Wednesday, January 4, 2012


THERE WAS NO LET-DOWN feeling the day after Christmas, for that was the day our eldest and his family drove four hundred miles from Northern California to see us. Four year old Owen, always a charmer, has blossomed into full-blown boyhood, coming up with his own jokes and constantly building creations in his mind's eye. 

I asked his Dad if he thought Owen might grow up to be an inventor and Chris' response was, "Either that or terribly disappointed."

Because the two guestrooms here at the Manor had been booked previous to my request, our family needed to stay in our room which was perfectly fine with us, but let me explain our dormitory arrangement. Frances slept on our sofa. To minimize the footprint 

they leave behind, they come bearing their own sheets, pillows and towels. 

Owen sleeps in a sleeping bag atop a short-legged cot in the living room. At bedtime he snuggles down, amuses himself with his imagination before dropping off into slumber. Our kids never went to bed that mildly.

Christopher lays out his sleeping bag on the floor with his head to the mirrored closet doors and his feet in the kitchen. He's somewhere there in the red and black fabric.

One morning a soft knock sounded on the door at 5:30 a.m. No one had alerted us that anyone was coming to draw Mr. Bob's blood for a coumadin test, so we weren't expecting visitors. Chris untangled himself from his cocoon, got to the door on his knees, opened it and the nurse asked, "Mr. Humphrey?" which, after all, is indeed his name. Never mind that he looked too young to be living here. Luckily all health workers check a patient's birth date before starting any procedure.

Somehow she picked her way to the bedroom where the intended Mr. Humphrey withdrew his arm from the covers, offered it to her. Mission accomplished, she found her way to the front door and let herself out. 

Retirement home living is different in some ways and that was one of them. Friends express surprise that maintenance people and health workers have access to our rooms if we don't answer their knock. I, myself, am surprised that so many of the staff have found us in our nightclothes and various stages of undress.  These things matter less with age, I think.. My mother used to say, "If you see anything you haven't seen before, throw your old hat at it." So far no one's tossed a chapeau in our direction. 


  1. "...Throw your old hat at it." HA! Ohhhh boy. :) I'm so glad you all had a good visit. :) What great kids you have. And what a cutie Owen is.

  2. Love the quote and a chance to see your story in pictures...You just reminded me to go to my 5 yr. book.yikes!

  3. There is absolutely nothing as precious as a visit from family and that Owen is certainly a least he looks like he is...So glad for you they could come...rusti

  4. A memorable adventure for the family and especially great memories for handsome Owen.

    I once stayed in a retreat house run by nuns. They would turn up silently in my room! Agh!!!! I've never been brave enough to return. Ninja Nuns are scary.

  5. That was a good one! I can see I am in the company of campers. Good folks, those.

    I've had several couch sleepers but so far, you have won the prize.

  6. Kathy's post reminded me to do my journal which I'm thoroughly enjoying! Love, Shelley

  7. How brilliant !!!!all of you together, the joy.

  8. Susan H. writes: What great pictures. I love the sleeping pictures. Far more respectful than the video you took of me in the same spot Frances was - beautiful and angelic, I on the other hand, mouth open, possibly some drool and loud snoring. I am a good sport, like my dad. Great group picture! I love my family!

  9. It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks for sharing this with others.