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Visiting Mom at Her Apartment
words + photos by J R Compton
Group Hug on the Balcony
I visited Mom at ver nearly the same time Dale, Tom and of course, Mary Ann did in mid-February 2016. As often, I took lots of pix of her and her apartment and stuff that happened during the three or four days I was there.
Turtle Near the Edge
I went out of a sense of duty, but it was fun. I'm pretty sure I inherited her sense of fun, and I kinda mangled my father's sense of duty. This trip at least, fun won out. We talk on the phone two or three times every week. I call her and she calls me. And we talk. My sibs are often startled about what we tell each other, but it's nothing new. We always have and probably always will.
Pig on the Porch
Lots of odd and pretty things on that porch, and the view is almost always lovely, even when it takes awhile to figure that out.
Orange Flowers on Mom's Porch
There's always lots of color out on the porch as in the rest of the house. I think I got that from here, though I may have carried a bit farther..
Dale's Flowers to Mom on the Chinese Chest
Just a few petals had fallen this early in the life of those flowers — and more did later, but they were lovely to stare out on our vision's trek to farther out the window, the balcony and miles and miles in that direction..
Ceramic Rooster in the Kitchen Corner
Mom and I drove around looking for birds, and those pix are on my February 2016 Amateur Birder's Journal page right here till a day or two after the end of February 2016 — and here after.
Cardinal we saw along the side of the road
The two other birds we both saw on the side of the road, after getting the McDonald's hamburger were this cardinal and a Cattle Egret.
Tri-folded Flag from Daddy's funeral in the open space between the living room and the kitchen.
Photograph of Mom All Dressed Up by Mary Ann
A strikingly handsome photograph hung in the front hallway. I got to see that smile often those few days.
I keep thinking I should send this to Mary Ann.
Fog in the Morning
Visibility: a couple hundred yards and then after awhile, nearly nothing …
Mom's Porch in Fog
Most — maybe all — of these photographs were taken with a lens I got last December that I had hardly ever used, but knew eventually I would, so I used it extensively on this trip.
Welcoming Windows in the Fog
Over the years, I've taken lots of pictures out various windows, but I really had fun this time, especially in the fog.
Circles with Tangents
Lots of circles everywhere I looked and photographed those few days — under fog, too.
Every time I visit Mom, I try to get better pix of things like Daddy's medals and Oscar the cat. This time I used my really sharpest short and comparatively inexpensive telephoto lens (Nikon 85mm f1.8 G) hoping it would finally render them well enough, and it did. — without setting up the tripod, which I should do with many of the photographs in that same room, where I stayed this time, next time and the time after that.
Top Row, left to right are the Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit and Silver Star from World War II, the Service Medal, The Air Medal and six more, less important medals, not counting whatever is notched into the lower corners.
There's a more definitive description of these medals near the bottom of my personal home page.
Corners and Shadows in Sunshine
Sometimes I just wander around wherever I am, taking pictures.
Love Birds Somewhere at AFV
I kept finding bird pictures around the building., so I had to render them, too.
Oscar Poses for J R
This shot's a mild telephoto, but Oscar let me get close enough to pet him on two other occasions. I love orange cats, and this one's pretty independent for one that's fed regularly — his bowl is just outside the main door.
Pushing Her Walker Around Elevator Corner
She's no longer frail, but she's still delicate, though she exercises regularly and pushes that cart almost everywhere.
And she's back up to her lifetime average weight.
Mom at McDonald's
Mom wanted to go to a McDonald's for a hamburger, so I took her to one just a little south (I think) on 410. I didn't plan or googamap it, we just got on 410 and started driving till we saw the golden starches. She loved it and kept being amazed by the diversity of people there.
Mom at Rest in the Lobby
I know the feeling. I was surprised how lively Mom was, and how active. She walked downstairs and back up at least six times every day and still serves herself or whoever's around breakfast in the mornings.
As often happens when I photograph something cute or artistic, I forget to appraise its value, especially to me, while concentrating on getting a decent photograph. For ten dollars, it would have been a lovely gift for Anna. I identify with this creature, who may well not be a rabbit, but I was never quite sure who it were.
Bare Bear on a Bear Rug
This must be in Mom's apartment. I don't think I was in anybody else's apartment this trip, but I don't remember this bear. I bet one of you does, though. I think I know the rug is sheepskin, not bear, but I liked the flavor of this title better.
Mom with Teddy
Anna gave this Teddy Bear to me, and after someone who had experience with Alzheimer's told me how lovely a gift it was, Anna and I loaned it to Dad when he needed it — and Mom told me he hugged it deep and often while he was at The Mission.
Mom and I keep discussing how long she can keep him. Eventually, we agree to continue the loan till she doesn't need it, which might be awhile.
Mom Hugging Teddy
But right now, after much discussion, we agreed, she does. My name's on the tag, so I get it back when she no longer needs it. It's a great huggy-bear, all soft and furry. He almost never says anything, but he stays ready for being touched.
Island Freight Haulers
When I saw this downstairs near the front entrance, I thought about my Chinese chest.
The Chinese Chest
That I also have my name on. I don't remember what else I've claimed, however, but I always remember this box, and that someday it'll be mine. I guess I should clean out a room for it.
Top Layer inside the Chest
I was, as usual, curious, so I opened the chest to see what all was in it now, and I piled everything out and we talked about each item. It was a fun exploration.
Mom under Indian Blanket
All this stuff came out of the Chinese box, and most of it went back in.
Mom and Memories of a Hupmobile
When Mom remembered her Dad's Hupmobile, I looked it up online and found this picture, which she said looked just like the one the H.J. Clare family drove back and forth from Casper to Denver (277 miles) on family vacations. I think I remember she said that trip took three days back then.
Mary Ann and Dale in the Living Room
A pleasant moment of gentle conversation. So nice to be with sibs again.
Birds on Branches
Another tick I have is that I photograph birds in art I find — anywhere. These examples are from big, framed artworks in the hallways downstairs. I think I know that these pieces were deeded to AFV or BS when their former owners passed on.
I think it's wonderful of them to have done that, but I don't ever want to find my Chinese Chest among them. I think all three of these last two pictures' worth of birds are the same species, but as usual, I have no idea which species they are.
Dale in the restaurant downstairs
A really handsome guy. In Saint Louis visiting Diane many years ago, people kept asking if we were twins, but neither of us appreciated those suggestions. Now I wonder if we still look alike. I often see Daddy looking back at me from a mirror, but I usually don't see Dale in there.
Both Photographs: 7:38 PM from Mom's Balcony
I had really hoped to see Tom, too, but I was running out of my fast-acting insulin, so I had to hit the road early in the morning of the evening he came down. I'd already sent the first Birthday Card I can remember sending him, thinking it should get to Austin right on time.
If you have questions or quibbles or anything
And some of you may be wondering whatever happened to my pix of last House. I also wondered, found that I only had 57 photographs already worked up for that page, but I really, really wanted to do more pages of kids playing in the back yard and running and chasing each other back there. And I might even do that, later. But I figured it was later enough already.
me at my latest email address.