Friday, January 13, 2006


Let's see...

    I guess you've noticed, I've got a few more casts up. The best one, so far, has nothing to do with the questionnaire. If you have any interest in sampling what it's like to have Dementia-Lite or to live with and care for someone in the grips of Dementia-Lite, the best of the podcasts, the one with the asterisk, Who Am I? is a "must hear" cast. I think you'll find it entertaining, enlightening and far from tragic. A note about that cast: Although I'm fairly convinced that the reason she insists that I am 8 years younger than she is because her younger sister, whom she loved and with whom she continues to wish she had lots more time, is 8 years and one month younger than her, I also think that she is not "confusing" me with her sister (who has been dead since 1998) so much as thinking of her relationship with me as being the manifestation of the potential that existed in that relationship. She and her sister didn't really get to know each other until they were adults and then waited a long time to explore their relationship. Their exploration was cut short by her sister's illness and death. Mom was very clear during our conversation that I am not her sister. On that day she was thinking of me as having been around in her born-into home at the same time as her sister and joining her sister at their aunt's house during a period of crisis. I think, though, that she enjoys her relationship with me as much as she enjoyed what little relationship she was allowed to have with her sister and placing the two of us in parallel is expressing not only her pleasure in that relationship as well as this one with me but her truncated desires for her relationship with her sister. All of the people mentioned in that podcast except for my sisters are dead, by the way.
    In my limited experience with podcasting Mom & Me I'm discovering that although my mother enjoys being asked the questions in the questionnaire, they are incapable of provoking truly ruminative conversations between us. The further we go with this, and I expect this to become a regular activity simply because Mom loves being interviewed and talking about herself knowing that she's being taped, the more likely it will be that we will deviate from the questionnaire. It did not escape my notice that at the beginning of the Dementia-Lite interview she impatiently asked, "When are we going to start talking about what I do?" My guess is that she has yen to talk about her teaching career, so I'm designing an outline that will allow her to do just that. Serendipitously, we watched a show on one of the networks tonight, Stupid in America. Being a retired school teacher and an Ancient One with Dementia-Lite who thinks she is an active school teacher, this show really got her going. She loves to discuss education. I'm thinking this would be an excellent topic for a podcast.
    Although we began podcasting as a genealogical exercise and a sort of life review, I think it will be much more valuable, even genealogically, if we are flexible enough to mold the podcasts to serve what my mother wants to say and what I'd like to preserve about her rather than what a Life Review Questionnaire would have her say and me record. Yesterday, for instance, the day we recorded the Dementia-Lite interview, she was in what she would describe as a "rare mood" from the moment her feet hit the floor. She was so animated during bathing that I was sorry I hadn't bugged the bathroom with the computer and microphone. Our conversation would have made for yet another asterisked podcast. No, it wouldn't have been the same, not even interesting, if I'd brought the equipment in during the bathing process. Yesterday's bathing conversation would have been self-consciously monitored to its death if she'd known the equipment was up and running. I guess I'm going to have to tune myself to possibilities in advance. What a delightful prospect!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Transcripting the Podcasts - Second Interview

    Although this transcript is, as are all the others, dated according to when it was taped, it's actually taken me forever to get around to transcribing this and the other interviews, which will be coming next, although not necessarily in quick succession. I haven't divided this one up into sections as I did the "Who Am I?" transcript. Although Mom and I began this interview with the idea that I'd ask questions from a particular survey, in the hope of avoiding "yes" and "no" answers, most of the interview, except the very last few questions, dealt with her religious upbringing and spiritual life.
    I notice that we were only partially successful in avoiding the types of answers we were hoping to avoid. In this interview I still did most of the talking, in the form of rather long questions and/or interruptions, when Mom was having trouble finding words, designed to solicit her thoughts or put them into words with which she agreed. I would have liked to have gotten her talking more. I hope in some of the subsequent interviews I accomplished this, although I'm doubtful since I think the reasons we stopped the interviews is because we had little success getting her to talk extensively on tape...probably mostly the fault of me, the interviewer. She does talk enough in this interview, though, to show that she is thoughtful, well in control of her mental faculties despite her dementia-lite and perfectly able and willing to carry on conversations, despite having to search for words. Although it may be hard to believe, she was the same when she died three years later, except for the last three days before she died, when her body was breaking down and just about everything became incredibly difficult for her.
    As I transcribed this interview today, 7/28/10, I noticed I became annoyed with myself that I didn't stick with the interviewing process long enough to get us both to relax to the point where she talked more and I listened more. I hope I did better in subsequent interviews, but I doubt that I did.
    This was also the first interview through which I decided to edit out the many, many pauses, during which my mother picked around for words. The editing is obvious as you listen to the tape. I did some of this in the "Who Am I?" interview, but that one was quite a bit more lively and required less editing. It also took place on the same day, I notice, as this interview. Perhaps, by this time, we were both getting tired of the process.
    I also note that the interview ends very abruptly, which I didn't remember. At first I thought that maybe I'd cut our usual "Bye-bye audience" part off or it hadn't transferred as I was moving files around, but, no, that's where I stopped the recording. Not sure why.

["G:" is Gail. "M:" is Mom.]

Transcript of "The Second Interview"

G: Okay, so this is the second part of our interview for January the 12th, Mom & Me the Podcast, and after the first interview we decided to skip over to the questionnaire. So, this is going to be the more formal part of the interview. Mom and I have just hit upon a solution to this sort of going through questions and getting "yes" and "no" answers problem. I'm going to pause the tape, we're going to go through questions and when we come across one that Mom would especially like to answer, that's when we're going to start the tape recorder.
M: Oh, okay.
G: Here's a question that I'm hoping you will be able to elaborate on. Are you a spiritual person?
M: Spiritual, yes.
G: Talk about your spirituality for me.
M: To me, being spiritual has a full meaning as to how I live or how I think.
G: Can you give me an example right off the top of your head of how your spirituality has influenced you? Let me kind of set you up for this, okay? Your mother was a minister's daughter...
M: Yes...
G: ...and she came from a long line of ministers...
M: ...yes...
G: ...and you were very familiar with specifically Methodist, ah, Methodism as it influences a family that practices it.
M: ...yes.
G: How much of your spirituality, now, reflects your spirituality, or your struggles with spirituality when you were younger?
M: I think quite a bit of it.
G: Do you still consider yourself a Methodist?
M: Oh, yes.
G: And do you consider yourself a Christian?
M: Yes.
G: What is a Christian?
M: A Christian is someone who believes in God and...
G: Do you think that a Christian has to believe that Jesus is the son of God?
M: I think that you do, whether you realize it or not.
G: Do you think that a Christian has to believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins?
M: No, I don't think that.
G: What do you think is the most important thing about Jesus' life, from the point of view of being a Christian?
M: The fact that he even lived.
G: Do you think it's important that Christians believe that he was divine and is the Son of God?
M: Yes.
G: When you were in your sixties and seventies, you and I would get together in the evening and do a lot of reading out of a variety of books, some of them, the Jane Roberts books about Seth, we also read that series of books by the author Fox, you know what, I can't remember his first name but they were a whole series of essays on Christianity. Would you say that your attitudes, your spiritual attitudes, are pretty close to the mainstream of Christian thought, or vary from that?
M: No, I think they're pretty close to it.
G: Give me some ideas of what mainstream Christian thought is.
M: The fact that I tend to forgive rather easily.
G: You attribute that to your Christianity?
M: Yeah.
G: Do you remember ever, ever having a discussion with yourself about forgiveness? Has it always been easier for you to forgive people or did you have an epiphany moment when you realized that it would be better if you forgave people?
M: I think it's always been easy for me.
G: What was your family's spiritual life like? I know that you guys went to church every Sunday.
M: Yes.
G: And that all of you kids went to Sunday School.
M: Yes.
G: Did everybody in your family attend or were there members of your family who religiously did not go to church and Sunday School?
M: James [Mom's brother, two years older than her].
G: James didn't. From what age did James decide not to go?
M: When he got old enough to where he could say, "I'm staying home."
G: How old was that?
M: Probably, oh dear...
G: Was he in high school when he did that?
M: I think it was just before he went into high school.
G: Just before he went into high school. Okay.
M: Mmm hmm.
G: Did you ever want not to go to church and Sunday School?
M: No.
G: Did you teach Sunday School when you were younger?
M: Yes.
G: At what age did you stop going to Sunday School and start teaching Sunday School?
M: I don't know, but it seems to me it was someplace in, umm...
G: High School?
M: Yeah...
G: Junior High, maybe?
M: Junior High, probably.
G: Do you think there was anyone in your family, your mom, your dad, James, Jean and you, that did not believe in God?
M: No. Ah, James may have questioned it, but I think when it came right down to it he believed in him.
G: Did your dad go to church and Sunday School?
M: He went to ch...yes. He did.
G: He went to both?
M: He didn't go to Sunday School, so much, but he did go to church.
G: When you were younger and living at home did you guys ever have discussions about religion and spirituality?
M: No.
G: Do you remember that, within the family that you gave birth to, us, that we used to do that a lot?
M: Yes.
G: When you were younger and in your born-into family did you ever wish that your family would discuss those things at home, or did any of you ever even find it necessary to discuss those things?
M: We never did discuss it and I don't think we ever found it necessary. We just accepted.
G: You know, it was largely due to you and Dad that we at home discussed religion and spirituality and our beliefs at all. What do you think was the difference between when you were younger and then when you had your own family that allowed you to decide that discussions about religion and spirituality would be a good thing within the family you gave birth to?
M: I think it's a matter of how we, how, I know what I'm thinking but...
G: Describe the picture if you can't think of a way to say it. What was the difference between our family and the family that you were born into, that made it comfortable for you to allow your family that you created to discuss religion and spirituality?
M: Well, the fact that we accepted ideas like that.
G: So, within the family you were born into that acceptance didn't exist.
M: No. You just did.
G: Do you remember internally when you were younger questioning any of the...
M: Oh, no.
G: ...relig...oh, really? It just simply wasn't done, even to the point of not questioning, then?
M: That's right.
G: I do remember you telling me that the communities within which you lived were pretty homogenous, so that the Catholic within the community was noticed. If someone was of a different religion, um, I mean of a different sect it was usually one Catholic in a community of Protestants. Is that correct?
M: Yeah.
G: Do you recall if there were any divisions between different denominations of Protestantism? I'm sure that Methodism wasn't the only Protestant denomination in your, in any of your communities, isn't that correct?
M: As far as I know that was correct.
G: Do you remember any of the others? Do you remember, for instance, if there were Presbyterians or Episcopalians...
M: Presbyterians...
G: ...what about Baptists? Um, there were very many Baptists in the...
M: No, I don't remember.
G: Were there rivalries between the Presbyterians and the Methodists?
M: Not really, there was to a certain extent, "They believed that because they were Presbyterians,"...
G: [laughs] Do you remember any of your grandfather's preaching? Do you recall attending his services?
M: No.
G: Was he retired by the time that you started...
M: He had retired, pretty much, by the time.
G: Do you remember attending the services of anybody that you were related to?
M: No.
G: Do you remember meeting the aunt of yours that was a deaconess?
M: I don't think I ever did.
G: Do you feel the same, now, toward people who are not Protestant as you did then?
M: It depends on what they are.
G: Can you elaborate for me on that?
M: Yes. Say they're, they're Catholic. I can feel as though they, there must be something missing in their upbringing.
G: Really? Why do you feel that?
M: Because, anybody that has any thinking at all isn't Catholic. Or, isn't Protestant. Or whatever...
G: [laughing] think you meant isn't Catholic. Do you mean that, seriously?
M: That's the way I feel way down deep.
G: Really!
M: Mmm.
G: Well, then, is that why there was such an uproar, which I never understood, when Davy and Elaine got married and...
M: ...Mmm.
G: ...or, Davy converted to Catholicism? What is it about the Catholic religion that you think is missing? The reason I'm asking you is, as you know we were, you know we lived on a Catholic island. And, although I'm not Catholic, because I attended so many services and had so many friends that were Catholic and became so familiar with the liturgy and the ritual, curiously, I feel as though Catholicism is the Christian religion that has a lot more to offer and is a lot fuller than Protestantism. So, that's why I'm curious to know what it is you think is missing in Catholicism.
M: I think that Catholicism accepts religion without, without really, I was going to say, thinking about it, but that isn't it.
G: Interestingly, you just finished telling me that your entire family pretty much accepted Methodism and Christianity...
M: ...oh yes...
G: ...without thinking about it at all.
M: They did. Mother was Methodist and her family were all Methodists, Grandpa was a Methodist minister, so, they just accepted it.
G: And, your great-grandpa was also a Methodist minister, isn't that right?
M: As far as I know.
G: He was the circuit rider that you told me about, right?
M: Oh, yeah.
G: Okay. So and I, and you told me fairly recently that you remembered that your great-grandfather was a fire and brimstone minister, but that his son, your grandfather, was a much more mild mannered minister. And we talked about the possibility that maybe your grandfather was that way in reaction to your great-grandfather.
M: Could be.
G: How old were you when you started thinking about your spirituality? See as how...
M: ...oh, my...
G: ...that wasn't encouraged in your family?
M: I don't know, but rather young, I think. Um...
G: Before you went to college?
M: Oh yes.
G: When you were in high school?
M: Yes, I would say that.
G: When you started thinking about your spirituality did you ever talk to anyone in your family about it?
M: No. Now, I tried at one time to talk to Mother but you don't discuss those things with mother [chuckling].
G: What was it that you tried to approach her about? Do you remember? What spiritual issue?
M: I don't remember...years ago.
G: Do you remember some of the things that you questioned in your own mind, whether or not you talked to Grandma and Grandpa about them?
M: No, to Grandpa it didn't matter.
G: Your dad, you mean?
M: Yeah.
G: Did you ever talk to him about your spirituality?
M: No.
G: Well, 'cause he never really impressed me as someone who cared to discuss stuff like that. He'd rather fish.
M: Yeah.
G: [laughing]
M: That's true.
G: That's true. Or talk about stones and rocks...
M: Yeah...
G: ...or talk about other people.
M: ...yeah...
G: It was actually your father who was the gossip.
M: That's right.
G: In fact, I don't remember your mom ever talking about anyone.
M: No, no.
G: But I can remember...
M: ...goodness no!
G: ...all kinds of little tidbits that came out of your dad's mouth!
M: [laughing] Yeah. Right.
G: So what were some of the things that you thought about or that you questioned in your spirituality when you started to question?
M: I don't remember, Gail.
G: One thing that I know is that in college you took at least two courses in religion, different world religions, because a couple of years ago we ran across your textbooks for those courses and you told me, well, it was more than a couple of years ago, it was about, probably about ten years ago, after I moved in and we started going through your boxes and stuff. At least in college you had an interest in other kinds of religions.
M: I took a couple of courses in college on religion.
G: Why did you do that?
M: Because I wanted to know about them.
G: Did learning about other religions change your views about your own...
M: No. Mmm mmm.
G: ...spirituality? Did the kinds of discussions that we, your children, instigate at home, and, as I recall, Dad would often talk about Christianity...
M: Oh yeah.
G: ...not in, not in the best of terms, that's how a lot of these discussions would get started, is Dad would hear something or read something and start a kind of a rant about Christianity and then we'd all join in and start talking...
M: ...yeah...
G: ...Christianity through, and other religions as well...what do you think changed in you that you were able to not only allow discussions like that within your home but actually participate in them...
M: mmm hmmm...
G: ...and encourage them?
M: Well, uh, I began to think that, uh, possibly Methodism wasn't the only religion and that the other religions had a space in there, too.
G: How do you feel, now, about, um, one religion over another, do you think that everyone should be one religion?
M: Oh, no.
G: Did you used to think that everybody should be Christian?
M: Christian? Yes.
G: Okay. But now you don't think that's true. Is that correct?
M: Now, it really doesn't matter to me, because of the fact that I have come across so many differences in the other religions that are...
G: ...that aren't really differences, right?
M: ...they...were...that's right.
G: Let's just sort of do a little impromptu trying of some questions, some attitude questions that I just ran across. Do you find it difficult to accept compliments?
M: Depends on the compliment. If I think people are just making it up just because they think they should I find it difficult to accept it. But if, if I feel that they are really sincere than I can accept it.
G: How do you judge whether they're just making it up? Is it what the compliment says or how the person delivers it?
M: What the compliment says.
G: So, in other words, you think you know yourself pretty well so that you know whether or not someone...
M: I think so.
G: ...should be complimenting you on something. Do you think there are major differences between men and women?
M: No, I don't think so.
G: Is that fr, from experience?
M: From experience, yes.
G: Describe your attitude toward members of the opposite sex.
M: Well, I don't think that men think about things the way women do.
G: Let me ask you one more question and then I think we'll put up the tape...Do you think anybody within our family, that any of our attitudes need to be adjusted?
M: Well, the only one that I can think of is James. And I don't think that that's his fault entirely. I think it's because he's a man.
G: Do you feel the same way toward my dad, your husband?
M: It needs something, I don't know, remember what.
G: What about James' attitude to you think needed to be adjusted?
M: Well, he, uh, what he said was It.
G: Do you think that was because he was a man or do you think it was because he was the oldest son?
M: I think it was a little bit of both.
G: Did he get on your nerves?
M: Yes!
G: [laughs] Did that ever straighten out as you got older or did he continue to get on your nerves?
M: Uhll, he, uh, continued to get on my nerves, but he knew it, and so he would be a little more careful.
G: As he got older?
M: Yeahmm.
G: Did you learn to appreciate him more as he got older?
M: Nnnoooo...
G: [laughing and clapping]
M: [laughing]
G: Oh. Well, that's an optimistic, that's an optimistic attitude there.


Transcripting the Podcasts #1

    Someone recently and obliquely reminded me that it is easier to read than it is to listen to an interview, with which I sympathize. One can put down an interview at any point, when one is reading it, and go back when time allows. It's hard to do this with a spoken interview, especially if your audio software doesn't click off the seconds to allow you to note where you can pick up without difficulty, as mine doesn't. So, I decided to start transcripting the podcasts for easier access.
    This is the first, the transcript of the "Who Am I?" interview. Since the interviews are long, I've attempted to entitle parts of them for easier put-down-pick-up readability. It's not easy, but I think I've done a fair job of it. Although I am actually starting this project on September 23, 2007, I am back dating the transcripts in order to place them in the proper time context in my journaling.
    This transcript includes, as well, "Introduction to 'Who Am I?'", which explains some of the names used, locates some of the places mentioned and more clearly identifies some of the incidents to which the "Who Am I?" interview refers.

Comments on Reading versus Listening
    I'm surprised to find that Mom's and my conversations translate well into transcription. I can't help but note, though, that there is a lot about the way we interact with one another and our relationship that escapes the eye, and thus, the brain and the heart. The transcript definitely preserves the hard, cold facts of my mother's personal interpretation of Dementia-Lite, but I believe, now, that if you avoid the audio version, you will miss much that is pertinent, particular and pleasurable about our relationship and our lived-together life.

["G:" is Gail. "M:" is Mom.]

Transcript of "Introduction to 'Who Am I?'"
G:  My intention isn't to introduce every single interview that my mom and I do, but I wanted you to know that if you're interested in the experience of Dementia-Lite, either having it or living with someone who has it, the "Who Am I?" interview is the definitive interview on this subject. It may seem confusing to you, but I can assure you that it's not nearly as confusing to participate in as it is to listen to.
    There are a few names and places you'll probably be curious about as you listen to the interview.
Transcript of "Who Am I?"

G:  This is our usual sound test, oh yeah, it's looking good, go ahead and say something, Mom, anything.
M:  When are we going to start talking about what I do?
G:  We're gonna to start talking about what you do in just a minute.
    Welcome once again to Mom & Me The Podcast, this is our second interview, it's January 12, 2006, the time is 2:40 in the afternoon, and, today we're going to deviate from the questionnaire a little bit, what we're going to do is explore your relationship with me.

Reason for the Interview
    There's a reason why we're doing this. Earlier this morning you asked me why it was that Ernest and Pearl came from Iowa to South Dakota. I couldn't recall. What I want to find out from you is what you recall about me being in your life during that time.

Why Mom Thought I'd Know about Ernest and Pearl
    You mentioned to me earlier this morning that the reason that you thought I would know about why Ernest and Pearl [Ernest is your maternal uncle and Pearl is his wife] moved from Iowa to South Dakota is because I was there.
M:  Yeah.

Setting the Stage
G:  And so it would seem as though since you didn't remember, I did. How old were you when they moved from Iowa to South Dakota?
M:  Oh, I would say about 12.
G:  How old was I?
M:  Well, you're considerably younger, so you must have been just a baby.
G:  What's my relationship to your mother and father?
M:  Your relationship to my mother and father?
G:  Yes.
M:  You're, um, hmmm...
G:  I mean, you're their daughter, what am I to your mother and father?
M:  You would be their granddaughter.
G:  But, I was there when Pearl and Ernest moved.
M:  Oh yes.

How Long Have I Been in Mom's Life
G:  Okay. Have I been with you pretty much throughout most of your life? Do you remember a time when I was not in your life?
M:  Yes.
G:  And when was that?
M:  Yeah, when you were an itty bitty baby.

How Mom Perceives My Past Relationship with Her
G:  Did we play together?
M:  Well, no, not really, because you were so much younger than I.
G:  Did we go to school together?
M:  No.
G:  Do you remember whether I was there when you were in high school?
M:  You were around, yes.
G:  Did I go to the same school as you?
M:  Well, we were in Mechanicsville at the time. I would say, yes, that you went to school with me.
G:  At that time, when you were in high school and I was going to the same school, did you and I play together much?
M:  No.
G:  I mean, did we have much to do with each other?
M:  No, you were so much younger.
G:  Was I there when you were in college?
M:  Yes, you were there, but...
G:  Did I go to the same college as you?
M:  Same college?
G:  Yeah...
M:  Well, I went to Cornel, did you go to Cornel?
G:  What I'm wondering is, do you remember whether I went to Cornel or not?
M:  I don't remember.
G:  There have been times when you've remembered that I was in the dorm that you stayed at, when you stayed, you went to the dorm for awhile, or you stayed in the dorm for awhile, is that right, th...
M:  No...
G:  Oh, you did not. Oh, okay. That's my faulty memory, then. Was I around when you were teaching?
M:  Yes, you were...
G:  What was I doing at the time?
M:  You, um, you went to school.
G:  I was still going to school?
M:  Yeah.
G:  Was I in elementary, junior high, high school, or college?
M:  Elementary, I think.
G:  After you taught, and you went into the Navy, was I around?
M:  I guess so, I wasn't there, but, uh...
G:  Oh, okay...
M: were.
G:  So I wasn't in the Navy with you.
M:  No. You were never in the Navy.

Mom's Perception of My Relationships with Her Family
G:  No. That's true. I wasn't ever in the Navy. Do you remember that I had any special relationships with any of the aunts, uncles or cousins? Was I familiar with the aunts and uncles and cousins?
M:  Yes, you acknowledged them as your aunts and uncles and cousins.
G:  Was there anybody special that I played with or hung out with besides you?
M:  I don't know. I don't think so.
G:  Who took care of me?
M:  Mother and Dad and James and I.
G:  When James was injured and Jean was sent to Aunt Carrie's, did I stay at home?
M:  No. You went to Aunt Carrie's, too.

Mom's Perceptions of What I Was Like
G:  Do you remember anything about my school career, elementary school, junior high or high school, for instance, was I a good student?
M:  I have no idea. At that time I didn't care.
G:  [Laughter] You...
M:  No, that's true...

Mom's Present Perception of My Relationship to Her
G:  Okay, you didn't care whether, what kind of a student I was. Okay. What relationship am I to you?
M:  Now?
G:  Yes.
M:  Well, you're my daughter, of course...
G:  Oh...
M:  ...and I, I feel very close to you, though, because we're living together.
G:  And what relationship was I to you then?
M:  I don't know.
G:  Was I your sister?
M:  Oh, yes.
G:  I was your sister, then.
M:  Yes...
G:  And I'm your daughter now.
M:  Oh, are you my sister? No.
G:  When I was with you in Iowa and South Dakota I was not your sister.
M:  No. You were my daughter.
G:  Oh. I was your daughter then, too. What do you remember about my birth?
M:  Oh, goodness. Well you were born in the hospital.
G:  How old were you when I was born?
M:  I was eight.
G:  [Stifling laughter] That's pretty young.
M:  What?
G:  That's pretty young. I'll bet Grandma and Grandpa were really surprised that you had a child when you were eight.
M:  They had a child when I was eight.
G:  I was born of Grandma and Grandpa. I was Grandma's daughter?
M:  Yes...
G:  And I'm also your daughter?
M:  Uh, that can't be.
G:  No, that's true. It can't be. That's why I asked you earlier how was I related to Grandma and Grandpa, since you've acknowledged that I'm your daughter and I was your daughter back then, too...
M:  ...couldn't have been.
G:  Who was I back then?
M:  You were their daughter.
G:  I was their daughter back then. Okay. So, back then, although I was there, you and I actually didn't do too much together is that...
M:  Oh, no...
G:  ...correct...
M:  ...huh uh...
G:  ...okay. Do you remember me dealing with James and Jean much? Was I closer in age to Jean than I was to you?
M:  No, huh uh, you were closer to me.
G:  So I fell someplace between Jean and you.
M:  Yeah.

My Birth
G:  Is that right? Where was I born?
M:  You were born in, I was going to say Mitchell, but that's where I was born.
G:  Do you remember where I was born?
M:  I know you were born in the hospital.
G:  Was this when you gave birth to me?
M:  [Silence, head shake implied]
G:  This was when Grandma gave birth to me.
M:  I never gave birth to you.
G:  [Laughter] You didn't, you make that sound like, "I would NEVER have given birth to YOU! My goodness!"
M:  [Laughter] Yeesss...

My Relationship to the Family Mom Created
G:  [Laughter] So you didn't give birth to me. How is it, then, that I ended up living with your family, you, after you married Dad and when we moved around and moved to Guam? Do you remember me being there?
M:  Well, yes, James was, too, for awhile.
G:  Oh, was he?
M:  Mmm hmmm.
G:  I was there with Robin, Linda and Mary Lee, right?
M:  Well, not so much them.
G:  I wasn't around them?
M:  No, they were quite young.
G:  Do you remember me being in Maryland?
M:  Being in Maryland?
G:  Mmm hmmm.
M:  Yes.
G:  Do you remember me being in Rhode Island?
M:  I don't think you were.
G:  Do you remember me being in Oxnard?
M:  No.
G:  How about in Hawaii, where Linda was born?
M:  Well, you must have been there then if Linda was born there.
G:  Right. And Robin was born in Oxnard, but you don't remember me being in Oxnard?
M:  I don't remember anything about it, be, but I should.
G:  Do you remember me being in Spearfish Canyon between the time that Dad retired from the Navy and we went to Guam and he joined FAA?
M:  Yes.
G:  Yes. Do you remember me being on Guam?
M:  Yes.
G:  Do you remember me being on Guam the whole time that everyone else was there?
M:  Yeah.
G:  What relationship am I to Robin, Linda and Mary Lee?
M:  You're sis...
G:  My memory is that Mary Lee is the oldest, then me, then Robin, then Linda.
M:  That's right.

Mom's Perception of My Sisters in Her Pre-Marital Life
G:  Do you remember Mary Lee, Robin or Linda being around when you lived in Iowa and South Dakota when I was there?
M:  Iowa and South Dakota, let's see...
G:  Were Robin, Linda or Mary Lee in South Dakota or Mechanicsville or Iowa with you and me...
M:  ...uhh, let's see...Mary Lee was there, Gail was there, yeah, you were all there.
G:  So, well, I'm, I am Gail...
M:  You're Gail. No wonder you were there.
G:  [Laughter] Back, when you, you said that you're earliest memory, or one of your earliest memories of me being there was when you were about eight, no, I was born when you were about eight...
M:  ...yeah...
G:  ...or something like that, had Mary Lee already been born?
M:  No.
G:  What about Robin and Linda?
M:  No.

My Presence During Significant Events in Mom's Early Life
G:  So I was the only one that actually was born when you were eight. Was I with you during the time of the fire, in, I think it was White Lake?
M:  Fire? No, that was in, oh goodness...
G:  It was in South Dakota. The one that came up over the mountain.
M:  Uh, no. That wasn't in White Lake.
G:  Well, was I there?
M:  No.
G:  Where was I?
M:  I don't know. You were quite young.
G:  I was quite young but I was still alive at that time, right?
M:  No.
G:  Oh. I was not alive at that time?
M:  I don't think so.
G:  How old were you at the time of the fire?
M:  I was about seven or eight.

Mom's Perception of My Existence after Her Marriage
G:  Oh, okay. So, maybe I hadn't been born yet. That's possible. What became of me when you got married?
M:  See, I was married, we were married in, uh,
G:  ...1947...
M:  ...'47, and that was...where were you in '47?
G:  I don't remember. Do you remember where I was? I don't think I attended your wedding ceremony.
M:  You did but you didn't know it.
G:  How did I attend your wedding ceremony and not know it?
M:  [Patting her tummy] You were in my tummy.
G:  So I hadn't been born yet.
M:  That's right.

Trying to Resolve Competing Perceptions
G:  I'm gonna ask you a difficult question.
M:  Okay...
G:  Or, it's a question that's difficult for me to ask, I don't know if it's gonna be difficult for you to answer or not. Your memory tells you that you gave birth to me after you married Dad...
M:  ...yes...
G:  ...right? But I was also around when you were at home, young, etcetera.
M:  Depends on how young you mean.
G:  Well, you said that I was born at, when you were about eight.
M:  Yes.
G:  So, in other words, my relationship to you has switched throughout your life, is that right? First, I was, I mean, obviously, you didn't give birth to me when you were eight.
M:  No.
G:  Who gave birth to me?
M:  Who did?
G:  Yes.
M:  I gave birth to you.
G:  How is it that I was around when you lived in South Dakota and Iowa?
M:  [Ironic chuckle] I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that.
G:  Was I there?
M:  No.
G:  I was not there.
M:  No.
G:  So, now, I wasn't there when you were younger.
M:  That's right.
G:  Okay. And you gave birth to me after you married Dad.
M:  Well, yes.
G:  Okay.
M:  [Soft chuckle]
G:  That's what I wanted to know. You don't have a memory of me being around when you were a kid and you lived in...
M:  Goodness no!

Was Mom Confusing Me with Someone Else?
G:  ...okay. Who was it that you were talking about when you were telling me just a few minutes ago that I was there but I was, like, a baby when you lived in South Dakota and Mechanicsville?
M:  You weren't there in either South Dakota or Mechanicsville.
G:  Who was it that you were talking about, though, when you were saying that I was there?
M:  I'm not sure.
G:  Would it have been Jean?
M:  No, no, no, no, Jean's lots younger than you are.
G:  Wuh, who was my mother and father?
M:  I was.
G:  Okay.
M:  And Dad.
G:  Okay. If Jean is much younger than I am, than I would have to be only a couple years younger than you.
M:  You're younger than that. When, uh, you were born you were eight years younger.
G:  When I was born [stifling a chuckle] I was eight years younger than you.
M:  Yes.
G:  Who gave birth to me when you were eight?
M:  I did.
G:  That's what I was trying to get straight.
M:  Oh...
G:  So you have...
M:  ...okay.
G:  ...always been my mother, regardless of where we've been and what we've done.
M:  Yes.

Mom's Perception of the Continuing Quality of Our Relationship
G:  Have we always been gotten along really well together?
M:  Yes.
G:  When you were much younger you pretty much ignored me because I was so much younger than you. That's what you said. Is that correct?
M:  I suppose, I, I don't remember.

More on Where I Was When...
G:  So, from your point of view I, I pretty much have experienced much the same things that you did when you were a child, and, that's why you ask me so often about when did this happen, when did that happen, because I was there. Is that right?
M:  Not necessarily, it depends on what you're talking about.
G:  Well, like when you asked me about Uncle Ernest and Aunt Pearl. Apparently I was there when they moved from Iowa to South Dakota.
M:  Oh, yes.

Sorting Out Competing Ages
G:  How is it that you gave birth to me when you were 34, after you married Dad...
M:  Well, let's see...I don't think I was 34, was I?
G:  Yeah. You married Dad when you were, well, actually, you got married the day before you were born, so you were 29, and then you had Mary Lee when you were, just before you were 31, and then you had me when you were 34.
M:  Could be...
G:  Okay...
M:  I don't remember that now.
G:  Okay, so how is it that you gave birth to me when you were 34 and yet I was around when you were a kid?
M:  Well, if you want to call being 34 a kid, that's true.
G:  Okay, now you say that I'm only eight years younger than you...
M:  ...yes...

Reconfiguring Earlier Perceptions
G:  ...and that I was around when you were a kid.
M:  I haven't said that.
G:  Well, yes...
M:  You said that.
G:  ...well, I, I asked you and you said, "Yes". That you had memories of me being around when you were a kid. You didn't pay much attention to me, you said, because I was so much younger than you, but, uh, but you said that you remember that I was around.
M:  I don't think ya, I did.
G:  That's kind of what I was getting at, was, whether or not I was there. So I was, I was not there.
M:  No.
G:  Okay. I didn't actually come into your life until after you married Dad and had kids...
M:  That's right.

Calculating Current Ages and Dates
G: that right? How much younger tha, am I than you now?
M:  Well, let's see. I'm, how old am I now?
G:  Will you believe me if I tell you?
M:  Yes...
G:  You're eighty-eight.
M:  Oh, that's, yo, you keep telling me that and I don't believe that.
G:  Why would I lie to you about how old you are?
M:  Well...
G:  No. Please. Tell me. Why do you think I would lie to you about how old you are?
M:  Because I think you're making me older than I actually am.
G:  What advantage would there be to me to do that?
M:  I don't know.
G:  I just was wondering, why I would do that.
M:  How old are you now?
G:  I'm fifty-four.
M:  Fifty-four, and I am, oh dear, how old am I?
G:  You tell me. Since you don't believe me when I tell you how old you are, you tell me how old you are.
M:  Okay. Well I'm in my was gonna say sixties, but I'm not even sure of that.
G:  Does it matter to you how old you are?
M:  Yeah, well, actually, no.
G:  Do you remember what year you were born?
M:  1917.
G:  And do you know what the year is now?
M:  The year now is...nineteen...mmm...goodness. What year is this?
G:  It's two thousand and six.
M:  Two Oh Six.
G:  Two Oh Oh Six.
M:  Two Oh Oh Six.
G:  I don't know that you can do this in your head, but basically what you wanna do is you wanna subtract 1917 from 2006. You know what you come up with when you do that? You come up with eighty-nine, but you haven't turned eighty-nine yet. You just turned eighty-eight last August in 2005. So now do you believe me, or do you think I'm lying to you about what year it is?
M:  [Laughing] No, I believe you.

Discussing the Relative Value of Age
G:  Well, it's good that you don't feel eighty-eight, Mom.
M:  Well, how do you feel when you're eighty-eight?
G:  You tell me! [Gentle laughing]
M:  I don't know.
G:  [Continuing laughter] Okay. So, how old am I?
M:  You're...
G:  Take a guess.
M:  Didn't you just tell me?
G:  I did just tell you. But how old do you perceive me to be?
M:  Well, I think of you as being my little girl.
G:  How old of a little girl? That covers a wide range.
M:  Yes it does. Well, I'd say in your thirties.
G:  Well, you know it's interesting because a couple of nights ago when we did this interview you said that you thought of yourself as being in your thirties. So, would it be accurate of me to say that you consider us contemporaries?
M:  Yes...
G:  I like the idea that you think of us as contemporaries.
M:  Well, I do, too.
G:  Do you expect me to outlive you, or do you think...
M:  Oh, yes...
G:  ...oh, you do, I was gonna say, or do you expect us to go about the same time...
M:  ...noooooo...
G:  ...or...okay. And you, you certainly don't expect me to die before you. I'm not that old...right...
M:  ...oh, nooo...

Final Tabulation
G:  Okay. Just to clarify what we've been talking about, I am your daughter...
M:  ...right...
G:  ...and, which daughter am I?
M:  You're my first daughter. Second daughter.
G:  Okay...
M:  ...sorry...
G:  ...and you do remember my name, do you not?
M:  You are...let me see...
G:  [Gentle laughter]
M:'re not James...
G:  [Heartier laughter]
M:  [Joins in laughter] Yes, I remember you're name.
G:  Well, tell me what my name is.
M:  Gail.
G:  Okay, that sounds good.
M:  Gail Rae.
G:  Gail Rae...that's right. And I was born after you married Dad...
M:  Yes....
G: do however have a memory of me being around after you were eight on...I'm getting a look of surprise on your face...
M:  ...yes...
G: you don't have that memory anymore, right?
M:[short laugh]
G: it wouldn't surprise you to know that I don't remember a lot of things that happened to you when you were younger, is that right?
M:  That's right...
G:  Okay, that's good. That's fair. I think we're going to stop this interview right now, but if you want to go on talking, we can start another interview and do the questionnaire. Would you like to do that?
M:  Oh, we can try it and see what happens...
G:  That sounds good. So I'm going to bid good-bye to our audience...
M:  Okay...
G:  Say good-bye to our audience...
M:  Bye-bye, audience.


Ah! I just discovered...

...that upon clicking the mp3 links off this page (the links for Introductory Cast and First Interview, a browser window opens and the casts begin playing through QuickTime, my default audio/video player on this computer (the Mac). I assume that clicking into the links will trigger your default media player, whatever it is, and the casts will begin forthwith (after a few moments of download, I suppose). Hold on, let me try something....ah, yes! In Safari (which is not my default browser), clicking on the rss file will bring up the podcast directory through which the audio files can be accessed, or you can click directly on the audio files and they play through my default media player.
    Just thought I'd mention this.


More before-I-forget detail:

    Today is the 89th day since Prescott has had any precipitation, measurable or not. Immediately after our local weather cast this morning The Weather Channel ran a short video of people wading through water in parts of Seattle, "as Mother Nature continues to soak the Northwest." I'd be having a wonderful time. Wish I was there. When I lived in the area I lived in Renton, on a rise above Lake Washington. I did most of my local shopping in Skyway, higher above sea level than my home. I mostly used the local bus system to travel to Seattle proper, or Kirkland, or Redmond, or Bellevue, so even when it flooded (which happened a couple of times when I lived there) I was happily unaffected amidst standing water, mud slides and slick, horizontal roads. I know how to live around atmospheric water.
    So, let's see:   &nbsYes, I've figured out everything I need to know about podcasting. I've recorded a very short (less than two minutes) introduction and we've recorded our first interview. I've posted the links at the beginning of the Links section to the right on any page of the main journal. The truth?
  1. Our first session is very rough, follows the questionnaire mentioned below, to our detriment, I think and is probably a little painful to listen to. Although Mom and I are both enjoying ourselves and she loves the questions, we haven't hit our stride. She needs to get used to talking in more detail about herself without being obsessively prompted by me. I need to relax into a more extemporaneous mode.
  2. The first interview is guided by the first set of questions which is meant to position the interviewee within her present circumstances and attitudes. Thus, it's peppered with what may seem to be trivialities: Such things as "Do you perm your hair? What color is it? What texture is it?" and questions about physical features, feelings about one's physical presence...and, we've only just cracked the contents of the first questionnaire. A few minutes into the interview Mom gives an interesting answer to the question, "How old are you?", but the interview pretty much devolves from there. I'm thinking, as we continue, I'll probably deviate from the questionnaire although I can see how these questions are important from a genealogical perspective, which is the main reason for doing this.
  3. The session was fairly heavily edited, which I intend to continue. I am, however, only editing out word repetition, habitual encouragement phrases, thought pauses and "uhms". In the first interview there was a full 10 minutes of these. I'm not editing out "boring", nor am I editing out answers which are inconsistent due to Mom's Dementia-Lite.
  4. Despite the questionnaire, our banter is relaxed and an excellent example of our relationship. Mom's presence is much more evident in the casts than it is here in the journals.
  5. I may redo the introduction. In it I mention that the podcast will probably be of interest only to family (and may not even be of interest to them). In order to be listed with iTunes, though, one of the considerations is whether the podcast will be of general interest. I'm thinking I should edit out my own commentary on this and let the reviewers make their own determinination.
  6. Considering that the the mp3 files take up approximately a megabyte of space per minute I'll be keeping the interviews to a half hour or less.
  7. Regarding Access:
    • If your browser choice is Safari on a Mac you can access the RSS file as you would any file in that browser, by clicking on it from its link to the right.
    • I haven't yet applied for listing with iTunes and it is debatable whether, when I do, they'll agree to list it. However, the podcast is accessible through iTunes. The procedure is:
      1. Select Podcasts from the directory.
      2. From the menu choose Advanced, then Subscribe to Podcast....
      3. Type the rss url into the pop-up box and click on OK.
    • It is also playable through QuickTime:
      1. From the menu choose File, then choose Open URL...
      2. Type either of the mp3 addresses (not the rss address, you'll only get a video of the page source) and click OK.
    • I've not been able to figure out how to access it in any other browser besides Safari. Since I have a couple of ways to access it I'm not well motivated to do this but if you, reader, know what you're doing with rss files in other browsers, go for it. I'm sure that it is also available through an RSS reader/feeder, of which I have neither.
    • It is probably accessible through other mp3 players, as well. My guess is that punching the mp3 URLs into other players will do the trick.
    • Our podcast is not yet listed on any directories, including iTunes. I'll be applying, of course, but it's debatable whether iTunes will accept it and they typically won't consider a cast until at least three episodes exist so it may be a bit before I apply there. I'll be stalking other directories but I'm as yet unfamiliar with any other directory's requirements. Considering that the podcast will probably generate limited interest, it's possible no one will be lathering to list it.

Monday, January 9, 2006


More miscellanea:

  1. Walkering every day. Good idea. Very successful trip to Costco on 1/5/06. She continues to refuse the cane or to carry it when I insist on cane practice but I'm no longer concerned about this. The more she walkers, the less I have to remind her to breathe through her nose, not her mouth, when she uses oxygen in the house. As well, she's using it less in the house than previously.
  2. BM yesterday at 1450: Good volume; excellent consistency; very easy elimination; very easy clean-up.
  3. Dinner last night: Mom's beloved Costco chicken pot pie; Dinner 1/7/06: Milkshakes in the evening after home made curry-chicken soup in the afternoon; 1/6/06: Mom's beloved Costco chicken pot pie.
  4. Yesterday: "I want to take you to Mechanicsville," a welcome and sad interlude because:
    • She obviously knows we're not in Iowa, Dorothy, but;
    • I felt it necessary, this time, to explain to her why I'm not up to a long distance trip with her. "I think that time has passed us by, Mom. I'm sorry. I'm just not up to managing, alone, on a trip, everything I do here to keep you clean, comfortable, at ease, healthy and happy." And, I'm not. Her disappointment passed quickly.
  5. I'm preparing to podcast (without the use of Feedburner or any other syndication software) Mom's personal history using the Once Upon a Lifetime questionnaires as a basis. Mom's been flipping through the first section of questions and is excited. So am I. I've run into a publishing glitch, though: I've got the recording and the rss/xml specifics down, I've already uploaded a test cast but I'm stuck at getting it to come up and play off its home. I may end up publishing through a free syndication service after all. This effort is partly what's kept me from reporting in these journals.
  6. The other "activity" that's kept me "busy" at night is that Mom and I have been catching up on my guilty pleasure (I believe it's hers too, because she's been staying up to catch up but she won't admit that she's hooked) The L-Word. This ended last night with the beginning of the third season, which looks to be much funnier, less stylized and more like a cross between soap opera and satiric theater than previously: Mom laughed along with me when one of the characters fell into an absurd crying jag. She also very much enjoyed the segment wherein an adoption social worker visited two of the characters who've just become new parents and mentioned (although I'm not sure where she gets her information) that the portrayal of the social worker "isn't too far off". Mom's comments at the end of the third season premiere: "Is this on every night?"
    "No, not anymore. Only on Sundays."
    "Oh, that's too bad. Remind me not to miss it on Sundays."
  7. The constant day sun continues to blind me, but now that I've got Mom out and walkering every day I'm partially thankful for it. Doesn't seem to be affecting her morning blood pressure much, which remains high despite the 10 mg lisinopril she's getting morning and night and my efforts to make sure the dosages are no more than 12 hours apart [I'm mostly successful at this: She gets her first dose as soon as she awakens instead of with breakfast and her second dose just before she retires]. I'm thinking that she simply remains irritated that I've been taking her BP in the morning. So, I'll probably switch back to evening readings soon. She's past the daily stiffness that plagued her when we began walkering every day, so I think I'll design a slightly more rigorous in-house exercise program than the informal "Chicken Flap" program through which I've been conducting her; not quite as rigorous as the set of formals we were practicing some months ago, catalogued at =>Moving =>Mom. My intention is to organize a new template of exercises and publish the results of each intention is...
  8. Despite our involvement in the holidays, this year, it seems as though they are years in the past.
  9. The reading of The History of Old Age is going well and is a delight for both of us. We've just finished the second chapter on the portrayal and realities of old age in the Greco-Roman era. Mom was amused at the dour, debilitated descriptions of old age by writers of the era. I find this amusing because, in fact, many of the descriptions apply to her except her awareness of this. She continues not to believe that she is "very old" and that she suffers many of the debilities of old age mentioned with fear and disgust in the descriptions. Perhaps the key is that, despite her occasional warnings to me not to get old when she is experiencing the worst of The Path of the Ancients, she is not suffering through these debilities, she is merely experiencing them and, thus, taking them, as is her way, with, as she would put it, "a grain of salt".

All material copyright at time of posting by Gail Rae Hudson

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?