Friday, July 27, 2012


There is hope. Hope for continuing the web log. After I groused the other evening about my inability to communicate with the outside world, Tim whose feelings were hurt by my griping, brought me to the computer room at the Manor and I learned the simplicity of continuing on. 

I'm not ready to write an entry today........but wait! I'm going to send you my entry for the next newsletter. There was talk of replacing me as co-editor and that spurred me into action.

Here is what is going in to the August newsletter. Anne Van Trigt's entry has yet to be put in (by the co-editor)

"If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this all its ardour and paradoxes......than our travels. They express, however inarticulately, an understanding of what life might be about outside of the constraints of work and of the struggle for survival. Yet rarely are they considered to present philosophical problems.......dated on advice on where to travel to, but we hear little of why and how we should go, even though the art of travel seems naturally to sustain a number of questions neither so simple nor so trivial, and of what the Greek philosophers beautifully termed eudaionia,  'human flourishing.'

            from  "The Art of Travel" by Alain de Botton

When I hear the word, “August”, I think of vacations which of course is left over from my years of mothering growing chilldren.. August was the month that we locked up our bookshop and pretended to be a normal family of the 1960s when most mothers wore aprons and were readily available all day long.

Some years we ferried to Catalina Island where we langished in a rented cottage for a week; other years we could be found on a road trip........less relaxed as our three offfspring tended to squabble over which kid was privileged to sit in the middle seat.

As the years went by, Mr. Bob and I found ourselves in more exotic places but always with the necessity of getting back home to resume shopkeeping.

One of my fantasies regarding the move to Windsor, involved my stepping to the counter and telling Sandy or Sue that we were going away and would return in six months. Alas, that dream never materialized, but I have
a wealth of memories from the trips we did take;

In Germany when from our hotel, we walked through fields of grain to get to a small village, landing in their beer garden which looked for all the world like a movie set, so artistically arranged it was.

Learning about the rich, traditional music of the lower Mississippi River on an Elderhostel barge trip.

The train trip where during the night, the partition in our bedroom car vibrated open and suddenly we had not only twice the room, but an unfamiliar roommate who was not the least bit amused.

In one of the northern-most states, marveling at the wheel ruts, still visible, from the Conestoga wagons of long ago.

The early morning ascent of colorful hot air balloons during the festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Mr. Bob saying, upon our return from a three week motorhome trip to Maine and back again, “I’m not going anywhere with that kid until his voice changes”.( referring to Tim, the nice man who visits me several times a week). Fifteen years later our family was together on a hellish vacation in Hawaii and Mr. Bob came to me and whispered, “His voice hasn’t changed yet.”

And now, from a few of our residents:

I’ve traveled all over the world and all of the trips have been super except for the time the airline lost my luggage.
                          Jeanne Naumann

It took three attempts before I fulfilled my desire to visit Egypt. The first two times my plans were cancelled because people were shooting each other in that country.

A vacation was about the last thing in my mind a few months ago. With great friends, food and fellowship right here at Windsor, why would a person  vacate?

One evening a deep voice on my answering machine greeted me with: “Hello, Shirley, this is Will Adams from Liberty, MO after 65 years!” Will and I had dated a bit when I was a kid in junior high. Bill, a mutual friend, was planning a 65th and final reunion of their class of 1947. Will was going and wanted me to go, too.

A month later Will and I met in the home of Bill and his wife. Will and I had both shrunk; he was down to 6’4”.

All of us at the reunion enjoyed the tasty food; then we gathered around Will at the piano. No one had the music for the school song, so we sang some patriotic numbers. After picture taking, we disbursed to our cars.

During the following 3 days, Will and I revisited the old familiar haunts. We went to the location where our old school had been and then to the new school that replaced it. During his teens Will and his brother had put out a small newspaper with articles that revealed how local children felt about current events during those World War II years. We met with the principal and the librarian of the library. Both were thrilled to receive copies of the old newspapers for their archives.

Will stopped at the house where he had lived and was invited in to meet the residents and share information about former owners. He took a picture of me in front of my childhood home. The church next door had been rebuilt and enlarged. In true Philadelphia style, one breakfast menu included scrapple.

I stopped at the Wayne Hotel where my mother had been in charge of the dining room and kitchen during the ‘40s. It had been remodeled and upgraded to a posh, upscale hotel and is now on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. The community of Wayne had been updated to include restaurants, shops and galleries.

We were up early on the fourth morning and whisked to the airport for our flight to Kansas City. Will made a great traveling companion. His height meant we were directed to a wide, open row of seats.

Will’s home, in Liberty, was built in the 1850s. He gave me a tour, offering me any of the available bedrooms. I chose a single with a pull-down queen bed on the lower level. It was a man’s house........8 TVs, 3 computers, even an elevator!

One day we saw the Truman Library and on another we visited the only museum in the world dedicated entirely to the first World War. The last museum we visited was in a 19th century ship dredged up from many feet of mud as the Missouri River changed course through the centuries.The displays were most interesting.

My somewhat whirlwind vacation, with all of its fun and memories, came to an end as I flew to Minneapolis, then Burbank and returned to the warmth of the Windsor family home.
                                         - Shirley Lawson




Hopefully your interest in travel has been stimulated enough to dip into an interesting book on the subject. Among the titles offered by our very own Windsor library:


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I've never felt at quite such a loss of what to write about. The last six months have produced stories, to be sure, but not of the sort that beg to be told. Bits will come out here and there, I suppose, as I become accustomed to blogging again. It seems to me that for the most part, I just lay abed sleeping and during my waking moments I had no inclination to think deep thoughts or to ponder weighty matters. It seems a shame to have wasted all that time. 

I never saw the famed white light, but for days on end I was very aware that it was taking some effort to stay on this side of the veil. Breathe in, breathe out, mouth was so dry. Mr. Bob was too ill to visit very often, but the kids took turns sitting all night by my bedside, while the other tended Mr. Bob. Chris' blog piece entitled 5:55 A.M. is such a treasure. If you missed it, please go back a few entries. If you read it, it wouldn't hurt to visit it again. It's short, it's heartfelt and sums up our experience as well as anything and Susan's entries are beautifully done, too.

The lady in this photo, wearing dark glasses, was brought  to the room across the hall last night, fresh from the hospital. She's a bright lady, retired from a career with Channel 7. Independent is her middle name; she's experiencing what is known as post polio syndrome and didn't much like it when she had to move from Independent Living to Assisted Living, mostly because it meant retraining nurses to her way of coping within her living quarters. She is completely blind, but had organized her space brilliantly.

As one goes down the hall where my room is located, it's lined with residents. Susan refers to them as "hall people" and prefers that I not be parked in that position. Some have dozed off. I saw a man yesterday with his electric razor pressed to his chin in one spot. He was enjoying a nap. I try to greet each person by name and with a smile as I go past. Most of them respond. A few don't. I was struck the other day by how in old age some of us have bodies that are twisted and not at all what they used to my case, the right knee cap faces the left leg.

Next time perhaps I'll share some of my hallucinations with you.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I told you I'd forgotten how to blog. With a lot of trial and error I've managed to scratch out a few sentences in the last two entries. However, downloading photos is really beyond me. If memory serves me, and so often these days it doesn't, I need a different cable to plug into the camera and I don't think it's in my possession in the Skilled Nursing room. Heaven only knows where it life is in such a jumble right now. 

I've not been especially good about documenting my experience the past few months, so some stories will need your imagination in place of photographs..

After Mr. Bob departed and I realized I'd need to downsize tremendously I told the kids to give away EVERYTHING. The Manor had a sale coming up and most of our belongings could be donated to that cause.
I stressed that the whole lot could be given away, saving a few clothes for my back.

Some time later I was having my hair shampooed in the beauty salon and the hairdresser asked if I had been to the recent Manor sale. I had been bedridden at the time, so my answer was negative. She proceeded to describe the red sweater she'd bought and the more she talked the wider my eyes opened as I recognized it as a recently purchased, favorite sweater of mine. I said nothing at the time, but two weeks later when I returned for beautification, I told her the story which I considered mildly amusing and she insisted on giving the sweater back to me and wouldn't hear of me purchasing it. Now if only I could regain the red pants that somehow have gotten lost in the laundry which is collected each evening, and usually returned the following morning. I should be watching the residents with an eye for the red pants and while I'm at it, a brown pair, too. Meanwhile I'm giving thanks for the return of the red sweater.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


THE PLAN has been for me to move to what is known as "Assisted Living" when my 100 Medicare days are used up in the Skilled Nursing area. It's an itty-bitty room, presumably all that's needed in one's latter years. True enough, I suppose, but 'twill be a challenge to change my collecting ways. I'm trying to remember how I longed for a gypsy wagon. This could be an answer to that prayer, lacking the wheels.

The day after my Medicare help expired for this particular illness, I went to a dermatologist who diagnosed my itchy rash as a case of the scabies. Thus the quarantine. No more tootling around the Manor halls, calling in at the library or the tea room. It's a form of being grounded or put into what my mother used to refer to as "the scold chair".
Anyone who steps into the room must first don a silly looking yellow gown and pull on gloves. It doesn't much make people want to visit.

Another week must pass before I find out if I can move forward.

Meanwhile, Tim has been helping get Room 30 in order. There are still pictures to be hung. Unless I get rid of some, they will go from floor to ceiling, too much of a muchness. The shop letters have been installed on what I think might be called a soffit, the borrowed hospital bed has been replaced with a Tempur-pedic twin bed and I'm just itching to get in there. 


Friday, July 6, 2012


I'm still here but I've been without access to the internet for six months so imagine my reaction when Tim hooked me up to the world when he visited last evening. The first thing I did was to go to the blog and I read the most recent entries and wept and wept......both at what our offspring wrote and all of your comments. It was quite overwhelming, to put it mildly.

I've forgotten how to blog. It's taken a fair amount of time today just to get this far. Being confined to bed since early February means I've also lost the ability to walk. One should have to learn that skill only once in a lifetime when it's not far to the ground. Arthritis is getting in the way this time as I struggle to make progress.

Surely it goes without saying that I miss Mr. Bob tremendously. So often it feels as though he's just in the other room and the realization that he's not is devastating. It feels as though I'm just now, three months after we lost him, beginning to really grieve. Too many people have been around me in Skilled Nursing and having a roommate, nice as she was, prevented me from venting my emotions.
You saw for yourselves how our children stepped up to the plate and in addition to doing what needed to be done, went way beyond the call of duty. I'm deeply touched by their expressions of devotion. On what would have been our 59th wedding anniversary, they sent me an arrangement of three roses, one representing each of them.  They are indeed special people.

Now the question arises about the wisdom of continuing this blog with the main character missing. Any ideas to help in my decision?
Whether we do or don't keep on with it, please know how important it was to have you walk the path with us as we weathered some very difficult times. It made all the difference in the world to have your support.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.