I’m a woman in my 60s who, like many others, finds that one of my main tasks in life these days is taking care of my mother. Alice is 99. She moved from Iowa to Oregon, where I live, five years ago and now has an apartment in an assisted living center. There’s a statue of a pregnant Virgin Mary in the front yard of the facility, which is owned by the Catholic church. She can’t quite get over this. “I’ve never, ever in all my life seen a pregnant Mary.” Although she is not religious, she disapproves. In any case, she can’t seem to remember, or doesn’t care to remember, the name of the facility and simply calls it “The Place,” as she did recently when tired from an outing: “Better get me back to The Place.”

She’s been through a lot since she came here, including hip replacement surgery. She’s the most undaunted woman I know, and yet she’s also incredibly shy at times. Her self-expression with others (outside of family) is hobbled by growing up in an era when the word “feminism” was not even spoken until I was in my late teens. But her self-expression with me is what I care about for the purposes of this blog. Her move to Portland has changed our lives. I’m hoping to keep track of some moments with her that I don’t ever want to forget.

(The names of residents and others on this blog have been changed to protect privacy.)




Copyright 2010 Andrea Carlisle

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14 Responses to “About This Blog”

  1. Meg Glaser Says:

    Can’t wait for more stories. Beautiful photo of Alice.


  2. Bill Sharp Says:

    I particularly like your writing about your friends and family, Andrea. It’s funny yet respectful and full of appreciation for the person you’re writing about. There is sweetness, and originality, too. You have an unusual “eye”, it seems to me, when you observe others – you bring out neat little details that really tell the reader a lot about the person, without having to be too wordy. I am looking forward to more posts! Love, Les (I don’t know why the computer says I am logged in as Bill…..)


  3. Bob Says:

    This is fantastic Andrea. Welcome to Blogville.


  4. Thalia Says:

    This is wonderful– can’t wait to read more and more!!



  5. Wonderful writing about Alice who is a lucky woman.
    Looking forward to reading more.


  6. This is so great. I love your writing and I love that it’s about you and your Mom. Keep em coming!


  7. Katharine Says:

    I can’t wait. Between the two of you, I’m sure to get life back in perspective. Lucky me. Staying tuned!


  8. dee packard Says:

    What a beauty!

    And what a fine idea to share her!



  9. […] were almost all the way back to The Place before Alice finished going over everything she loved about Thalia and the house. It had been an […]


  10. […] But no, she wanted the Red Lobster. The closest one was tucked away in a suburb, nearly an hour from The Place. […]


  11. […] the past ten days The Place has been under quarantine because of the flu. Residents have been confined to their apartments. No […]


  12. […] twinkling bargains, she always asks if it’s on our route. Friday was her first day outside of The Place for three weeks. The flu quarantine has been […]


  13. Vanessa Says:

    Oh Andrea, Honey, what a wonderful story about you and your mother and Gordon (Cheers). I love everything about it. The name of the beer and the great label. sShe is truly a masterpiece. Of course, she is YOUR mother.


  14. On Alices’s 100th birthday, many thoughts of you and her swirl around. Your last post, after her stroke, makes me realize she could have slipped away in the night, or yesterday, and yet the hours now don’t really matter, just the life and the moving to a new plane. Joan, with all love.


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