A Question of Respect - Part I

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In the Beginning

She looked around the small room where her few, meager, belongings were scattered here and there. She could not bring her most precious items with her. The space was small; just enough room for a bed, nightstand, chest of drawers, and a small, round, three legged table; an old and cherished friend. The rickety chair, which had accompanied the table for many decades, still sat beside it; another old, friendly remnant from her past. There were a few smaller, unimportant but necessary things, folded in the corner or stacked in boxes, never opened since she moved into this place.

It was a quiet day. The weather had settled into repetitive monotony. She missed the exciting storms and unexpected, abrupt changes in her homeland summers. Not like here; not like the day in, day out, sameness. No, the inclement weather in her 'long ago and far away' beloved Heartland was always a source of wonder! She'd run out into the big, expansive green field which ran a full acre east to west, on the south side of her home. Here, she'd spread her arms, throw her head back and savor the warm rains and whipping winds that rushed in with the boom and bright light of a severe storm front. Oh, how she could so vividly recall the feeling. Freedom! Complete, unencumbered freedom!

She breathed in, deeply, as her eyes closed and memories flooded in. Her memory was attuned to that time; the wide open planes home she loved, and the glory of her surroundings, back then. Waving grains of wheat in the winter, harvested just as it turned the most golden color; tall grasses that grew in abundance along country roads, wild flowers of all kinds; so colorful as she and her parents, brothers and sister, drove the truck into town. Yes, it was a great truck; with curved wrap around side windows. There were triangular windows on either side just in front of the roll down windows in each door. These fantastic triangular windows! The perfect air vents.

"I don't think they make them anymore," she said, aloud. She shocked herself upon hearing her own voice. Hmmmm, 'no,' she thought, quietly now; 'no, I don't think they do.'

Her reverie continued. They were driving down the dusty road, as they had done hundreds of times before. The afternoon sun was shining through the big, thorny "hedge" trees which lined the road, giving refreshing, cooling shade. 'Hedge,' she thought. I never knew the true name of these sturdy brush type trees, and...' The thought disappeared long before it was finished.

She lay back down in her small, but comfortable, bed. Images filled her mind; wind whipping the tall trees, her mother at the old Wedgewood stove; the one with six burners that were fed with liquid propane and the two 'extra' burners that were fire fueled. Her mother preferred to use the latter two just as much as the others, "If we have the wood, that'll help save the gas." she'd say. This was an oft repeated phrase, every morning, year in and year out.

Thoughts raced to later years when, as a young woman, she had decided to venture out into the world. The wide, wonderful, enticing world. These recollections began to take shape and form, as if she walked those streets, again, and felt those feelings. Tall buildings, cars rushing by, cacaphonous 'music to her ears.' The "world" was alive with movement; a throbbing beat which pulsed and thumped with a regular tempo. Non stop and never ending; this new environment stirred her senses as it stimulated parts of her she'd not given too much thought to, before.

She'd applied for and had been given an opportunity to work in a big, expansive highrise. There, she would 'meet and greet' visitors; those who came for pre arranged appointments, and the occasional 'walk in' guest who, for one reason or another, happened to wander through the large, gilded, heavily framed and beveled glass double doors. "Beautiful," she whispered to herself.

Life unfolded as life tends to do. The young woman began to explore her new surroundings; this new beginning. She took such delight in making discoveries each day; 'I must be sure to learn something new every day..' she thought. Having come from a simple home to this strange new place, she saw each and every encounter as a marvel; a magical gift which had been delivered, directly, to her. Life was good.

The old woman had drifted off to sleep on her small but adequate, quilt covered bed. Sometimes, she'd awaken, switch on the overhead reading light, and gaze proudly at the beautiful patchwork quilt. She had made it, as a much younger girl. Her mother had stored it for her, to be kept safely, until, she mused; her daughter would 'come to her senses and returned to her country home.'

"Why would you want to leave this place to go to that dirty city?" her mother often asked. "We have dust and wind blown 'clean up' here, dear, but, there....there are bad people where you're going, and they will take advantage of you."

Her mother continued to warn and chastise but, to no avail. Though she did it with love in her heart for her darling daughter, mother knew it was not going to dissuade her headstrong first born. Still, she tried.

"This is to be expected, I guess." the mother would, almost beneath her breath, admit to. 'Yes, these things are to be expected.' she quietly accepted the fact.

Years passed. The young woman kept in contact with her dear mother and father, as she also talked regularly with her siblings. They, too, had ventured out into the great "unknown,"


The old lady opened her eyes and surveyed her tiny world. This was it; she had lived more years than she had left; many, many more! She was surprised to realize that this did not frighten her; did not cause sorrow or questions. She was, thankfully, ready for leaving; and awaited the loving reunion she was certain would welcome her in the next world.

Her parents had passed long ago, and two of her siblings were gone, too. Only she and one of her brothers remained; and they had, sadly, lost contact. She couldn't really say how this had happened, only that; one day, a decade or so ago, she realized that the two of them had not spoken for a long while. Then, she felt foolish and ashamed and decided not to roil up old arguments and misgivings; no, she'd 'leave well enough alone.' 'Funny,' she mused to herself; 'how this happens. I don't even recall what, exactly happened. For the life of me, I do not know. But, I'll just let sleeping dogs lie.'

So much time had transpired, and she was ready. Tucked deeply amid her few remaining personal articles, was a note she'd written 'just yesterday, I think.' She'd left words of wisdom, she believed, and she had a plan about who might read it. She hoped someone would find it; that it would not be lost in the confusion and sadness when her time came.

She had decided to donate her remains to a University for Medical students to learn anatomy. This had been her fervent desire. Having no children of her own, she did not have to worry that those whom she left behind would fuss and feud over the "proper" way to handle her demise. No, she held a deep conviction about giving back in this life, and she'd left her note to be sure it was done according to her wishes.


The little note, hidden from sight but, easily found when someone sifted through her things, awaited discovery; for she had a message she hoped would touch the young, bright students who would be exploring her remains........


Copyright :: All Rights Reserved
Registered :: 2012-07-31 20:16:47
Title :: A Question of Respect - Part I
Category :: Website

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Comments 44 comments

josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

Lucky Cats,

What a beautiful story! A very enjoyable read for sure! I need to write a piece like this one of these days, so I can make my hubs a little more versatile. Thanks for the inspiration here Lucky Cats!


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Josh! Well, I am so pleased that this inspires you...it is an exercise in self discipline...I hope to make it a short story. I have a crazy idea bouncing around in my mind; part II is coming very very soon. thank you for the visit and your comment is encouraging. Very appreciated! kathy


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Lucky Cats, your style of writing is so vivid, I could see every scene clearly in my mind. You've managed to create suspense, especially with the last paragraph.

And how true is this about the course of many events: 'Funny,' she mused to herself; 'how this happens. I don't even recall what, exactly happened. For the life of me, I do not know. But, I'll just let sleeping dogs lie.'

I look forward to read the next chapter 'tomorrow'. (Now 12:50am down here and I am cRaWliNg to bed :))


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Martie, I am writing # 3 now...this story came to me this morning while I was dusting the floor..and the entire thing just popped into my head. I can't write it fast enough...these characters have a story to tell...I'm just the conduit, really...I am wondering what is going on...it is just flowing...thank you , my friend, for always being there...I am so thankful!!! Kathy


Pfennig profile image

Pfennig 4 years ago

This was the first thing on my page when I logged on. Very good way to start the evening. Very creative. you wrote it so well, I felt like I was the woman.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hello Pfennig. I'm pleased to hear that you enjoyed this beginning of a story I am working on. It came to me this morning (Mon.) and the characters just popped into my mind and are taking on a life of their own...Part III is currently in progress Thank you for commenting.


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 4 years ago from Texas

Loved the setting and intro. Reminds me of the stories I used to read in my Norton literature book from College. An enthralling tale to read. Looking for part II...


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Augustine. This crazy story came to me this morning while I was sweeping the floor (little bits of kitty fur...a must do twice daily; at least)...the entire story line just appeared. I have the ending (just kidding about not knowing where it was going)...the entire story. I've already completed chapter III but thought I should hold it; refine it, before publishing. I don't know that this has ever happened to me before; something so unrelated to me, personally, developing almost "other worldly." Thank you for the comment and visit.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

So far, so good. Onto part 2.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Greetings, again, Avian novice. Thank you and, I hope to have # 3 ready to publish by this afternoon. Kathy


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Your beautiful, sweet, sad story leaves me crying. So often, this is true. The saddest part, I think, is the invisibility and irrelevance of the elderly in our society. They are castaways. Although no man is an island, they are relegated to loneliness and viewed as societies burden. Your story, Kathy, vividly reminds readers that they were once children, young adults with hopes, dreams and feelings, just like the youth of today. Like your subject, today's elderly, once young, gathered the courage to leave home, become independent and revel in life, but in the end, if lucky enough to remember, are left with only their memories.

You captured it, Kathy. You write like a compassionate dream.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Amy. it's funny...this story...I am almost compelled to say that these people have a story to tell and they're telling it through me. I really don't know where in the world this is coming from..it just hit, yesterday morning...and hit hard. It will all work together in time...these two characters are very important. I worked as an Ombudsman for long term care facility residents a while ago; it was a volunteer position. What I saw and learned was beneath contempt...and I became active in "righting" so much of the wrong I witnessed. Actually, it's a long story but, I helped my friend who was working at such a place, and she was overwhelmed w/the lack of proper care, clean environmet, etc...she asked if I'd help out a little. I did, which led to speaking at a meeting in the Calif. capitol at several Legislative hearings regarding LTC "dumping grounds." This was over a decade ago and I know some have improved since then...anyway; yes, I am struck with the shame and degradation w/which elderly citizens are treated...and, it should not take the "you'll be there someday..' kind of reason to care...CARE about senior citizens...this should be innate; it should be "just because." NOT that we worry that WE will be there, someday. I'm not 'lecturing' to you, Amy...I know you know this...I'm just undescoring what you said because I know you are on the right page....it is very frustrating...this little story is headed in a similar direction as this comment; in a way...we'll see...thank you my dear friend who is right up there in the highest of "good" ness. Kathy


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Well i am glad to read that Amy is crying because i'm wiping tears as i type. Kathy you are such a wonderful writer. You made the old woman visible eventhough the picture only shows her hands. I could picture her as she sat remembering her young life. It is so sad that she is in such a small place. I am glad she has her precious table. I can't wait to see her note..I LOVE this story..Thank you Dear friend..


Teylina profile image

Teylina 4 years ago

If I had only seen this one first--wouldn't matter. Think many of us have had similar thoughts because that's one way we keep advancing. Fortunately I have a family who would do what I asked--no questions asked. The way you approached this, and your reason to Amy for where the story comes from is exactly what usually happens. I'm so glad to see you write this because you are so good at expressing emotions, and that is often what is lacking FOR the elderly and TO medical students. Someone (forget who) suggested in #2 that you submit it to the medical community. He's right. It should be. Thank you for doing this! I'm lovin' it, honey!--right thru all my tears.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi my dear friends Ruby and Teylina...I am so pleased that you relate to this and are touched by it...this is what I hope to do; to communicate with you guys. So, I am a happy camper. There is so much she wants to tell those who will live many years after her death...and those who may "meet" her shortly after her demise...time will tell...Her name is Grace Hawthorn, and her next chapter is coming soon. Love ya'


We save cats 4 years ago

Well, Lucky Cats, You have once again captured my imagination; I am totally caught in your mind web. Hooked like a big fish, as it were. I can't wait for part two of this facinating tale. So I won't, I'm going to read it right now. Thank you very much for this.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi my dear dear friend for life and soul partner/mate/brother...AL! You like this? Yea! That means so much because YOU are such an incredible author...and, having taken a case all the way to the SUPREME COURT, well....I can't help but be complimented as I know you understand how to "turn a phrase." Thank you my dear. Love, me


Teylina profile image

Teylina 4 years ago

Al, from all I've read I don't see any way YOU could refrain from being caught up in her 'mind web.' A web is what she writes, and I think we all love it.. "Turn a phrase"?? You must as well as she! Help her get this thing pub'd in medical somewhere!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Lovely beginning. Now I am off to Part 11


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Oh, Hyphenbird...I hope this keeps your interesrt; it's a "first" for me....thank you for visiting! Kathy


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Lucky Cats....You are a truly talented and inspiring writer. This story took me right there.....with these people, seeing and hearing it all in live detail.....Simply wonderful and looking forward to reading on......UP++


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi fpherj48. So glad you're enjoying this. I am very happy. Thank you . Kathy


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Kathy, you have a wonderful writing voice. You bring a story to life beautifully so that the reader can envision every scene that you create. What a pleasure it is to read your work. Bravo!...and look at the Hubbers who follow you...this is the cream of the crop for sure, a real testament to your talent as a writer.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Well, thank you so much, billybuc; I am very very humbled and complimented by your words. thank you. (And I agree; I am "bowled over" by the words of : (as you say and I agree) ; ".... the cream of the crop for sure, ..." )


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dang, Kathy,

Please sweep more often for inspiration, as this first taste has literally swept me off my feet...

I am so proud to read all of these comments that support what a gifted and commanding writer you are. Your story is alive in my mind thanks to your abilities and I am compelled to read on...The subject matter is poignant and touches all of us in some way.

I am seeing this published already, cannot wait to move on...

Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

hello my dear Maria...you are so cool! I really am so joyous that this is being rec'd well and, especially from you.... because I've read your hubs about reverence, respect, honor and love for your fellow human beings...so, I am very very honored. Thank you my dear Mar.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Enjoyed this semi- autobiographical fiction write Kathy. You have a unique style that flows and engages so very well. Hmm, wonder what the hidden message will portend. And how will it effect the exploring hands of the of the bright and young anatomy students? Very good my friend! Shall up and awesome part one!


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Alastar! You are a good student ! Your questions are exactly what I was hoping would be asked....and the answer is soon to be revealed! I truly appreciate your visit, Alastar, and hope that this little story continues to hold your interest. Thank you for visiting!


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Kathy! The thoughts have been swirling around since reading this as to who your writing style reminded me off. It just came--Emily Bronte! Wuthering Heights!


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Oh! Thank you dear Alastar. I am very complimented!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Though I read Part III first and just read Part IV - I remembered how much I wanted to pick up the first two parts after reading Part III. So I gladly laid aside other stuff to come and read Part I, - meeting Grace and realizing more what her situation was.

I am so grateful to be able to live independently, now in my 80s. It prompts me all the more to take care of my health at all levels. My Mother did likewise, but my Dad finally had to be placed in care. While she was alive, she spent many hours a day with him, making sure he was well cared for, keeping him involved, making it seem like home for him. She even planted flowers outside his window.

You've presented a most gripping and heart-felt peek into what is is like for too many oldsters.

I'm off to read Part II.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Oh, indeed, Lucky Cats, this reminded me, too, of Withering Heights :) I came over to see if #4 is published yet. On my way to read it... :)


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

hello my dear Nellieanna. Your mother sounds as if she had a heart of gold and a great empathy for your father; not to mention....love! I wonder, too, about what life will be like as I continue to age; how will my life be. I know, all to well, about the treatment and, often times, neglect of seniors and elderly citizens in institutionalized facilities. I worked as an Ombudsman for Long Term Care Facility Residents; acting as their liason, their "voice," and trying to make sure their concerns were addressed...and more. This led to testimony I delivered before the Ca. State Legislature on LTC facilities and the treatment of residents; understaffing, inadequate care, improper training of the aides, and more....I still have the text in a compilation of all testimonies given over several meetings.....I hope that things have changed since then; it's been a while and there was a concerted effort to improve the environent. thank you so much for sharing a bit of your history and your own outlook, which is an excellent one. I am honored. Kathy


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I never want to go to one of those 'facilities' though I have "long term care insurance". My long term care starts with me.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Nellieana, you have such a great and positive attitude; and such a wonderful outlook on life..."forever youthful," is how I would describe you...Yes, My long term care starts with me, too....thank you my friend.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

Kathy, what a gentle, vivid and heartwarming start to hat promises to be a n intriguing yet emotional journey. You are a very visual writer and paint a canvas full of rich imagery for the reader to experience. At the heart of it is caring , sharing thought - one which is very close to me. I have written about the the plight of the elderly ad the infirm often too. Cant wait to read more...


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Docmo...I appreciate your thoughtful comment; particularly coming from a male perspective. This is an important issue on so many levels...as the story unfolds; several points are made about respect and reverence for us as we age. Thank you. Kathy


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

What a great start Kathy and I now look forward to part II.

Enjoy your weekend.

Eddy.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Eiddwen, Eddy! Well, Ms. Grace and Mr. Spencer have had to wait...I'm working on another chapter or, maybe, an ending...it's been a while since I've been busy in my personal life these days...but...it is coming back so, hopefully, I'll allow these two to rest after a magical ending....love ya' and so appreciate your visits and kind, sweet words. Kathy


kj force profile image

kj force 3 years ago from Florida

Lucky Cats...enjoyed the hub part 1..look forward to reading all of them...and thank you for the follow....


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 3 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi kj force. I appreciate your thoughts on this story...it needs to be finished; and soon. I read a comment you made on another writer's hub and read your profile...thinking, "I relate." Thank you for the visit.


Elouise 23 months ago

BION I'm imssdrpee! Cool post!


Tegan 23 months ago

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kjforce 23 months ago

Lucky Cats...Kudos on a great write...but how did you manage to creep into my mind and remove my thoughts hidden in the corners ?

I look forward to reading the balance of your words..

I myself am dealing with health issues and can only communicate with a ' dragon " device, but this too shall pass I keep telling myself....

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