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Archive for the ‘Personal Perspective’ Category

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May 1, 2015 •
…And no, she isn’t “all of us” or some similar sentiment. She was real, and she lived in Deepwell, and I know almost all of the story. Grab a cup of tea or some popcorn, and settle in; it’s storytime.

Honestly, I had given up. Padma and I hit a brick wall in our database inquiries a few years ago, and with all the other things going on in town and my PODCare commitments, I just didn’t have the time or the energy to push further. I knew Ruby must be an alias, or a nom de plume, but I wasn’t getting any hits on that name. Then Nora went to France with her French class for their new Study and Care Abroad program. She came back with a charming accent and an iPod full of French music, among other things. The evening she returned home, she hung out in the kitchen with Brian and me, chattering away about the Louvre, and volunteering at l’hôpital, and plugged her iPod into the dock so she could set the mood. While we made supper (bouillabaisse, in Nora’s honor) we listened to Charles Aznavour, and Edith Piaf, and even some Maurice Chevalier. Then the song, “Puits profond de mon coeur,” poured into the room, with a smoky, sad voice. It’s been a long time since my one year of high school French, but even I could recognize the words “deep” and “well.” Oh yeah, Nora exclaimed, I thought that was cool, a French song with “deep well” in the title. It’s by an old singer named Rubi du Bois. I dropped my ladle in shock. It couldn’t be a coincidence!

So now I had a name and a place. Rubi du Bois in Paris, circa 1970, the year the song came out.  Was this really our Ruby?  I learned everything I could about her, depending on Nora and Google to translate as most of the material I found was in French.  The best I could piece together was that Rubi had moved to Paris in the 60s, and, most important, there was a mention of a sister named Evelyn who lived in Chicago.  I knew I was on the right track.  Evelyn must have lived in Deepwell at some point.

There haven’t been that many Evelyns in Deepwell over the years, which helped.  If you’ve lived in Deepwell for as long as MeelieSue and Brian’s parents and a few others have, you may have heard the sad story of Richard and Evelyn Broward.  That family was in the newspaper quite a few times over the years, none of it good.  Out of respect for the family, I’ll not repeat the stories here, but the curious can come down to the library and read the microfiche just like I did.  Just keep in mind that this is someone’s personal history, and there is still a lot of pain out there.

So things being what they are, I have put faces to those long-ago names and I know something that Etta doesn’t, for probably the first time since we both moved to Deepwell, heh. Ruby was originally Rosemary, and she is Etta’s aunt.

Rosemary Alice Carr, aka Rubi du Bois, aka Ruby Wood, died September 12, 2009 in Paris, and was cremated and interred there, the only place she truly felt at home.  Her gift to Deepwell was her attempt to reconcile with her past, and give hope for the future.  There is one other person who plays a part in this story, but I think she needs to tell her side of things for herself.  And no, it’s not Etta.  Although I’m sure Etta has a few questions of her own.

R, if you’re out there and you’re reading this, please speak up.

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Feb 15, 2015 • Over the past few years, so much has changed in Deepwell. I can’t believe it’s been six years since all of this began. While we’ve worked to make Deepwell the town that does care right, I’ve tried to be the man who cares right. I’ve cared wrong in the past and thought I had it all figured out afterward. Ruby’s Bequest has taught me so much more.

Throughout all of this, I’ve known that I’ve been avoiding a big caring issue in my own life. I knew I had to sit down with my father and talk about the future. My father lives up in Wisconsin, far from the rest of the family. I often wondered what we would do if something happened to him, but it wasn’t something we ever really talked about. Well, I finally bit the bullet. I sat him down and we talked. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I don’t really know why I was ever avoiding it in the first place. All I really had to do was start the conversation and my dad rambled on and let me know everything he wanted. So here it is. Seventeen minutes of our heart-to-heart talk. (Can you take it?) 😉

Hopefully, it might help someone else get up the nerve to start the same conversation with their parents.

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Oct 20, 2014 • I know a bunch of people are angry about the bleak outlook portrayed in “Citizen Kid”, but that’s Hollywood for ya. They need to put a spin on things to get people into the theater, especially in this economy. I’m not saying that what they showed wasn’t the truth. They just chose to highlight the massive amount of work ahead of us, rather than the small successes we’ve had so far (and in such a short time!).

I must say, Kids Kare has succeeded in ways I never thought possible. We started out with adding caring issues to the curriculum at the schools, added a few after school activities and the next thing you know, we’re working with Americorps on the summer volunteer program and Columbia University sets up a research station here. Even some of Obama’s people stopped by to check us out. Pretty amazing, huh?

Now that Kids Kare, PODcare and Silvercare are joining forces, you can bet your rubies that we’ll be unstoppable!

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Aug 20, 2014 • I have just learned the Emelia, the woman who helps take care of my parents, might have to leave the country?!?? Emelia is 65 years old and has lived in the US for over 30 years! This is ridiculous! I don’t know what to do. Emelia is a shining light of positive energy who came into our lives when mom had her second stroke, like an angel sent to us when we needed her most. Now she is like a wonderful Aunt who gives great advice and tries to fatten me up “because men like a little meat on those bones”. I *need* Emelia, she is family now, we can’t function without her.
Actually, little does she know, but I have recently started dating someone. I’m not ready to say who yet on who but I will say that is someone newly transplanted to Deepwell and he is a super nice guy.
Also Greta and Ingrid are Zoo Flu negative, thank god. Honestly I don’t know what I would do without my little girls.

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Feb 13, 2014 • I got a CAR!!!  Silvercare has been such a success for my mom and I that we got me a brand me wheelchair accessible car!  It has a swivel wheelchair lift with auto lockdown so I can secure my chair without help and just drive!  It also has autoguide hand controls so it doesn’t bother my arthritis to drive, Voiceprint activated secure entry, rear and side cameras, Bluetooth 5.0, navigation with autopilot cruise control, and so on!  I am so excited.  This is truly freedom for me!

Oh and of course I got the car in Silver! 😀

Speaking of Silver… Silvercare has really spread!  The word is out and we are getting calls from all over the country!  We are now in several dozen locations all over the country that manage specific regions.

And people are loving the technology!  I think Silvercare Smarthouses might be the new fad.  Who would have though that people would want to broadcast video of themselves doing nothing in their houses all day just for the fun of it?  I never thought that a trend would emerge from our attempt to care for people remotely.  The emails we’ve been getting about how Silvercare has changed people’s lives for the better are amazing!  That kids are able to watch Grandma from an interface over their desk after school from the other side of the country until Mom gets home to take over has allowed people to continue to live independently for so much longer!

It’s truly inspiring to hear the success stories of disabled young adults in particular.  With our automated remote med dispension and constant monitoring for problems young adults are able to live independent lives when they never could before especially those with developmental disabilities.

I could go on and on, but I’m off to a meeting with Google.  Can you believe it?!  I’ll check in again soon!

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Dec 18, 2013 •

It’s weird not going home for the whole holiday.

And to be quite honest, I haven’t really felt like Deepwell has truly been my home in maybe the last year or so.

I know, before you start yelling at me, take a listen: it’s that I don’t feel like I deserve it. The timing was sort of terrible, you know? Here I am, just some ordinary kid (my theory is that I am a kid until at LEAST 30), feeling the borders of my town closing around me like a big hug or some similar metaphor, and then Ruby comes along and questions that.

At that age, I guess, it was stereotypically time for ME to to question things. Mostly, I was irritated at Ruby, and then I began to see what she meant. And then I left to go to college, and I found out how much I liked words (essays were the WORST for me in high school), and how much I liked the world getting bigger, and suddenly no borders could hold me. Deepwell was a place where life continued to happen, but it was all stuff I thought I had already figured out. I had new people to get to know, to get to care about in my own way in all of my classes, in every roller derby in the hallway outside my dorm room.

You wonder sometimes why it’s hard to get younger people into caring? Well, I’ll tell you one reason: their worlds open up, and suddenly, there is so much new stuff, there is so much to do! Slowing down and returning home feels impossible, sometimes backwards. It takes a great effort for me to maintain a grip on all of the pieces of me that are scattered at home and all over Deepwell and in the dorms at school, and each lecture hall on campus. Because I am healthy, my brain often tricks me into feeling invincible. It’s in all the coming of age stories. It’s one of the first things they teach you – the nasty downside of The Hero’s Journey.

And now, I am heading to Ithaca.

Why Ithaca?

I was actually home for the weekend recently for an engagement party for my sis when I ran into Kerrek at the library. He was on the computer getting his internet time in, like he always does, and he had maps up on the screen of New York State. He was pointing and smiling, and said that there was a ‘an old Deepwell of the future’ there.

Intrigued, I grabbed the terminal next to his, and did my own search.

Wow.

The HOURS of Ithaca.

Part of me wants to go just because I can’t believe it. How can a town thrive on what essentially amounts to paying for your groceries with Monopoly Money? Part of me wants to feel inspired by it – maybe I can find a piece of my own Deepwell in a new place, and then I will feel less guilty about coming home from now on.

Plus, uhhhhhhhhhhhhh, there may or may not be a cute girl who lives in Rochester who’s in my Math recitation on Tuesdays.

Look, I wasn’t kidding about the world opening up, OK? I’m multi-tasking, here!

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July 26, 2013 • Sometimes when things are terrible, I try to think about things that are not terrible. Sometimes, that seems impossible to do. Terrible things can be all-consuming—they are monsters that swallow you whole and you get lost inside their cavernous stomachs.

The terrible, all-consuming thing right now is that Tim’s latest full body CAT scan revealed that the cancer has metastasized to his liver and his shoulder. All those treatments, while shrinking the initial tumor somewhat, were not enough to prevent the cancer from spreading. So, there will be no surgery. He has actually been feeling better and has gained a little weight, so finding out the cancer had spread was such a shock. We have gone from praying that he can be rid of the cancer to praying that he will live for at least a few more years. I know that sounds gruesome, but it’s the reality we are facing, and reality is often gruesome.

At least he can still be treated, which is so different from when my dad had colon cancer in the 1970s. After his spread to his liver, they basically sent him home to live out the rest of his short, painful life. The phrase the doctor used, which is burned on my brain, was to “let nature take its course.” I remember being so upset that he wasn’t straightforward about it—to this day, I hate euphemisms for dying.

Anyway, since then, they have made great advances in not only pain management (which is a great help), but in treating the cancer itself—even when it is as advanced as Tim’s. At first they inserted a PICC line for his chemo, but it has been removed and now he has a port. The drugs they are using do not make him as tired—in fact, he seems to have as much energy as he used to before he got cancer. If there is anything positive to say about all of this, it is that we are making the best of the time we have together and that is not so terrible at all.

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