Monday, September 15, 2014

Peripatetic adventures, the final chapter

My last entry about my parents' Gypsy lifestyle left us back in Harlem in the first house my parents had ever owned.  One would assume that our travels were over, now that we were homeowners:  That assumption would be wrong.  After a year or two, we sold the place in Harlem and bought a home in Crestview, a subdivision in Kansas City, North.    

This was a cheaply-built pre-fab house surrounded by other houses that looked very much like it, but I was thrilled to live in such a "new" house.  It's probably the first house we ever lived in that wasn't at least seventy-five years old.  Oh yeah, and I didn't have to change schools.  I was still attending North Kansas City High School, from which I graduated in 1962.

This house was near St. Pius X High School, so many of our neighbors were Catholic.  I don't think I had ever known a Catholic before then, and it was interesting to learn that they were no different than anybody else .  I had a lot of opportunities to babysit while we lived there, because those Catholics had a lot of kids!  

We must have been moving up in the world, because just before we bought the Crestview place, my parents bought their first-ever brand new car, a 1958 Chevy.

This picture looks across the road from our house.  

This is where I will end the series about all our moves, because the next move, after I graduated and started working at National Bellas Hess, took my parents to Blue Springs (the factory where my dad worked had been relocated), and me down into the heart of Kansas City, where I lived the second story of a house belonging to some church folks.  It had been converted to an apartment.  Guess what?  The house is still there, not looking too bad considering the neighborhood.  Thanks to Google Earth, I have a picture of it as it looks now.

My bed was at a window looking out at the apartment building on the right, and on hot summer nights when everybody had their windows up, I could hear entire conversations that were going on over there.  

My parents continued to move frequently throughout their lives, but Cliff and I have only moved five times, and once we bought this place in 1975, we stayed.  Oh, there was a two-and-a-half-year period when we rented the house out and lived back at Oak Grove (a long and boring story), but we returned, resolving never to move again.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Is it just me? (On getting older)

Yesterday I realized I needed to add a certain item to my grocery list.  See, I got rid of most of my non-stick cookware, but I kept one skillet for certain special tasks.  Unfortunately, I threw all the plastic-nylon utensils away that I used with those non-stick pans, forgetting about the one skillet I kept.  

So on the few occasions I use that T-fal skillet, I've had to be very careful about how I turn the foods, or how I remove them.  Finally, today, I remembered to put my needed item on the shopping list.  

But I couldn't remember what the item was called.

So here's what I typed on the grocery list on my Ipad:  "pancake-turner".

I figured the actual name would come to me later, but it did not.  

Cliff got out of bed this morning and I told him about my problem.  "It seems to happen all the time lately," I said.  "Words that I have used all my life won't come to mind when I need to use them.  I hope I don't have Alzheimer's.    

"The same thing happens to me, too," he responded.  "The other day I was taking my walk and I spent the whole time trying to remember what kind of tree I was thinking of.  After my walk was over, I remembered.  It was a sycamore."  

By this time I remembered the name for the object I needed:  A spatula!  

So I got to Walmart and found one, in no time at all.  Only, guess what?  It was labeled as a slotted turner!  Then I didn't feel so bad about not remembering the word "spatula".  

I have decided it isn't dementia that caused us to forget these words we have used all our lives; it's just the fact that those aren't words we use regularly, so our brains decided they weren't important.  But you know, if it IS dementia, at least we will be losing our minds together.

Here's another thing.  Cliff said at some point last night he woke up and didn't hear my usual snoring, and he said I felt "stiff".  Yes, stiff.  So he put his arm across me and left it there until he felt me breathing.  

I do the same thing with him sometimes in the early morning... check to make sure he is awake.  I was telling the grandson about this tonight and he said, "I would freak out if I woke up and thought Heather was dead!"

"But when you get to be our age," I told him, "You realize that you ARE going to die, and most likely one of you is going to die before the other one.  That's when you start checking to see if they are still breathing."

It's true what they say.  Getting old is not for the faint of heart.