The last 4 years, 2 months and 3 weeks of my Dad’s life were spent at a nursing home called Sayre House. It was a needed change since living in a two story home had become difficult in his condition.
The nurses, aids and doctors were good at the facility. Since I had come home to help out years before Dad was admitted, I would still help and go in the morning to help Dad with his breakfast. I also worked with the Activity Director on projects offered to all residents that wanted to have some fun with arts and crafts.
Since the type of Parkinson’s my Dad had made him clench his fists tight, and he had some slight dementia, I would help feed him his breakfast. He did not always know who I was, but that did not matter to me. I knew who he was and I took it all in stride.
One morning when I came to help with his breakfast, Dad kept telling me that I needed to help him with a project. There were a number of cars that needed to be moved quickly that morning. He kept mentioning it even as I was getting ready to leave. He sounded very frustrated that I would not help him move all the cars.
After I left my Dad’s room, I stopped by the main desk and mentioned the story my Dad had mentioned to me, and asked the staff if they knew what it was all about. Come to find out, with all the physical issues my Dad was experiencing, his hearing was still good. One of the staff nurses had been sharing a story about her husband’s work load for that day with another employee in the hallway near my Dad’s room. He heard the story, thought it was his problem and believed I could help him out.
From that day forward, I would jokingly check in at the main desk to ask the nurses and/or aids what stories they may have told in the hallways that my Dad may have heard before I went to his room to help with his breakfast.
Beyond the above, one year when the Redskin Awards were being given out, my Dad was one of five to be awarded by the Sayre Area Joint High School. My Dad was a track star back in the 30’s and still holds the record for the mile. With my Dad now needing a wheel chair to get around, we were required to make special transportation arrangements with the Activity Director at Sayre House to transport Dad to and from the event in a Med-Van.
Before the awards were given out, there was a wonderful dinner, a few guest speakers from Sayre High School and it was a fun time for Dad to interact with many individuals that stopped by his table to say hello and wish him well. He was always a people person.
The 4 other recipients were first to be presented with their awards and each spoke for 10 to 15 minutes, thanking the committee, school and sharing stories related to their past and present life. When my Dad got to the podium to receive his award and thank everyone, he said: “I have learned over the years that if I speak too much, I get into trouble, so I will just say, Thank You!”
He got a standing ovation. That’s my Dad!
A few years ago, the First Commonwealth Bank located on Philadelphia Street and Station Avenue was robbed. Sara, one of the Indigo Bus drivers, mentioned that my picture was in the paper and that I looked exactly like the suspect.
I had not seen the paper until one afternoon another Indigo Driver gave me the Indiana Gazette with the photograph of the male thief on the front page.
When I saw the picture, I was surprised to say the least. I know that I am getting older, but to be compared to the guy in the paper, really made me think that this must be the time to address my physical appearance and get some help from all the Bus drivers and passengers.
I made three jars with Facelift Funds to collect money from Sara, the other Indigo Drivers, and any passengers that think I need to get some work done.
It was just for fun, but Richard, one of the Drivers, still asks me once in a while if I am planning on robbing any other banks.
A few years ago, before my apartment building had a change machine in the laundry room, the closest place to get change after the banks closed was to walk to the car wash by Sheetz on Fourth Street and Philadelphia Street.
One afternoon, I walked down Gompers Avenue to the car wash, got my change, and when I was heading back, I saw Rob Broome coming out of Sheetz. He was a resident in my building, and he had helped me several times by letting me use his computer for a novelty project that I was working on. He had gone to Sheetz to get something quick to eat. So, I joined him for the return trip to our apartment by walking up Philadelphia Street to South 6th Street.
Half way up the street, he asked me if I knew what time it was. He had left his phone at his apartment which was very unusual, and I do not wear a watch, but just looking up the street, one can see the clock tower on the First Commonwealth Bank main office building. It was 6:30, and then Rob said something I could not believe. “He did not know that the clock was even there.”
Here is the best part of the story. Our apartment building is just a half a block away at 20 South 6th Street, and Rob had lived in the building for 2 years. Rob, could always be seen like so many others walking around with their phone in hand. We did laugh and joke about it that afternoon, but what I was able to do a few weeks later made it even more fun for Rob’s family and me.
A friend, Beth Ann Brothers, worked at First Commonwealth Bank, and when I shared this story, she mentioned that the First Commonwealth Bank actually had a Coin Bank that looked like the Clock Tower. She found one for me, and then I went to work.
Rob was graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in a week, and his family was coming for the weekend. I had his family address in Ohio, and wrote a note regarding the GPS data of 333 miles from his home to the actual clock tower in Indiana. I wrapped the coin bank, included the note, and had his family give it to him when they all got back home in Ohio after the graduation.
The rest is history, but all of this is what gave me a visual idea of having a “Look Up, Indiana” contest. It would take lots of work, but the concept is that special photographs of unique and unusual details regarding the buildings on Philadelphia Street in Indiana would be presented, and the challenge would be to not only locate the “address” of the “detail”, but to know the “address” where the photo of each “detail” was taken.
The “details” could be Design, Trim, Lights, Windows, or Graffiti. A very select team of individuals that take the pictures must be honest, and not share the information with anyone. When it is all said and done, the winner/winners must get all the “locations” correct to win the money. Another up side is that they get to look up, and see downtown Indiana.
One day, I hope to have the money to make this project a reality for Indiana and beyond!
All new to me!
I have been “39” for just over 30 years. I work on different projects with my visual twist of the verbal world around all of us. Some are actual future products and/or novelty items.
The space that I was using to work on projects, has been rented. I only have my apartment and it is not a real work area. So, writing and photography are my new means of being productive.
Recently, I shared some of my writing with my brother, Bob. He shared some of them with a friend of his, Howard, and they both had the suggestion of sharing my works with the public by having a blog. So, here we are! It is one day at a time, but I hope you get a laugh or two.
This is the post excerpt.
The fun family stories and individuals of local interaction are at the bottom, so you have to scroll down.