The Last Time I Looked: (Stories, Real and Unreal) - THE MIND'S EYE Chapter Four
April 29, 2013

People who didn’t know, thought he was snubbing them. I found myself saying in an unnecessarily loud and strident voice...”Oh honey it’s so and so.” And then I’d say to so and so in a slightly softer, edgy voice, in what I hoped was a confidential manner, ”Adolph’s having a little vision problem.”

I was getting on my nerves.

“There are four steps Adolph, do you see them?’
“I see them, I see them, I’m fine.”
“I just wanted to be sure.”
“Right, thank you, I see them.”

Escalators, hand rails, aisles, seats, coat hooks, the acts of eating, pouring, heating a tea kettle, shaving, dressing, touch toning a phone, ringing a door bell, distinguishing money, finding the handle in a taxi, and hundreds of other ‘taken for granteds’ became the enemy.

The good news? So many thoughtful people who started coming up to him telling him their names as they embraced him warmly and honestly. Pals who sat next to him at dinner and volunteered to cut his food for him. The many who laughed with us at the way we were...who read to him, who sent him books on tape, the magnificent people who worked at the equally magnificent Andrew Heiskell library for the visually impaired. The knowledgeable staff and volunteers at “The Light House”, the brilliance of an organization called “In Touch”, which provided Adolph with a radio like device that broadcasted readings of the daily newspapers, magazines, etc. live every day at scheduled times with the press of a button. Those caring and anonymous (to us) people who donated their time and read for “In Touch”.

Finally, Adolph’s best friend through all of this, was Adolph and his imagination, his boundless intellect, curiosity, and astounding, specific memory. He retained his talent and non-hysterical, but strong desire to keep tapping into that talent, and into life. He was justifiably angry and bewildered at his condition, yet he unquestioningly trusted all of his caretakers. He had faith in something that he couldn’t or wouldn’t define. He railed at few, he blamed no one. He was not falsely cheerful. In fact, that word simply wasn’t applicable. But he was funny. Oh, was he funny.

So, on that December morning, I slipped the N.Y. Times out of his arms. I wanted to read the review first, and edit it if necessary--it wasn’t. I woke him and read him the whole piece with its many favorable and admiring phrases. Tears of honest joy and excitement came to both of us, and Adolph triumphantly and knowingly said, “I knew it was going to be good when I picked up the paper, I could just feel the goods through my hands and body.”

Nothing was going to stop that eager, enthusiastic, eccentric and loving spirit, not while he was around.

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5 comments
How lucky I was to be able to call this warm, genuine, loving and brilliant man my " Uncle Adolph."
9:46am 05/24/2013
Bonnie Porte Heyman
Beautiful Mom.

xo Amanda
9:32pm 05/16/2013
amanda green
Wonderfully expressed
11:16am 04/30/2013
Stephen Sorokoff
My dear Phyllis, ,I was so crazy about Adolph . He was a major part of my first Broadway experience,always funny ,kind ,encouraging,loving and oh so talented. I was enchanted by him. We all had such a time doing "Cinderella On Ice" at the Muny and I remember then his joy in reading and , his intellect , his ability to embrace and enjoy all that life offered. God we laughrd didn't we? XO Nancy Dussault
4:08pm 04/29/2013
Nancy Dussault
Beautiful, Phyllis -- beautiful Phyllis.
1:39pm 04/29/2013
Ron Barron