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WEDNESDAY, 6/7/95: 8:30 meeting-time with Charles changed to 9:10. Newark train goes instantly, but we just MISS 9:35 #62 bus. 10:05 bus is LOCAL, and after getting to Superior Car Parking entrance by MISTAKE, we get to LONG Alamo line at 10:30AM. Into car with NO code needed, a FOUR-door for $161/week, at mile 5336 on car, $38/day for each day over the week. On road at 11AM, around U-turn and through MANY interchanges to 78W. LOTS of trucks and the cloudy sky CLEARS to warm weather. Try Cooperstown for breakfast, but it's only a wind-y country road 10 miles east of Phillipsburg. Off THERE at 12:10, 60 miles in 60 minutes, and to Key City Diner for awful bacon omelette and chintzy tiny milkshake. On road at 12:50PM. Get gas at 2:50PM on Pennsylvania Turnpike: 6.87 gallons for 175 miles. HUGELY hectic ride, mostly at 65 mph, and get to Pittsburgh past cliff-hanging homes and apartments, and we search for Fort Pitt Bridge, which breathtakingly shows up only AFTER Exits 5,4,3,2,1 on route 378, right OUT the tip of the triangle, and over Fort Pitt Bridge and through Fort Pitt tunnel, not knowing WHERE we're going, and THERE'S route 19S, Banksville Road, and Days Inn is RIGHT at tunnel exit and Charles gets our room at 6:10. Not bad room, though on roadside. We unpack, wash, take a glass of water, and he accepts the idea of going to Kennywood BEFORE dinner. Out to car and turn on Crane Road, which goes UP, and suddenly we're on our OWN roller coaster through suburban Pittsburgh hills: up steep slopes with 30-stair stoops to high wooden houses, down wooded valleys to rustic flowers and picnic tables and log-cabin style houses. Up and down, VERY ethnic with churches and stoops and gardens and cars being washed, and pass Otto Tambellini's, a HUGE Italian restaurant, that I seem to REMEMBER from somewhere. Down through interchange to 837 south, and neighborhood turns BLACK, one block blocked by ambulances and police cars, and around and down and follow yellow Kennywood signs and HUGE FULL parking lot! Up and down looking for a SPACE before paying $5 at row 13, and we find a woman pulling out in row 15, CLOSE, and down the walk and under highway after GAPING at HUGE metal coaster. Find it's $4.50 to enter and $5 for a book of 20 tickets, with the Steel Phantom tops at 6 coupons, other coasters all 5, most rides 4, and fun houses and kiddie rides 3. On line for Steel Phantom, 1995 Guinness record-holder at 225 feet! Charles REFUSES. Stand on line, tired from driving and "resigned" to ride, and there are some CUTE kids and adults to watch. RISE is 45 seconds and RIDE is 1:50 seconds, and there are FOUR spirals after the first hill descends on a turn and the SECOND hill is a PLUMMET into the ravine below. I get on line for SECOND car, which is the shortest, only 3 carsful before me. Three trains GO and they STOP it: one of the harnesses seemed loose. "Leave," they say. I go, figuring to get six tickets BACK at exit, but there are NO returns and Charles meets me. I'm MAD! To ticket booth and she directs me to SERVICE Center. To Service Center and THEY direct me to man in red-striped shirt ON the ride. I speed up the EXIT ramp and they're switching CARS! They GIVE me a "five ticket refund," but I say "I want to be on FIRST ride out," and they say OK! I watch rail switching, sending empty trains over twice, and they ask me to cross to the customer side, TAKE the refund ticket, and two employees lead the parade of returning riders. I get in FRONT seat and kid joins me. "Ridden in first car before?" "No." "Live in Pittsburgh?" "Yes" and we're OFF. We're up HIGH. (Charles asked if I looked at the VIEW. "NO, my eyes were GLUED to the TRACK!") The TURN at the top of the hill, hanging to let the back-cars catch up with the hilltop, looks almost STRAIGHT down, and we fall for a LONG time, a low moan escaping my throat as the pressure builds as I hold my stomach DOWN. Then up and ANOTHER drop to the ravine, not really THAT bad, but the first, highest, tightest loop is a REAL neck-bender, feeling better letting my head be dragged FORWARD rather than following their instructions and holding it BACK on the headrest, and the loops are VERY rocky SIDE TO SIDE, rubbing EARS on direction-changes, and earrings REALLY have to come off because that's where the harness REALLY rubs on the ears. BARELY make it through the four loops and off to crow "sweetbreads!" to Charles (referring to my throwing out the ridiculous request for sweetbreads as a replacement course at Restaurant Jean-Louis in Greenwich and GETTING them!): "I asked for it and GOT the FIRST CAR!" Then to the Thunderbolt for which TWO in a seat are required. Charles joins me for the ROUGH ride which JOLTS us back and forth, and it's breathtaking and rough and SCARY, and I say it's WORSE than the Steel Phantom, but Charles refuses to go on ANY other coaster. Waited for the Phantom from 7:40 to 8:10, getting the ride at 8:30, and Thunderbolt done by 8:50, and I say "Let's go to the Roaring Rapids." Unhappily, he says "OK, but I can't get my pants wet." Well, we're SOAKED, and he says he's GOT to leave. But the Skycoaster is FLYING through and we WATCH the pendulum of two or three people for their twelve swings starting at about 300 feet, and then I try the Racer, racing coaster that WE win when I tell the kids in front of me to use "mental push" and we WIN! Then the Jack Rabbit is VERY bouncy, with multi-level hills like stairs going up and down, with MANY levels and more than one ratchet-hill upward, changing places as we take inner or outer turns. We go through Lost Kennywood as it starts to RAIN, and dash to the car at 10:50 to get out SURPRISINGLY easy, without traffic problems that I'd feared, and try looking at places to eat in the BLACK neighborhood, which he refuses to do, but I INSIST he ask at "Pittsburgh Steak Company," and they ARE open and he has chicken and me steak Diane and HUGE salads and I drink THREE draft beers for a total bill of $49 and out at 12:15AM, rain STOPPED, and back along 837 and FIND 19S and follow it along to where we fear we've MISSED the hotel and THERE it is! In about 12:30 and undress, me STILL wet, and Charles and I switch through TV programs, he starts reading the Times he bought in Newark, and I finish this and put in earplugs at 1:05AM.

THURSDAY, 6/8/95: Wake at 4:40, DREAMS of Kevin Brofsky as my roommate, laughingly saying "We're going to be honest, now," implying some great change or possible love affair. Then wake at 8:30 and think to get up soon, but doze to dream that I wake while CHARLES is in the bathroom washing, but I'm up at 9:30 for him still in bed. Shower and wake him at 9:50, and wash teeth while watching Michael Jackson's "History" trailer on 33 TV channels. Dress and write this to 10:40AM, a VERY late start, all things AWAY, maps out, and this finished to date. To Carnegie Institute and contribute $1 for a 45-minute art tour when I ask if I could get around paying the $5 just to PEEK at the place, after getting directions for the Warhol Museum. Tour of WELL-designed rooms with ALL styles of art from Arp to African. To Natural History for gems and dinosaurs and plaster casts of French facades and out at 12:18 JUST as the parking meter goes to zero minutes. Get lost on the way, but find 387 and around the Stadium to look at 3-4 parking lots before parking in $2.50 lot by guy who agrees that my light-switch for headlights is ALWAYS on when the motor's running! To Warhol Museum about 1:35 and find a GOOD tuna nicoise and fruit bowl and Stewart's root beer for $9.09. Late pill-take and up to seventh floor for six floors of Warhol, a bit much. Movies are ONLY shown at 12:30 and there are good views over city, and the ROOF would be GREAT. Liza Minelli misidentified in photo-gallery, floating Mylar "clouds" were fun to play with in fan-movements, some of the sexual images were arresting, but it seemed underused ALREADY, though Charles assured me that the foundations supporting it would keep it going forever. He lingers longer than I do, me sort of pulling him after me, his "history capsules" rather like what I do myself, and we're out at 4PM, feet tired from the day ALREADY, sitting on entrance couches to watch two sexy guys sprawl about, and I have four photo-booth snapshots of myself in my pocket. Across bridge in hot afternoon, nice AT&T headquarters on the river, to USX building for art exhibit in upper lobby and get a 7PM restaurant reservation, being told to ask Jeannette for a window table. Down at 5PM to Festival of Arts exhibits (which Charles hates), both inside hot conservatories and outside in parks, and stop in a fairground atmosphere for lemonades, and to Point Park to look at cliff-rim houses and passing pleasure boats and tour boats and two ducks and one kite and humid weather. Set off to restaurant at 6:10, streets quickly changing from "Low" class to "High" class and back again, and the Duquesne Club is great from outside. LOTS of Landmark buildings and Art Deco lobbies, and Charles keeps saying this is a very RICH town for businessmen. To Top of the Triangle at 6:45 and Jeannette seats us between two prom parties, cute big guy eating sloppily with thin adolescent beard. Cloudy skies gradually dim and clear toward 8:30, and sunset is at 8:50PM, VERY late. Lights come on slowly, lots of pleasure craft and "riverboats" on rivers, three bridges over Ohio visible. My crab-stuffed mushrooms and his escargot soup, my veal Oscar and his osso bucco and his cheesecake aren't all that good, but the view is just barely worth the $98 for both as the sun sets, sky darkens, and lights come on at the Duquesne Incline and distant villages. Down and get lost AGAIN walking to Seventh Avenue bridge and a bum stumbles up the riverfront to cause Charles to lag behind. Our car is one of the last three in the lot (thank goodness it's OPEN!) and we drive across bridge and find route 837 easily to Fort Pitt Bridge and tunnel and hotel about 10:30. Watch TV for a bit, switching channels on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Rock Hudson and Julie Andrews, and get to bed at 11:15PM, falling instantly asleep.

FRIDAY, 6/9/95: Sleep well, wake about 4 and 6, and then at 8 and up at 8:30 and shit and shower and finish this at 9:05, calling my number to get a "welcome home" from Carolyn and Paul McLean's coming to NYC on the 29th for 3 nights at the Edison Hotel. Turns out my PIN number is my TELEPHONE number for my NYNEX calling card. But where do 14 digits come from? Repack to get day's maps out and cram all stuff into bag. Pay $127 for rooms, around and ALMOST lost and find route north, breakfast at King's (who sent a balloon over our sunset view last night) from 10:30-11:10, not bad omelette and pleasant service, then cross into Ohio and I pay $10.95 SENIOR entry to Geauga Lake at 1:05PM (Charles pays $17.95 and rides on NO coasters!) I get on SHORT line for Corkscrew and a little black kid BEFRIENDS me, but I can't understand what he's SAYING! LONGER lines for Big Dipper from 1:20-1:40, and I write this while on line, Charles holding my bag (with umbrella; at least it STOPPED the sprinkle that made windshield wipers necessary on the way IN). I want to get the FOUR coasters out of the WAY in case it DOES rain! He's willing to ride the Parkview Express monorail around the park and get a LOOK at Geauga Lake, with SeaWorld across with a lake amphitheater. Cool enough for a JACKET, gray enough that I don't care NOT to be taking photos. He ALSO wants to ride the Skyscraper observation platform. I must admit to feeling a BIT queasy after the Corkscrew, but the wooden coaster looks BUMPY, particularly in the BACK, which I'll avoid. Now 1:37PM and 2-3 rides to wait. Sit next to a white-blond when the OTHER white girl sits next to the BLACK girl I thought was ALONE, who starts to scream going UP the hill and continues emitting piercing shrieks through the ENTIRE RIDE! Slightly bumpy, but no big deal. Then we DO do the Monorail and Skyscraper, and walk around for me to wait on line for the Raging Wolf Bobs; this in the second-LAST seat where I'm FORCIBLY reminded of the UPWARD swing of the last cars as they CLIMB the last bit of the hill while the car has ALREADY started to accelerate DOWN the hill! Also LOTS of side-to-side hanging on! Off and Charles is gone, to return later. I'm hungry, so I have a Romanburger with the TINIEST AWFULEST hamburg with bologna and salami and SAUSAGE atop it. Finish fries for Charles, who wants none of my quart of Dr. Pepper. THEN on line for the Double Loop, going in front of a guy with KILLER eyelashes, who lets two OTHERS in front so he can ride with his friends before and behind. On the two LOOPS I think I see Charles, decide I must be hallucinating, and off for him to show me where he was standing as the loops went slightly underground. Then it's 3:40 and we leave, going down Darrow Road until it STOPS, then turn west and FINALLY find route 91, SLOW down to Tallmadge Circle, and then he remembers it's SOUTH we go on, and across to 429 South Street, where I (sweetbreads!) find a john and he leaves for HIS mother by 4:45PM. Wait a time to cross Tallmadge Circle AGAIN and go WEST to Akron, which turns into Tallmadge Road, then Memorial Drive after crossing route 8 and Main Street, and then left on Portage Path and left on Market and THERE'S 733, and in to find Mom at #204, and she buzzes me up, and we chat about my trip, and she's hungry, so at 5:45 we leave for Red Lobster, me INSISTING I have to drive, and she almost gets me LOST on MARKET Street. In at 6:15PM and told it's a 35-minute WAIT. She fumes, I get a strawberry daiquiri for $5, and she sips and we're seated and I get shrimps and steak and finish it except for the rice (we NEITHER finish our salads) and she picks at her lobster tail till I free it from its shell and she doesn't eat it but packs it with three muffins in a tissue for takeout. Out at 7:30 and she suggests we see her vault, so we turn into Rose Hill Memorial Cemetery and are ENCHANTED by about twenty Canada geese and 15-20 goslings on lawns. In to mortuary mourning silence, her name not up yet, and back out for her to suggest we see MARION! OK, but I MISS Revere Road turnoff when she neglects to tell me to move to left-turn lane, then we get to Ghent Road and turn in, then left and find we're back at Rose Hill! Drive to Revere again and turn and she says it's next right, and it IS Sourek Drive, but she doesn't recognize the house until I do! Into driveway, light goes on, and GREG comes to the door. He's tall and thin and tanned and almost handsome. Marion's at Friday dinner with girl friends and he doesn't know when she'll be back. He's got his TRAILER outside (he usually TOWS his large van) and it's a GREAT room with over-cab bed, and he suggests we look at his PHOTO album, and there's his 1) childhood, 2) motorcycles, 3) military naval landing vessels that could hold a semi, seven-foot wheels controlled by six-horsepower diesel engines, 4) ultralight self-built airplane, 5) 3-4 commercial helicopters (and plans for two rotary blades to 100 mph and FIXED blades later allowing speeds to 300 mph, patent being applied for!), 6) his restaurant in Topeka, Kansas, 7) a lifeguard in trunks in Hawaii, 8) various TV hunks that are his friends, 9) "some girlfriend I used to go out with," 10) another older shirtless hairy-chested friend, 11) his molded polyresin airplane, 12) his self-constructed helicopter, 13) last year's program to the 16,000-plane five-million attender airplane exhibit in Oshkosh, where he rode the CONCORDE for a short over-mach-one flight over the lake, 14) a super-Hawaii class of 2500 that he later led in firewalking exercises, 15) a photo of HIS home, "just down the road," and OTHER dizzying sights, IGNORING Mom's "Who's THAT?" to a NUMBER of male shirtless hunks. Plead my fatigue at 9:40PM and home to park on the TOP ramp "for visitors" and after razoring off PART of her curled-under toenail she starts surfing television and THERE is the Alzheimer's daughter's program I'd MISSED in NYC, and Mom HATES it and leaves room as soon as Alzheimer's is mentioned. I phone Marion and we agree to meet at Tangier Restaurant at 6:30 tomorrow, which I'm to reserve, and MAYBE I could invite Edward and Anne, who HAPPENED to have arrived at the Gepferts on Tuesday and will stay till Tuesday. The mind BOGGLES. Mom tried to feed me 1) half her salad at Red Lobster, 2) cashews on return, 3) soft drink later. She "accidentally" handed me her AUTO INSURANCE form, due 7/4, then tried to take it BACK, saying "I don't know why I gave you THAT." I blurted, "To have me help you fill it out!" NO, she wants no insurance, NO she'll not give up the car, NO she'll not lose every penny she has if she has an accident, NO she will never go to a home for Alzheimers, WHEN will she see Charles and his mother?? I write ALL this, thumb SORE, by 12:30AM, and get to bed after doing teeth to 12:40.

SATURDAY, 6/10/95: ALSO recall her showing me $6.95 brunch at "The Depot" in Quaker Square "from today's paper." "Good, we'll go." "I'm not going, there's too much WALKING to do!" "You can sit in the depot and I can do the walking." "No, I TOLD you, I'm NOT going," and then "read this:" it's the card Rita and Denny and Paul and I sent her from NYC, as well as showing me a brochure on the plays of Horton Foote that I sent her. AND she keeps showing me these "Instant sweepstakes winning tickets" that she SAYS she knows are all hoaxes, POINTING to "IF you have the winning entry," but I FEAR she sends them off ANYWAY, AND she gives me a pillow (sofa-pillow) but I have to ASK for a PILLOWCASE and she gives me a BLANKET but I have to ASK her for a SHEET! Finally ears plugged to bed at 12:50AM, she saying FIRST she'll sleep till noon, THEN that I'll wake her "when I move around," and FINALLY I say I'll be up at 9AM. Then "What do you want for breakfast?" "What are my choices?" "Cereal." "OK, that's fine." "I have no MILK." I wake at 4:30 and 8:30 to pee, then at 9AM Helen calls, saying she'll be here at 12 to take me and Mom to see their gravestone and to lunch at Bob Evans, then I call Gepferts and talk to Anne, and she and Edward and Chuck and Mary want to come along to Tangier, so I phone for reservations for 9 people for 6:30. Try to find Tallmadge Place in phone book but have to call Charles at 10AM and his mother sounds like she used to. HE says he must stay with her, only possibility is Monday breakfast, and gives me name of the place and phone number of people. Office is only open 9-11 M-F, and Grady's WON'T give application papers for 3-4 year waiting list. Breakfast at 10AM of cereal and cranapple juice, read the paper with nothing in it (but Alzheimer's article that Mom glances at and sniffs "I hate that," and turns the page) till 11:10AM, and Mom fusses around, takes another picture, and I catch up with this. Edward laughs when I ask him, "Should I tell Mom everyone's coming or should I surprise her?" "You're a big boy now, Bobby, you have to decide for yourself. AND you have to take the consequences." I tell Helen that Marion said, "Anne is strange," and Helen later says the same thing. ANNE says, "It's so nice you can get the two SISTERS together, you're really the coordinator here, Bob." And Mom is surprisingly pleased with the arrangements, but she has this habit of starting to say something, or indicating something, and then shutting her mouth, waving her hand in dismissal, and shaking her head disgruntledly. WHAT do we do between 11:15 and noon? We argue about auto insurance. She INSISTS she sent it in, but the hours only start at 8AM Monday. Mom "puts on her shoes" for five minutes in bathroom, making her LATE for Jimmy at the WRONG door at noon. Jimmy's in POOR shape: repeating EVERY MINUTE. "Where do I turn? Which lane? Where do I turn? Where are we going?" And Helen states calmly, "Yes, No, Left, Here, There." Into cemetery as RAIN starts, but I get out to look at their photo on their stone behind Henry's tomb. Then we see the geese on the other side of another pond, and they all get photos of adults and kids. Then to Bob Evans for a ten-minute wait for four, at a table next to three screaming black girls. I get a "chicken fried steak" for seniors and get A STEAK on my plate, covered with AWFUL white gravy. Jimmy must SIP his coffee through a STRAW, and he fumbles at his tie clasp and then Helen has to locate it for him afterward. SHE tells of triple bypass and losing 50 pounds and high cholesterol, and keeps nipping bites from her lemonade pie. Mom tears her teabag to shreds and won't ask for a new one; Helen does, offers Mom cream, Mom says no, and later there's a FIGHT when she reaches for some and Helen shouts, "No, they're for JIMMY!" and Jimmy's parkinsonism jumps up two steps. Mom is VERY quiet, trying to catch my eye to disparage them. She eats her WHOLE waffle, and Helen's order of hamburger for Jimmy is ALMOST finished. She pays the bill (leaving $1 tip for a $20 bill) while Jimmy gets the car, leaning on my arm while Mom looks on jealously. Out and drive home past all the old sights, and they say they AREN'T coming to Tangier---Jimmy doesn't like "places that sell liquor." In and lie down for a bit and I finally say, "I want to TALK." She insists she sent in the form, DOESN'T want to move, WANTS to move in with me, "Until you pay off my $17,000," and I say, flatly, NO. Then I ask if she wants to see Charles's mother's place and she says YES. We get out about 4:15 and drive there on a NICE day, and she LIKES the look of the apartments. In to NO answer to "Office" button, but Mrs. Magistro ANSWERS our buzz and Charles agrees it's OK we're there. Mrs. Magistro LIKES it, tells Mom good things: all electric kitchens, good cafeteria IF you want to use it, privacy and quiet, and Mom and she laugh at both being CATHOLIC---we just MET at St. Mary's! Out at 5 and thank them, stop for needed groceries and gas (7.005 gallons at $8.33) and home at 5:45. I take a shower and it starts raining, dammit, and Mom puts on TV and HAS A HAM SANDWICH at 6:15, when we're due at restaurant at 6:30! She retorts "I only ate ONCE today," though she fussed from 10-12 without eating! Can't stand her NOW. Catch up, sweating, by 6:20, obviously going to be late when SHE demanded it be EARLY because she'd be HUNGRY. Monday's going to be a HIGH of 66E!? Forgot to mention that Helen got DIABETES, at age 79, and now at 80 her FEET tingle and she has to go to a podiatrist to get her nails cut because the only time Jimmy tried to cut her nails he cut off a bit of her toe too! Leave about 6:27 and it's only two blocks, and drop her off under the canopy and up to park and down to find her WAITING for me in the tiny crush at the door. Edward comes to find us and take us to the table, and Jimmy CALLED him to say they weren't coming, and I guess they had to MOVE to a SMOKING table because Chuck and Mary smoked into three ashtrays added to the table. Mom complains because she's "always put by the fountain where she can't hear," and EDWARD has a hearing aid over one ear and has had a triple bypass TOO! Marion has a $10 discount ticket for a "second entree" and Mom gets mad when I pay HER check because my bill has the THREE of us on it. Chuck and Mary are pleasant in a flip way, and when I ask for a strawberry daiquiri "with two straws" they give MOM a little glass "with the leftovers." She FINISHES it, too! Table is almost too big WITHOUT Helen and Jimmy, and shashlik isn't that great, but Anne's cordon bleu is enormous, Ed's filet looks good, Mary's rib eye is enormous, and Marion's end of roast beef is HUGE, 4 of 7 of us take leftovers home. Lightly honeyed prebuttered ROLLS are the REAL sensation and each plastic box gets one or two stuffed into it. Marion bends my ear about how sad (time #4) she is about Henry's death. He was so good, the end was so awful but she stuck by him because she loved him; she gave Gary the business but there's still an iron shop she has locked in the barn against Gary, and Greg is wonderful, telling her she's got to keep on with her life and she's only SLIGHTLY offended when Mary asks if she's met any other MEN, but only a FEMALE millionaire widow who enjoys being with her but won't leave the city because her husband died of a heart attack a day AFTER returning from a flight to Alaska! Mom IS quiet, except for pushing hunks of shashlik onto my plate, which I refuse. I have a glass of Merlot and Ed seems not to be drinking. Finish the peanut butter pie, not bad, and pay the $76 + $11 = $87 bill for the three of us, and leave about 8:45. Stopped raining, and Mom flips through TV channels ENDLESSLY as I do two crosswords and hassle IMOPUD finally into PODIUM and read ANYTHING in paper to pass the time, and Marion calls and agrees she'll meet me here to pick me up at 11 for the brunch at Quaker Square, and Mom doesn't even seem to MIND since she said she can't walk and I made it clear I WAS going alone, and she ACCEPTS going to church by herself! (Though I actually think she used the excuse NOT to go!) Then Marion asks about Edward's "coldness": Mom insists on moving away from the fountain and switches with Marion, who then feels Ed next to her as "an ice cube." "I'm a very warm person myself, Bobby, and I guess I expect everyone to be warm, even though I realized in high school that EVERYONE didn't have to love me! But he didn't TALK to me, and Anne ignored me." I said I have some thoughts but couldn't very well say with MOM there that Ed was the ONLY one who DISLIKED my talking about being gay, so maybe he doesn't like feelings at ALL---or that he might be afraid of his ATTRACTION to her, since "we were ALL good friends early on," now that she's OBVIOUSLY younger and more attractive than his wife! We can talk about that over brunch. Mom goes to bed about 10:45 and I watch end of "Brittan's Way" comedy while tending my teeth and go to bed just after 11, really NOT having to toss and turn AT ALL before sleep comes.

SUNDAY, 6/11/95: Wake again at 4:30 and pee at 7:45, been in bed ALREADY 82 hours, and shit a HARD shit and put on a tee-shirt when I think I hear her moving around. Start writing to catch up, and forgot to mention Mom's MEANNESS when she responds to Helen's (pro forma partly, but PARTLY real) invitation to "come see us" by retorting, "Why don't YOU come to see ME?" equating HER slow walk with Helen's obviously PAINFUL CRUTCH! Helen's only bitterness is responding, "Oh, fine," to waitress's constant "Hi, how are YOU?" at Bob Evans where "They all like us" even though they tip $1 (Mom says for me to put out ANOTHER $1, but can't while they're WATCHING me) on a $21 bill for four of us. AND think of my lassitude yesterday afternoon after lunch in the humid apartment: I felt like lying down after lunch and not getting up until dinner,
and then going RIGHT to bed: there's nothing to DO here: no THOUGHT of going to a movie, no CHANCE of a live play or concert or even a PARTY to attend, only TV-channel surfing or BED. Or DRINKING. Mom fusses over my breakfast dishes yesterday for half an hour---nothing else to DO. No galleries or museums to attend, no jobs, no computer pleasures, no RADIO even. Few friends to chat with in the halls ("They all moved away or died.") and I'm down to 185 pounds today compared with 190 yesterday and now at 8:30AM feel I need BREAKFAST, which FITS since my last pills WERE over 12 hours ago and an early-dinner pill HAS to be followed by an early-breakfast pill, though brunch at 11-1 will be BIG, I suspect. Have "usual" breakfast, two tiny cereal boxes and glass of cranapple with pills, and start reading McInerney's "Ransom," continuing from 9:05AM. Hell's Angels cruise by in groups of 6, 5, and 4, childishly making as much noise as they can on their hogs to wake the sleeping burghers. Mom gets up about 10 and brings in the paper, and I look through it until I get out to meet Marion at 11AM. Park free Saturday and Sunday, and place is not jammed, so we're upstairs to look at the trains and circus layouts and towns of differing sizes until about 11:45, and down for French toast, pizza quiche, fried apple fritters, ham, sausages, scrambled eggs and mushrooms, and sweet roll and muffin and a glass of orange juice and a tall glass of iced tea all for $4.95. Model trains over window sills and REAL trains through the windows, about FIVE long freight trains for LARGE business in "The Depot," the old station. Marion talks on about her sadness about Henry's death, though he was in such pain he HAD to go, her taking care of her father and her mother and then Gary stealing the business and Greg going off on his business and not being married yet, though he went to see his girl in Canada, and he's 45 now, but "Doesn't he look great?" He "looked shocked" when she pleaded she couldn't handle the power mower-tractor, saying she was 69 years old, and he hadn't THOUGHT of her as old. She works to save money for her expensive month in Marco Island, which she loves for the beach and the safety of the widowed ladies. She's in Akron City Club for 42 years and keeps paying dues because when she's paid for 50 years she's free thereafter! AND she goes to Turkeyfoot Lake Island Club every Wednesday for dinner, an exclusive club she's glad will take a few widows but no widowers yet. I told her of Edward's adverse reaction to my telling him I was gay, and how he might be AFRAID of his emotions, like ALL Vallishes, and maybe because Anne is looking so OLD and Marion looks so young he's AFRAID of his ATTRACTION to her, and she says she never thought of that. She says Anne's "retarded" because she always hangs onto Edward and "is VERY possessive," and I give THAT as a reason for his coldness to her at Tangier table and she never thought of THAT. I moan about Mom and she reiterates that I should try to talk to Dr. Peterson, because she thinks Mom hasn't been going to the DOCTORS at ALL. We leave and wander the empty shops of Quaker Square---though she says TOUR busses come to shop---and I buy the last copy of "Summit Beach Park" for a too-high $25 (and Mom REFUSES to believe I paid that for it and says "My picture must be in here somewhere.") and we snoop around "The Attic", cute clerk saying "Hi" to me. Glasses for $1 and stuffed gorilla for $350 and old zebra-striped bar stools and railway lanterns and cookie tins and ice-cream chairs for $45. To Holiday Inn hotel: the old cereal silos have air that's heavy and musty, though she loves the artist that sculpted the "wall of noses," and we look at and listen to the display of WAKR and WADC voices and pictures of announcers from the past, even Meredith Willson from 1929! Long grim train-car corridor connects the Square to the Hotel, and we're out about 3 to see the Library changed into the "Akron Center," and Revere High School is graduating in the old Loews, the current Civic Center, and the Mayflower has become a welfare hotel, shirtless hunk talking to a gray-haired fart, and O'Neil's has been closed for years. Out South Main to "Canal Square" in old Goodyear factory buildings, then drive down to apartment complex and Summit Lake Park at the site of the old Summit Beach. Onto Expressway for Waterloo Road for a Strickland's hot fudge for me and a cone for her, and the airport building has become an ITALIAN restaurant. Back of Rubber Bowl, blue for University of Akron football, and Soap Box Derby Downs still brightly painted, a new control tower in woods above it. Down to Holy Cross Cemetery and the Vallish tombstone: Brudge dead in 1953, Anna Raskie Vallish in 1977, both born in 1888. Out to Turkeyfoot Lake and photo of Grandpa's place where we all stayed, looking at chests on passing boats while she has a beer and continues talking, misting up every so often about Henry. Talk of Jimmy's dying first to bring all the money to Helen, who keeps telling Jimmy about every check she writes, and I say she wants a child AND a father in one and HAS him in Jimmy. Marion's never met OLDER son James Edward, and the OTHER son doesn't TALK to him. Their money's SEPARATE, she says, and he's stopped going around the Mall TWICE and sits and talks to an old black about his rich investments. Leave Turkeyfoot at 5 for the Club and get back to see expanded University of Akron grounds (Buchtel Hall buried between trees and two new buildings right at its sides, a new ARTS building even south of Exchange Street, new Polymer Building HUGE and NEW Kolbe Hall and Knight Hall!). Home at DOT of 6 and Mom's eaten already and I read some outside and in to talk a bit and she says she TORE UP insurance application when I say she'd NOT revised it when she says her NEW car is TWO years old and I remind her that the form is for a 1991 Ford. She retorts that she raised ME for 84 years and I can't take HER in for the $17,000 I owe her, and THEN she brings up that SHE didn't go to my University of Akron graduation, but HELEN took her PLACE! At first I think she must be wrong, then I begin to remember some horrible fight that MOM made out of nothing and MIGHT have stayed home in anger. She keeps harking back to "Your Dad took my milk at night and Helen during the day---or the other way around, I don't know---and I was a Jersey cow for you, nothing but trouble, but as long as YOU were in the hospital they didn't charge ME anything." I try calling Charles at 9 and 10 for no answer, and finally about 10:45 he answers and says he has to wait until 2PM tomorrow for something like the results of his aunt's EYE operation, and I say we'll go out there at 10AM to meet him. Mom says now she'll NOT move out to Tallmadge---it's too far away and it's too quiet: "I got used to the traffic noise HERE and when I go to you or Rita's it's TOO quiet and I can't SLEEP." She also confides, "The reason I sleep so LATE is I don't get to SLEEP until 2AM; I go to bed at 10 or 11 and think all KINDS of things, staring at the clock in my face until I fall asleep about 2AM." I retort that she doesn't DO anything during the day to GET tired. I suggest "I give you a check, every month or every week, for a woman to bring groceries and you can take a TAXI to church and GIVE UP the car." She AGREES it'd be cheaper to take taxis than to have the car, but THEN turns around and says she'll NEVER give up the car because then she'll never go ANYWHERE! "But you never go anywhere NOW," I riposte. Watched Nature from 8-9, after having dinner of ham on raisin bread and root beer at 8:10, when Marion calls to talk to me and Mom tells HER I'll call back after I finish eating but doesn't bother to tell ME that, only at 8:45 says "You'd better call her because she'll be going OUT later." She called to say that her friends' big house was on Long Island's "North Shore Gold Coast," which HARDLY locates it. Then Mom puts on TV AGAIN, inanely switching channels, and I go to her bedroom to read, and she comes in to say, "You're only here for 3 days, put down the book and TALK to me." I go back to living room to talk about HER past. She wants to live "with me or Rita," yet she CAN'T take my stairs and CAN'T take Paul and Denny! Then talk of Charles and DOUBLE-repeat we'll be there at 10AM (so I and she can fill out the application) and will leave THERE at 2PM---we can find someplace out THERE to have lunch. Mom insists she can even get up---once, anyway---at 7AM to go there if she HAS to, yet she's saying she's only going for a VISIT and will probably SCREAM at the application. She DOES say her Social Security is $599/month, and she also has the ICWU pension, so maybe they'll WANT to get her in. I say we'll have to be there at 10AM, and so she should get up at 8:30 to leave at 9:30. Let's hope she doesn't change her mind about THAT. I sit morosely staring at the floor, trying to think of SOMETHING to say, and she says I CAN'T phone about insurance because she TORE UP the form. I get to bed at 11:30, even BEFORE she passes through and says "We'll have breakfast HERE?" for the fifth time. I'm appalled by "I made bacon and put it in---the thing on the wall." "The microwave?" "Yeah," but the microwave is EMPTY and she probably meant the REFRIGERATOR. By "What did you and Edward talk about? (he was THERE 1-3PM!). That ineffectual arm-wave and "I don't know." Yet she REFUSES to talk of Alzheimer's!

MONDAY, 6/12/95: I get up at 4AM to pee and then at 6AM and think glum thoughts, then up at 6:30 and dress and leave a message at Tallmadge Arms, leaving my name and number and say that we're coming in for a 10AM appointment to fill out a form if that's OK with her, talking low so Mom won't hear. Then write THIS till 7:25 (how MUCH of it will I be able to READ and how much will I have to GUESS at the surrounding words for CONTEXT) and still have to phone Dr. Peterson to check Marion's accusation she doesn't see her doctor. DREADING the rest of today, and we'll probably DROP Cedar Point and go back into Pennsylvania, stopping only to stay in Harrisburg or Allentown on the way back on Tuesday. And I'm HUNGRY, dammit, though my stomach HAS gone down since yesterday. And DO I find AARP Insurance number and call at 8 anyway? Call Dr. Peterson at Akron General, then at his office, and Mom's last visit was 12/29/93 and she hasn't renewed her Diazide prescription for blood pressure. Mom gets up at 8:20 and makes me two fried eggs and bacon for breakfast. I drive, she drives, I drive, she WANTS to drive and I say, "No, you can't change your mind like that." Out at 9:35 and get to Forest-Meyers at 9:55 and no one's there! Ring Grady and SHE says her husband and Ms. Beverley Mancuso left for a MEETING: "When the company calls, you go." She was IN earlier and I said, "I'm sorry she couldn't call me to cancel the meeting." So she tells me to go to Ellet Shopping Mall, to second building called Clarence May, where she'll be at 1PM, after her lunch after the meeting. I ring Charles at his mother's to say I'll be back to pick HIM up between 1:30 and 4, to drive Mom home AFTER I've seen the super. Pass Eastgate Shopping Mall before I see it's Eastgate ELLET mall, and there's the building, back SOUTH of East Market Street. Mom wanders off and NO one answers the office buzzer, office hours 1-4:30PM, administrator GARY someone. I sit and write this to 10:35 and go hunt for MOM! Enjoy Mogador Reservoir Park, but will THEY be surprised at the urine (I hope!) in the women's changing room! Sit for half an hour in Mike B's in Ellet Mall for lunch: good thing she wasn't hungry! Mogador Reservoir Park very nice; I hope two photos of snake come out well. Cute guy talks computers with a bearded Chasid. Have CITY CHICKEN, mushy in gravy but still pretty good: only in Akron! Out at 1, she CONSTANTLY asks where are we going and why we're waiting! We wait till 2:30 till window slides open, and she drops bombshell: Gotta fill the form AT the building, including income and current rent, and it must be SIGNED by the future TENANT. Make an appointment at 10:30AM tomorrow AFTER calling Charles, and he RELUCTANTLY agrees to leave that late. Drive back via East Market Street, straight through. I read on the balcony at 3PM, assuming she'll sleep, but at 4 she calls me to say Mrs. Magistro wants to know what's going on. Mom says she's NOT going tomorrow, and I break and say, "You'll go if I have to drag you, kicking and screaming!" Then I break AGAIN, ASK her if she'll go: NO! So I say I'M going, phone Mrs. Magistro (Charles "gets nervous and is out for a walk" and will call me when he gets back) and SHE says, "Bob, because she really didn't want to come here, just leave her be." Call Helen and SHE says, "Good, just leave her BE." Call Forest-Myers and CANCEL the appointment for tomorrow. Call Marion and line is busy. Call Rita and DENNY answers and I blurt out the whole thing and he says Rita SHOULD be back in a few minutes and will CALL me back. I break IN on line at Marion's and it's GREG (what happened to his going to Canada "that night"??) on the phone, who gets Marion and SHE says, "You did the best you could," and even when I CONFIRM all the negatives, she says, "Don't feel bad about it." By now it's 4:30, and I wash my face and sit and wait for Rita OR Charles to call, THEN decide to call CHARLES at 4:39, saying I'll BE there in 15-45 minutes, and then call Rita JUST as she gets in. Pack and Mom sits reading the paper, and I say "Thanks for everything, and I'm SORRY about everything, too." She continues to read as I leave at 4:45. Trip seems quicker even though there's lots of traffic, and Charles isn't back YET. We chat nicely and Charles returns with Cherry cobblers and she offers orange juice so we snack and leave at 5:35PM. Mileage is just under 650 and we aim for route 76, which turns out to be QUITE rural and rutted, but then we turn north a bit and hit a BLOCK at about 6PM that lasts until about 7PM, going 30 miles in the first HOUR. Finally the roadblock simply VANISHES after a one-lane bridge AFTER a two-lane merge, and going is EASY. The last bit of 80 in Ohio is 65 mph, and we ZIP along until we hit Pennsylvania and it's 55 mph. Sunset on eastern clouds is first lavender than almost a FUSCHIA, lovely red-pink-purple-blue in clouds. We'd hoped to get to Milesville in a mountain-jog from 80 down to Harrisburg for the town and the Amusement Park. But our delay affects us, and we're only about 110 miles into Pennsylvania, at my mile 820, only 170 into 500 return, or 330 LEFT, TWICE as long. From 5:35 to 9:05, or 32 hours, it leaves about seven hours driving tomorrow, say 8AM-3PM, so we can eat for two hours to 5PM and "play" four hours to 9PM darkness. Charles says he really has no TIME to be back, but the earlier the better. Decide to get off at Clairfield, a dotted county seat, but it's EIGHT miles away and WAY down in elevation, but the town is a WASTELAND and we look for SOME main street and find only a HOSPITAL and a BRIDGE. Stop for gas at $1.219/gallon for 6.6 gallons for $8, and he kindly tells us that the road to State College (home of Penn State) takes HIM 45 minutes and US an hour, and at 9:35PM that's not IMPOSSIBLE. We drive 5-6 miles and pass a Long John Silver Restaurant, and then see a triple-A-OK Friendship Inn and Charles goes in and finds it's $45 plus tax, so we get a room and return at 9:55 for decent fish and a HUGE Dr. Pepper for $4.58, and they stay open PAST their 10PM closing FOR us. Out at 10:25 and to room to unpack, and Charles looks at the "Summit Beach" book, and I take a shower, then repack neatly and turn on TV to brush teeth and get last half of "New Explorers" about Antarctica that's over at midnight. I get to bed to write all of this.

TUESDAY, 6/13/95: Charles watches Charlie Rose on Gingrich's political election (17 months AHEAD?) and I finish at 12:22AM and get to sleep. TV keeps me awake for the second segment too, but I think he turns it off before the end, and I recognize he's gone to bed perhaps at 12:45 and go to sleep. Wake at 5:45 with the memory of a dream I've since forgotten and lie thinking when the flash comes to me: PAY MOM OFF! Phone Spartacus and Shelley and the Amalgamated BONY and see if I can't possibly get MY balance (around $21,000, not her $17,000) to Mom to STOP 1) her feeling she "has something over me she has over no one else," and 2) MY feeling "I hope she DIES, then I won't have to pay her back, and 3) possibility that paying her off little by little will come at a time she won't REMEMBER I paid her off and let her addled mind DIE thinking I still owe her money when I DIDN'T! Debate waking Charles RIGHT NOW and setting off for home to get this plan underway, and even think that he might say, "Well, I can chip in $5 or $10 thousand if you'd like." But then decide it's too cruel to wake him after only five hours' sleep and at 6:15AM take a chair into the bathroom and write this to 6:25AM, feeling groggy but AWAKE, and eager to get home to put plan into action. Left door open a BIT so he won't think I'm shitting or jerking off or showering, and hoping ALSO that the bit of light might WAKE him, though there is light from the poorly-closed drapes at the window and the bird and passing-truck noises ARE rather loud. But it IS light. I AM finished with this by 6:30AM, so let me get my BOOK and look OUTSIDE to see if this ADDED light and activity might WAKE him. FOGGY out! Finish "Ransom," NOT wanting Ransom to be killed by the symbol DeVito (FROM life?) by 7:45AM. Charles wakes and I look at map and we agree to return by route 80. At 8:20 leave for breakfast, not bad, with a cute broom-pusher saying "Hi" to me. Nonstop drive to a 1:30 Newark pee and 7.422 gallons @ 1.179 for $8.75, ALMOST there---tired! Check in car by 2PM, board a SHUTTLE bus to airport, bus to Newark Station, home by 3:30, phone people, and finish TYPING this in ONE day by 3:37PM, NOT paying debt to Mom!