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Myrtle and Edna Retired Underwater


When I was 13-years old, my father was in a coma and basically dying in a VA hospital.
My mom and I made the drive out there every day but I couldn’t stay in his room for long because then the nurses would come take me out and I was supposed to wait in this horrible waiting room. Since I never did what I was supposed to anyway, it was a no-brainer I wasn’t staying there.

I went wondering around the hospital grounds (as a parent now this makes me cringe my mother never advised me wandering around at 13 wasn’t a good idea) and I wound up in this separate building just at the edge of the hospital grounds where they had elderly people with no where to go. They weren’t sick enough to be in a hospital but they either didn’t have family or family didn’t want them.

I remember this one lady named Dorothy stuffed a note in my hand with her daughter’s first name and phone number on it.
She begged me to call.
Sure, I was a kid, ask me and I’ll do it.
She told me to call her daughter to come get her like she promised.
I did when I got home and got in trouble making a long distance call without permission AND the lady on the other end of the phone chewed me out and said she didn’t have time to take care of her mother and her was FINE.
She totally hissed that last word at me like she was a snake woman on the other end of the phone.
And no, her mother wasn’t fine.
She was skinny and had sores all over her legs. I’d never seen anything like it.
So, during the 2 weeks my father was in a coma on the downhill slide to having his life support turned off, I went to the home every day and talked to people. Weirdly enough, it was a good diversion for what was going on in my own life and I hope it brought a little diversion to theirs.

That’s what I was thinking about in this improved photo. Myrtle and Edna decided their rotten kids weren’t going to come visit them anyway – so they retired underwater where it was beautiful.

Size : 3.25-inches by 4.25-inches
Ink, watercolor on photo from the late 1960s
the story of what inspired this piece will be sent with your artwork
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