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Saturday, 17 April 2004

Last letter from mom for a good long while

So I was reading through the letters and I came upon this one and I think I'm going to put them away for a few more years after this.

Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999 14:40:56 -0800 (PST)
From: Eileen Hutchins
Subject: Bro Robert

Dear Celeste,
Brother Robert's address is [address] Dad gave me some bad news last night. He said that you and Christie aren't coming on Thanksgiving. Of course I know that this is only a vicious rumor. I was counting on you.

I'm losing my memory in odd ways. It isn't Alzheimer's, I don't think; the pattern, judging by articles and tv reports I've seen, isn't right. Daddy's and Tom's patterns of deterioration were pretty much similar to the reports. My problem isn't so much in being confused. I can still learn new presentations for the museum, and remember what I previously learned; I can do great in narrating the slide presentation for Westward Ho! and communicate very well with visitors on my tours.So what is the problem? Well, it's hard to describe. The other day I went to the Moo to help count out fliers to be distributed to school district offices. I walked in and there was Chuck Morrow, who has been out sick for months. I gave him a welcome back are you ok now, etc. One of the other docents very tactfully explained that Chuck Morrow was out leading a tour, and this was Richard Sachen. I was mortified. Still, even at that, it took me about half an hour before I really realized who was who. The bad part is that I know these people well. Then when I was assembling the packets, I got them all mixed up. No one realized, but it scared me. Daddy thought I was Winifred, but by that time he was disconnected generally. What's happening? The pattern is wrong. Some other things have happened also, but none as serious as this. Still, I can take detailed notes at meetings (2 a month), produce an average of 4 to 5 typewritten pages, and there are no corrections made at the next meeting. But I have to realize that something is beginning to happen. Please say a prayer for me.It's scary. These things never used to happen. Is there a forseeable weekend you can go to LA to see Catherine? Grandma will come too. I think we should do it soon, while both of them are still able. We took Grandma to the Grand National Horse Show and Rodeo yesterday. I think she really enjoyed it.She said she went to Bro. Robert's for dinner last week. She was delighted that you asked her. You can't imagine how important your continued contact with her is. Bro Robert was right when he said that your heart is in the right place.

Please come on Thanksgiving if at all possible.
Love to the world's best daughter, Mom

Um, so I guess that helps answer the when-did-it-start question. I guess this means I never really knew my mom at all, really. I don't know what I wrote back to this. In the letters around it, she's responding to me trying to convince her that feminism and communism are good ideas. And she writes for a while about being depressed. This wasn't long after she got on prozac. Maybe she was never depressed at all. Yeah.

I think I prolly wrote back the wrong thing. The right thing was "go see a neurologist now!!" I'm pretty sure I didn't say that.

this is a public service message: if yer family member complains of these symptoms, take her to a spciealist. If her tumor had been operated on then, it might have been treatable.

yee gods

oh yeah. Tom was my cousin, Catherine's older brother. He had memory deterioration and lost his short term memory before he died. Daddy was my grandpa. He broke his hip and had emergency surgery and when the anesthesia wore off . . . well, it never did really. He was extremely confused for the five years before he died. My family, which celebrates intellectualism, learning and intelligence as high virtues, has a pattern of deaths involving slow, lingering brain diseases.

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