Florence is 62 in this picture from the mid-1980s.
Now she is not only refusing to get out of bed, she is refusing visitors anything but her back.
K., the recreational therapist managed to get Florence to turn to her by playing a sonatina badly on her portable electric keyboard. Annoyed by sloppy playing, Florence rolled over to K., corrected her mistakes and then rolled back into her little corner. K. didn't give up. She began mispronouncing composers' names. It worked. Florence faced her and thus began a lesson in how one is required to speak.
A couple of days later, finished with my swimming lesson which actually went... swimmingly (in other words, I did not drown), I looked down from the glass balcony at the gym's pool filled with bodies going back and forth, and recalled a recent conversation with her former girlfriend who had loved her since they were teenagers ("Your mother was a great swimmer, your mother could swim anywhere, your mother....").
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.