Tag Archives: family

Visiting the Land of Make-Believe

Visiting the Land of Make-Believe

Visiting the Land of Make-Believe, originally uploaded by cynthiacloskey.

UPDATE 3/20/2008: Today is "Won’t You Wear a Sweater?" Day. Let’s make the most of this beautiful day!

Andrew Stockey wrote a nice "happy birthday" message to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which today is 40 years old.

I mentioned this to my brother, who asked if I remembered the first episode. And then laughed.

But I may well have seen the first episode. At the least, I must have started watching early on.

The photo above is of me and my sister Laura dressing up like King Friday and Queen Sara. (I am King Friday because I’m bigger. This never seemed strange.) We’re standing in the kitchen of our house in Exton, PA, and it’s November or December of 1969.

Incidentally, the blanket Laura is wearing was a permanent fixture, like Linus’s blanket in the Peanuts comics. I have resorted to robing myself in a common afghan.

So clearly we were fans of the show within the first two years of its launch. Oh, we loved it. I was particularly fond of X the Owl, because even as a tot I was an insufferable know-it-all. I found Lady Elaine Fairchild kind of creepy.

Needless to say, I had no idea when we moved to the Pittsburgh area that we had moved closer to the actual Mister Rogers. I spent the first few years thinking that we had moved into a house that had previously been owned by a butler.

But back to my point: How lucky we were to have grown up with Mister Rogers! Happy birthday to the show, and many thanks to The Public Broadcasting System and WQED.


Mallard at dawn

Mallard at dawn, originally uploaded by Memotions.

I’ve mentioned a few times recently a family friend who was hospitalized, and then in the ICU. She’d had a brain hemorrhage and other complications, and she’d been on life support for several days. All her children had flown in to say goodbye. Her family had made the hard choice to take her off machines.

They did turn everything off, and she was on fluids only.

And then she woke up. Within a day she was talking. Today she started walking again.

What a crazy, wonderful thing.

This seems a good time to add another thank you to all who sent well-wishes for my mom’s surgery this week. She’s doing well also, her foot swathed in bandages and propped up high on her bed, her nightstand and headboard stacked high with books to keep her amused while she’s laid up.


CPMC Surgery

CPMC Surgery, originally uploaded by crucially.

My mom is in the hospital this morning, undergoing surgery to repair her foot. She broke her foot sometime last year; she slipped while walking down stairs, and though she barely fell at all she tore a tendon in her heel. The tendon is irreparable, but the surgery will relieve pain and make it easier to walk.

This surgery comes just months after other surgery to replace her knee. A couple years ago my father had a hip replaced, and he should have the other replaced too but, typically for him, he has put it off indefinitely.

Dad doesn’t hear too well anymore, but rather than see a specialist, he wears the decrepit hearing aid his mother wore — it’s decades old, doesn’t fit him, and helps his hearing not at all.

When I stopped by my parents’ house last night, they were just finishing dinner. Mom had me fix myself a plate of pot roast with noodles and vegetables, and we sat around the table as we always did.

But not everything was the same. Conversation centered first on my mom’s search for a wheelchair, to use after her surgery. Then we talked about a close family friend who has been in the ICU for days and probably won’t survive many days longer.

My younger brother Jude was wearing pajamas at the dinner table, at 7pm, which seemed unusual even by Closkey standards; he’s become an old curmudgeon well before his time. After dinner Dad sat watching TV wrapped in a blanket against the cold, exactly where my grandmother used to sit and looking for all the world like her reincarnation.

As much as a downer as this all should be — all of us growing old and staring Death in the eye, my mother undergoing anesthesia right this moment — I find myself cheerful. The sun shines through my window, I’m drinking fresh, hot coffee, and I’m looking ahead to a day full of good work for clients I like.

I’d like to draw a Wise Thought from this, some pithy sentence to share with everyone or to think back on myself when life seems grim. All I have, though, is this feeling that the day is new, and that whatever it brings is enough.

Keeping track of Laura

Laura in the snow

Some weeks back I mentioned that my sister Laura is traveling through Latin America over the Christmas holiday, and that I would be renovating her blog so she can keep us informed on her whereabouts and adventures.

At last, the new site is up (mostly — still have to migrate photos to the new gallery), and Laura has posted her first new entry. Please stop by Have You Heard From Laura. You can leave her a comment to wish her a Merry Christmas and offer encouragement as she struggles to learn Spanish.

Most of her posts are from previous trips. Note the photos of her traveling companion, Mr. Toast. He’s seen much more of the world than I have.

One of the striking things about Laura is how quickly and easily she meets people and makes friends. This new post is a perfect example. Within forty-eight hours she met at least a half dozen people, got recommendations on where to stay and eat, and made arrangements to hang out with like-minded travelers. Who needs a guide book?