This time, the sky really is falling

Living in the Era of Trump

I gave up on blogging on Jan. 3, 2017. The first week of Donald Trump’s actual occupation of the White House was a nightmare for me. I hadn’t been that scared since 1964, when I was doing my student teaching in a junior high in Columbus, Ohio. Nothing had prepared me for that experience. It might surprise some of you that this guy who made a 33 year career out of being an education professor almost failed student teaching, but I nearly did. It was doubly puzzling for me, because I had always loved school: I did well in school, I liked most of my teachers, I had a good circle of friends, and I avoided the inevitable few assholes that I occasionally encountered along the way.

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Why do I love ragtime?

(This is in a series of posts about my trip to Sedalia, Missouri May 31-June 2, 2018)

Squee and Red, 1936 Plus Jim, 1943

A digression. I cannot remember a time when I did not play the piano. My mother, Lorene—her nickname was “Red”—God rest her soul, came from extreme poverty. She was very bright, an autodidact, and she married Fernand—his nickname was “Squee”—who, having inherited a grocery store upon the death of his mother, was relatively well off. Mom wanted to learn about everthing, but one of the first purchases she made back in 1937 was a piano and a set of American School of Music lessons that proposed to teach her how to play the piano. And, by darn, she taught herself to play: popular songs, hymns, and an occasional pops classical work like Melody in F. So little Jimmie heard Red playing popular music, and he heard Squee singing along on all the popular songs, not so much the hymns.

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On my own in Sedalia

Rediscovering Sedalia.

Looking South on Ohio from Amtrak

(This is in a series of posts about my trip to Sedalia, Missouri May 31-June 2, 2018)

Amtrak comes into Sedalia on the north side of town. The area around the terminal looks surprisingly empty. I’d expected a more urban ambiance. I knew I had to move my back pack clad body several blocks down Ohio Street to get near my various destinations. Even though this was about 1:00 p.m., no taxis were waiting, no obvious bus stops were present. My feet were the first to realize what the rest of me was resisting.

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Jim’s Jolly Junkets

One way an almost octogenarian caregiver created a space to be himself.

(This is in a series of posts about my trip to Sedalia, Missouri May 31-June 2, 2018)

It had been 9 years since I had a true respite from Stephen’s caregiving. Months of preparation went in to my get-away. It has been tough for Stephen: operation after operation, stroke after stroke, leaving him only able to walk with a walker. To be clear, Stephen is no pathetic creature; his indomitable spirit continues to bless those lucky enough to interact with him. Likewise, I am no pathetic creature: I rise to the caregiving, and I continue to create my life.

It has been tempting just to continue this Siamese twin existence. Even given infirmities and confinements, we aren’t just existing, we’re thriving, with full participation in various communities. But I’ve gradually come to a significant conclusion. I must occasionally disconnect the flesh and sinew binding us together, and solitary Jym must fly on their own—for a day, for a weekend, for … whatever. Any primary caregiver for the severely disabled knows this fact. When you take up the slack in another person’s capabilities, you eventually loose capabilities of your own. Or at least, you’re just not sure any more what it is like to just be you.

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