My Most Recent Trip ‘Home’ Had Plenty Of Drama

Deborah Welky


A lot happened last week. To begin with, it was my parents’ 69th wedding anniversary and one of the rare times that all of us decades-old “kids” were in Wisconsin at the same time.

While we’ve all grown up to be very different from each other, the past remains the past, and we enjoy reliving it in all its hilarity. This hilarity has been embellished over the years, I’m sure, and some of the facts have become debatable, but the debates are now part of the fun.

For instance, in regard to my dad’s career rival, my brother says, “I didn’t realize his first name didn’t begin with ‘F’ until I was 21!” Not that dad habitually used bad language — far from it. And never in front of “the ladies.” But some people just rub you the wrong way, day in and day out, and you end up swearing.

Personally, I think my two brothers, one sister and I were very different from each other from the get-go. There’s a lot to be celebrated there, but how my parents kept all four of those distinct personalities in line within the walls of our 800-square-foot home is beyond me. I do remember lots of clear-cut rules, strong suggestions and “helpful hints” that maneuvered us through Wisconsin’s 10-month winters, where we all needed to spend most of our time indoors.

At any rate, my parents are 90 years old now, so any visit now brings us into contact with lots of fairly old people, and old people are funny. I commented to one of them that she looked quite smart dressed all in purple as she was.

“Even your sneakers are purple!” I exclaimed.

“Well, purple is the Alzheimer’s color and today is Alzheimer’s Awareness Day,” she replied, then added, “At least I think it’s today.”

That’s funny!

Incidentally, she was right about the day — June 21 in the United States. But Sept. 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day. Way to confuse the old people, Alzheimer’s organizers!

The Wisconsin trip had its fair share of drama, too, as we were moving mom into an apartment where she could be closer to dad, who is in rehab, recovering from an infection for which he needs extremely strong medication.

Unfortunately, the medicine gives him hallucinations that convince him he’s fine and doesn’t need to use a walker. Next thing we know, they are calling us saying he is on the floor.

So mom has had quite a week what with visiting dad every day, sorting through everything she owns so she can downsize, and not being able to find the aspirin. (Not that she needed aspirin — that was for me.) Getting old is not for the faint of heart.

But, as always, mom and dad stand as beacons of responsibility and good examples for their children. 1) Get your paperwork in order. 2) Save up for long-term care. 3) Maintain your sense of humor.

Or else.