isles Friday, just a few photos I shared on Instagram from our trip to London? I should have just said the dog ate my homework and let it be! 

Connect with Joy Weese Moll, the host of British Isles Friday.

And through the magic of the internet, two of the masterpieces my son saw at the Chicago Art Institute.

Nighthawks, Edward Hopper
American Gothic, Grant Wood


  1. I liked the pictures! And, Chicago. My nephew lives there and his wife is into the improv scene. After London, Chicago is probably my favorite city to visit.

    Living in St. Louis, I'm definitely feeling all that overwhelm.

    1. He is back home, safe and sound but with a couple of scary tales to tell. But he definitely loves that city! I hope you are doing okay, Joy.

  2. Moms will always worry about their kids! Mine is about to turn 29 and I still have concerns.
    Yes, with so many awful events lately it's like the end of the world! Earthquakes (glad you are ok) and hurricanes. I don't know what's going on.
    I love the photos you posted 😊

    1. Thanks Tina! Glad to hear I'm not the only worrywart!

  3. I agree; I'm overwhelmed but the tidal wave of natural disasters and unnatural politicians. Every week feels like a month.

    1. Unnatural politicians, indeed. I just counted potus tweets about football. 17 versus one, count 'em, one tweet about Puerto Rico. It's stunning that his supporters still stick with him; we have a petulant child as our president.


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