Friday, November 15, 2013

A hundred pictures of Jesus; Grampa's secrets III

Grampa McMahon does OK at the funeral of his wife of 60 years.

Goes home and shuts down.

By "shuts down" I mean he went back to the home he had shared with his Heintzman girl for sixty years. Stopped eating. Stopped drinking. Stopped looking after himself.

Stopped living.

They found him on the floor in a coma a week later. All but dead. Had a leg amputated just to keep him alive.

Put him in a home.

The dreamer and the Weston's VP had different ideas on how to handle Bernie.

But they finally agreed that he belonged in a "home".

Bernie goes to a home, and the rest of us set about clearing out the house.

I was the only family member with a truck, so I was front and centre for the clean-up.

For many years no visitors to the McMahon household had been permitted beyond the front room. The front room had plastic on the couch cushions and a picture of Jesus on the wall.

Finally we were able to get past the front room.

Pictures of Jesus everywhere.

Egg cartons and newspapers and magazines everywhere, once you got past the front room.

They were big-time hoarders.

You got down to the basement, and besides the newspapers and magazines piled so high you could barely navigate your way through, there were hundreds if not thousands of empty gin bottles.

And pill bottles.

Apparently these pillars of the catholic community had spent the last fifty years ginned up, pilled up, and generally fucked up as they dictated morality to the rest of the community, as devout Catholics are wont to do.

I made five or six trips to the Cambridge landfill with the box of my pick-up truck filled with old magazines. I took hundreds and thousands of Life, Look, Time, and Newsweek magazines from the 30's to the 70's to the landfill, as well as thousands of empty pill and liquor bottles.

Not two weeks later I was walking through the Stone Road Mall, and a bunch of nostalgia merchants had set up their kiosks in the place. They were selling magazines from the 30's on up, from five bucks on up.

It suddenly occurred to me that in the past month I'd taken a couple of million dollars worth of nostalgia to the landfill...

...more soon.

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