We will not cast people out for their choices in lip color, hosiery, language, religion, or the lack thereof. We will try to be “with it,” but not too with it—if you know what I mean.
In Ephemory, Ruth is helping her Mother, Carole, pack her apartment for a move to the assisted living facility. Handling her memorabilia triggers the memories that Ruth is longing for. What precedes the decision to move Mom?
Each time we take out a memory it is put away changed, no matter how clean our fingers are. We never wash off those precious oils of life: context; the new person we’ve become or the qualities we’ve dismissed; our new audience or no audience. Each time the memory is slightly different. Each time the rememberer is slightly different.
I wasn’t at all sure of getting the rules right and (I) relegated myself to a subordinate tier in some popularity system that I sensed and continued to apply to all situations in my life. As uncomfortable as I might have been at school, I treasured my time away from home.
“That passive nice-little-old-lady who sits around the dining room all spaced out—that’s someone I never met before. That difficult woman you call me about—that’s the last shred of my Mother.”
[W]hen I leave my routines behind for travel or some other demand on my time, I miss them. Routines are like botulinum; they can kill, but just a little bit smooths away the harshness of everyday.
I keep thinking I’m done with harvesting my family. But we’re never done, are we? I keep finding more and more of myself every time I muse on these matters. I comfort as friends struggle with their aging parents, trying to help while respecting the worlds they have created for themselves. I watch these ballets [...]