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Ruth's RomeoDear Diary,

I am basically watching an incredibly ludicrous version of Romeo and Juliet unfold before my very eyes. I’m telling you..this is something my buddy William might script in place of the original.. AFTER drinking a few too many jiggers of ale with his wenches and deciding to “put it all out there” to showcase his TRUE wit and comedic genius. Most of you groan audibly at the mere mention of anything Shakespeare. But what if I told you that playing the lead role of the beautiful young lover Juliet was my eighty-two year old MIL Ruth (dementia) and her young strapping dude Romeo.. played by..none other than the extremely married Gart (also dementia). If you ever read the Cliffs Notes in college you’ll recall that this little saga took place in Verona (Starbucks dark roast— people) Italy in about roughly the same year my MIL claims she was born..1303. Two crazy kids shook up their feuding families by hooking up..( He-l-l-o-o? Hormones.) and then died for each other many pages later all in the name of some seriously mind blowing..Phewwww.
Bet you’re sorry you never read it.. huh?

This new twisted version of the Shakespeare classic.. unlike the original, plays out in the beautiful and romantic halls of ROAM, USA (Alzheimer’s floor) at Happy Daze Assisted Living. Ruth fell head over heels for Gart many months ago, when he smiled at her during Easy Bake Cooking hour while she attempted to scoop two cups worth of Duncan Hines cake mix into the bowel using the 1/8 teaspoon to do it. Chocolate cake granules floated all hither and tither.. getting in granny’s well shelaqued hair, eyes and covering her floral patterned apron. GART being the gentleman that he is.. gently and tenderly wiped some of the powder trapped in her chin hairs away with a gentle touch and Ruth responded with a big toothy grin. She gazed into his eyes and he into hers. Then she moved her face closer towards his.. looking deep into his eyes she exclaimed, “Hey! Aren’t you the guy that drives the bus?” To which he replied, “Could very well be. Did you see me drive a bus? I didn’t know that I remembered how to do those things.” In those few spoken words Ruth and our married boy Gart became a couple.

What a courtship these two had. Every day was like falling in love all over again. They held hands, they kissed, they.. (I would say more, but then I don’t want someone to enter THOSE key words in a Google search and pull THIS up)..held HANDS. Until one day when Ruth looked all over for Gart and couldn’t find him. She approached her NURSE..just like the original Jules had done so many years before.

“Here comes my nurse and she brings news.”

Actually. It was more like..

“Excuse me. Do you work here? I’m looking for my boyfriend…Darn. I always forget his name. What is HIS name? Have you seen him?”

The nurse now has been thrust into the awkward situation of breaking the news to Ruth.. that Gart cannot see her anymore because Garts wife has forbid the courtship (spoil sport) and asked that the two be separated at all times. AS. IF.

NURSE: Ruth..(Long pause, while sweet Kenyan aid thinks fast.) Gart moved to Japan.

O.K. probably not the most BELIEVABLE scenario..and yet..

RUTH: Really? Did he go on the bus?

NURSE: I think so. Should we go into the other room and do some nice napkin folding? You always like to do that.

RUTH: (peering into the dining room) Hey. Is that himmmm? Well. I’LL. BE. (Shuffling merrily toward Gart while bumping into stray couches and walkers that line her path) He’s B-A-C-K. GART..Yoo Hoo! How was your trip darling?

Ruth and Gart could have probably pulled the whole romance thing off..but you know that saying, “Loose lips sink ships”? Well, as the story goes Garts eighty-eight year old wife Thelma who lives down stairs in unassisted living (and rumored to be dating a younger man) came up for a little “conjugal” visit (sat next to him during Happy hands class) last week. It could have all been one nice love triangle if Gart HADN’T introduced his “friend” Ruth.. to Thelma as “Ruth, the really good kisser”. Not such a smart move Gart. And why just stop there?
Why not share EVERYTHING so your wife will have you under surveillance 24/7 and not allow you to so much as squint in the direction of that OTHER WOMAN.  K.

Ruth is miffed.

Gart is in lock down.

As for me? I’m shoveling crappy half melted “free” green foiled thin mints.. that I swear have been sitting in Ruth’s coat pocket for my mouth in oblivious frustration. How can these two be kept apart? Ga. She sees him EVERY day and my Ruth doesn’t do well with the look but don’t touch policy.. Alas, if Mrs. Montague says “no”.. then it’s mega Motrin for us Capulets.

“Adrienne, I don’t understand why they won’t let me see..(thinking deeply)”


ME: Gart

RUTH: Who?

ME: Why they won’t let you see “Gart”.

RUTH: Oh. You mean that fella I like? The one with the “Bubonic Plague.”

What? It works.. for about ten minutes. I figure I’ll use that for awhile and then move on to something else. Let’s see..what’s good?

Friends and countrymen and women of MY SANDWICH GENERATION.. let nothing shock you. These natural relationships develop and they can add YEARS and quality to your senior’s life if respected and understood. Just hope that the OTHER side has become as well informed about all matters of the elder heart as you. We want only happy endings in our version of the story.

Parting is such sweet sorrow..


Copyright © 2009 My Sandwich Generation. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized 12 years, 6 months ago at 12:43 am.


3 Replies

  1. This is the best blog I’ve read in a long while. I discovered a few years ago that dementia had begun. Short term memory was first to go. The dementia apparently is proceeding slowly. Perhaps I can continue to be a hopeless curmudgeon for a while yet. To do so requires and input of humor now and then. Your blog does the trick.

    Thank You.

  2. Rather interesting. Has few times re-read for this purpose to remember. Thanks for interesting article. Waiting for trackback

  3. Adrienne Aug 2nd 2009

    Dear Lindix,

    I’m so sorry it has taken a great amount of time to get back to you. After reading your comment..which made me cry, I realized for once in my life I was without words. I hope that you know that you can have still –so much joy and laughter in your life. Dementia is so unique and different with each one never knows how it will go. What I have learned through time with my MIL and all other dementia residents.. is life can still be sooooo full. You are NOT are special and you will live life in the moment.. the ideal, but something that very few of us have learned to do. I thank you very much for your makes my writing absolutely worth it if I may bring laughter to your life. Please let me know how you are. You have all my support.

    Hugs to you.