Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Day at Christopher Heights


As I wrote in my last blog, I chose Christopher Heights Assisted Living facility to be the first place I would hold a reading of WEE THREE, because that is where my mother Pat spend a year and a half of her final days. Many of the residents have moved on now. Yet I did get a chance during the reading to meet once again a couple of women who were her friends during her stay there.

I read from Wee Three about 1/2 dozen of the short stories/verses and we chatted about their memories of their own childhoods. We had a long discussion after I read UPSIDE-DOWN LAND about the first thoughts and memories they had, when as children learned that the world was round and China was on the otherside of it. Most of them remembered thinking if they dug deep enough they would get there. All of them remembered their mother's telling them (when they didn't want to eat something) that there were starving children in China and having the wish to send their dinner to them, via the post. Ana told of her and her brother daily going out to the same spot in the yard to continue with thier tunnel. She also told stories of being a tomboy and preferring to climb trees and play with her brother who was near her in age. He would play dolls with her and she would climb trees with him. As in much of the Europeen community it isn't frowned on for girls to play boys games and boys to play girls games.

John talked much about growing up in America from an Italian immigrants viewpoint and the difficulty he had both in school and at play because he didn't speak or read English. Yet I believe these were fairly happy memories for him. He was the "head of his own gang" and they were quite a handful.

My mother's friend Helen didn't speak much, just listened, she is and has always been quite shy. But Noori who is from Iraq spoke of growing up in Iraq and told me he had made his own "animal garden" as he called it. Complete with cows and chickens.

Two women one named Helen the other Bernadette, told me it was one of the best days they had in years. The women spoke about playing with dolls, making dolls out of bits of wood, pipe cleaners and material and growing up learning to how to be a lady.

Bernie had many stories of her own childhood. Making cloud pictures and fishing with her brothers.

Most like Wanda and Helen just sat and listened with smiles on their faces to both my reading of WEE THREE and the stories circulating the room. Afterwards they all insisted that I join them in the pub where every afternoon they have a glass of wine, cup of coffee and socialize together. It is a warm welcoming room, where we all got to know each other a bit better.
There was much insistance on me coming back from all quarters and if time and opportunity presents itself I would be very happy to do so. It was a lovely day. Full of many wonderful people and memories.

5 comments:

  1. You gave them such an incredible gift; your time, a gift of time. Most of our lovely elders just want to be heard. Taking the time to listen and read your lovely versus, gave them a chance to think back and reminisce. "What a gift."

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  2. They actually get to drink wine?? That sounds like an awesome afternoon.

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  3. Yup and it is free too. It was an awesome afternoon. They get to have a dog or a cat too. Lovely place for assisted living.

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  4. Thanks Amanda, I loved it tomorrow or Saturday I am posting about the kiddies at the Berlin Library. One of them was named Amanda.

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  5. I imagine you touched a few hearts Marta that day. How special for you and how special for them.
    Kudos to you :)xx

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Wee Three Book Trailer voice over Marta Moran Bishop