Make No Mistake

 

After decades of blissful retirement, I recently found myself reviving a career I’d left behind thirty years prior. It was 2011, and I was back to being a DSS, otherwise known as a derriere sanitation specialist. Yes, I was back to changing diapers, only, this time, it wasn’t for a sweet little baby, but instead for my 95-year-old father.

When dad moved in with me in June 2011, I knew there’d be challenges for both of us. For him, it would be his complete loss […]

Getting Ready

Standing at the door to my bedroom, my father stood in his dark blue suit tapping his foot and staring at his sixteen-year-old daughter.

“Jackie, hurry up. We’re going to be late,” he ordered.

In the Madden family, punctuality was right up there with perfect manners and good hygiene. We were never allowed to be late for anything. Being tardy for school, church, or dinner, was equivalent to a mortal sin. It was a sign of disrespect and punishable with near death, or at the very […]

Making Peace

As I walked into my house after a lovely vacation in the Tahoe Mountains, I was hit with the putrid smell of old age. It was a heavy, rancid odor a musty basement emits when full of decaying remnants of a life long gone by. This mixed with the wafting stench of wet, dirty diapers made me want to vomit, turn around, and run away.

Since my 95-year-old father moved in with me, my life and home have been completely turned upside down. Freedom to […]

In the Moment

My dad was never one to gush over his four children, especially not in the way my mother did. Ever the purveyor of descriptive language, there was not a day that went by that she didn’t tell us how special we were. From the tips of our little button noses to our clubfeet, in her eyes, we were perfection. For dad, his admiration came in subtle, quiet expressions – a look in his eye, a smile of pride, a nod or a wink.

Recently, in one […]

The Boy with the Shovel

Consider the use of a shovel: digging, excavating, lifting, and moving bulky items. A shovel is a common tool found in everyone’s garage, but no one knows its importance more than my father.

In a conversation with my daddy several months before he passed away, I watched as he allowed his mind to float back softly in time to 1920 when he was a wee lad of four. Life in San Francisco was simple and poor. Toys were of the make-shift kind, and the mind […]

Remembering in the Present

My dad was never one to gush over his four children, especially not in the way my mother did. Ever the purveyor of descriptive language, there was not a day that went by that mom didn’t tell us how special we were. From the tips of our little button noses to our clubfeet, in her eyes, we were perfection. For dad, his admiration came in subtle, quiet expressions – a look in his eye, a smile of pride, a nod or a wink.

Recently, in […]