A My Private Coney project Flash non-fiction, brief moments and old memories of a city and mother's emotional and physical real estate disappearing at the speed of heartbreak.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
When Duty Calls and Daughters Answer
Tee just got a call from her son. Seems her father, Daddy just fired the third home aide in two months. Hired another one, recommended by one of his friends - either the one who can't walk or the one who can't see. This new home attendant arrived by Access-A-Ride in her scooter. The scooter couldn't get in the house so Daddy sent her for coffee.
"Oh shit," Daddy told the son. "I fucked up."
He's still flushing food down the toilet, won't take off his woolen hat no matter how hot it gets, says mean mean stuff, and keeps telling everyone Tee is either not helping him at all or trying to kill him, depending on the day and which company is visiting. He refuses to be evaluated for anything because he's not crazy, everyone else is.
Daddy is a Vet. World War II. So that means the VA will pay for a nursing home. And sometimes the visiting nurse service for a couple of weeks. That's it. Nothing else. No home aide, no housekeeper, no food stamps. No nothing. Everything outside of the nursing home is out of pocket. His pocket. Tee's pocket.
Tee and her sister write down everything Daddy does that lets them know something is wrong. But just like me and Louise with Florence, how do you prove something is wrong when that's how they've always acted? I tell Tee, well sometimes you got to wait until they start peeing on themselves and can't wipe anymore.
Tee takes care of his part of the house, her part of the house, the kids, the grandkids, her husband, her father. Tee is tired. Real tired. But just like me and Louise before we fought with Medicaid and won, what does it mean to be a good daughter? Where do You stop and Daughter begin? Where does Daughter stop and You begin? I tell Tee you kick out the rage on a wall and every day swear to take nothing personal just keep saying if it was cancer I wouldn't take the tumor personal so why am I taking personal familiar words coming out of a brain eating itself alive?
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.