I've finally gotten use to Mom's stories, in that they contain a mixture of information from ten different stories. Everything is a jumble. I can understand that now. I don't try to correct her.
It's like that game, Mad Libs, fill in a person's name, add a town's name, put in some relative's name, write a month, fill in a school, pick a year. Put it all together and you get a story. Except when Mom tells it we try not to laugh out loud.
This week there was a new twist to her stories, and it makes me scared.
Mom taught second grade for many years. She loved second graders. They are curious, they love to learn, they are missing front teeth, they don't swear, and they will sing silly songs without hesitation.
She also loves picture books; she loves the short stories and the beautiful illustrations, and all the Caldecott Medal and Honor books. Barbara Cooney, Jan Brett, Tomie de Paola, Jan Yolen, Trina S. Hyman, and Mary Azarian are just some of her favorite children's authors and illustrators. Even after she retired from teaching she would still attend the children's literature festival, listen to the authors lecture, and buy new books.
As I look back now, I'm glad that I brought Mom to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. It was a unique 70th birthday, ending with a walk through the Dr. Seuss sculpture garden.
So there is a house, an empty house, empty of life, but full of stuff. There are books, books, and books. Mom had about 18 feet of shelves just for picture books. Skinny thin children's books. She had already culled out the books she didn't want any longer. She had already given her grandchildren piles of books when they were little. These shelves contained her favorite children's books.
I contacted the local elementary school: what the library can't use, give to the teachers, and what they don't want, put aside for the used book sale. Books aren't any good unless someone is reading them, pass them along. I knew that this was what Mom wanted done with these books.
I just found out that someone from the elementary school has written Mom a thank you letter, I haven't seen it yet. It made enough of an impression on her that she told her friends about it.
But, Mom also told her friends, that the people at the school were really happy to see her, when she brought the books over, all the books that she carried over in her large tote bags.
This is the scary part of the story. Mom didn't bring these book anywhere. She didn't go to the school. She didn't help sort them or pack them up. These images are not real. She is not shuffling random old facts together to make a new story. She has imagined herself doing something, and telling us she did it. Her dreams are becoming her reality.
This is scary, a scary story indeed.