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I'm in a perpetual phase of transition which doesn't seem to be phasing out.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Warning: This Post Contains Somber Content.

I always deliver clothing items to residents' rooms at the nursing home fairly late, around 10 at night.  Most of the people are already asleep.  For the majority of the time I prefer it that way because I don't get caught up in conversations with senile people for extensive amounts of time.  Some nights however, I like taking the personal items out earlier for the sole purpose of getting into some interesting discussions.  It gets extremely lonely back in the laundry room.  The only human contact I have is with the CNA's that come back to pick up towels and bedding and whatnot.  Most of them are in the their early twenties and were born and raised out in the country within fairly close proximity to the home.  A lot of these girls are really gorgeous and possess that beautiful simplistic, Southern, Jesus-loving sensuality that I never can seem to master in myself.  Some of them are a little more bold and subversive in their attitudes and sense of humor.  They're all really nice to me.  I tend to keep to myself and try my hardest to stay on every one's good side.  I've been informed that one DOES NOT want to get on the bad side of Madison County folk.  Some of the girls have really taken to me and come and take a chill break in the laundry room a couple times a night.  From the gossip that I hear, I definitely think I'm on the right track by just being nice, but not overly so, and staying out of people's business unless they offer it up to me without my asking.  It's funny because the more I act this way, sort of indifferent, kind and occasionally a little silly, it seems the more people like to tell me super personal crap. 

Most of the girls are married and 5 of them are pregnant.  How little I relate to their way of life. Maybe I'd be better off being a little more settled.  I really enjoy being all over the place and unattached though.

Anyway, one night I was delivering clothing to residents' rooms and I went into the room of Edna Ramsey and Alma Frisbee (almost all residents share rooms). Edna has absolutely zero short-term memory, but has fairly vivid memories of the distant past.  She says to me every time I walk in the room (if she's awake) "What's your name again sweetie? I'm sorry I forgot"  I tell her it's Zanie Rhoden.  Then she says she doesn't know any Rhodens(all Madison county folk like to know your last name, it's a small community, they like to figure out if they know any of your people. I wonder what that says about a person if they do know some of their people.  Does a whole family clan sometimes have a bad reputation? Like if you're, say, a Chandler, (there are tons of Chandlers in the nursing home, not going to lie, I sometimes wonder about incest) could you be a bad or good person just by familial association?). Then she asks me where I'm from.  I say Greensboro and she usually says "oh, that's not too far."  People always know that I'm not from around there.  My friend Renee, who's from a small country mountain town, informed me once that I have a "Piedmont Accent." It's like a Southern version of a valley girl.  I should probably grow my hair out real long, straighten it more and part it ridiculously far over to one side, wear white v-neck tees under a northface jacket, some designer jeans and boat shoes in order to really make my accent authentic  (people from the Piedmont area will know what I mean, I essentially just described a UNC girl).  Sometimes I start carrying a much heavier Southern drawl at work. When I get off, I'll call one of my friends on the way home and still have the drawl and they laugh at me.  I feel like a thicker accent may make them Madison County folk trust me a little better.

I think caffeine is getting me off track.  Alma Frisbee is always awake when I deliver clothes to their room.  She often complains about her back pain.  Sometimes she talks about her past.  One night she was acting a little melancholy.  She started talking about how her grandparents raised her, that she never knew her mom.  She said that when she was born she was only a pound and a half.  She was in her daddy's arms in the hospital and he just handed her over to her maternal grandparents and told them he didn't want her.  I asked her, in a gentle, caring tone what happened to her mom.  She told me her momma died when she was born.  That, in it's self, was sad enough. 

Another night she told me the same story, but this time with more detail.  She told me that her mom had been out in the woods one day when she was pregnant with Alma.  She crossed a log bridge(I assume this log bridge was placed high over a large creek or river).  She fell off the bridge and died.  Her brother rushed her to the hospital, but it was too late.  They were able to save Alma though.  I assume she was very, very premature.  Alma kept going on and on, nearly in tears about how not a single relative had a photograph of her mother.  She has no idea what her mother looked like.  To not know you mother's face, my God. It was back in 1934.  I'm guessing people out in Appalachia had fairly limited access to/ funds for cameras in the 30's. 

Poor Alma.  I give her a hug and kiss on the cheek every night.  I'm not supposed to touch the residents, but I make an exception for her.