Saturday, January 9, 2010


This is kind of an annual pilgramage for me now. It is a journey back over the years of my mom's life. She turns 92 today.

While I look back as the events of a lifetime of experiences with my mom appear before me, my mom's ability to gather up the information stored somewhere inside of her continues to dissipate. She is restless, ever restless these days as she finds a world that daily becomes less and less distinct.The line between fantasy and reality seems to blur more with each passing moment.

It is her attachment to her childhood in Lodi, New Jersey that draws her in now. It is from that place, almost three quarters of a century ago, that she ventured into the world. With increasing frequency she now advises me that she is going home to Lodi tomorrow. All recollections of times and places since those early days seem to be disappearing.

I want to be able to look into the universe she now sees, to be able to enjoy and share the visions that come to her. Her present home, in which she has resided for 30 years, seems foreign and disquieting. There is nothing familiar or comforting to her there.

I visited the house in Lodi in my very early childhood. My mom's parents were still alive, but both would soon pass away. I remember the big tree in the backyard, the detached garage, the kitchen table that eventually ended up in my house many years later. My visions are spotty and remote. I have only the hazy images of a little boy who has to spend part of a day traveling to see relatives and forced to do something other than whatever it was he would rather have been doing.

For my mom, it was in this house in which she and her 4 siblings grew up. There was a baby brother, spoiled and pampered I am sure by 4 older doting sisters. There were relatives of my grandparents who also inhabited parts of the house. There were boyfriends, and sleepovers and activity, always activity. My grandparents owned and operated a 'mom and pop' store in town. I am forever told of a house full of love, laughter and people. It was the center of my mom's universe.

It is to this warm sheltering place that she now seeks to return. This place was not confusing, not uncertain, and not forbidding. It offered only peace and promises of a beautiful life that would be unfolding. It offered hope and was a place of unconditional love. Who wouldn't want to go back there, especially when the world around now seems anything but what Lodi was?

So, on her birthday, my wish for my mom is that everything she wants comes to her. I hope tomorrow she wakes up and finds herself once more in a place that holds only beauty and wonder. I hope that for all the remaining tomorrows she is given, that the world she sees when she opens her eyes and until she closes them is as wonderful as the one she remembers in Lodi.


Marc said...

That's my birthday wish, too, for "Aunt Dot." Please tell her I said "Happy Birthday."

Robert said...

I know that you understand, better than anybody, what this piece is about.

Harvey Leeds said...

Beautiful Lodi-stop by and take the driving test! Happy B day Dotsy!

Anonymous said...

I wish your entire family their own "Lodi". Trd

Jack said...

Your Mom is truly blessed to have you.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Grandma Dotsie... Robert she would shoot you if she knew you told everyone her real age!