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  What Are You Doing in My Room?
Anita Adams retired from a career in newspaper advertising at five different newspapers, followed by a second career as a Meat/Food Inspector for the State of California and Southwest Airlines. Always a Pollyanna, she always knew tomorrow would be better! But sometimes tomorrow took a long time.

I awoke to a distinct and profound sense of fear in the room. Where was it coming from? I lay there for a while considering what could possibly be going on.

I heard rustling and movement. "Ron?" I asked, "are you awake?"

A man's voice responded in a quavering voice, "Who are you?"

"Ron, it's your sister, Anita. Are you okay?" I calmly replied.

"Oh," he moaned in a plaintive voice, "I've been awake all night. I didn't know where I was. I saw someone in the bed next to mine and I wondered who was in the room with me. I didn't know where I was and I wondered what was going on. I didn't know what to do! I looked over and saw a leg sticking out of the bed next to mine, so I covered it up."

"It's okay, Ron," I said. "We're in Parsons, Kansas; where we went to school, for a reunion of all our high school friends," I assured him.

"Oh?" he asked.

"Yes, we flew to Tulsa yesterday, picked up the rental car and drove up to Parsons."

"Oh," he said.

I reminded him of all that had happened in the last 24 hours. After a while, he got it together and was a little embarrassed. I reassured him that everything was fine and on schedule.

Later, we laughed that at least he was able to find the bathroom—his joke not mine.

And so another adventure of the "Duncan twins" began . . . probably the last.

Ron arrived in our family before me, so I've known him all my life. He was a very needy child, the "middle child" who never had a plan. He was fascinated with his little sister who always had a plan, so he always wanted to be with me.

Mother said Ron was delivered with forceps and I suspect there was a bit of frontal lobe damage. Ron didn't start talking until he was three years old. Our oldest brother, Norman, talked for him. I wonder how Norman knew Ron wanted a drink so he could tell mother for him.




For many years, when Ron would talk you could almost see the wheels turning as he struggled to get the thoughts from his brain to his lips and form the right words. If people met him when he was a child, they might have suspected he was retarded.

Ron and I had a special connection; I always knew where he was and what he was thinking, so I always finished his sentences. He didn't finish a sentence for years, since I, who didn't have the patience to stand in the line for it when God was distributing it, went over to get into the sense-of-humor line instead!

Ron has always been a little like the absent-minded professor. In our traumatic childhood, Ron's mind went somewhere else. I took myself outside, picked fights with the neighborhood boys, climbed trees and basically "worked it out."

When he married, his wife not only finished his sentences, but told him what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.

Ron was an amazing boy in our community; acted in plays, sang in an elite singing group, played the piano and coronet, was a Master Counselor, was on the Student Council, held offices in the Methodist Youth Fellowship, won an engineering scholarship to Kansas University.

When he graduated, he moved to California to be near me, got a teaching job in Stockton, married, had two daughters, earned his Masters' Degree at the University of the Pacific, and hired as the head counselor at a Middle School where he ended his career in education after 40 years—a highly regarded man.

At the high school reunion—a "Golden Reunion" where every class that graduated over 50 years ago was invited; 300 people attended. The earliest class represented was 1939 with one person. People sat at the table designated with their year of graduation.

Ron didn't want to sit at his table, but I told him he had to and I had to sit at mine. In retrospect, it would have been a good idea to find someone who could keep an eye on him. He told me later, that he was disappointed since it seemed everyone was in their own little group and didn't seem to want to talk to him. He sat by himself.

Ron has reached a point where he has lost the ability to understand—to connect the dots; he's unavailable.

How do you say goodbye to the best

~ Anita Duncan Adams



















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