The Ouroboros | gniaes`.`seaing...gnihtyreve ni slobmys.symbols in everything...

The Ouroboros | gniaes`.`seaing...gnihtyreve ni slobmys.symbols in everything...
Land is not responsible for "Hugh Manatee's" doings. ALL of us are responsible for our own environmental sustainablility

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Great Aunt Althea

Aunt Althea had been a brilliant mind, medical student, studying to become a doctor in the 50's. She had a manic depressive related breakdown, in her twenties, and her father had her lobotomized. She was institutionalized the rest of her life. Her sister, our 'Bubby, would bring her home to spend the holidays with us.

Althea was tall and had girth to her, with a bobbed hair do, horned rimmed glasses, possessing a mysterious intelligence behind her (?wounded?) views on stuff.  (She really loved my father.)  We'd all kind of try to interact with her quick while being nice to her - then scoot away as she ,,,kind of ... admittedly intimidated a little sometimes.  It became a ...kind of... fun game for us to do the 'try to be nice then scoot, thing.  Would bring the Newsweek magazine a few inches from her face to read, and seemed to read at the speed of light, animatedly moving her face along the pages, scanning at top speed, taking only a few seconds on some pages but seeming to take it all in. She'd ask really weird questions and cared mainly about over eating and drinking. Bubby had to make sure she did the simplest things.  Poor Althea.

Thing is, we all loved her, especially because her sister did, who us kids adored of course and looked up to, what kid isn't thrilled to have a grandmother dote on you smiling.  'Bubby 'Frances had a very strong, deep heart.  (We were heartbroken when it was her time to go, and especially for Althea.  She and her sister succumbed relatively soon after one another.)

Althea had a way to come up to you and ask in a very 'ad alta' (top of the) voice, 'oh, are you the brown one?' Or 'the 'blue' one, or whatever the color of your eyes or hair were. This was just another reinforcement of the (internalised) terror of could happen to oen if anyone found out you too were manic depressive.  Even if it had happened a few generations before, that sick kinda stuff has been known to be perpetrated by some leftover sickos posing as docs.  All kindsa horror stories about it, yada yada yada but there were real life Nurse Ratchets still hunting the night shifts of hospitals for us kinds of folk even in my day (70s).

Althea had a conventional lobotomy, I think, but her eyes were wall-eyed.  I don't know. There were more terrors lurking out in reality... ocular...'nuff said.  Poor Althea.

We loved you very much even though we were a little intimidated by you, old girl.  Here's a bouquet of roses to your memory, Althea ~ 

1 comment:

  1. I'd rather have a bottle in front of me...

    My own family had our very own recovering alcoholic ex-POW. Three years on the "escape committee" at a German prison camp would tend to shape the rest of anyone's life. At family gatherings my father carefully instructed my brother and I to ask "Would you like a GINGER ALE, Uncle Rupe?"

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