Monday, November 13, 2017

A Tale in 12 Tweets - Dead Eyes Open Don't Close

1. Mom said: "Even after a long illness, when you think you are ready, you're not ready."

2. Rushing into the hospital room, my feet stopped at the foot of the bed. I was Silent. Stoic. Stunned.
I heard my Step-Mother's voice: "He just passed. He was waiting for you."

3. I had never seen someone deceased before. I was 32. My Parents always said funerals were for adults. I figured I'd better show a stiff upper lip.

4. Dazed & now looking around the room for the 1st time, I saw a sea of step-cousins standing around Dad's bed. What were they all doing here, I thought?

5. Oh. A Catholic vigil. But, Dad was raised Episcopalian. Later on in life he said he was an Atheist. Don't know if he would have liked that Vigil.

6. So, there I quietly stood. The daughter who did everything I was expected to do. The "good egg" as my Dad often said. Why didn't anyone call me? I would have left work earlier for the vigil. Then again, it would have devastated me.

7. Perusing my dear Dad's face, I wanted to put my head on his chest, or some such sign of affection, but I could sense someone behind me.

8. So, I had the idea to close my Father's eyes. I'd seen it in the movies a million times.

9. Broken hearted, I reached out and tried to close my Dad's eyes, but they bounced back open. Three times. Oh no. What is going on?

10. Suddenly, I heard laughter. "They don't work that way. That's only in the movies. The muscles stay the way the are when people die."

11. Oh, I thought. So, that's that. Here I stand, a bit humiliated. Definitely devastated. My life has changed forever and I'm to much of a dork to know the eyelids don't close, and why has Hollywood shown this final act of kindness for years if it's fake, I thought?

12. Poor Dad. My deceased Daddy with his eyes open. Well, I thought, the Funeral Home will take care of things, and they did. They had him looking like I remembered. Handsome and dignified.
He would have liked that.


Friday, September 22, 2017

A Tale in 12 Tweets - I stayed at The Harvard Club & they thought I was smart, the passers-by.

A Tale in 12 Tweets

1. I stayed at The Harvard Club & they thought I was smart. Like a member of an exclusive club, I was treated differently by staff & passers-by. Respect. Plus, everyone says "Hello!"

2. Growing up ADHD in the 1960's, I was scolded by my Father in 1st Grade for being in the lowest reading group. No one understood ADHD or panic disorders.

3. My private girls' school wanted to put me on Ritalin, but my Mother said a definite "No!" She told me it was very important for me to pay attention in class & sit still like the other girls.

4. I wanted so much to be like the other girls. Not to be teased. Not to be thought of as quirky. So, I concentrated on consistently trying harder than anyone else.

5. I learned to try and anticipate the next challenge at school and at home. To anticipate a person's next need by giving. To help my Mother with chores without being asked.

6. A classmate on the playground is setting me up for a joke or a back stab, then humiliation. Our house needs dusting, painting, spackling paste, wallpaper, yard work.

7. After a few years, I became the glue. The bond trying to hold together my studies and family. After my best & only friend in 4th Grade moved away, I stopped talking.

8. My mother took me to a child psychologist. I thought I was stupid & cried during the test. The result was "average bright" but my Mother placed me in a different school the next year instead of having everyone know I had flunked 5th Grade, including me!

9. My new school was Co-ed. Got picked on just the same, but excelled academically. Excelled in sports. Long distance running. What a joy! Who knew!

10. As a child, then teenager, finding what you excel in, is so important. You start off excelling in 1 area, and end up also excelling in other areas. Confidence.

11. All in all, growing up in a poor Glass Castle type house taught me resourcefulness, and anticipating the customer's next need before they know they need it. They don't teach this at Harvard. No school can teach resourcefulness.

12. Parents strive to get their kids into Harvard so their kids may learn self-direction, resourcefulness & so their kids may have respect from others. Can't be taught, but they'll think you went to Harvard anyway, the passers-by.  

See this story on Twitter @kbsquared1961, Kathy Barrett Baker


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Tale in 12 Tweets - I am born.

A Tale in 12 Tweets - I am born, and yet, I am not supposed to be here.

1) Not supposed 2 be here. Born in 1961 at 27 weeks.Weighed 3 lbs. Dropped to 1 lb.,7 oz.
10% chance of living. Baptized the hour I was born.

2) Jaundiced. Rib cages not connected. In an incubator 4 3 mos. Mom, who was so brave & in labor 4 24 hrs., my head the size of a tomato. Feet ended at her elbow.

3) Experimentally, it was thought in order 4 incubated baby 2 avoid eye problems, oxygen was 2 B turned off until baby turns blue, then back on.

4) Mom, artistic in spirit & emotional about this most traumatic birth, would not visit me in the hospital. She thought I was going to die.

5) Dad visited me daily to & from work. He'd ask the Dr. each visit if he could buy baby furniture. Every day, the Doc answered a quiet "No."

6) 6 weeks later, finally, the answer was a reserved "Yes" from the Doc. Dad said this was the happiest day of his life. Mom was still scared.

7) 6 weeks more w/ 1 of 2 preemie baby Drs. in the Country & had no further health issues, & was able to go home! Wish I could meet that Dr. and thank him!

8) Colicky and allergic 2 eggs, now 3 mos. old & 6 lbs., I cried all the time. Mom was scared of me. She still thought I was not going to survive.        

9) Traditional baby photos on the bear skin rug at 9 months old were happy, but I was a skinny baby. It took me 2 years to grow into my age.

10) Later on, my parents went thru bankruptcy & divorce, but they each agreed my difficult birth was the worst thing ever to happen to them.

11) Mom & Dad spoke of my early birth throughout my childhood, but didn't tell me the details until I was 18. My eyes welled up with tears.

12) Medical sciences advance, but the miracle of childbirth is no guarantee. God has his plan. Babies are the most precious gift to parents.

A Tale in 12 Tweets is also on Twitter @kbsquared1961