Sunday, July 23, 2017

(17) if Blaje leqrns this before i do shall hang my self from the highest tree if i can fimnd one

     There was a powerful rivalry between Edward and Blake Thaxter that was destined to continue until one of them drew his last breath.  Their biggest challenge was learning how to use the computers their offspring had prescribed for them.  Ed called his “the machine,” along with other less civilized terms.
To: Barbara Malley 
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2001 5:21 PM
I want you to know I'm thinking of you and will think of you on Sunday, which is Mother's Day.  I wish you were still here, the mother of my wonderful children, my wonderful ex-wife.  I do love you, dear.  I wish we had more time together.  Goodbye.
   ps  john stark helped me with this 
To: Ed Malley
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2001 6:15 PM
Subject: welcome
welcome to the world of email!!!
From: Ed Malley
To: Kathie malley-morrison
July 05, 2001 10:22 AM
Subject: I love you very much
From: Kathie malley-morrison
To: Ed Malley
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 12:34 PM
Subject: I love you very much
From: Ed Malley
To: Kathie malley-morrison
Subject: save your Confederate money the south will rise again
 From: Kathie malley-morrison
To: Ed Malley
Cc: Barbara Malley
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2001 5:05 PM
Subject: Re: save your Confederate money the south will rise again
hi, daddy.  that's definitely one of the old favorite daddy malley
expressions.  it was fun to get it.
From: Barbara Malley
To: Ed Malley
Subject: Re: reply to outlook express
Date: Wednesday, August 08, 2001 1:33 PM
Congratulations Ed!  That's the best message you have sent yet.  I'd love to see more, more, more.  But not of naked ladies.  Naked gentlemen would be okay.  Now I'm  going to try sending you a joke I sent before.  When you see the beginning, remember to scroll down with the little black triangle on the right so you will gradually be able to read the entire joke. 
I'm also forwarding some pointers on sending e-mails. 
From: Ed Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2001 1:20 PM
Subject: reply to outlook express
  I will never know how to thank you for sending me that ?summary for outlook express. a funny thing happened when i started to type this i heard the machinwhene begin but  could not see the actual typing     imagine my surprise when i did start typing i    
ALL MYLOVE                                                                                                                                                                                            
From: Ed Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Cc: Kathie malley-morrison
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2001 12:22 PM
Subject: what is knew ? i know love you.
From: Barbara Malley
To: Ed Malley
Subject: Re: what is knew ? i know love you.
Date: Friday, August 24, 2001 3:20 PM
That is a charming subject and so beautifully put.  I only wish you had written something under the subject.  I love you too, dear. Can you see, when you scroll down, you left the page blank?  Did you mean to do that?                                              
Much love, Barbara

From: Barbara Malley
To: Ed Malley
Subject: my long e-mail to you
Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 9:50 AM
You seem  to have the hang of how to read beyond what's in the space I'm writing in now.  I told Kathie how well you had read to me a long joke I sent you, expertly "scrolling down" with the little black triangle on the lower right of this screen.
I'll be around much of the time today if you need help.  I will want to watch the tennis at 2:00 and the golf at 4:00 (because Tiger is in it and doing well), but I would still have time for you if you call.
Love, Barbara

From: Ed Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Sent: Saturday, August 25, 2001 5:01 PM
Subject: Re: have missed you

From: Barbara Malley
To: Ed Malley
Subject: Re: have missed you
Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 5:14 PM
Tsk tsk, you hit Reply okay, but you didn't write a message in the white space, like this one I'm writing in.  I WANT A MESSAGE!  Do try to write me a couple of lines next time.   Love, Barbara

From: Ed Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2001 10:45 AM
Subject: re: john stark
    we have been plauying aound so decided to call .

From: “Barbara Malley”
To: "Ed Malley"
Subject: Re: john stark
Date: Monday, August 27, 2001 4:13 PM
Hi, I got word that you have been playing around.  You were always pretty good at that--chuckle, chuckle.  Love, Barb

From: Ed Malley
To: Ted Malley
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2001 3:35 PM
Subject: it has been a long timeof
how are all your business problems going? how about your family?  how about you?  after all YOU are the compass and pater faimilias and responsible fo                                                                                                                                                                                                                               r all of us the rest of us.
somerhing went wrong how in the name of the devil did i get down here????               
                                                                        All my love   THE OLDE BUZZARD
From: Barbara Malley
To: Ed Malley
Subject: thinking of you
Date: Monday, September 03, 2001 2:58 PM
     I'm so glad you didn't have to stay at the hospital.  That's a good sign that your mini-stroke was a mini-problem.
     Have you been watching the U.S. Open?  When I see the great ones smashing the ball back and forth, it makes me think of our younger days with the Thaxters.  Cruising to Nantucket, going ashore for tennis and lunch, an afternoon at the beach, back to the boat for Happy Hour--didn't we have a great time?            Love, Barbara       

From: Tim Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 7:12 PM
Subject:  Update from Florida
Hi Mom-
    Spoke to Dad when he first arrived home from the hospital tonight.  Got a little choked up as if to prove my basically maudlin nature.  I admit to crying over second rate TV shows and hope that characteristic doesn't undercut the true depth of the love I feel for all my family.

From: Ed Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Subject: reply  to yours of9 4 01
Date: Friday, September 07, 2001 10:43 AM
i am  supposed to rest for a weekbut  i could not resist your loving letter of those Happy Days

From: Ed Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Cc: Barbara Malley
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 11:41 AM
Subject: i still cant understand why every thin goes wrong at this point
????love you forever old old dad

From: Barbara Malley
To: Ed Malley
Subject: the mail came through!
Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 11:55 AM
Hi dear, I love you forever too.  I was so glad to see you had successfully sent me that lovely message. 
Love, old, old Mom

From: Ed Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Sent: Monday, October 01, 2001 3:44 PM
but it is|nt stll get problems with that interrupts when i
try to enter NEW MAIL  john is so busy he not available
until                saturday. meanwhile please send with
your material instruction to print so i may heth h  save for
my files  i sti          the l    think you are he\\\\\\\ ll
[nn  ow what in ell
lha vihinkhave i done  wrong now/ISTILLthink yiue o are the greatest
old buzzard

From:  Barbara Malley
To:  Kathie malley-morrison
Sent: Mondday, October 01, 2001 8:16 pm
I wrote Dad that I thought he might be clicking on New Mail, thinking he was then sending a message. I reminded him to click on Send instead. I have two other shorter messages, full of frustration over working for 4 hours with little progress.  Poor old Buzzard.  Love, Mom

From: "kathleen malley-morrison"
To: “Barbara Malley”
Subject: Re: Old Buzzard
Date: Monday, October 01, 2001 9:08 PM
oh, poor dad. but that's priceless!

From: Ed Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Subject: bring you up to date
Date: Friday, October 05, 2001 11:33 AM
sure and begorry tis a beautiffffffuuumorning hope it stays that way
wednesday was certainly a disasterrrrrr this is my first attempt since.
keep in touch all my love         ..                                                        the old buzzard  

From: Barbara Malley
To: Ed Malley
Subject: Re: bring you up to date
Date: Friday, October 05 2001 2:36 PM
Honey, all you have to do when you hit a few letters too mmmmmany is to gently back space, one letter at a time (using arrow pointing left (on the right of the numbers).    
Love, Barbbbbb  (Use black triangle on right to see your message and see what I'm talking aboutttttt.)

From: Ed Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 10:56 AM
we had a great but quiet time. basically it was fun to have no responsibilities hpoe you get this 

From: Barbara Malley
To: Ed Malley
Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 11:24 PM
Hi dear, welcome back.  You stole your subject from the Seven Dwarves--right?  I'm glad you had a good vacation.              
Much love, Barbara

From: Ed Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Subject: i am back right now i am completely frustrated i hate this damn machine
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2001 1:41 PM
                         EDWARD W MALLEY JR.

From: Barbara Malley
To: Ed Malley
Subject: Re: i am back right now i am completely frustrated i hate this damn machine
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2001 2:10 PM
You asked on the phone if I got anything else.  I got this with your message contained in the subject.  Down below, where the message should be, you wrote your name in capitals.  When you were there, that's when you could have written a much longer message.  It shows you know how to get there, anyway. 
Much love, Barbara
(below, using black triangle on right--you will see another message from me under your subject)
It sounds like you feel about the damn machine the way I used to feel about the damn golf.

From: Ed Malley
To: Barbara Malley
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2001 2:01 PM
Subject: just a little practise
there was a young man from Racine who invented a sexy machine     it was both concave and convex would fit either sex and was        the damndest thing ever seen). a l[ttle wickedness  

From: Barbara Malley
To: Kathie malley-morrison
Subject:  Dad’s novel & Blake Thaxter
Date:  Friday, November 23, 1:50 PM
    Dad just called.  Blake has bought a machine and thought he could get a guy to teach him for less than $60 an hour.  After all was said and done, Blake is paying the same, to Dad's obvious glee.  Moreover Dad's guy stops by to see how he's doing and charges nothing. 
     Then he went on to tell me he will be starting work on a book about himself, only it will be written in novel form.  Did you know about this, Kathie?  The title is The Wastrel, and it won't have anything in it about his family, it will be only about him.    
    What a coincidence, that the three of us should all decide to write a book about Ed.  I do hope the old dear won't get discouraged.  He used to be a marvelous writer, so who knows what he might be able to come up with.                              
Love, Mom
From: Ed Malley
To: Kathie malley-morrison
Cc: Barbara Malley
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2001 4:21 PM
Subject: dear ladies such a week as i have had ?ikeep doing very well
and then some thing goeg wrong and i have one half  page    spoiled and to make matters even worse i fool around for        another half hour as you probably know the past week has been one thing after the moment itn is that damn mouse . the one that i have been using is a fancy thing that just quit. forjunately it came already installed on the pc.again fortunatelye were able to use it.    now UNFORTUNATELY there is  no question but that old age has finally got to me .more tomorrow   if i blow this        and Blaje leqrns this before i do shall hang my self from the highest tree if i can fimnd one O B .

From: Barbara Malley
To: Ed Malley
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2001 4:46 PM              
Ed, this is absolutely the best e-mail you've written yet.  I am truly impressed with what you've accomplished.  You're getting there, so stay away from that tree and noose--we all love you and need you to be around, sending more wonderful e-mails.
Much love, Barbara

Attachment from Tim after visit to his father and Aliceann
    It’s hard to write anecdotes about the Old Buzzard after managing to contain the welling sense of sadness and loss just long enough to make my exit. Some of it spilled on Aliceann in the driveway, as she in turn spilled hers, but most of it flooded out in the first few miles on the Turnpike. It was too brutal a look at the disintegration of a man who was such a large part of our lives.
    One thing I did notice about Dad is that he has gotten creepy. I think it must come from Aliceann telling him so often, as I later learned, to “…stay put, Edward.” In secret rebellion he inches along in his chair (forwards or backwards, no matter), creeping to some destination known only to him. He is guided by lines of black tape on the tiled floors of the house, an ILS [Instrument Landing System] for the disabled pilot.     
     I noticed the same behavior at the golf course, when on the second hole I decided it would be nice (and hopefully non-lethal to our three-and-a-halfsome) to let him drive our cart. In unknowing mimicry of Aliceann, I advised him at each stopping point (reached at somewhat less than a walking pace) to “stay right here in the shade, Dad.” I would take my shot and return to the cart to find it…turned 180 degrees. Or behind our companion’s cart when it had clearly been in front of it. Or impossibly placed between two trees Concerned that I might find him impossibly placed in a tree I began trying to catch him in the act, but it was several holes later before I found him creeping imperceptibly from the quiet shade of an old Eucalyptus to a nearby concrete slab that must have been used to park idle equipment. When I asked him where he was going, he said “Oh, nowhere, just moving around.” 

Flashback to Summer 1985
Although he’s creeping up on seventy, Ed is as dauntless, bold, and calamity prone as ever.  Take away his boat and his airplane with all their potential for misfortune, and you’d think the man might welcome a spell of tranquility.  But no.  Even amid such serene surroundings as a golf course, Edward seeks out adventure where lesser men might hang back.
Take the new water hazards that some fiendish engineer claimed would solve the drainage problem at the golf club.  They wind picturesquely across fairways that could now be called un‑fairways.  The pro shop is doing a lively business in twenty‑five-dollar retrievers because there’s no way the average golfer isn’t going to lose a lot of balls in those damn ditches.
But who ever accused Ed of being average?  He’s not about to sacrifice any of his 25‑cent second‑hand balls (he kindly keeps me supplied, too) if he has anything to say about it.
Not long ago we were on the fifth hole when I hit my second shot into the ditch.  We’d had a lot of rain, so there was more than the usual amount of muddy water for the ball to conceal itself in.  Poking around with a golf club, Ed gives an exclamation of triumph when he spots it.
“Careful, dear, the bank looks slippery,” I say, as he starts over the edge.  In his hurry to join me, he is wearing sneakers instead of cleated golf shoes.  One foot skids, then the other, and down the bank he slides, looking rather like an otter, only less playful.
Not neglecting to rescue my ball, Edward clambers up the bank and stands there, his shirt and pants covered with mud.
“You go on without me,” he says.  “I’ll walk back to the club and go home.”
It’s such a beautiful, balmy October day, easily in the seventies, that I hate to see him leave.  “Gee, honey, it’s so warm out, I bet that mud’ll dry right out.  Do you really have to go home?  Couldn’t you keep on playing?”
“Okay, why not,” Ed says agreeably.  We continue on to the next hole where there is a foursome of men on an adjoining tee.   It isn’t hard for them to guess what happened to Ed.
“And he was going after my ball,” I report.
“You must be pretty grateful,” one of the golfers says.
“Oh, I am,” I say.  “But I thought it was a shame he didn’t stay in there and find a few more while he was at it.  Couldn’t convince him, though.”
The golfer studies me thoughtfully.  “And your relationship to him is . . .?”
“Well—um—“ (I cannot tell a lie), “I’m his ex‑wife.”
The foursome looks at Ed as if to say, “No wonder!” and go on their way.

North Palm Beach
From Tim:   
     Halfway up the ninth fairway, looking for my drive, which I had clobbered but sent among some trees scattered on the edge of the fairway, I realized that it was 12:15 and time for Dad's pills. Our companions were on the other side of the fairway. I stopped under the shade of the trees and gave him his pills along with a bottle of water. He took them in groups of twos and sips of water, but on washing down the last pair he swallowed wrong and choked. I had seen him when we went out to dinner the night before struggle to contain a choking fit, but this was worse. He could not get a breath to clear the obstruction.
     With increasing anxiety I stupidly patted his back and then he suddenly slumped over, absolutely motionless. I yelled at him, a million awful thoughts running through my mind in that split second, mostly that my father was going to die and I was totally unprepared to help him. I grabbed his head, planted my mouth over his, held his nose and blew. He stirred a little, and I did it again. His head weaved a bit, his eyes opened; he gave a little cough and mumbled that something had caught in his throat. The whole thing couldn’t have lasted more than thirty seconds.
     We finished the hole and had lunch with Bud and Cheryl from St. Louis, as unprepossessing a couple as you could hope to be paired up with. Both were in sneakers and playing with rented clubs like me; both were visiting aging, ailing parents and struggling with the emotional fallout.  Dad was a bit slurry in his attempts at conversation, but I could hear the underlying charm and sincerity that he always displayed with strangers he warmed to, and I think they could too.
     After saying our goodbyes and leaving the North Palm Beach Country Club we went to Circuit City to try to find Dad a better mouse. I parked his chair in the aisle marked “peripherals,” told him to stay put, and began scanning the shelves for the best mouse for a Parkinson’s victim.  Out of the corner of my eye I watched him slowly leak down the aisle in reverse. I let him go, and eventually caught up with him in the “printers” aisle, which I have no doubt was not a destination but an intermediate stop on his journey.  By way of defense he told me that Aliceann is always telling him to stay put, and he likes to be able to look around. God help us, taking pleasure in such simple actions.
     Back at the house Aliceann confirmed that when she takes Edward food shopping or to Home Depot or Office Max she finds him creeping off despite her stern admonitions that he stay put.
     We never did get much done with the computer. It only took about 20 minutes to realize how diminished his ability is to grasp both motor and cognitive skills. I switched his trackball mouse, a poor choice for a beginning pointing device, for a regular mouse. Being more intuitive, it should have been much easier, but for him it was learning all over again. It was easier to line the pointer up with the target, but then he would have to look at his hand to be sure to stab the correct mouse button, upon which the pointer would move.
     On Saturday I awoke early to a fading thunderstorm, hoping to put together an instruction manual of sorts, using screen shots to give a visual picture of how to do things. By 8 o’clock I had all but given up, victim to cheap color printers incapable of reproducing a readable screen-shot in black-and-white, and badly sidetracked trying to figure out what had become of his MS Office Suite, there but unusable. I thumbed through a few of his black three-ring binders of saved e-mails and invoices from John Stark, impressed by the effort and deeply saddened by the outcome. Dad got up, struggling at first to put a coherent sentence together. We had a too-hasty breakfast, during which he perked up enough to complain intelligibly about his latest aches and pains. I said my goodbyes to him in the kitchen and walked to the car with Aliceann, where we both fell apart.
     As for her, I give her a B+ for being a person ill-equipped for this kind of responsibility who has risen to the task with great strength and dignity.  

     When Ed succumbed to Parkinson’s two years after his exodus from the Westwood apartment, Aliceann described his final days during our sad phone call:
Palm Beach Gardens
January 9. 2003
      Edward really enjoyed life when we first got back to Florida. . We would go to doll shows and have a great time. He had an electric wheelchair he loved.  I wouldn’t let him use it in the house and even outside I had to watch him because he’d be all over the road.  Ted came down for a visit and had a fit when he saw the way Edward careened up the street.
     He was in a nursing home and he got out of bed, thinking he could just leave and go home. A nurse screamed at him to stop, but she was too late.  They took x-rays and he had to have surgery on his hip.  I told Blake and Blake came into his room and said, “If you break your other hip, I’m going to shoot you.”                  
     On Christmas Eve, he fell again in the nursing home.  I yelled for the nurse.  He had to have surgery again on his hip.
     The morning of January seventh he had hospice in his room.  I came in that afternoon with the kitten we had picked out when it was 2 weeks old.  Edward loved seeing the kitten.  Around four o’clock I went home to feed the kids and take them out for a walk.  I went back to the nursing home.  It was dark already and freezing cold—it was when Florida had that freezing spell.  I would get Edward bundled up in that L.  L. L .Bean jacket like Frank’s and take him out for a walk in his wheelchair.       
      So I was sitting and talking to him and he was tossing and turning.  I said, “We’re going to get through this. I’m going to be okay, don’t worry about me.” Then I told him I loved him. He didn’t say anything, so I said, “If you love me, Edward, squeeze my hand.”  He did, and then he died.  Aliceann’s voice breaks. Wives #1 and #2 weep together.  
     Aliceann is confident she will see her husband in heaven.  I remain a doubter, but who knows?  Ed proved he was a champion at overcoming obstacles like threshholds. . . .

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