The following was written by my late wife Elaine. She wrote a long book, a diary really, from which this is one passage:
Note by Grandfather: Elaine wrote most of her epistle in 2002, when her dementia was quite advanced. one of its symptoms is called by psychologists “confabulation,” wherein a victim’s reality is at variance with the real world. So, I’ve had to do some editing, trying to stay close to her sensitive style. But not all that much; guessing 1% or so. Mostly, I’ve done some abridgement. Her epistle is twice as long as this chronicle. One of the blessings of vascular dementia vs., for example, Alzheimer’s, is that the frontal cortex is the last to go and early memories and basic personality are often preserved until comatosis.
Camping in Maine, 1959: Dave, Elaine, and Carolyn. We three drove in the black Volkswagen, full of camping stuff, with a boat on top, to Maine for a camping trip in Baxter State Park. We enjoyed a delicious wild vegetable, “fiddleheads,” as often as we could find any in the woods. This fern-family delicacy is shaped with a curved top resembling just what the name suggests! (On our most recent trip to Alaska, I bought a cookbook called The Fiddlehead Cookbook which was signed by one of the ladies who catered a grand meal at Weeping Trout Resort near Haines on the last night of our stay in 2001. So we learned that fiddleheads grow in Alaska, too.)
From our site in Maine, we could see Mt. Katahdin, and one day we walked up it, far enough for Dave to fill up his ball cap with snow. The weather was cold and rainy (miserable) and I wanted to cut the trip short and go home. So I asked my little ally to tell Daddy we wanted to go home, and she told me, “No, I want to go camping.” She was 2½.
Carolyn was never a sissy! But I think I’m one.
To be continued…
About the Author: RD Blakeslee is a nonagenarian in West Virginia who built his net worth by only investing in that which can be enjoyed during acquisition and throughout life, as opposed to papers in a drawer, like stocks and bonds. You can read more about him here.
Photos: Courtesy of the Blakeslee Family