Thursday, January 10, 2008

The good, the bad, the ugly

This morning's sunrise

1/10/08 Thursday
I didn’t write in the journal yesterday because it was a good day with no slowdowns. Consequently I worked, I pushed, and I didn’t stop long enough to write in this journal. When I did stop it was 8:30 and I was worn out. On top of that a headache came on quick, the only problem in the day, so instead of continuing to run the sprinkler I called it quits. I don’t think I made it to the ten o’clock news before I conked out. If I did I don’t remember.

The most notable thing from yesterday is I discovered Fred Reitz had died. A few days ago Cherie had found two pieces of paper as she cleaned and organized things. One had Fred’s phone number and address and the other a name, number, and the note “niece”. A few months ago I had tried to call Fred only to find his number was “No longer in service”. This had me worried as his health hasn’t been good. I suppose I should tell you who Fred is now that this is a public journal. First I must go back in the journal to refresh my memories. After all that’s what it’s here for.

Fred with a birthday cake we got him

Fred Reitz was the eighty seven year old man who lived in Cherie’s apartment building in Toledo. He was the first person I met there when Cherie let me move in. (This was after I asked her to remarry me by the way) The first entry I found for Fred was this one dated 5/4/04
Today I will help Fred, the old guy who lives downstairs with emphysema, by driving him around. We will get groceries for a female friend of his who is disabled and then get his new glasses. I enjoy helping people.

This was the start of the two years I would serve Fred, helping him with just about everything. I was his chauffer and his eyes, reading the mail he got and the labels of food at the grocery stores. Cherie and I enjoyed helping him and the friendship that developed. Oh Fred was a cantankerous old coot for sure. He had lived quite a life and told some fascinating stories such as when he would fix drinks and wait on mobsters during their poker games. Toledo has quite a history in that regard. Being right in between Chicago and Detroit there was a lot of traffic during prohibition. It is rumored that Sylvania, a suburb of Toledo, is a retirement community for old mobsters. I have been in houses that have secret tunnels going under roads to other houses and eaten in restaurants frequented by well known gangsters who’s names are nationally recognized.

Anyway, Fred was quite a guy. Through him I was able to find and help Barbara, another survivor of traumatic brain injury. Fred had promised her mother on her deathbed that he would take care of Barb. Many of the trips I drove Fred on were to her place where we delivered food and needs as well as taking care of various problems.


I’ve just spent an hour reading entries I made regarding Fred. Used the search engine to find them. What a lot of stuff there is. Fred was a major part of my life then and there is pretty much a mention of him every day. Fred let me use his car for my own needs after a few months so that was a big blessing. I became the taxi service for Barb as well. She needed lots of help and Fred was her benefactor so to speak. I was too through Fred and spent many hours helping her and also trying to protect her from the problems that come with public housing. I worry now about her and wonder how she is doing now that Fred is gone. I wish I could afford to drive up there for there are so many I helped and care about that I am unable to contact now. Plus it would just be good to visit my newly married son and meet his wife for the first time.

Going back and reading this journal reveals much that I of course had long since forgotten. I can see that I was in pretty bad shape then. But what is disturbing are the notes I made immediately after talking with my grandmother. There is no doubt that my short term memory loss and cognitive difficulties have not served me well in this and there are some who have taken advantage of it. Here is an entry dated 4/10/05

It is now 1:40 and I just got off the phone with Minnie Lee, Mee Maw If you will. (my grandmother) It is not good what she tells me. But I am uncertain if I can trust everything she tells me but at the same time I cannot afford being wrong in this. Lee tells me that Virginia is writing checks and signing or having Lee sign them. These checks are to Virginia’s brothers for things they are charging in Lee’s name. Lee has some of the checks Virginia tried to get her to sign. Larry had come down and got a copy of the key made to the farm house. He told her that her brand new washer and dryer were gone along with lots of other things. Virginias brother had come over drunk and abused Lee. Lee told more of that to Cherie

This one I wrote two days later. All of this spurred us to drive to Texas.

Virginia with my grandmother

Dear friends,
There is so much happening it has been hard to keep up with. Cherie and I are suddenly needing to go to Texas. When I talked to my grandmother Sunday what I heard chilled me. My grandmother, Minnie Lee, was put in an assisted living facility about 4 weeks ago. Her niece, Virginia, had been given power of attorney with my blessing to handle the many complicated issues involved when one nears the end of life. Minnie still has a sharp mind and questioned Virginia regarding some checks she had presented for signature. Virginia’s response was to throw the checks on the floor and leave. Minnie told me that Virginias brother came over drunk and talked dirty to her. What that means exactly I don’t know but it doesn’t sound good any way I look at it.
Minnie also told me that my brother had come down and made a copy of Minnie Lee’s key to the farm. He said he stayed at the house and there is much missing, such as the brand new dryer. The problem is he has been known to take advantage of situations like this before. I know enough not to prejudge any of this till I get there and see for myself but it is hard not too. We are going into a mess so would appreciate your prayers.

I’ll have to read what happened when we went to Texas later because I am busy working on this farm now. It’s another good day so I don’t want to waste any of this period of cognition. Hey, this might make two days in a row.

No comments: