As I walked down the hallway, toward Ms. Mater’s room, the air was filled with laughter. I knocked on the door four times before someone heard me. I was instructed to “come in”. I looked around the room as I walked in. The room was full of resident’s of the home, as well as employees. Ms. Mater was the center of attention. I was about to discover that she loved every minute.
Ms. Mater had suffered a debilatating stroke and upon discharge from rehabilitation, she was scheduled to move into our building. All of this was a preliminary arrangement, based on the results of the assessment I was about to go through with her. Procedure, procedure, procedure…….
I introduced myself and asked a staffmember to assist with the other resident’s; I needed Ms. Mater to myself to complete the assessment.
Once alone with my new friend, she started cracking jokes. This sweet, little, gray-haired lady was hilarious! She had me about to wet myself within seconds. Within minutes we were fast friends. A friendship that continues today. Even though she can’t hear me, we speak several times monthly and we visit when in the area. Neither of us gets out like we used to, but we enjoy life.
Ms. Mater elegantly answered my questions and performed the tasks I asked of her, without complaint and to the best of her current abilities. She made no excuses for her defeciencies, she joked them off. As we worked, she told me stories of her childhood. She claimed to have grown up being called “The Ugly Duckling”
I just could not see it, she had such a timeless beauty. She said she grew up on her farm, the oldest of three girls. She was born with a headful of flaming red curls and as each of her sisters were born, they had Strawberry blonde curls. She said she was furious, until they grew up and she was prettier than both of them. From what I heard, she did not mind sharing that fact at all.
The only clue she was ever a red-head, was the red tint in her silver hair. It almost appeared to be blonde or light brown. She never left her room without being immaculately dressed, with makeup and lipstick perfect.
She had a set weekly appointment with beautician. I was sworn to secrecy over how she keeps her hair in place at night. It is actually a little funny. She doesn’t know it, but I have a photo of her sleeping in her get-up.
Ms. Mater was crazy about my now husband. She repeatedly told me that if she were twenty years younger, she’d take Barry away from me. I wouldn’t put it past her to at least try. Ms. Mater always said she loved me due to my “smart-…” attitude. I’d just say “back at you”and keep going.
When I need to cheer myself or need a little giggle, I think of Ms. Mater. It always makes me smile. I can see her sitting in my office chair, telling everything I need to get done “around here”. Cheers me right up! I’ll usually give her a call later that evening. I miss having her around!
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