A picture of Mom

Mom, 2/24/10

Normally, it might not seem so normal for a 53 year old man to post pictures of his mother on his blog.

But Mom has lived a public life, and some of my friends see this blog and will enjoy seeing this picture.

We were in the kitchen, at Mom’s house, and Kathy Chaffin was talking about having to get up very early and ride a school bus.  She’s writing a story about school bus drivers.  She mentioned that a photographer was going also.

Mom has always liked to brag about me.  Her criticism could be harsh also, but the motherly praise often fell into the “his  _____ don’t stink” category.

Alzheimer’s is a brutal disease that robs memory and leaves a person, at a certain stage, stuck with only a momentary, fleeting wisp of a thought — at best.

In this case, the word “photographer” prompted Mom to demand Kathy’s attention in order to tell her that “Sammy is a wonderful photographer.”

In high school, when I took grainy, barely visible, no-contrast pictures for the school newspaper, I established the fact that I’m not much of a photographer.  But this was just the convergence of a word and a person and a feeling that prompted such a coherent — if not accurate — remark.

Thanks to camera phones, I decided to make an effort to instantly validate her claim by requesting a smile for a picture.  Maybe not a “wonderful” photographer, but a photographer nonetheless.

Alzheimer’s robs memory.  It doesn’t necessarily rob a person’s capacity for joy — as you can see here.

6 Replies to “A picture of Mom”

  1. Hi Sam.
    Thanks for posting a more recent photo of Rose. She thought something was amusing it seems. Give her a hug next time from me, please Sam.
    [Non sequitur] I am wanting Finland to medal in hockey. They did well last night. Let’s hope they continue. I am thinking of Tapi and Heikki Niskala from my Berea tenure. I want them to get the bronze I guess. But I will not be too upset if they beat team USA. I really like USA goalie, Shawn Miller so I am torn. It ought to be a hell of a match. Canada is getting through no matter what. Their loss to the USA was their wake up call.

  2. Sam, that is a marvelous photo of Rose! I love it. She looks really good there. I’ll show it to Walter when he comes in the sitting room in a minute. Your mother was one of the first people we met when we came here in 1971. The Post sent her and James Barringer over to do an interview of the new art professor. That was the beginning of a long and delightful friendship that we both treasure.

  3. Hi Sam! My Dad thought the world of your Mom and he died 1 1/2 years ago of Alzheimer’s.It’s an uncommonly brutal disease even for an old nurse like me! God bless you!

  4. Oh Sam, I didn’t know. My husband’s mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s and it is indeed a cruel disease. It seems particularly cruel that someone as bright and quick witted as your mother would be suffering from this.

  5. I didn’t know, either, Sam. I’m so sorry. I was just looking through some old newspaper clippings we found as we were going through Mother’s things after her funeral, and I just posted a note on Facebook about a few times that she had visited with Rose, and she had done articles about Mother’s family stories. A coincidence that somehow I ended up here! Bless your Mom’s heart! She’s had a very full life and left her mark with some amazing work!

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