When my book, Dueling With Dementia, was published on Wednesday, I felt happy, nervous, excited, vulnerable. This is my first book, and I wanted to celebrate. Alas, each of my children was busy with work, school, or a girlfriend. Mollie, my dog, was happy, but she's always happy. I showed her the book, but she was not impressed. I sent out an email to my friends and received many positive comments in response, but what I wanted to do was CELEBRATE with someone who cares about me.
Of course, the obvious choice should have been my husband, but he's the subject of my book, and he's no longer able to appreciate my accomplishment because of his dementia. All of a sudden, in the midst of feeling a bit sorry for myself being all alone on publication day, I remembered one of Gordon's first gifts to me. Gordon's preference for gifts was jewelry, though I'm not much of a jewelry person. However, for Christmas 1982, Gordon gave me an IBM Selectric II typewriter so that I could more easily write my plays and stories. While I loved the typewriter, the more important gift was Gordon's belief in me and my writing.
Sadly, my beloved typewriter was destroyed in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. My bricks and board bookcases collapsed on it, crushing it. Out of sentimentality, I kept the twisted machine for years because of what it represented--Gordon's belief in me.
With four young children, I had no time to write, but the idea that one day I would write was always in the back of my mind. I would have to get another typewriter, but that could wait, I thought, until the children were much older.
But Gordon had another idea. On Mother's Day 1993, Gordon bought me my first Apple computer based on the recommendation of our friend, Rob, who worked for Apple. Gordon said that he knew I had no time for writing then, and that the computer would most probably be used for children's school software, but he wanted me to have it in case I found time to write because he was looking forward to seeing my work published, having spent years listening to me read to him the scenes from plays, short stories, and essays that I wrote. Again, while I loved my Apple computer, the greatest treasure was Gordon's belief in me, and I cried tears of joy.
While the gifts of the typewriter and computer were long ago, the memories of those two gifts and Gordon's belief in me are still in my head and heart.
So, to celebrate my book being published, I took out those two memories from my treasure chest of memories and polished them, while I baked a batch of celebratory cookies and toasted my book with a glass of chilled white wine. A wistful celebration to be sure, but a fitting one too.
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