Wednesday, December 29, 2021
(December’s fullest “Cold Moon” is in Waning Gibbous phase; January’s fullest “Wolf Moon” rises on the 17th.)
I’ve tried a couple of times to call my old friend, Rose. She’s now in an assisted-living facility. Each call has somebody in the speaking chain letting me down. Rose and I haven’t yet spoken.
I received her Christmas Card and note (written by someone else). The message was she’s well but confined to a wheelchair, would love hearing from me. The same note probably went out to everyone else close to Rose throughout her life.
She’s now about 92 years old.
Rose was the youngest of many children, of immigrants living in Wyandotte County, or what then was the rural-east of Kansas City, Kansas. She grew up on a small farm, her elderly parents taught their child old-country traditions with a devoutly-Catholic perspective.
I first met Rose when we worked in the same office building, she as a bank clerk and I as a general office-worker. She was older, kind, maybe timid and old fashioned. We connected because our differences offset one another. I was an angry young woman, frustrated and searching. Rose seemed settled, reassuring.
And then she met a man. I can’t recall his name or how they linked up. Rose fell for him. She disliked that he was a drinker and rounder, but found him more fun than men she long knew and usually dated. To my (and to Rose’s) astonishment, he managed to get her into bed.
Rose changed, on one hand was happier and on the other worried. Besides disliking her fellow’s drinking habit, she began avoiding Confessing in Church. She made a huge personal decision to quit Confessing and stuck to it.
Eventually the boyfriend’s shenanigans overcame Rose’s needs. She made another huge personal decision, to break up with him. He was unhappy and continued pursuing her, but Rose never backed away from a serious decision.
She remained devoted to her friends, many from childhood. I came later into her life, yet was considered a dear friend. I was neither secure nor dependable, so periodically floated into and out of Rose’s life. She stayed in touch, remembered, cared, and somehow was a cornerstone.
A couple of years ago, Rose fell and broke her hip, or a thigh bone. She had to leave her house and begin healing as a resident in assisted living. A caring neighbor of hers got in touch with me, explained where Rose was, and why, said Rose never got the hang of using a cellphone. There wasn’t a way to call her. I did try but never got through to anyone.
This Christmas, my letter from Rose suggests she’s reasonably well and cognizant and reveals the facility where she lives. I’ve tried reaching her by phone. The first time, a kind lady offered to help by getting Rose to a payphone, so she could call me, or by giving Rose a cellphone to talk with me. I waited several hours before finally realizing that plan had failed.
Another day, I phoned and got stuck with an impatient, angry-sounding person. She couldn’t help me, wouldn’t help me, didn’t know who could help me, and clearly wished me off that line. I went easy on her because these days it’s hard to find help, and thankfully someone was answering that phone. I managed to obtain the facility manager’s name, and today, will attempt to reach Rose.
Thinking about her stoic conservatism, it broke a little in the time that Women’s Rights were opening. That period changed me, too, for I sought therapy and eventually returned to school. The events of a liberating period united us in ways we never have discussed. I’ve always felt that Rose and I share some meaningful history.
If it becomes possible to re-connect through time. and by phone, maybe we can share memories of events that bounded us.
Dear Friends: I’m thankful for “forever friends”, or “my family” over many years. Diana