I sat there in the hospital with a friend's mother, Evelyn. She was in her 80's and had fallen at the craft store. She had a plastic bag filled with yarn, knitting and crochet needles on her lap. Her daughter called and asked if I would meet her at the hospital while she drove up from Houston.
I knew Evelyn. Her mind was a little dim some days. We did not know that she suffered from dementia then. When she saw me, her face lit up. "Dixie!" She exclaimed. "I wish we were at my coffee table instead of here." We hugged and I waited with her. They took her for x-rays and she clung to my hand, like a child.
While we were waiting, she Evelyn started to talk about the yarn she bought.
"I got blue that was the same color as the shutters on my Aunt Nan's house back when she and Uncle Dan lived in town." I nodded.
"The green, it reminded me of the breadbox that we had." I knew that I should write this down for my friend.
Evelyn talked about who she had made sweaters for. Who got afghans. Baby layettes. I just smiled and made notes by turning the record feature onto my tablet. Listening to Evelyn was taking a walk into her small tidy home of years ago. Listening to soap operas on the television with her as she made things for the people that she loved. Smelling the dinner simmering on the stove. Feeling the clothes dry on the line.
Evelyn learned to do handcrafts when she was recovering from a broken leg. Those skills had lasted her a lifetime. I just nodded a lot as she spoke, touching her hand every so often. When her daughter showed up, we visited for a while and I mentioned that her mother shared my love of crafts.
I actually forgot about the tablet recording until I got home and learned that I had recorded 3 hours. I literally had forgotten to turn it off.
Sadly, Evelyn's health declined. She left us less than 6 months later. I was trying to think of something to write in the card for my friend. I remembered that recording. I plugged the memory card into the computer and cut the recording down to only the part where her mother was recalling the past. When Marta (my friend) got the memory card, she put it into her computer and she said that it was the best gift of all because of all of the names and places that were mentioned. Marta told me that it was going to be a huge boon for her genealogical research.