Saturday, July 29, 2017


Note under stranger’s door
August 27, 2012
Hello there!
      My name is Barbara Malley, and I play duplicate bridge every Monday at the Congregational Church in Cohasset.  I was parked up the street from your house last Monday when I noticed two women approaching your door, one of them carrying a vacuum cleaner.  I assume they are a cleaning team
     Do you know if your helpers are all booked up or might they have a time they could come to me once a month?  I live at Weymouthport in North Weymouth. I just turned 91 but am still very active. Perhaps you read in the Boston Globe about the way I celebrated my 90th birthday last August -- by seeing if I could still fly a big twin-engine airplane.  A Baby Airliner is what I called our Skyknight. The hardest part was getting myself out of the plane at the end of the flight.
To latest cleaning lady
November 06, 2012 
Hi Maria,
     I can wait another week or could see you on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, whichever day is convenient for you this week or next. I believe I have enough to keep you busy for 3 hours.
     It will take me 10 or 15 minutes to explain a few things – for instance, I noticed you had set the water temperature on Warm.  That’s what I used to do until my daughter Kathie said I should use cold water for the sake of the environment.  I’ll launder the towels before you come, so they’ll be in the dryer, ready to fold.
     Thanks again for saving me the expense of buying new pillows.  That was very smart of you, to know exactly what to do, just toss the stained things into the washing machine, then in the dryer.  I expected to see feathers all over the place.
Linden Ponds
To Tim
April 12, 2015
     When the new cleaning team you found comes to my new abode, they won’t need to bring a vacuum cleaner, since I now have three – two of them bought by your Kathy.  Did you know she vacuumed my wall-to-wall carpeting before I left Weymouthport and came up with a full load of lint?  It had looked immaculate to me.
     I keep my bathroom clean, never use the stove, so the kitchen stays clean.  I really think there’s so little they’ll ever need to do, once a month would be fine.  I’ll try to adapt and not feel invaded, which was my initial reaction.
     You are only trying to do me a kindly favor, I know.
From Tim
April 20, 2015
     I’m glad you noticed.  
April 20, 2015
     Of course I noticed.     
     This has been a horrible day.  My partner left before the bridge ended, so the director took his place.  I was so rattled I made a couple of incorrect bids, should have known better, as my new partner commented. 
     It was so humiliating, I knew how my friend Anne felt when he pointed out an error, and she vowed she'd never come back, but of course she did.  By the way, Anne has a lovely apartment, much bigger than mine and has one cleaning woman once a month
     Now count to ten and please be kind to your aging mother.  I'll knuckle under if I absolutely have to.
April 21, 2015
From Tim
      I just think you should appreciate all Kathy’s help while you were in transition, and now she is helping Lauren with the new baby. A lot of the back and forth was misunderstandings about how many people and how often the cleanings would be, but you made it clear that you were opposed to any and all strangers in your apartment.  
You last e-mail referred to your "knuckling under"-- hardly a phrase or a tone that inspires peace in either of us. 
     We both forgive you for your obstinacy in this matter, as I am sure you will forgive me for being overly blunt. You can certainly continue to share your thoughts about life and the world, but just not with Kathy on THIS issue. I have included sister KK on this message -- perhaps she will help make peace in her inimitable way.
     I’m sorry about how bridge turned out. We had a few rough days of our own. We all know that better days are coming.
April 21, 2015
To Tim
     Thank you for the compassionate summary of our conflict.  I wish there were a way I could convince Kathy that she has never, never let me down.  She can’t be two people, spending hours daily helping Lauren and more hours helping me.  I love her, wish I could undo the hurt.  Thank you for your forgiveness.
April 22, 2015
To new Linden Ponds friend, Patti
      Have we talked about cleaning women?  I can’t stand the idea of two Linden Ponds employees coming into my small apartment to change the bed and vacuum and dust any oftener than every three or four weeks. 
      My sheets do not smell – I gave them the sniff test to make sure,  and the carpet never looks as if it needs vacuuming.   I would gladly accept one woman for the job.  You’ve probably told me how you handle this but I’ve forgotten what was said.
     You are a great problem solver, so I hope you have an answer for this one
April 23, 2015
From Patti
     I have one person who does the kitchen floor bathroom and vacuums,  probably takes an hour or a little more.  She comes about every two or three weeks.  I have a cat so there is a lot of cat hair around.  See you this afternoon at 1:00 for bridge.
April 23, 2015
To Patti
     That is exactly what I'd like to have, Patti, minus the cat.  Do you know if your helper has any spare hours?  If so, I'd like to know her name and phone number.
     Yes, will see you at 1:00 today.
April 25, 2015
To Tim
      I’m very hopeful that I can sign on my friend Patti’s cleaning woman for an hour and a half once a month or every six weeks, which is what Patti’s arrangement is.  
     By the way, one of the Linden Ponds Naughty Nudies Calendar girls is still going strong, I hear, at 105 years old.  Winston Hall was shown with a large hand of cards fanned over her bosom.  I believe I told you that I brought two of the calendars to a party Maureen held in the North Scituate house.  They both disappeared after I foolishly lost sight of them.

April 25, 2015
     Mom, I am going to take a deep breath and then say , , , what? You had said your friend Patti has her apt cleaned every 3-4 weeks which is a reasonable interval for the vacuuming of unhealthy mites and dust, the changing of sheets, and the washing of laundry. Now suddenly it is every four OR six weeks. I do not understand your resistance to something that should be a relief if not a pleasure -- to come home to a CLEAN apartment and nice CLEAN sheets. 
     I have been on the lookout for some photos at Ted’s and if I see those calendars I will grab them!
April 25, 2015
To Tim
     I anticipated that deep breath.  By the way, I almost choked to death yesterday on my vitamin pills, which I had cut in half.  From now on I’m smashing them to bits with a hammer and putting them in a dish of applesauce. 
     Okay, so Patti said the below to be exact:

     "I have one person she does the kitchen floor bathroom and vacuums  probably takes an hour or a little more she comes about every two weeks or three. I have a cat so there is a lot of cat hair around."
     I don’t blame you for being frustrated, Tim, but my apartment has always looked just fine to me, and never unclean. I see some dust if I look carefully.  I have no cat, therefore no cat hairs.  I think I told you I gave my sheets the sniff test and they have absolutely no odor.  I just went to my bedroom and sniffed again.  Smell-less, as Dad used to claim of his farts.  So I would not be relieved about being pushed into having a cleaner come any oftener than every three weeks.  Compromise???
      I sent a copy of the photo of Dick and Sarah, along with my poem, to the Linden Ponds resident who asked that such things be submitted to her.  She encouraged me to go ahead and have the picture enlarged and framed.  The poem was inspired by the photo.  “When Daddy opens up the door,  I’ll wheel to him across the floor . . . .”  
Sarah's Game
 Mommy, Mommy, let's pretend
That I am in the wheeling chair,
And while I'm wheeling, you can stand

And walk and run or climb the stairs.

Mommy, see me turn the wheels?
Her chubby arms propel the air:
Sarah's testing how it feels
To navigate a wheeling chair.
You may push me, Mommy, now,
Down the hall and to my room,
Just as sometimes I push you ‑‑
Faster, faster . . . vrooom, vrooom!

When Daddy opens up the door
I'll wheel to him across the floor.
Oh, won't he be surprised to see
That I am you and you are me!
When I grow up, perhaps I too
      Can have a wheeling chair like you . . .
Mommy, aren't we having fun?  
Indeed we are, my precious one.   

1 comment:

  1. Sarah is my daughter Kathie's step-daughter, conceived when her husband "took walks" with the woman who lived next door.
    Kathie welcomed Sarah with all of her kind, generous heart.