my mother experiences confusion about whom exactly she spawned
Monday, August 29 2022
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
My brother DOn called from the vicinity of my childhood home today to tell me something bad was going on with our mother, Hoagie. Apparently her dementia had gotten so bad that she was no longer recognizing Don as her son and was insisting that she hadn't had sons but had instead given birth to twin daughters, an event that had been reported widely in the newspapers. The confusion she seemed to be having was between the circumstances of her sons' respective births and that of her own birth; she was born with a twin, and her father was famous enough at the time that it was reported widely in newspapers, at least in Boston. Don said that this frightening decline in Hoagie's mental function was reminding him of the story our father told of going to visit his mother (Kate Deschler Mueller) at a nursing home in Wisconsin in the early 1970s and she not recognizing him as her son. While Don was telling me all this, I heard Hoagie holler "Hey Gus!" in the background, so evidently she still was aware that there was someone in her life named Gus who Don was in communication with. Don tried to give Hoagie his phone so I could talk some sense into our demented mother, but she just said she didn't know what was going on and then handed the phone back to Don. I had Don ask Hoagie who she thought Don and what he was doing in her house, but she wasn't up for such games. I then asked Don if Hoagie has been eating anything. He said he'd tried to feed her a burrito last night, but she'd complained about it being too spicy. So she'd apparently not eaten anything since. A lack of nourishment seemed to provide a good possible explanation for the sudden dip in Hoagie's mental abilities, so I stressed to Don that he get her to eat something. He said he'd tried to get her to eat a cheese sandwich this morning, but she'd refused it. I then said that if she continued not eating, Don should be sure to call Joy Tarder, whom Gretchen gave power of attorney. Hoagie engineered her life in a way that made her not actually be my problem, though of course she will be eventually, and in the most messy way imaginable. And in the meantime, at least until I inherit him along with all his own problems, she is mostly my poor helpless brother's problem.
I took a bath this evening and ran it kind of lukewarm, since we weren't having the sort of weather that suggests a hot bath. Meanwhile Gretchen had gotten off work at the bookstore in Woodstock and driven up the mountain to swim at Paula's beautiful pool.
Clarence DeMar with his two twin daughters, Elizabeth (later known as "Hoagie") and Barbara.
I think the one on the left looks most like Hoagie,
and she was supposedly the smaller of the two twins. Click to enlarge.
My maternal grandmother, Margaret Ilsley,
with Clarence DeMar and their two twins,
likely Elizabeth ("Hoagie") on the left and Barbara on the right.
Margaret and Clarence's wedding blurb in the New York Times, September 8th, 1929
Later I was so hungry that I decided to boil up a pot of extra-thick spaghetti and make a side dish of sauteed onions with tempeh. But I was a little hurried with the tempeh and didn't sear it enough. I also had plans to cook a small cauliflower from the garden in with the pasta, but it was bitter and woody, and I was forced to throw it out. We're producing so many tomatoes that I thought I should make a tomato reduction to use instead of Rao's sauce. I cooked the hell out of a pan of three large tomatoes and several smaller ones, and it ended up tasting pretty good. Unfortunately, it remained soupy even after I added a little wheat flour to it in hopes of thickening it up.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next