Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 27th

April 27th, 1973 & 2013: Though I'm not sure of the exact date, somewhere near the end of April, dad was discharged from the hospital and sent home. There was nothing more that could be done. Whether the decision was made by dad, mom and dad, mom, dad, and Doctor Bunting, I really don't know.

As dad came home, arrangements had been made for him to have care during the day, while I was at school, and mom was at the hardware store. She was spending more and more time there, having gotten a "crash course" in running a the business from dad when he was diagnosed. The "hands off" approach she'd had in all those years before were going to come back on us the next couple of years after dad would die. Mom tried, but she was in over her head. The store eventually was sold. Around 1976, I believe.

The lady who would look after dad was Margaret Dixon. She lived right across the street from us, one door north. She was a retired nurse. Mrs. Dixon lived alone in a small house. She kept her property neat as a pin. Margaret drove an Edsel or Studebaker, I think. Her dog's name was Pepper. Margaret had a gravelly voice. She was single, in a neighborhood full of kids. But she fit right in and tolerated all the commotion over the years. She was a perfect fit for looking after dad. I don't know what her compensation was. She might have given her services for nothing. It wouldn't surprise me.

It was right around this time that I was finally made to understand where this was all headed. And in no uncertain terms. It took Aunt Betty to do it.

I was riding with her, in her car. She'd come to our house to pick me up. It was late afternoon or very early evening. I remember it was warm, and the spring had that great quality of light that time of day. Mom must have still been at the hardware store. The fact that I was not riding my bike makes me think something was up. Aunt Betty, mom, and I were likely going to meet at Aunt Betty's house, which was directly across the street from the hospital, and go visit dad a day or two before he was released.

I can remember the exact location. We'd just turned off Clinton Street, heading East on Washington Street. We were in front of the hospital, about a half block from her house. The conversation had centered on dad during the short car ride. Aunt Betty wasn't trying to be mean at all. I must have asked a question that opened the door for her to lay it on the line.

"Kent. Your daddy is going to die."

I don't recall crying. But the conversation ended. We were at her house by then anyway.

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