Thursday, March 31, 2011

Words Of Wisdom for Logan

When I share something about Logan with mom, she frequently asks me how old he is. When I tell her that he is now 23 years old she say's "I can't believe that he is twenty three already ". Most of the time she has a harder time remembering his name. Yet she still knows who he is, and how much she loves him. My mom has only one grandchild who she does adore.
My mom recently asked me what Logan was doing. I told her like I have so many times that he works at Price Water House Cooper, that he’s an accountant and has his CPA.  She says that it does sound familiar to her and asks me where he lives.  I tell her that he lived in Manhattan in the financial district downtown and recently moved to Hoboken, New Jersey.  Mom wonders if it is near where I live and I answer, "not really, I would have to take the subway there".

 I use to tell her that he lives near, to where the World Trade Towers once stood, yet she has no recollection about the towers or what had happened. The planes, the attack and the terrorists that invaded our country are all foreign to her.  For her this tragic event never happened. I think that her mind being blank about this is definitely a blessing.

Mom wants to know if Logan likes his job and I answer that he has mixed feelings.  My mom then says” If he doesn’t like his job he should get a new one. Life’s too short.  Then she chirps in he’ll get over it and this too will pass. You have to do what you have to do. Life has its ups and downs, and she adds in that nothing stays the same”.  I then tell mom that she has great words of wisdom for her grandson. I add in how cute she is and she replies ‘that’s good, because at my age it’s good to be cute” and then she starts to sing, the Rain in Spain fell Gently on the Plain, and then Que Sera, Sera, the Futures not Ours to See.  Again she cannot remember all the words to the songs so she adds in her own repertoire. 

Not bad at all for a women who suffers from Alzheimer's. As for now, I am still so grateful .

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

That's My Mom

Today when I spoke to my mom she sounded so vibrant and cheerful. Most days are like that, yet not all.  I could tell that her mind was “sharp” because Ruthie started spelling words, quicker than I could even say them.
I am excited and a little nervous because I will be arriving to see my mom one week from today.
Speaking to her on the phone is very different then actually being with her. Spending several days in her home and sleeping at her house, I get to see the childish side of her. I get to experience her so differently and see all the effects that Alzheimer’s has (taken over) on her.

I’ve been telling my mom every so often that I’m writing a book about her and she answers” you are”?  I say mom, you have such words of wisdom and I love to speak to you. You make me laugh and you have such great advice for me.  You are so inspiring as my mom, and as a person. With surprise in her voice my mom says,” I am? “My mom asks me if I can read her some of it. She listens carefully and says” that’s very nice what you wrote about me”.  I can hear it in her voice that she is truly touched.
 As you know I have to keep telling her this and everything else over and over again because she does not remember.

I have at moments read my mom parts of this memoir to see if she likes it.  I read her a section about what might have caused me to have been unhappy. I ask was it not having money as a child.  Was it my toilet training, or the dancing ballerina that I was never allowed to get?  After a second of silence, she says without me saying a word, “Lisa it was probably a little of everything”. I said mom you are most likely correct.

I smile to myself, because although she cannot remember anything that I just read to her, she was listening so carefully and had something I think important to say. Actually something pretty smart and perhaps a little profound!

My mom who doesn’t know what food even exists in her refrigerator, who doesn’t remember to flush a toilet or brush her teeth, my mom who will pick up a toothbrush to comb her hair still has words of wisdom to say to me.  This is my mom, my hero .

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Is It Dad or Is It Mom ?

She lifts me up when I am sad. She brings a smile and laugh to my hurting heart.  That’s my mom. She tells me not to worry. If I sound a little blue, she says don’t be sad things will change and you’ll see you’ll be happier later.  Then she ads in one of her famous sayings,” that whatever is meant to be, will be”.  My mom who has so much to be upset about or complain about is almost every day sounding so alive and happy.  I call sometimes just to hear the smile in her voice, to lift me up or to comfort me.  She’s upbeat and funny. Still I am in amazement.  Is this the mom I grew up with? This was how my dad was.  Did in some crazy way, did my dad become my mom?  I have felt this and said this before. If it’s possible then maybe someone put my dad’s soul inside of my mom.  Who knows stranger things can happen.
  I speak about my mom being inhabited with my dad’s being.  Mom now seems to have his wit, his sense of humor, and his upbeat attitude. My dad had a wonderful singing voice. Did my mom inherit that also (not quite)?  Also my dad would go gaga whenever he would see small children.  He would just delight in their presence.  Well to prove my point about my mom, becoming in some ways my dad, my mom who never bothered to show that much affection to children now gravitates to them.  Whenever she sees a young child she goes gaga herself and approaches them.  So be it.  My mom has been in some ways, taken over by my dad’s being. Now I’m really sure!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Who's Elizabeth Taylor ?

After hearing that a famous movie actress had passed away, I decided to mention it to my mom on the telephone. I said "mom Elizabeth Taylor died". My mom said "I don't know her, yet her name does sound familiar to me". I try to make light of the converstaion and say "well mom I didn't know her either". I reply "actually mom ,you are the only famous person that I know". My mom laughs and says "that and a token will get me on the subway".

I loved hearing her remembering such a "famous" phrase. Only several months ago, my mom still knew who the Yankees and Frank Sinatra were. Was this a bad day,or is she slipping more into the disease ? I do think that is what is happening ,although I try really hard not to think that way. Its funny, because I recall that after my mom and dad had moved to Florida, they asked me where do I think they should be buried.(NY or Florida) When they ask that question of me ,my response was that I didn't want to even think or speak about it. I was already in my thirties, and I guess I didn't want to even consider, that my parents could or would die one day.

Do we try to block certain things to protect ourselves? Is that what I might be doing ,once again with my mom. Probably, yet, I just want to hold on to the mom that I now have in my life. The wonderful relationship of a child and their parent. I choose to cherish all that we still do have, and not think about what will probably come next. Choices, we all have them.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dr. Ruthie

As I’ve said even though I do not see my mom so often, I do get to speak to her with some very meaningful conversations on the telephone.  I get to hear her many words of wisdom and advice and let me tell you she is pretty good at it!  I tell her that she should have a talk show called Dr Ruthie where people call in or come to see her and she gives them advice.  She says I don’t want a TV show and she thinks I’m only kidding; and guess what, I am not.
I think that she could do this at her clubhouse that is filled with other senior citizens her age, some younger and some older.  She can and could really make a difference in some of their lives if she could only remember who they are and what they have just said.  This part could be a major problem. This is where it would not work, because after she speaks these unforgettable words of wisdom, and encouragement, or call it whatever you want, they are then forgotten. That is why sometimes I can and will share with my mom something that is bothering me, or upsetting me, because she has so many meaningful things to say to me.  I also know that I do not really upset or worry her, because when I hang up the phone or move onto another part of our conversation, for her anything that I just said is far lost in her memory. I can describe it as a blank canvas. The conversation is now lost somewhere in never, never land.

Just yesterday I asked my mom if I could speak to Elaine, her caretaker and mom replied “how can I find Elaine if I do not know who she is”. Then my mother says “who’s Elaine”? You have to realize that Elaine is with my mom for over two years.  She comes everyday and at the time of my phone call, Elaine is at mom’s apartment . No one else is there. May I say more?
Just lucky for me, that I am able to smile at what she says and not get upset.
Two weeks till I see my mom. Honestly when I am with her that affects me more, because then I can visually see how she is. Anyway this is my mom, and I do love her so.  That for me is the great part.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Birthday

Today when I called my mom I was excited because I will be visiting her in 2 weeks.  Mom's voice chirps up with enthusiam because I am coming, and asks me if I am  bringing any of my kids "? I answer that I am coming alone because everyone has to work.  My mom has only one grandchild that she absolutely adores, and I know that she did not refer to Logan by name, because she has no memory of his name.

Is the other child my husband of thirty years who visited  mom with me in December? I choose not to ask mom who she meant, because she has told me every day that she cannot remember anything. So there is no need to upset or maybe frustrate her.

My mom seems to not have much of a long term memory either. Whenever she says something about having no memory what I always say to her is ; "Mom you remember how much I love you " and mom answers" yes I do". So I then say "mom you have a memory" and we both laugh.  I think it's better to keep things light.

 July 12 has passed and gone and it is my birthday.  I call my mom to say hello and of course remind her that today is my birthday, which is something I’ve been telling her about almost every day for a week now. She asks me what day is today and I answer July 12th. This time she does not ask me how old I am or her age for that matter.
She has been sounding so great for the last week. The week before this she had some “off days” where she did not sound so alive, nor did I hear that cheerfulness, that I normally hear. Anyway, I had the privilege of my mother singing Happy Birthday to me, and she added in her own lyrics at the end. “I love you so much, I love you so much, and hope you love me too”! Mom actually made a poem out of it which she often does (while not being able to remember the words).

 Maybe years ago when she and my dad sang to me together, it was nice yet not like now.  I now seem savoir everything that she says and does.  I think that part of my shift in my relationship with my mom, is that I simply cherish every day that I have with her, and every word that she speaks. It’s almost similar to when you see your child eat, walk or talk for the very first time.  I guess you can say that you “capture “the moment.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ruthie My Love

I wonder if sometimes I might make a big deal of my mom losing her memory to dementia, for she does not.  My mom tells me that if something is that important she would absolutely remember it.  “Sure Ruthie, whatever you say”, what’s the point of trying to prove mom wrong.
Now when Ruthie says something, or anything, I just agree or change the subject. (I guess this is another reason I get along so well with her now.)
Ruthie claims, that she doesn’t remember something, because obviously it is not important.  My mom says, that the most important thing is that you have your health. She repeatedly says, that when you have your health you have everything, and that should make you  happy.  Mom always tells me that she’s very lucky because she has her health and so she is happy. Ruthie, my sweet mom, also has macular degeneration, *that she never complains about.
 It is so amazing to me ,that in her condition and state of mind, that my mom can feel so thankful for all that she does have, and not what she has lost out of her( really ) two illnesses.
This is another reason for me to celebrate what a special lady my mom has become .So Ruthie once again you are my hero!

*Macular Degeneration –can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy New Years

Whenever I speak about my mom it just has me glow inside and out.I feel a warmth and thrill deep in my heart.
“Hi mom, tomorrow when I call you it will be a New Year.  Mom, will you remember that it’s 2010?”, and my mom answers “does it matter if I remember or not that it’s 2010 “. Just call me, because I always enjoy speaking to you”. Okay mom I answer. I know that she makes a lot of sense about not remembering, because does it really matter?  What’s the big deal?  Does the world make too much to do with, that my mom, or even I, cannot remember certain things? Does it scare us so, like when my Uncle Alvin, did not know his kids, my mom, or me ?  I know that it hurts the family and yet I wonder if the person with Alzheimer’s is really suffering.  What world do they live in?  What are they feeling?  Are they thinking? Wondering what is happening to them or are they at peace in their own mind? Alzheimer’s or Cancer?  For me, I think the latter scares me more.
I have been so inspired by my mom that I want to share her to the world.  Most of the documentaries, movies and articles that I have read about Alzheimer’s, have been upsetting and somewhat depressing.  I know that out there, that there are other “delightful” Alzheimer patients like my mom.
Only yesterday I received an email from a young lady whose grandmother has Alzheimer’s and after she read some of my blog she thought that my mom and her grandmother were similar.
She just wanted to reach out to me, so she could also be able to speak to someone, who understood. It brought tears to my eyes, and it also had me feel that I was starting to make a difference. This is all I want to do.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Alzheimer's Association: It's Time to Spread Awareness Video

Do you know anyone who suffers from Alzheimer's?
Parent? Grandparent? Friend ?
If you have not seen this video please watch it.

Mommy's World- Part 3

My days do begin each day by calling my mom to say hello and see how she is doing .I make sure to tell her what time it is, what day it is , and who will be coming today for she cannot remember. Her answers are usually the same, “if they come they come if they don’t I don’t care” and then she starts to sing “whatever will be will be the futures is ours to see, que sera, sera.”We then both giggle like young girls having fun. Sometimes she says, oakey dokey jimmied oaky .This is all such a new experience for me that I share with my mom, something that is so enduring to my heart. My mom, she’s amazing! What a lady and I get such a quick out of her.  
Alzheimer's Association

Yesterday the Alzheimer's Association had a wonderful video on YouTube about new facts and figures on
Alzheimer's and  they asked everyone to please take the time to Spread  Awareness. I hope you can too !

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mommy's World-Part 2

It’s amazing how my mom lives in her "world” and thinks she is healthy. Sometimes I wonder, if the world that is filled with people, who suffer from Alzheimer's, are really suffering, or are they okay? Could it be that the family is the one who struggles so much,while they watch their loved one slowly disappear. In some ways my mom ,is still very much here, even though she has lost most of her memory.

My brother says that she is in stage 5&6 out of seven stages that the Alzheimer's Association list on their web ; When I read the different stages,, I get real scared for her ,and once again cherish all that she still is.

My mom, my hero, who when I catch her on a good day, she is filled with much wisdom and joy. When her fabulous caretaker Elaine comes my mom becomes so alive and yet she refuses to “remember” her name. When Elaine is not there she can sometimes feel a little lost,or mom tells me she doesn’t care if Elaine comes or not. I do know, how very much Elaine, adds to my mother’s life ,and for this I am also grateful.

I am so thankful, and hold on to,that my mom still knows who I am. My mom brings a smile to my face when I speak about her or think about her.

Can she have always been so great, and I just didn’t know it? Is it her or is it me? Every day when I call, I can hear the excitement in her voice when she says, “hi sweetheart “. My heart just swells with all the deep love and affection, that I now feel for her. I start to glow.
FACT- 5.3 Million Americans Suffer From Alzheimer's Disease

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mommy's World

My mom now suffers from Dementia/Alzheimer’s and today my mom has become my hero.  Mom’s disease has brought us closer and for me I do not hold it as a tragedy. Ironically it has given me a greater appreciation and respect for which she is and I hope that if I too, end up with her disease, that I could be half the person she has become.
 She now has so many wonderful things about her personality that maybe she always had, and I just could not see or appreciate them. She is still at the age of 86 feisty, energetic, and in a strange way so alive.

Alive? What is alive? My mom stays locked in her home with the television turned on every waking hour. When my dad passed away fifteen years ago my mom said having the television on all the time was for her, never having to be alone. She said there was always sound, no silence in her home and that it had become her friend.

 I use to question before I realized what was really happening to my mom why would such an active women who was always going to lectures and loved to keep learning just stop doing things. Her hints of getting lost all the time in her car, and when she stopped reading or looking at all my home furnishing magazines( like Elle D├ęcor and Architectural Digest  when she came to visit) I should have questioned more. I thought it was strange and my husband and I could not understand when she would come up from Florida to visit and stay with us for a week or two why she said she would start her programs again when the summer was over. Many months after the summer ended, she would tell us the same thing  about restarting her activities (after the summer ended) and I would say “mom it’s already October, and the summer has been over for months”. Mom would say” what are you speaking about the summer is not over”. These were the little signs that her mind was starting to go, or was it that I did not want to acknowledge what was happening to her.

 Her younger brother, my Uncle Alvin already had Alzheimer’s and my mom would always tell me how bad he was getting. He didn’t know who she was any longer.  It was getting her quite upset, to the point where she did not even want to see him .Since then my uncle has passed away from the disease. He had full blown Alzheimer’s and was wearing diapers towards the end.
As of now my mom is nowhere near that stage although things are starting to show more and more, maybe I choose to not think of what may happen, yet to stay in the moment of thankfulness for all that we still do share.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Logan My Son


I always told Logan that he could do anything he wanted to do if he really wanted it. Then one day as a child Logan said to me “well mom if I really wanted to fly could I?”I laughed and thought what a smart interesting thing for a young boy to say. And I had no answer for him. I wanted my child to be sweet like his father and tough like me and that is exactly what I got. A fabulous caring and sensitive human being who believes in his self and is secure and surrounded by many friends. Logan is an only child and at the age of 23 years old he is quite mature. We as parents try to be the best we can and whatever happened to my mom as she was growing up formed her to be the person she is.

If Logan were to look at me I know that there would be things he really admires about me and things he does not. Just like my mom, I’m certainly not perfect and what would Logan be like if I was the sweet, nurturing kind of mother that I wanted or should I say I thought I wanted. Logan we have always been told by his friend’s parents that he was one of the most secure kids they ever met. We were told that when he was quite young that he was a quiet leader. Logan is not quiet at all he is just not a show off, or does he go around
boasting about all his accomplishments. He has lots of friends and this means a lot to him, as does his family.

Logan is his own person(for sure) although somehow I do believe that my support and “tough” love to Logan has “assisted “ him in who he is .Again if someone asked Logan he might answer differently(please do not tell me).

Logan has been calling my mom usually once a week and even though she lives in Florida, since he was born he has a strong bond with her, and has spent many days and hours with her. When I speak to him about her condition he is so understanding and caring. The world rises and sets with my mom with her only grandchild and yet there have recently been many days where she has a hard time remembering his name.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Out To Lunch with Elaine or Who's Elaine ?

Today I received a call from my mom's caretaker Elaine.  At first when I saw her name on caller ID I felt
nervous. Elaine rarely calls me.  When I answered  the phone Elaine sounded excited to tell me that my mom was waiting for her at her front door.  Mom immediately asked Elaine if they were going out today.

This is amazing because my mom never wishes to leave her home.  Her home is a place that she feels most safe and secure in. Elaine shouted with much enthusiasm that she was going to take my mom out to lunch .I suggested that they go for Chinese food and spelled out to Elaine some of my mom's favorite dishes: fried rice,egg roll, wonton soup and sweet & sour chicken. Guess what? My mom has no recollection that she even likes Chinese food or which are her favorite dishes.

So off they went. Elaine called me back several hours later to describe in detail their luncheon together. Elaine ordered the food and after it was served and my mom finished her soup, she kept telling Elaine how cold she was. Elaine said to me "well at least we got your mom out".I expressed to her how grateful I was for how she cares for my mom and asked her to please take mom out to eat, every few weeks. Elaine had the waiter pack up all the food and they left the restaurant . Mom wanted to return home to her "safe haven".

The next morning when I called to say hello and tell my mom that Elaine would be coming to visit her today, my mom replied "who is Elaine"?. Elaine has been coming to care for my mom for the last 2 years. I ask mom if she ate breakfast this morning and mom answers, "I really do not remember".

I cherish every day that my mom still knows who I am and I consider myself so lucky that every day when I call, I am still greeted with her cheerful voice.



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Dad

I guess most kids have special names for their grandparents. Logan called my dad Poppy and my mom he called Mom. I remember hearing Logan when he spoke to them on the telephone. He would be telling them something about me I would hear him say “my mom did this” and I would smile, because to my mom or dad, I was their daughter, and of course they knew who Logan’s mom was.

Anyway I was definitely daddy’s little girl running and jumping into his arms everyday when he came home from work. I was his pride and joy and even more he was the same to me.

My dad was extremely easy going, carefree always having a smile on his face. He was upbeat and had a positive attitude about life. He also had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed telling jokes.

As a child he grew up with one older brother and two older sisters. His dad had a pushcart on the lower East side selling fruits and vegetables.I believe that he shared his bedroom with his siblings. My dad’s dream was to one day have a Cadillac. He would say that when you die they take you away in one, so his dream was to be able to afford one.

He always told jokes and I grew up either hearing him sing, mostly show music, or we would watch together “our shows”, The Honeymooners, Laurel & Hardy or Three Stooges.

On the other side of our relationship whenever, I would call my parents for advice and my mom would say "ask your dad, he’s better at that then me "and so she would put him on the phone.

My dad was the one who I adored so much when I was a child and for many more years after.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mommy" Dearest"

Up until a few years ago when my mom was diagnosed with dementia there had been a real riff between us. Years of us fighting whenever we saw each other and words that could cut like a knife.
There were several years before she moved to Florida when I was in my early thirties that we did get along quite well, although I do not remember ever feeling a deep love for who she was( just loving her because she was my mom).I don’t think that I gave that much thought to our relationship. She was my mom and that was it. I did not have that deep sense of “my mom” how special or great she was.

While she was in Florida when my dad was healthy and alive I would go visit with my husband and son Logan. I remember that she said things that bothered me, and I could not believe some of the things that came out of her mouth.  I  recall her and my dad having some disagreements and thinking that if they do not “work things out” they should be on their way to getting divorced or maybe dad might just “kill her”(only kidding).

Several years later my dad became quite ill, was in a nursing home and for 8 months my mom became so wonderful, never complaining about her situation. She went to see my dad everyday and would drive alone, an hour each way, to be with him. She actually was filled with much strength and dignity. During this period I spoke to my mom everyday and flew down every month to be with her. It also gave me the opportunity to be with my dad before he passed away.

 Mom and I got along beautifully and I also got to really express all my love to my dad .After my dad passed away we flew my mom to Disney World from Ft Lauderdale to Orlando as we flew  from New York .My mom had gone through some very long, sad months watching my dad suffer until he died.

At Disney World we all had a wonderful time together .Then what happened ? Mom and I went into many years of a bitter hate love relationship. One that I thought I couldn’t care if I never saw her again until several years ago when she became ill.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sweet Sweet Mom

This is a new picture that my brother Gil took of my mom when he arrived at her home on Wednesday. Every week my brother comes to take our mom out to lunch . After lunch they go to the supermarket to buy fresh food so Elaine her caretaker can prepare meals for mom to eat each day.

When I spoke to my mom in the morning I had told her that she had a lunch date with Gil today. Mom answered sounding surprised that Gil was even coming. She said "I do" with much excitement in her voice.  Yes mom, Gil will be coming I answered. Mom then wonders what time will Gil arrive and I tell her around 1 o'clock. She then wants to know what time it is. It usually is around 10 :30 AM when I call. I smile to myself for my mom continues to ask me this very same question every single week. It's funny because now as if she was a child her question warms my heart. The difference for me now is, that before mom became ill she would say things that could certainly annoy me. Now her voice and questions are like music to my ears.

Mom has a large digital clock that sits on her kitchen counter that she can never read. So she never knows what time it is. I think in her reality there is no time(day or night). Elaine told me that mom asked her to leave last week around 2PM in the afternoon. Mom said it was time to go to sleep. She wanted to lock up the house before she got into bed.  Elaine had to call my brother so he could convince our mom that it was to early for her to go to bed.

Gil emailed me this picture yesterday and wrote:  I called mom while I was on my way to pick her up and take her to lunch. Mom said she had just gotten undressed and would get dressed again.When I arrived she was wearing this "new" outfit and she looked so cute.(Gil & I never saw her in this outfit.) . Gil was so thrilled(and probably shocked) to see how she cute she looked he decided to snap her picture .

My mom continues to wear the same old outfit every day, and seems never to want to put on new clothes. Has Ruthie my mom become a fashion maven? We all know that stripes and the nautical looks are in. Who knows for wonders may never cease.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Phone Calls With Mom

MARCH 2, 2011
I recently read  quotes from 2 famous authors that have memoirs coming out on a mother's death and a husband's death.They spoke about all their grief and dealing with it.What I realized was that my writing is celebrating my mom and her life. I realize how lucky I am that I was given a second chance to have a wonderful bonding, loving relationship with her.For that I am so thankful.

I call my mom everyday to tell her how much I love her and to hear her cheerful voice.I also tell her who is coming to visit her each day.We joke about her not knowing what day it is .I tell her since she is retired that everyday to her is the weekend.She finds this amusing and we both laugh.Sometimes she'll tell me that it feels so good to laugh ,and she is so correct.

Today I told her that I will be coming to visit her in 4weeks.My countdown has begun.Mom askes me if I am bringing anyone and I ask "who would you like me to bring?"She answers no one, although I think she was hoping that Logan her only grandson was coming. She tells me that she is so happy that I am coming.Then my mom proceeds to tell me that it has been years since I came to visit her."Mom  I was there in December with my husband".She says" you were?I don't remember".My mom,my hero I love her so.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Parents & Great Neck

My parents moved from Brooklyn where I was born at Maimonides Hospital when I was 3 months old to Bayside Queens. We lived in attached garden apartments and I remember being so happy growing up there. Richard Dreyfus was my next door neighbor who I played with at an early age. Several years later, his family moved to Los Angeles, California and he became a famous movie actor. I remember being in the playground when my dad would come home and when he called I ran and I jumped into his arms as he hugged and kissed me. These garden apartments were built for the war veteran’s .My parents eventually traded bedrooms with my brother and I since my brother and I shared the smaller bedroom. One summer when I came home from sleep away camp I found all of ours belonging in the larger bedroom. My parents had gotten us all new furniture, and divided the room in half with a great acrylic designer looking screen. It was pretty cool.I didn’t mind sharing the bedrooms with my brother. Although I’m not sure that my brother felt the same way.
 I remember that before I was old enough to go myself to sleep away camp I would go for several weeks to with my mom. My mom would stay at the camp with me. I do not recall if she slept in the same bunk or not.  She cannot remember any of this so there is no way for me to find out. Yet I do have such fond memories of these summers. I stopped going to sleep away camp after 7th grade when I was already living in Great Neck, Long Island and started hanging out at the swimming pool club that my parents belonged to with my friends.  We did not have our own swimming pool, like some of my friends, although I remember loving going to the club. Bikinis were just starting to be worn, they were the rage in Europe, especially the French Riviera, and Sonny & Cher had their huge hit “I Got You Babe” playing on the radio. Anyway my parents said they moved to this town to “better me “and to perhaps give me my very own bedroom. I loved my childhood memories of growing up in Bayside, Queens and my parents moving to Great Neck to “better me “maybe that’s when my happiness and I changed. Could I have been so shallow or become so insecure that I could not have what my friends were able to have?
I also remember as a child going every year on my birthday, July 12th to Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor in Bayside. If you showed them your birth certificate they would give you a free sundae. I also have fond memories of after my dance recitals, my parents taking me back to Jahn’s for a sundae. I guess that was my “reward” for a job well done. The simple things of life actually were quite lovely. Do we get caught up in seeing too much and then wanting too much and forgetting certain values? Does money make someone happy? For me it did not. I was doing quite well, in my career in the fashion industry and having “the finer things” in life, I found myself back in a therapist office talking about not feeling happy. Again was it my inner self, my relationship with my mom, my “toilet training” or perhaps not getting the dancing ballerina that my cousin Carole had.

 My brother Gil never grew up in Great Neck, since he immediately went to Queens College.He would come home in the evenings. So did Great Neck better me or in some ways maybe yes and in some ways I don’t think so. I envied what others had and moving to this town in 6th grade making new friends and then going to a different school in town for Junior High, perhaps would be difficult for most teenagers. Straight hair was in; curly hair which I was blessed with was out. Peggy Lipton who starred in Mod Squad with her beautiful straight blond hair could make any curly haired girl green with envy. The popular guys in 7th grade I remember use to make fun of me because I did not have “real” Papagallos.I guess at that time that was the status symbol. They also made fun of the size of my breasts/boobs or should I say the lack of them. Luckily for me this had never ever bothered me. I never had any desire to be more endowed.   At least I was secure in that area. I remember wanting to get a nose job like all my friends They all used the famous doctor, Dr. Diamond. He had the best reputation, especially if you wanted the same nose that all your friends were getting, whether it fit your shape face or not. I do remember my mom saying to me that I could not get a nose job and that if I still wanted to correct my nose when I was sixteen we could talk about it. My mom thought at thirteen I did not know what was best for me and that I would outgrow wanting one. Although I was upset with her she was right and I did outgrow it. The one thing Great Neck did do for me was it made me very ambitious.  I saw things that I wanted and I focused on my career in the fashion industry. I ask did growing up in Great Neck helped form and inspire me. Or could it have been my parents, my mom and or my dad?