The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I spoke with my father-in-law on the phone today. He'd been hospitalised all week due to an infection that completely incapacitated him. This same infection flares up every couple of years and every couple of years, we hold our breath, waiting for him to pull through.

Today he announced that he and my mother-in-law are planning on selling their home and will be moving to a retirement community closer to us where he won't have to look after the lawn and garden or maintain the pool, and where there are security and emergency services.

You would think that this might be a sad announcement - but no. My in-laws are excited about this. It will be like moving to a resort! There will be a country club on the property, as well as an eye clinic, physicians' offices, tennis courts, swimming pool, and lots of other amenities. Things sure have changed from when I was a kid!

No. This is the new "old age" where people like my in-laws can enjoy the fruits of their lifelong labors and be looked after at the same time.

Secretly, there's a little feeling of jealousy in me. Dan and I are still running the rat race - going nowhere at times, it seems. I imagine my in-laws lounging by the pool while the cabana boys bring drinks with umbrellas sticking out of them (of course, this is my fantasy, so I'm allowed to have cabana boys in it) and an attractive nurse helps my father-in-law into his robe. Dan and I will probably be working until we're his parents' ages (unless we get some help from State Lotto.)

Transitions aren't what they used to be.

Photo credit: Read more about the Pensioners' Playground.
posted by Melanie O. at 3:55 PM - 2 comments
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Letting go...
Back in the 1970's, Paul McCartney and Wings recorded a song called Letting Go, which appeared on their Wings over America album. The song was mainly about lust, but as I think about my son, Andy, whom I haven't heard from in over a year, the chorus of that song comes back and plays over and over in my mind:

Oh I Feel Like Letting Go
Oh I Feel Like Letting Go.

My son Andy has decided to sever his relationship with his family. I think it stems from the fact that he has used up his resources - no one will give him a free place to stay without him taking his medication and going to counselling and therapy. He doesn't want to follow through on a program that would require him to use part of his disability check for housing. In his mind, his disability check is like his "allowance" and he should be able to blow it on restaurants and CDs if he wants. Emotionally, Andy is still 15 years old and every day should be about being "treated" to something. He suffers from Bipolar disease as well as other personality disorders. He's 28 years old.

I have had to face facts - Andy just wants to be left alone to live life as he wants to. He doesn't want family members telling him what to do. He needs regular professional help by the mental health field, but only uses it when he reaches a crisis stage.

More than a year's gone by since I got a letter from him. As time goes on - he drifts farther and farther away. I've had to chase up his location over the past year, and I have no idea if he ever read my letters. The last letters I've written have been returned to me, unopened. He's moved again and we can only guess where he is. I'm not going to chase him any more. He just remains an evasive butterfly. I just hope that, as time goes on, he will decide to re-establish contact. He knows where we are.

I just hope he doesn't wait until it's too late. In the meantime, I have to let go.
posted by Melanie O. at 12:38 PM - 11 comments
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Charlton Heston died today
Charlton Heston died today - and news of his death comes with a kind of surrealism usually reserved only for the realm of my dreams. His death has struck me in a strange way, because, for the past two weeks, I've been watching Charlton Heston movies on DVD.

It started on Easter with Ben-Hur. It's my perennial Easter film. I got hooked on Ben-Hur several years ago when the local cinema got ahold of a real print and showed it on the big screen, to the public, for free. I was mesmerised by the costumes and drama - even if the religious message got a bit lost. I was mesmerised by Chuck (as he was called by friends and family.) And I lamented the extinction of Technicolor.

A week later, I was in our local department store and found a 3-pack DVD of Charlton Heston classics: The Greatest Show on Earth, The Ten Commandments, and The Naked Jungle. I grew up in the 1970's with a (still buff and handsome) middle-aged Charlton Heston in films such as The Three Musketeers, Planet of the Apes and Earthquake! The Charlton Heston of these classics on DVD was the actor I'd never seen before: classically handsome, built, and with a voice that commanded your attention. This was a Charlton Heston in his youthful prime. He had been an artist's model and I couldn't blame him for showing off his chest in these early films. I felt myself feeling envious of his wife of 64 years, Lydia.

I discovered that he had crusaded for John F. Kennedy and Civil Rights back in the '60's, and had been president of the Screen Actor's Guild in the '70's. As he aged, Charlton Heston became more politically conservative, and, I daresay, opinionated. As I watch his early films, it doesn't matter that I didn't always agree with him. I had to hand it to him, though - he managed to stay in the spotlight until right before his death.

Good night, Chuck. Rest in peace. And thanks for being a part of an era in Hollywood that we will never see again. Few actors can be called "legends," but I daresay that you rank amongst the stars.

(Note: image is for commentary purposes only.)
posted by Melanie O. at 4:16 PM - 4 comments

About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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