The flights were great (to Paris and then New York); the Dowager Duchess is still amazing; the Kid Brother is still one of a kind; and I´ll share lots more some other time.
What I have to share today is much too big [to me] and important [to me] to delay. First is a story that actually matters. A very special day with some very special relations. Following that will be a story that shows how truly shallow I am.
My wonderful cousin Evie drove in from her home in New Jersey today. She, The Dowager Duchess, and I then went to visit my Aunt Sylvie. Evie´s mother, Lilly, was the eldest of seven. Sylvie (who will be 94 in December) was third in line after the only brother. My mother was number 5 (nine years younger than Lilly and nine years older than the youngest sister).
Aunt Sylvie has been living with dementia for many years and now doesn´t know anyone or anything except her heaven-sent care-giver Leah who has made it possible for her to remain in her own home all this time. We´ve all had our experiences with people with dementia and Alzheimer´s. It´s heartbreaking and sometimes surprising. Today was both.
Sylvie used to visit us every year when we lived in California — first in San Diego, and then San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara. She and my uncle Harry had had a very difficult life. They had two severely developmentally disabled sons who required all their attention. Thankfully, both sons now live in group homes and are well taken care of.
|AUNT SYLVIE AND UNCLE HARRY´S WEDDING, 1946.
HARRY´S PARENTS (LEFT), MY GREAT-GRANDPARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS (RIGHT).
Sylvie had never been on a plane until she began to visit us after my uncle died in the mid-´90s. Dale, Chucky, and I were always very close with Sylvie and Harry. And Jerry and I treated Sylvie like another mother. When we arrived at her apartment today, she was extremely unfocused. We each gave her a kiss and told her who we were. It didn´t register. When I knelt beside her I reminded her, as I always do, that I was Chucky and Dale´s brother. She squeezed my hand and said, “When are you going on a plane? I want to come, too.”
Whenever we visit Brooklyn, we make a point of having at least one lunch at Parkview Diner. It´s not far by car from The Dowager Duchess´s apartment. So, after visiting Aunt Sylvie, we three drove to the restaurant where San Geraldo met us for lunch.
|PARKVIEW DINER, CROPSEY AVENUE, BROOKLYN.|
Our waitress was someone we had never met. She was warm, charming, professional, and adorable (early 20s adorable). She and I really connected and she kept commenting on how much she liked me. She finally asked me my name. I introduced myself and then introduced everyone else. ¨This is my mother, Mimi; my cousin, Evie; and my husband, Jerry.”
|MY THREE-EGG OMELETTE, BACON, MUSHROOMS, AND CHEDDAR; WITH HOME FRIES.|
|MY NEW GIRLFRIEND, DEE. SHE HATED ¨THAT CHEESY GRIN.¨
(SHE MADE ME PROMISE HER BOYFRIEND WOULD NEVER SEE THIS.)
Dee blushed scarlet and said to Jerry, “Oh, my god! I´ve been coming on to your husband!” She rushed away to compose herself before coming back to apologise. I told her she had made my entire year (but, honestly, I think I´m now covered for life). The Dowager Duchess commented, “Well, she wasn´t really flirting.”
As for me? I believe.
“Then I know why I believe.” (OK, but I really don´t believe)…