Thursday, December 15, 2011

What I learned from delivering the Compass - Bye-bye Helene

I had three big Compass deliveries today:

- The Horsham Clinic, which refers the most people to us at New Directions

- Creekwood Mental Health Center, which I excoriated in my Editor's Corner

- Abington Memorial Hospital Psych Ward. Below is the former main entrance

I wanted to do the hardest delivery first. That would be to the hospital where there is no parking. Got permission from Valet Parking to park in the quik-zone and make my delivery to the psych ward.

"High elopement risk" read the sign outside the locked ward. You know, of course, I was once locked up in then-Bldg 16 of Norristown State Hospital, so I shudder when I read the sign.

I picked up the telephone and a very nice nurse answered. "Hi," I said, "I'm Ruth Deming of New Directions Support Group and I want to drop off our Compass magazines."

"I'll buzz you in," she said.

Whew! She knew who I was.

Looked like they had a full house! All different sorts of people. I gave her a plastic bag full of Compass. She said she'd let me out, meaning she'd unlock the door.

"We're moving," she said. "Going to the Buerger Building. We'll have much more space, esp. for Allied Therapies (art, etc.).

"That's great!" I said. "You know, I used to give talks here." I also gave them at Horsham Clinic. Inspirational talks. I used to get them up and dancing at Horsham. I do miss it but I'd never be able to find it in the dark.

In my Editor's Corner, I blasted the CEO of Abington hospital. I hope someone shows it to him.

Okay, now let's drive over to the Horsham Clinic for a daytime delivery.

Horsham Clinic is a beautiful facility, grounds and all. Horace Trumbauer architect of the original mansion. Died of alcoholism. When you enter the front door, you see many things. To the left are the people who are awaiting admission. People with problems. I took a quick look. A grand staircase leads to the executive offices. I told the receptionist I was delivering the Compass to Dave Mauermann, one of the chief administrators.

Dave later emailed me that if anyone has any constructive criticism about Horsham, they should get in touch with him. I'll put it on our New Directions website. He also said he'd send a donation to ND.

Coming home from Horsham, I stopped at my friend Helene's in Maple Glen. She's moving into an assisted living facility next Monday Dec. 19. A friend of hers, Naomi, is making all of the arrangements. When Helene called Naomi today, her husband Stephen Perloff, founder of the Photo Review, which Helene had wrin for, had made the answering machine recording: "At the beep, tell me your darkest, deepest secrets."

The Artman home looks like a nice place to live. And die. Helene is excited about the five big windows she'll have there. Her current house has about 25.

I know I posted two pix of Artman but it's too much trouble to remove one of them.

Approaching the side door of Helene's house. One year I brought some of my hasta over and we planted them in the garden to the left. She has a little woods next to her where we used to walk. She laid down big branches as trail guides. Her friend Peter also helped.

I remember when Helene painted her cupboards gray, insisting they would bring out the color in the white walls. Helene is an artist: a photographer, sculptor, writer, and a chic dresser.

After Helene moves, I'm gonna look at these photos. I'm quite the Nostalgiac.

Matt Ryesky, taken by his mom. Matt passed away a couple of years ago from cancer. He married Linda late in life. Matt got a chance to play 'grandpop' with Linda's grandson below.

Matt bears a striking resemblance to his father, Aaron, who now lives at Artman in acute care.
Danish modern living room.

OMG! I just fell asleep! Was up until 2 polishing off a revision for our Kidney Memoir. Since Helene is a photographer, the entire house is filled w/ photos.

Helene and I met at Art Matters. She was the photographer and I the writer. We collaborated on numerous articles. Sam Maitin. Robinson Fredenthal. Chris Ray. All of them dead.

Her sewing machine is a Pfaff. I hope you're taking that to Artman, I said. Helene is extremely smart, yes, even smarter than me. I'm working on a hypothesis that people w/big ears are smart. Obama has big ears. I have ears the size of apricots.

Books and more books. I took two of them home: a photography book called "The Last European Jews" and "The Sibley Guide to Boids." Oops, I thot I was one of the Three Stooges. Visit their Stoogeum Museum in Ambler.

Her upstairs office. I never thot of it as messy. It was just her work space. She's got a tea pot in there, many Kleenex boxes, and a teapot with tea bags inside from when Marco Polo sailed from Venice to the Spice Islands. I now have the orange tea pot. And, yes, the tea is stale.

Neighbor Sara stopped by. (Pronounced Sah-ra, it's a Swedish name.

View from door leading outside to deck.

I sat on the bed while Helene sat on the sofa in the bedroom.

She let me take some nice things home including a lot of dish towels, bath towels, and a succulent plant I'll have to learn the name of. My friend Fontaine said it's a burros. Best of all, though, is a photograph of my darling Sarah, who had two kidneys in the photo. Who knows what life will bring?

Sarah Lynn Deming, about 14 years old.

Helene gave me two of her dinnerplates. Here's my diabetes-healthy meal on the plate. After she moves, she'll let me have a place-setting for four, including bowls.

Time to watch ROME. The violent HBO video about that ancient civilization. Wish me luck that this version, from the East Cheltenham Library, doesn't have as many scratches on it as at my own library's copy which was unwatchable.

1 comment:

  1. Just learned that ROME was a product of John Milius, a brilliant director and screenwriter, who went to USC with Spielberg, Lucas, and other geniuses. Watched a docu on him, whose name escapes me. A massive stroke is taking him yrs to convalesce but he's getting it all back