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Rachel-K
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Gab Tent

Hi all,

This is a thread for any off-topic discussion! Enjoy!
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vivico1
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Old folks and love

I was going to put this on the thread about two Jacobs where we have had the little debates about whether all this was just Jacob in a dream state or fugue from Alzheimers and it all never happened. I think we have played that one out and had fun with it, realizing that all this was rea. If you still have any doubts, read Sara Gruen's interviews and notes, she never meant it to be a story about false memories but just what it is. The story is not about Alzheimers, thats barely even a backdrop, being old and in a nursing home versus being young and in a circus is is the story and a really good one. Anyway, what I wanted to ask that kind of has to do with that but is off the topic of the book too is this. I just picked up the movie The Notebook from the library today since I never saw it in the theaters and just watched it. Have any of you seen it? About a young man pre WWII who falls in love with an upper class girl and they really are in love but her family takes her away and he writes her every day for a year and she never gets them because her mom intercepts them. So they go on, missing each other but thinking the other has just forgotten them. And James Garner plays an old man reading this story to an old woman in a nursing home who has Alzheimers and sometimes remembers him and sometimes doesnt but loves this story he reads to her. It goes back and forth, from the story of these two young people, to these two old people talking about the book and love and stuff. I don't want to give away any of it, if you havent seen it, but it made me think about this book. Sometimes she only remembers for a couple of minutes and its sad, but she loves the story and he is wonderful to be there and read to her the same book, over and over. That movie, based on a book, really does deal with the realities and memories of someone who is losing more and more each day and what is story and what is real. It was a pretty good movie. Anyone see it???
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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IBIS
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Re: Old folks and love

[ Edited ]
I saw the movie THE NOTEBOOK and was impressed by the details of Alzheimer's. I was surprised that it so successful because dementia isn't ideally suited for mass movie audiences. One reason for its mass success was perhaps because it's paired with a youth-oriented romance, and the young couple were as sympathetic as the older one.

What may very well become a minor classic is the movie AWAY FROM HER, with Julie Christie. This movie, based on a short story by Alice Munro, does a great job in painting a believable portrait of aging, capturing the sadness, confusion, anxiety and defiance of the early stages of Alzheimers.

My mother is currently in the deepest stages of Alzheimers, and I recognize its debilitating symptoms first hand. AWAY FROM HER unflinchingly examines the disease from the very distinct perspectives of both partners in a marriage. It explores to varying degrees what profound memory loss can do to this couple who have been married for decades.

Not quite sure what this has to do with WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, since I didn't recognize Jacob's symptoms as indicative of Alzheimers. But it does have a lot to do with Old Folks and Love.

IBIS

Message Edited by IBIS on 11-29-2007 09:51 AM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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vivico1
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Re: Old folks and love


IBIS wrote:
I saw the movie THE NOTEBOOK and was impressed by the details of Alzheimer's. I was surprised that it so successful because dementia isn't ideally suited for mass movie audiences. One reason for its mass success was perhaps because it's paired with a youth-oriented romance, and the young couple were as sympathetic as the older one.

What may very well become a minor classic is the movie AWAY FROM HER, with Julie Christie. This movie, based on a short story by Alice Munro, does a great job in painting a believable portrait of aging, capturing the sadness, confusion, anxiety and defiance of the early stages of Alzheimers.

My mother is currently in the deepest stages of Alzheimers, and I recognize its debilitating symptoms first hand. AWAY FROM HER unflinchingly examines the disease from the very distinct perspectives of both partners in a marriage. It explores to varying degrees what profound memory loss can do to this couple who have been married for decades.

Not quite sure what this has to do with WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, since I didn't recognize Jacob's symptoms as indicative of Alzheimers. But it does have a lot to do with Old Folks and Love.

IBIS

Message Edited by IBIS on 11-29-2007 09:51 AM


Doesnt really have to do with the story IBIS, thats why I put it here lol :smileywink:. Just saw it at the time that I am in this club where there is an old man in a nursing home and about the power of love. I think thats why the movie did well, not as well as it could have but it was a love story, that lasted till death and young and old people want to believe that, have that and believe that even the ravages of old age can be overcome by it.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Peppermill
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Re: Old folks and love

[ Edited ]
"Not quite sure what this has to do with WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, since I didn't recognize Jacob's symptoms as indicative of Alzheimers. But it does have a lot to do with Old Folks and Love."

IBIS


I certainly can't diagnose Jacob from the book, but I have been close to two cases of Alzheimers, both leading eventually to death. Part of what I learned during those years was how differently that disease can manifest itself. Sara clearly tells us that Jacob has memory loss. Is that Alzheimers or some other sort of dementia, i.e., cognitive loss? Unfortunately, Alzheimers tends to get used as a synonym for what used to be called "senility." Certainly neither of those two conditions in their advanced stages are applicable to Jacob! (And, medically, they really aren't comparable -- senility, largely unused today, can derive from a whole plethora of conditions, Alzheimers being one of those.) But, Jacob is ninety-three years old. He can be both "sharp as a tack" and experience some cognitive dysfunction.

My own experience says that one often needs to re-examine virtually every assumption one may have about these conditions. Fortunately, better and better resources are becoming available to help those of us who have to make that journey. But, my experience also says that we have to take the initiative in finding those resources -- and, as Ibis implies, let Love dominate Fear.

Message Edited by Peppermill on 11-29-2007 11:43 AM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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fordmg
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Re: Old folks and love



vivico1 wrote:
I was going to put this on the thread about two Jacobs where we have had the little debates about whether all this was just Jacob in a dream state or fugue from Alzheimers and it all never happened. I think we have played that one out and had fun with it, realizing that all this was rea. If you still have any doubts, read Sara Gruen's interviews and notes, she never meant it to be a story about false memories but just what it is. The story is not about Alzheimers, thats barely even a backdrop, being old and in a nursing home versus being young and in a circus is is the story and a really good one. Anyway, what I wanted to ask that kind of has to do with that but is off the topic of the book too is this. I just picked up the movie The Notebook from the library today since I never saw it in the theaters and just watched it. Have any of you seen it? About a young man pre WWII who falls in love with an upper class girl and they really are in love but her family takes her away and he writes her every day for a year and she never gets them because her mom intercepts them. So they go on, missing each other but thinking the other has just forgotten them. And James Garner plays an old man reading this story to an old woman in a nursing home who has Alzheimers and sometimes remembers him and sometimes doesnt but loves this story he reads to her. It goes back and forth, from the story of these two young people, to these two old people talking about the book and love and stuff. I don't want to give away any of it, if you havent seen it, but it made me think about this book. Sometimes she only remembers for a couple of minutes and its sad, but she loves the story and he is wonderful to be there and read to her the same book, over and over. That movie, based on a book, really does deal with the realities and memories of someone who is losing more and more each day and what is story and what is real. It was a pretty good movie. Anyone see it???




I didn't see the movie, but read the book. It is heartwarming.
MG
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vivico1
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Re: Gab Tent/ wheels of life

I just got an email with cartoon pics of this and since I cant show them all to you, I wanted to tell you what they were lol. Has to do with being young and being old.
Its titled The wheels of Life
It shows the various wheels we use at different times in our life in pictures. The first one is a baby beig pushed in a baby carriage, then is a little boy on a tricycle, then comes the teenage boy on a bicycle, next is the young man in a fast convertible sports car, then the married man in the mini van with kids, then the older man in the sporty jeep style SUV, then the retired man in the motor home, then comes the even older man on the electric scooter and last is the old man being pushed, not in a baby carriage now but in a wheelchair by a nurse. The circle of life... often shows in the circle of our wheels huh? lol .
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Gab Tent

FYI, I just saw on tv that Sissy Spacek is in a Hallmark movie this coming Sunday, about a woman at the very beginning stages of Alzheimers who lives alone and now finds herself having to take care of her granddaughter, I think, who is about 10. Not sure why, maybe her parents die, but wow, never thought about that. There are so many grandparents who wind up raising their grandchildren that what happens if the grandparent gets Alzheimers?! Should be a good movie, I am not sure of the name but you can find it this Sunday from that info.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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kiakar
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Re: Old folks and love



IBIS wrote:
I saw the movie THE NOTEBOOK and was impressed by the details of Alzheimer's. I was surprised that it so successful because dementia isn't ideally suited for mass movie audiences. One reason for its mass success was perhaps because it's paired with a youth-oriented romance, and the young couple were as sympathetic as the older one.

What may very well become a minor classic is the movie AWAY FROM HER, with Julie Christie. This movie, based on a short story by Alice Munro, does a great job in painting a believable portrait of aging, capturing the sadness, confusion, anxiety and defiance of the early stages of Alzheimers.

My mother is currently in the deepest stages of Alzheimers, and I recognize its debilitating symptoms first hand. AWAY FROM HER unflinchingly examines the disease from the very distinct perspectives of both partners in a marriage. It explores to varying degrees what profound memory loss can do to this couple who have been married for decades.

Not quite sure what this has to do with WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, since I didn't recognize Jacob's symptoms as indicative of Alzheimers. But it does have a lot to do with Old Folks and Love.

IBIS

Message Edited by IBIS on 11-29-2007 09:51 AM




IBIS, I am so sorry about your mother. Mine had dymentia mixed with stroke after affects. I know what you are going through. You know, are we getting more sensitive or maybe its the baby boomers, but I notice, more books and movies are focusing on the older American now rather than all young romance. ?
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IBIS
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Re: Old folks and love

[ Edited ]
Hi Linda, thank you for your kindness about my mother's health. I sympathize with your mother's situation as well. I'm grateful that we're living in a period where there are excellent health services to address Alzheimer's. Ten years ago that wasn't the case.

There are many more seniors alive today than there ever was. And because of better living conditions, are living longer as well. Unfortunately, current geriatric health needs are overwhelming the present American health infrastructure... it's a serious a demand on the American healthcare system. And getting much more demanding.

Popular culture is taking notice of our senior population health and emotional and economic needs; many popular books and movies are addressing this overwhelming and serious concern. That's why the current crop of popular movies and books about Alzheimer's and senior assisted living services is so timely.

The nursing home where Jacob is living is comparatively not as bad as others can be. Some are blessed to have trained staff as caring as Rosemary.

IBIS

Message Edited by IBIS on 12-02-2007 03:04 PM
IBIS

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vivico1
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Re: Gab Tent

Sooooo, is everyone out Christmas shopping this week or something? You could hear a pin drop in here :smileywink:
Vivian
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KathyS
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Re: Old folks and love

IBIS,
Jacob, as I think we know, was suffering from one of the many stages of dementia, or hardening of the arteries, which just comes with old age.

But I greatly sympathize with you and your mother's situation. I know these stages of Alzheimer's, and it tears at your heart.
Be well,
Kathy S.
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IBIS
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Re: Old folks and love

Kathy, I appreciate your kind thoughts and sympathy.

What resonated so much with me in the novel... that Jacob had had such an amazingly rich life, and until he met the circus manager, no one knew about it. No one had a clue of the amazing stories he had to tell.

I look at my mother who is now a total stranger to me, as I am a total stranger to her; but I think, "She's lived an amazing life, and there is so much about her that I know nothing about."

Just as someday, my daughter will look at me in my dotage, and think that I had so much happen to me in my life, things that she will never know anything about.

And that's what this novel made me think, all our beloved elderly relatives, who in their illnesses make us uncomfortable, or their dementia, or their frailness, or their nearness to death. Much as we may love them, we are not comfortable with them.

But we must remember that their old tired bodies are not proxies of who they really are. They have memories of wonderful things that happened to them that no one will ever know.

IBIS
IBIS

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KathyS
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Re: Old folks and love

IBIS,
You've said these words, beautifully. We heard Jacob's voice, then and now, and soon it became a story. I understand every feeling you've conveyed. I think about these thoughts, also, now that I'm 'getting up there'.[smile]

I've tried to talk to my own daughters, this past year, more about what's contained inside of me, letting it out for them, then ever before. I told them that what I have inside of me, is who I am, now. I want them to know more of my past, this person, not just know me as a mother, but as a living, breathing, human being with feelings. I want to know them, at least as much as they would like me to know them.

I think about all of the questions that I could have asked of my own family members, and as you've said, but didn't. Now they are gone. If these thoughts aren't offered by them, you feel as though it is an invasion of privacy to ask. I don't want my daughters to have to ask, or feel they can't. My thoughts are contained on a hardrive, and now within Lit&Life. I've told most of my life story, there.

It's an interesting feeling, to come this far, to share with strangers.
Kathy S.

IBIS wrote:
Kathy, I appreciate your kind thoughts and sympathy.

What resonated so much with me in the novel... that Jacob had had such an amazingly rich life, and until he met the circus manager, no one knew about it. No one had a clue of the amazing stories he had to tell.

I look at my mother who is now a total stranger to me, as I am a total stranger to her; but I think, "She's lived an amazing life, and there is so much about her that I know nothing about."

Just as someday, my daughter will look at me in my dotage, and think that I had so much happen to me in my life, things that she will never know anything about.

And that's what this novel made me think, all our beloved elderly relatives, who in their illnesses make us uncomfortable, or their dementia, or their frailness, or their nearness to death. Much as we may love them, we are not comfortable with them.

But we must remember that their old tired bodies are not proxies of who they really are. They have memories of wonderful things that happened to them that no one will ever know.

IBIS


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vivico1
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Re: Old folks and love


KathyS wrote:

I think about all of the questions that I could have asked of my own family members, and as you've said, but didn't. Now they are gone. If these thoughts aren't offered by them, you feel as though it is an invasion of privacy to ask. I don't want my daughters to have to ask, or feel they can't.
Kathy S.




How about recording your stories for your kids to hear you telling them, or journaling them now. They dont have to be lost. And they can be as personal as you want to get about yourself, for them to know about you now or in your past.
Vivian
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KathyS
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Re: Old folks and love

Viv, yes, either recording, or journaling is good. I'm not into recording my voice, and I've never been one to journal, in the true sense of the word, as in diary form. Even though my history, in the moment, is recorded in the poems and stories I write.

I've chosen to voice these things, as much as I can, directly to my kids. And I've already written so much about myself, that may give more to them, someday, when read. I simply don't know. It is such a personal and vulnerable choice, just how we choose to communicate with people we love, or with those strangers that make is easier to talk to. :smileyhappy:

vivico1 wrote:

KathyS wrote:

I think about all of the questions that I could have asked of my own family members, and as you've said, but didn't. Now they are gone. If these thoughts aren't offered by them, you feel as though it is an invasion of privacy to ask. I don't want my daughters to have to ask, or feel they can't.
Kathy S.




How about recording your stories for your kids to hear you telling them, or journaling them now. They dont have to be lost. And they can be as personal as you want to get about yourself, for them to know about you now or in your past.


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vivico1
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Re: Old folks and love


KathyS wrote:
Viv, yes, either recording, or journaling is good. I'm not into recording my voice, and I've never been one to journal, in the true sense of the word, as in diary form. Even though my history, in the moment, is recorded in the poems and stories I write.

I've chosen to voice these things, as much as I can, directly to my kids. And I've already written so much about myself, that may give more to them, someday, when read. I simply don't know. It is such a personal and vulnerable choice, just how we choose to communicate with people we love, or with those strangers that make is easier to talk to. :smileyhappy:



vivico1 wrote:
How about recording your stories for your kids to hear you telling them, or journaling them now. They dont have to be lost. And they can be as personal as you want to get about yourself, for them to know about you now or in your past.





Yeah but recordings, tho we may not like our own voice, are great gifts of our lives to those children who come after we are gone. They love to hear the stories with our voices, it makes them so real. And writing is very personal, we will write things that we may not say out loud, which is why we also say somethings online we wouldnt to that same stranger in person. I would love to read about my mother's first kiss, her biggest fear as a child, her funniest joke she knows, things like that. There are journal books you can buy online that even have prompt questions, if you cant think of what to write about. Some are for parents, to give to their kids when they become a certain age, some are for grandparent, etc. I have written for years, short stories and poems, and what I have published, tho I had wonderful feedback on them, still were not as personal as the things I write for when I am gone, or just to me, to get things out, and then keep, to remind myself how I got past previous bad times, or to remember the exact feelings I had when something special happened, big or little. I think both are amazing ways of connecting with your family. After all, arent we connecting with others, ideas, and the worlds we do or do not know when we read books? How much more so then, to just write for ourselves that which one day will keep us real to our kids.

Just like in here, Jacob's kids may have some memories of his life and who he was, but if they could read, what we read now, his life in writing the way he remembers it, well the way he knew it at the exact time it was happening and how he felt back then, maybe they would read and remember, there is a real, worthwhile person who felt deeply and knew adventure, sitting in that nursing home and his my DAD or my GRANDDAD and I need to go see him. We all look at ourselves or the elderly and say, I remember when, but in actuality, we do that about the dead too. But to sit and read, not who you were, but who you are, in the moment is so much more than "I remember when", that places us at some distance. How much did you feel "in the moment" with Jacob, as a young man and as the old man, by hearing his thoughts at both times? We were right there with him. Thats what writing does.
Vivian
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KathyS
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Re: Old folks and love

Yes, you understood the whole person of Jacob ----- he wasn't just a 'flat character' when reading the then, and now, of his story. I agree, it's the same way with 'real' people.
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vivico1
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Re: Gab Tent

As a few of you know, I am transcribing handwritten letters for a woman, who has family letters and records dating back to pre civil war. Last month when we read Soul Catcher, I was working on some during the Civil War and the Spanish American war and they were wonderfully written and really like a book unfolding. Even the author liked to hear them and told us this was what he found too in researching the time, was the richness in which personal letters were written, from the heart. I shared several there. Now I am doing some that are up to 1900 and this one is 1904 that I am doing today. I bring this up, because its written by an elderly man, who was the headmaster at a girls school that the main person the earlier letters were written to, was a student of his and his wife. Now he is writing to her daughter, who I guess went there too. I have only seen two of these but in them both he mentions his age and how they dont do much any more but he has a son who works on Wall Street and takes care of them. What intrigued me, that made me think of putting this here is, as they age and tho not in some nursing home then, they are kind of left to their own as far as others are concerned, in any social life that is and so again, I am brought back to what we do or think of our elderly.

"In a short time I shall enter of my 88th year, and my dear precious wife is 84 years of age; - and altho' laid on the shelf from age, - we can yet enter into the lives of our dear pupils with very great pleasure. Yes, dear Julia, we are realizing the weight of years, and that our departure is at hand, and oh, God grant that we shall be welcomed by hosts of our dear pupils who are now on the other side."

That part really got to me. They are not bedridden, but now housebound and no one comes, so his phrase for it is "laid on the shelf from age". They have been put up on the shelf as it were, to be taken down and dusted off occassionally. But look how important some good human contact is to him, he says we can still be active in your lives (by writing)! Remember Jacob saying how can he have a decent conversation with his family when hes not included in their conversations? I noticed too in this letter, which is only a few months from the first, that his handwriting is even worse, he leaves out some words and repeats others, but still, all and all its a good letter from a man who so wants to keep in touch with the world.

The hardest part of doing these letters, and I do love doing them, is reading about someone and getting to know them and feel close to them and in the next letter, someone is telling someone else, they are dead. The death of a young boy, really got to me after reading one of his funny, little boy's scrawl of a handwritten letter to his mother begging her to let him go hunting with a slave or if she doesnt, then "I don't care!" lol, that was about 1846, kids threats and pouting words havent changed much have they LOL. I dont know if i want to read anymore about this old man George. He keeps talking about dying and hey, he is doing darn good for today, much less 1904!
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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KathyS
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Re: Gab Tent

Viv, I read those letters you posted in Soul Catcher, they touched me, as this one does. This must be hard, at times, to read over and type these letters. Bringing them into your life has to make you feel a part of their lives, also. I don't know if I could do it. Brave woman, you are!
They do make you think more about age, the history behind the person, and 'being put on the shelf'!
Thanks for sharing them,

Kathy
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