Wednesdays With Gladys

Nov 29, 2018

Mitch Albom had a great idea when he chose to spend one afternoon a week with an elderly friend.My goal is too follow the pattern and take advantage of a source of wisdom and information that will not always be available. Gladys looks down the tunnel toward death almost very day. She is in her 96th year and she is ever mindful of the next passage . She buried her husband almost forty years ago. She has buried her five beloved sisters and two brothers and her parents of course. For the last year she has resided in the Dr. Snow nursing home and has been thankful for the care and comfort they provide. She has by all accounts more visitors than any other resident. She will quickly tell you she has more than fifty descendants and they are a wonderful close and caring family. But by times Gladys is lonely and fretful. This is a woman who has always been surrounded by family. During wartime when husbands were overseas the six sisters moved from house to house to be there for one another.Gladys is the last one standing, or sitting and finds herself waiting with some fear and trepidation. All that being said she still remains one of the most entertaining and captivating people you could possibly spend a couple of hours with. She has amazing recall for detail and can summon up a memory with superb clarity. Yesterday she dug out her 1944 diary to answer one of my questions.As she searched her memory bank for events of that year I held the small book. Several times she would get me to check a date while recalling something. ” Check January 12th. Margaret went to the hospital. Betty and Ray were married. Then she would flesh out that day as if it were yesterday or last week. Over and over she would say a date, unravel her thoughts and I would find the exact details on the page. Impressive and astounding to a journal keeper and writer like myself.Stories pour out of this woman and all one needs to do is gently open the tap. Gladys has a death book;a book where one can find the date people died. She has Rosemary Clooney, Adolph Hitler, my son , my mother, her sisters, my Great Uncle Wilfred. She has the book organized in alphabetical order.To some this might seem macabre or weird but I see it as a gift of one woman’s attention to the value of remembering, of recording and realizing passages of birth and death define us all. I can only hope I have many Wednesdays with Gladys and am sorry I waited so long .


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