Alzheimer's Daughter

The Story

Alzheimer’s Daughter introduces the reader to my healthy parents, Ed and Ibby, years before their diagnosis, then recounts painful details as our roles reversed and I became my parents’ parent.

Their disease started as translucent, confused thoughts and ended in a locked memory care unit after a near decade of descent into the opaque world of Alzheimer's.

I began writing Alzheimer’s Daughter one week after my mother's death––when I was stunned, realizing Dad had no memory of her or their 66-year marriage.

I write to pay tribute to the undying spirit at Ed and Ibby's core, and with the hope that the story of their parallel decline might be helpful to others.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Funny how a picture can trigger memories. 

I came across this image of old clothespins and was transported back to half a century ago, watching Mom do laundry.

We lived in a big old house built around 1920. When Mom and Dad bought the house they added indoor plumbing. The backroom, painted 1950s hospital green with a speckled linoleum floor, housed the chest freezer and the wringer washer. 

Clothesline strung back and forth from side to side across the room and collapsed drying racks waited to be useful on rainy days, but mostly Mom put clothes through the wringer washer into dilapidated peck baskets and hauled the wet wash outside to the backyard where two clothesline posts looked like wooden crosses stuck in the ground with two lines of rope strung between.

The pouch which held all of the clothespins was the bodice of one of Mom's dresses cut off and sewn at the waist and sleeves, then sewn to a hanger. As the line weighed heavy while mom pinned wet clothes she'd prop two wooden poles, taller than little-girl me, notched at the top, under the clotheslines so our clothes, sheets and towels didn't drag on the ground. Breeze caught the clothes and puffed them out like sails, the lines swayed. 

If a rainstorm cropped up, we'd run outside, and pull the laundry off the line, rehanging it in the backroom. I'd play peek-a-boo in and out of the laundry outside, but when it hung in the backroom during a dark, rainy afternoon, it looked like haunting ghosts. 

Honestly, I think clothes dried faster on a sunny, breezy day than they do in the clothes dryer. And oh the smell——so heavenly to crawl into bed at night in those sheets. Granted, the towels were a little scratchy, and most everything had to be ironed.

About all that ironing——Mom had a tall coke bottle she'd fill with water topped by a cork with a sprinkle head. She'd dampen the wrinkled clothes and wrap them in a plastic bag storing them in the refrigerator until she had time to press them. Often I'd come home from school to find her standing, ironing while watching General Hospital. 

Happy to have these memories float through my mind today. Kinda wish I had a clothesline, because today would be a great day to hang out the wash. And, oh what a great night's sleep I'd have. 

Does this post trigger any memories of the old times for you? 

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