Saturday, August 16, 2014

Troubling Times

Since my last post we’ve had some great visits from family. The first weekend inP1010288 August, Linda’s oldest son and his family came for the weekend. The kids had a great time with Grammy Linda, riding on the carousel, riding the zip-line and just plain having fun.

Today Linda is with the kids again at Chad’s company picnic, at Knoebel’s Amusement Park. Should be a great day to make more memories with the grandkids.
On Thursday of the next week, my daughter arrived from Boston to spend the weekend. Jay, my son, arrived at 5 a.m. Saturday morning after working till 11 Friday night. Jay and his girlfriend Kelly didn’t get much sleep because we had to be in Elmira, NY at 10:30 for Joel’s burial. It was the first timeClawson kids that I’ve seen Joel’s daughters in a lot of years. Sad that it was under such sad circumstances but great to see them. From the left: Lisa, Liz, Laura, my son Jay and daughter Becky and Anne.
Joel was buried next to his infant son and is in good company. He’s in Woodlawn cemetery where Mark Twain, Ernie Davis (first Black Heisman trophy winner), and Hal Roach (producer of Laurel & Hardy and The Little Rascals) are buried. The cemetery has been full  for quite some time so it didn’t come as a surprise when Liz called that there were no vacancies. The family thought they would have to resort to having Joel buried in Erie, where he grew up and where his mom and dad are buried. Liz called again at a later date and lo and behold there was an opening and it was right next to Joel’s son. We were all beyond shock. We continually get little reminders from Joel that he is with us. On Friday Becky, Linda and I went to a couple yard sales outside of Mansfield. We had been talking about Joel, and the fact that he’d be happy knowing that he’s in the same cemetery as Mark Twain, right before we pulled up to two particular yard sales. As I was looking around, at the first one, there was a small drinking glass that told about Mark Twain and that he was buried in Elmira where he wrote many of his books. Of course Becky had to buy that little glass. She and I walked across the lawn to another yard sale and there staring us in the face at the first table was the book, Huck Finn. We laughed and knew that Joel was clearly with us in spirit that weekend. We couldn’t leave the cemetery that day without paying a visit to Mark Twain’s gravesite.
Mark Twains grave
Oliva Langdon grave

Mark Twain stone
Many of the Langdon family members are buried in the area around Mark Twain. Someone had placed a cigar and lots of coins on top of Twain’s grave. For many years, when you’d visit the study that is located on Elmira College’s campus (the little building that was moved from Twain’s house on the hill and where he spent  time writing his books), Joel’s voice was the narration that came out of the machine that told of Twain’s life in Elmira.
Although it was a sad day, there were many things that made us smile.
Monday morning Becky left to drive back to Boston; then around 1:30 I got a call from my sister-in-law that mom had fallen. Mom went out to get her mail, out of the mailbox attached to her porch railing. She fell back and hit her head and had a palm sized lump on the back of her head. Edie drove her to the ER and Linda and I met them down there. For the past two weeks, I’ve been taking her twice a week to physical therapy. The doctor wants to try and strengthen her legs and improve her balance. Luckily she only had a small hematoma but lots of bruises all over her body. They sent her home and I spent the night with her to make sure she was ok through the night. Linda and I have decided to set up an RV site behind mom’s house so we can be close to her to keep an eye on her. We made her a promise when we went on the road, eight years ago, that we’d take care of her when the time came for that so she wouldn’t have to go in a nursing home. We can only stay, here at Bucktail campground, till the end of October so we need to have someone hook up water, electric and sewer and put in a driveway so we can get onto the site. I used to live behind my mom, back in the late 80’s, so the connections are capped off under the ground, from when I had a mobile home there. There’s no pad anymore or driveway because my mom put a one car garage on the gravel bed that I had for a driveway so you can’t get back to the old site without putting in a new driveway. We’ve gotten some prices and hope to have work start soon. The sooner we can move to my mom’s, the easier to check on her and be close to take her to appointments. Last week she had an MRI to try and figure out what is causing the pain in her back. She’ll learn the results of that on Monday. It’s hard to see your parents get to this stage in their life and harder, I know, for my mom to accept these changes. She told me the other day that the hardest thing is not being able to drive. She always liked being able to get in the car and go wherever she wanted to go. Now she has to count on others to take her and I know that is tough for her and a loss of her independence. Tough times ahead for sure…

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