To infinity and beyond! Here’s hoping for at least another 10-15 good years. My Mom’s life headed south when she was around 70. My Dad though, was about 90. I’ll stick with 80-ish. So we are in the year 2031. My incredible memory is fading. I am somewhat dependent on others, and none to happy about it. Names, faces and stories are on the tip of my tongue, but at times I can no longer retrieve them. Foggy brained and frustrated, I’ve become somewhat cranky. Now there’s a surprise. Visitors tend to forget I’ve lost most of my hearing. So they mumble, or talk when not facing me. This gives them the impression I have chosen not to join in their conversation or answer them. When nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s a snippet of my imagined future life as I age. At least my side of the topics and conversations. And some of my very favorite pictures of those I love. Plus me.
|Baby Neese, 1951. Braids, 1955…|
I vowed early in life, I will not badger family or friends if they are thoughtful and attentive enough to come visit me. That was a lie. I know. I suck. And lie. But a couple of these reminders are meant to enhance the life I have left. So humor me. For the sake of all that’s good and kind, commit these key essential pointers to memory. Thus making what’s left in the life of Neese, better.
|Josh and Erica, 2013…|
Everyone at one time or another has teased me about my teeth. Sure, not all of them are my own anymore or snow white. But do me a favor. Help me, or remind me to brush them anyway. I carried a travel toothbrush in my purse for decades. Everyone had to wait for me until I brushed my teeth after we ate. It drove people crazy. But it drove me nuts if I had something stuck in one of my bridges. See my dilemma. Now there, that took all of 2 minutes. Gee that feels so good. Sliding my tongue over smooth, tooth-pasty-clean-teeth.
|Landon (Drew to the rest of the world) 2001…|
My glasses. Sure, they might appear sparkly clean, but trust me when I tell you they are not. They’re filthy. Are you kidding me? They not only have a smudge, but an innocuous spot on them. Which my one eye constantly lingers on. Please run them under the faucet, and wipe them dry. Holy moly, not with a Kleenex or paper towel!! That could scratch the lens, which drives me completely bonkers. A clean, dry, wash rag will suffice. Thanks so much.
|My lovely dresser with Shannon’s little dress hanging from it…|
“Would you mind walking over to the antique oak dresser? It is lovely, isn’t it? Still one of my favorite pieces. Remember when we bought it on one of our annual road trips? It rained cats and dogs from Princeton, Illinois to Jackson, Michigan. Poured the whole trip home. But the antique dealer had completely wrapped the dresser in Saran Wrap.” What a hoot.
|Josh and Ariana, 2014…|
“In the top right hand drawer of the dresser is a denim bag. I was once asked a silly question. If you were stranded on a deserted island, name one thing you couldn’t live without? Surely you know my standard answer. It’s been my signature (go to) item for a half century. Get a quick count for me, will ‘ya please? Only 24? You sure you counted right? You know I always like to have about 50 tubes on hand. Tell your brother it’s his responsibility to stop at the drugstore before he comes next week. Make sure you spell it out for him. NATURAL ICE MENTHOLATUM LIP BALM. You know I can’t stand that cheap imitation junk called Chapstick. Might as well use Crisco. Grab me a new tube please. Oh how I love that tingly, burning sensation for a minute after I first put it on. If you don’t mind, update my inventory sheet. And don’t forget to remind your brother.”
|Getting kind of low. Panic attack…|
“Why do all these places have such dreary drapes? I haven’t used drapes for decades. You know that’s why God invented windows. So I can see out. Please open the drapes and shades so I can see what’s going on in the world. Nah, don’t worry so much. No one wants to watch an old lady get dressed and undressed. Saggy boobs are not in. Or a treat for anyone to see. I gotta be able to see what’s out there. Wow, look at that gorgeous day! Not a cloud in the sky. If it were 40 years ago, I’d take a book along to read, and lay out in the sun. I used to love laying out. But only when it was cool. About 65 degrees was perfect. Those were MY good old days.”
|Watching the Cubs 3 innings when Harry C. was on the radio, 1985…|
“Yes, I’d love to look at some old pictures. Thanks for bringing the photo albums. Refresh me on what year this was in our family’s life. Oh yeah, we were still living in Spencer. But about ready to move to Davenport. Looks like Mother’s Day breakfast. What in the world was I doing in the boys room?”
|Mother’s Day, 1981. Breakfast on Cameo depression glass…|
“Yup, I like my new hearing aid. Do you think I’m catching any more of the conversations? No? Shoot, me either. But it’s nice to hear the birds singing once in a while. When your sister stops for my Diet Pepsi, ask her to buy some batteries for this new fangled hearing aid? Why can’t they have one size battery that fits all hearing aids? Stupid to have 10 different sizes!”
|Graham in Florida, 2013…|
“No, I haven’t watched anything lately on TV. Nothing good on. Crazy people getting paid for being crazy on their own reality show. Dumb. I got enough reality in my life. Old movies? A new book? Yeah, I’d like either one. Or both. Have your brother bring a couple next week. Oh, I don’t know. Something with Paul Newman and that other hunk, Steve McQueen. You know Steve died way too young. God, Paul had beautiful eyes. Had the hots for both of them when I was in school. But my favorite was Steve. I would like to see Cool Hand Luke and Bullitt. Call and remind your brother. Could you find my old book series by J.A. Konrath? I really enjoyed those Jack Daniel’s books. That Phin was a hottie. One of the neatest characters ever.”
|Goofy grands, Ari, Landon, Graham and Peyton, 2014..|
“What did you bring me? Good heavens, that was thoughtful. You know I never cared for microwave popcorn. Disgusting smell. But this. Freshly popped and with real butter. You don’t even eat real butter. Yum. And just a titch of salt. It’s so good. You know that’s why your dad and I always had separate bowls. He liked it weird. Too salty, and he added extra butter to his.”
|Ari, the ballerina in Pampers, 1992…|
“Where in the world did you find cotton candy? One of my favorites. You knew that? You think I could squeeze a cotton candy machine in that corner over there? Whadaya mean I can’t have one in here? It’s MY room. I’m down to one measly room, and still I can’t have or do what I want? That’s a crying shame. Are ‘ya sure? But I wouldn’t give any cotton candy to my diabetic friends. Well, Ok. You promise? I’m holding you to that. I won’t forget. I don’t know where you’re going to find it every week, but hey, you offered, right?”
|Davenport Iowa, 1983…|
“Really? It’s that time of summer already? Gospel truth? Yup, I’d sure give up cotton candy for a couple of weeks for some real, fresh tomatoes. Bring some cooked bacon along. Bendy strips. I don’t like bacon that breaks in 20 pieces when I bite into my BLT. My that’s something I’ll look forward to. You know I used to eat them almost everyday during the month of August. Never with mayo. Yuk. That was your father’s deal, not mine. That’s really thoughtful. Thanks.”
|Adam and Sarah, 2015…|
“I don’t know where it is. One of the girls read a couple pages last night, but I haven’t seen it today. Oh no! You have to find it. My life isn’t the same without it. How else can I remember? Go to the front desk and ask who helped me get ready for bed last night. Please. Oh wait, here it is. Never mind. It’s on the floor. Must have slipped down the side of my bed last night. I must take better care of my book. Do you think we could have a chip installed inside the cover? You know, the kind they do for pets? I really can’t afford to ever lose the book. It’s my memory maker. Sure I’d love to hear some stories.”
|Breech baby, breech baby give me your hand. Adam, 1980..|
“Did you know one of my kids was a breech baby? Yeah, Adam. He was a surprise. Sure glad we had him. I’m so proud of what a fantastic father he’s been.”
|Diane, Faye, Neese and Kay, 1967…|
“I really loved being a cheerleader in school. The games, pep bus, the camaraderie. Especially the outfits. They were the best.”
|Shannon and Superman Tracey, 2014…|
“I bet you didn’t know I couldn’t boil water or make coffee when your dad and I eloped? Heh-tah, I was hopeless. First meal I ever made was red salmon from a can. On bread with lettuce. Your dad was not impressed.”
“I was kind of a rebel when I was a kid. Borrowed, ok I stole a car when I was 13. That was some slumber party out at Mary Klein’s farm. Heck yes, I drove that car. It was a push button automatic. Me, driving all the way to Sioux Falls in the middle of the night. The rest of the girls were in the car. We ate at a truck stop. Then I drove back to Rock Valley. Must have gotten back about 2 a.m. Never got in trouble for that little stunt either. I loved driving since that night. Can we go out for a ride sometime? Do I still have a driver’s license? No? Well, that’s never stopped me before.”
|Beautiful, brilliant Shannon, 1972…|
“Did you realize my daughter Shannon had her PHD by the time she was 37? Such a smart, determined, focused girl. I know, I know. You’re not the first person to tell me she didn’t take after me at all. I am so very proud of her.”
|Joshua, Cascade, Iowa, 1977…|
Did I mention Joshua has his own successful company in Detroit? Yes, he is amazing. No, you go ahead and pick a couple stories. And don’t forget to read me all the comments. They were the best part about my story telling…
|J and D, Worthington, 1976…|