This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Saturday, March 5, 2016


My mom passed away in June 2008.  My dad passed away in June 2013.

And I still have 'stuff'.

Not a lot of stuff, just some stuff that is still here and haven't been able to throw away and I don't know why.

A picture on the wall.  In 1968 the Rock Island Railroad sent my dad to Harvard for some 3 month management program that apparently is a big deal.  From the look of the panorama picture, well over 100 men attended the 68th Management Program.  Which means of course, there were 67 before and probably now at 400 something so was it really that special?

But there is this black and white photo of over 100 businessmen and their wives taken on the front steps of some Harvard building, must be very early in the morning because there were no hippies protesting the war, poverty, the environment, the end of 45's - the records, not the guns, and such.

And there somewhere in the middle right, row three are my mom and dad, a point in time.

I've spent hours at times studying the picture, checking out each face.  Probably mostly WWII vets, some military men in the picture and wonder what this three months meant to them, to their lives.  It meant a lot to my dad, not career wise, but the fact he attended, abet for a quarter, Harvard Advance Management Program.  He had a rug on the floor with a Harvard logo and there is still a set of Harvard dishes up in the kitchen cabinets which I never use but haven't got a clue what to do with.  I guess I could throw them like frisbees at zombies should they ever attack.

But today I threw the photo out.  And now I am looking at a book of photos at the bottom of a bookcase, the photos from when my mom and dad married.  Long before I was born, no one in the pictures are still alive, there is this really funny page with a picture missing and the story goes that the picture was my mom and dad toasting with champaign and when my grandmother, dad's side, saw it she was horrified because she was a good ol' Bible thumping Missouri Baptist who never ever drank and could not believe her little boy had been led to such a sinful life by this harlot who got him to drink and she took the picture out of the book on the sly and probably burned it in some ceremony one night with the other members of the Daughters of the American Revolution or something.

Mom and grandma never got a long that well as you might guess.

Just a book of pictures with a story and I never look at the book, never will probably look at the book again, but there is a story to that book and I feel wrong to just toss it into the garbage bin, but stupid for hanging on to the book.

I had the same problem after my dad died, clothes and stuff were easy to get rid of, but there were two very old books with photos and I didn't have a clue who the people were in them, I mean old pictures of not just my grandparents but probably great grandparents and maybe older.  I'm sure a couple were 1800 era, stern faces, hard faces looking back at you, your ancestry tree looking at you in judgement and then into the garbage bin; the last moment and memory of existence off to the dump.  Their faces now mixing with last years pizza off Taft Hill Road.

Still on the wall in the bedroom, a crochet flower thing my mom made once, and still it hangs.  Never really liked it, but it was knitted with her hands and hung on her wall since the 1970's and I suppose if I live another 40 years it will be hanging on the wall when I die.

In the living room there is a print of an old steam engine Rock Island and on the matting around the picture are about 100 signatures of people my dad worked with over the years at the Rock Island, a retirement gift.  Some signatures are faded, like Bonesteele, who later ran Amtrak in the late 70s.  I recognize some names, most are probably dead too, but still it hangs.

Why do we hang on to some of these things, what are we hanging on to?  Funny thing is I have very little  of my life I've ever hung on to; not a yearbook to be found, not a childhood book, medal, anything.  Do you ever wonder why you save what you save?  By keeping that flower pot crochet thing on the wall, am I hanging on to my mom at some subconscious level I can't otherwise reach because even typing it I'm like "no".

Sometimes I just look around and think, if I had to leave, just taking what will fit in the car, what will make the cut?  Cedar chest my grandpa made won't fit, maybe my next volvo should be wagon, but the quilts inside would, my flute, the dog, just what would be most important, what books etc.  But is there a talisman to my past?

Sometimes we can hang onto one thing, even a little nicknack and define a whole life or memory of one person, and when you toss it there is something lost, a string broken, never to connect.

I've thrown away a lot of nicknacks in my life, burning bridges every chance I could.  However, some bridges, it seems,  never burn.

And this book of poems was given to me
By a girl I used to know
I guess I read it front to back
Fifty times or so

It's all about the good life
And stayin' at ease with the world
It's funny how I love that book
And I never loved that girl

Step inside this house girl
I'll sing for you a song
I'll tell you 'bout just where I've been
It shouldn't take too long

I'll show you all the things that I own
My treasures you might say
It couldn't be more then ten dollars worth
That brighten up my day

Lyle Lovett