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Freshman Year

By Simon Pierpont; Managing Editor
On October 17, 2017

Freshman Year 

Simon Pierpont

Managing Editor

scpierpont@plymouth.edu 

Murmurs have begun circling the household that today is the day. I can tell they don’t want me to know; as if I am a child who can’t understand complex sentences, they speak low and in whispers. But I can hear that repeated phrase over and over again, Apple Leaf Nursing Home. I heard Susan say how nervous and scared I must be, how I must hate them for forcing me into “some home.” She muttered, “he must be so confused, so lost, does he even know what day it is?” No, actually I don’t and I don’t really care either because for once, I’m happy.

Happy because today is the day I finally get to move into the nursing home and I no longer have to stay here, under the constant supervision of my hypochondriac daughter and her neurotic family. Happy because I can be my own person again, maybe I don’t remember what day it is or who my family is or even what my name is sometimes but at least I can remember what it was like to be free and not have to live by the rules of someone else’s household. I am not a child Susan, I can think on my own and act on my own—“yes I would like the crust cut off my sandwich this morning, thank you.”

They think I am senile; that I have lost all my marbles, that when I went for a drive at three-thirty Tuesday morning in nothing but my slippers that I was not aware of what I was doing. Well sure I was, I was headed down to meet Mrs. Gallow for our booty call, I can’t have my family seeing me leaving in the nude wondering where I am going, how do I explain that? It’s easier when you get caught in situations like that to just play it off like you’re old and crazy. Susan would have a heart attack if she found out I was having an affair with Mrs. Gallow; it’s just easier for her to blame it on dementia, trust me. Not to mention how upset Mrs. Edwards would be if she found out about Mrs. Gallow, there go my Tuesday and Thursday nights, just like that. No, it’s easier for her to think I have simply gone mad, trust me.

As the packing commences so does my morning routine. I’m sitting down to my second cup of coffee as Susan bends over to kiss my cheek and tell me I look handsome today. No doubt due to her feeling of guilt over dropping me off at the nursing home but she hasn’t kissed my cheek like that since she was a little girl. Now that she’s a mother of three, it was nice to have that again so I won’t ruin it. She keeps on sending me glances of pity about our journey today but she does not understand the fact that I’m not sad to go, I’m excited. I am going to be in charge of me, no one else, finally. Just like college.

It’s better than when I first moved in to college my freshman year. Back then; I had to do all the packing, all the lifting. I drove three hours to school by myself and set out unpacking my car and repacking my dorm room all alone. But this time, its different. I mean, granted I am not moving into a college dorm but rather something even better. I’m moving into an assisted living nursing home. This time I get to sit back and cruise in the passenger seat the whole way there and once we get there I don’t even have to lift a finger, why? because I’m old and I’ve earned it. Hell, I might even pregame the ride up to the nursing home. I need to have as much liquid courage as I can get because there are going to be so many single women who are most certainly ready to mingle. Trust me, I visited last week and met a few of the residents and from what I can tell, Richard and Bernie in their wheelchairs, are not doing the best job at keeping the female residents company. That’s where I come in.

Looking around the room I can see new and familiar faces. Ralph Davidson from 6th street, over in the corner next to...an absolute fox who is that?! Knowing this is day one and impressions are everything, I take a deep breath, grab my walker, and begin to strut across the nursing home floor. Passing the shuffleboard table I hear an awful squeak from some amateur’s walker. I think back to the night before when, in preparation for my big day, I greased the wheels on my walker knowing I was going to need to be as smooth as possible.

Glancing to my right as I graciously glide past the Chinese checkers table, I spot my opportunity and begin to introduce myself. Just as I reach out to shake her hand I feel a pull on my left shoulder and I’m spun around to see none other than my fun-ruining, opportunity-killing daughter, Susan.

“What are you doing?” Susan asks condemningly. “We stopped here for two minutes, get out from behind the Deli counter Dad, we have to go... come on.”

As we walk past the people playing Chinese checkers and the shuffleboard players, I hear Susan whisper, “I’m so sorry, he has Dementia.” Walking out the doors I look up to see the word “Hannaford” above the doorway, “Huh,” I think to myself.

This word Dementia, it’s a nasty word. It’s a word that makes people look pathetically saying, “I’m so sorry to hear that,” as they lean in for an unwanted hug. It’s a label that changes your life forever whether you like it or not. Dementia, the word itself, makes people go crazy, so next time you look at me, don’t tell me you’re sorry. Tell me congratulations on the incredible life I’ve lived. Tell me you love me and tell me a funny story. I have lived too long and put up with too much shit from too many people to be treated like I am a child again. Whether delirious or conscious and focused, I am still a well-deserved 83 years young and I ought to be treated that way. 

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