Ron’s Time Tunnel: The Loveseat Pt II



Note:  All posts in the Ron’s Time Tunnel series were written by Ron Brown.

This is a continuation of The Loveseat Pt I.  If you haven’t already, you can read that post here.

“Yep, I’m 92”, she replied. “I’m not going to be in this place long. My son is coming to get me soon. They just put me here because I got a little weak and I live alone with no-one to help me, so they put me here until I could get stronger. I’m strong now!” she exclaimed, letting go of the purse long enough to flex a thin arm. “I see that”, I replied truthfully, for indeed, considering her age, she appeared to be the picture of health and strength. She stressed to me that she didn’t really think she needed to be there in the first place but, her family disagreed, but now she was ready to get back to her own house. She told me where she lived—the facility was in Eufaula, Alabama—her home was within walking distance of the “Healthcare and Rehab.” I thought about my own grandmother, who’d also lived in Eufaula, not far from the “Health and Rehab,” but her children had taken care of her at home until she died. She even looked a little like my grandmother had looked, in her latter years.

She wore one of those “turbans” that I’ve seen a lot of older women wear. Hers had once been white, but now it was an “off-white” color. She was bundled in several layers of sweaters and shirts, as some older people are wont to do. It seems that the ambient temperature registers a little lower in the thermostatic system of the elderly hypothalamus than it does in that of younger people. She also wore those knit pants with the elastic waistband and a pair of white “flats.” In the world of the aged, she was as “sharp as a rat-turd.”  She was ready to bolt/shuffle out that door as soon as someone opened it for her. I wondered if anyone was coming for her, ever.

She spoke again saying, “I used to have a car but I had to get rid of that thing; it was too fast. Have you ever heard of a ‘2000z’?” “No Ma’am,” I’d replied, but while those words were exiting my mouth, my mind was racing; “2000z, 2000z, could she be talking about a Chrysler 200 or 300? Maybe she had a Nissan 300z, 380z or maybe a Datsun 2000? I think Datsun made a 2000 before they became Nissan. Maybe that’s it. She knows what she’s talking about.” Those were some of the thoughts swirling around in my head as she spoke.

“You know, that car is fast and you can’t put no less than $5.00 worth of gas in it. Nooo!” she declared, as if she’d anticipated my skepticism. She continued, “Yes! I didn’t believe it at first, so I let the gas get real low on it, and I went to the gas station and put $5.00 in it, and it wouldn’t do nothing! Oh really? I asked her. “Yes!” she answered. “But when I put $10.00 in that car, it took off!” I could just see it in my mind; a little old lady, spinning her tires as she suddenly sped away like a bat out of Hades, in her little red sports car; silky, grey hair blowing in the wind.

After that amazing story, she reached into her purse while explaining to me that she had “lots of money.” She loosened her death grip on that purse and pulled out a couple of ones, a couple of fives, and a fist full of old receipts. I guess this was her “treasure.” I said, “Wow, you really do, but you’d better not pull it out in front of people, someone might try to steal it.” She agreed, thanked me and put her money back into her purse, reattaching it to her chest and securing it with that white-knuckled death lock again. I told her I had to go, and bade her goodbye. She returned my salutation; sitting on the “love seat,” peacefully and patiently waiting, as I walked thoughtfully away.

In contrast, as I walked down one hallway, I met another elderly lady whose grey hair sat wildly upon her head. She paced frantically in front of one of the emergency exits. Peace, for her, seemed a million miles away. She stopped me and asked me if I could show her how to get out of the facility. She stated that her children had placed her in the “Healthcare and Rehab” in order to get at her money, “I know what they’re trying to do!” she exclaimed desperately. “There’s nothing wrong with me. They just want my money,” she continued, all the while pacing, pacing, pacing.

I later learned that she’d escaped the nursing home once or twice already, and had to be “hunted down.” I felt so much pain for her. It was clear that she was mentally disturbed. She was probably suffering from Alzheimer’s or, “Organic Brain Syndrome”—senility—in which case, there would probably be no peace for her, ever, or at least not while she still drew breath.

Both ladies wanted out, but one was at peace and the other, was not.


Ron’s Time Tunnel: The Loveseat Part I


The tragic thing about Gramp was that, as she grew older, her memory started to fade; not her long-term memory. She never forgot those old stories but she did forget my name sometimes. During her latter years, I had ventured off into the “wild blue yonder” of the United States Air Force and only returned home twice a year at the most; so it wasn’t entirely unexpected that she would forget me. When I would return home on leave and knock on her door, she would open the door to, what for her, must have seemed a familiar face; but one she could not, for the life of her, recall a name for or where she recognized it from. She would greet me at the door; smiling that gold toothed smile, and welcome me warmly into her home. I could see the questions and confusion peeping through the smiling brown eyes, but she was too kind and polite to ask outright, as might have a less genteel host, “Who are you, and what do you want at this hour of the night?”

Eventually, after having offered her “uninvited” guest a “co-cola” or a glass of water and a seat on the worn, familiar sofa or one of the two, “Naugahyde” recliners lining three of the four walls of her quaint domicile, she would eventually get around to asking, albeit apologetically, “Now, who did you say you were?” To which I’d answer, “I’m Ronnie, your grandson; Fletcher’s oldest son”; being careful not to let any impatience, frustration, or sarcasm seep into my tone.

Then her brown eyes would flash with recognition and a smile would slowly spread across her kindly, golden toned face as she would chime, “Oh yes, you’re the one in the Army?” “Yes Gramp”, I would answer, not bothering to correct her on which branch of the military that I served in. It didn’t matter. I was home, here was Gramp and old stories were sure to be on the evening’s agenda. Anyway! In Cuthbert—my home town—everyone who was in the military was in the “Army”, as far as the citizenry was concerned.

The following story, entitled “THE LOVE SEAT” took place as I was visiting a friend’s mother in the nursing home. I sat in the “TV” room/lobby and waited while the Nurse’s Assistants changed my friend’s mother’s bed. As I sat on the LOVE SEAT I met a lady who reminded me of my Grandmothers; Nancy (Raytakka), Mollie, and Annie. Please enjoy THE LOVE SEAT:

     I never got her name, but as I sat there on the small “love seat” in the dayroom of the nursing home, or “Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center”, as some nursing homes are now called, she came and sat down beside me. She held her big red purse close to her chest with a white-knuckled grip that I’m sure would have caused me a degree of pain, had we shaken hands. She held that purse as if it contained a million dollars, or her life’s savings. She held it as if she believed that loosening her grip would have allowed the purse to just grow wings and fly away.

She sat down and immediately began an unsolicited conversation with me. I don’t know what made her choose me. Maybe I just looked friendly to her, or maybe I reminded her of the son who’d deposited her there in the “healthcare and rehab” and then forgotten her. Maybe this was her seat and it was I who was trespassing, or maybe there was just nowhere else to sit. I had not looked around, prior to her arrival, to see if the latter was the case. She whispered to me in a surprisingly strong, raspy voice, considering that she was a small-framed lady, with not much else covering her brittle bones except the thin, blue-veined, cream colored skin of a Black lady, through whose blue veins much Caucasian blood flowed. “You know I’m 92 years old?” she rasped. “What?” I’d replied in surprise.

“She gets around well for one so aged” slid a thought through my mind…

Please come back next week  for the conclusion to “The Loveseat”