The loud clamor of information that we are bombarded with on a daily basis has made us, in my opinion, neurotic and more indecisive than ever before. I yearn for the days of Johnny Carson and David Letterman...not because they were necessarily sages of humor or intellect but because in my mind they represented the finality of the 24 hour day. At 1:30 AM TV shut down! Taps was played and the American Flag was lowered, or was it raised? and that was "sign off." No more shows, no more information overload, it was the end of the day. It was the Sabbath, loosely speaking. If you woke up in the middle of the night, you would go to the restroom and then go back to bed. There was no 24 hour Food Network or Facebook "Like" tally to check and ponder. If you found a hole in your bucket on Monday (so to speak), Tuesday you may call an uncle or a neighbor for advice on how to fix it. Heck you may even have gone to a library or a preacher and face to face used words and body language to express yourself and ask for advice. Now we maneuver with which emoji is most appropriate.
I say this as a reference point for anyone dealing with a loved one with dementia. You are dealing with someone who is "Old School." They grew up with 3 TV Networks not 300. The fridge was called the "icebox" and the work day probably never included a yoga class, sushi for lunch, or a call to a therapist for words of affirmation. They represent the last of a dying generation of people who truly "Did it themselves." They fixed the hole in the bucket. They didn't call it in or farm it out. Their heroes weren't internet sensations and they couldn't have cared less about (The Red Carpet and Who someone is wearing). They were probably tough, brash and matter of fact and were definitely not politically correct. Perspective is reality. Try and have this perspective as you walk the path that is in front you. If you are like me, and not a part of the day to day grind of care taking, it helps me to know that my dad was part of this "Old School Fabric." It also gives me pride knowing that my mom has been able to take care of my dad with that same grit and fortitude. We are the inheritors of this bloodline. We are the caretakers and the friends and the family of the caretakers. The person you are taking care of is special, above and beyond his/her personal achievements. They are veterans, and teachers, and farmers whose background music plays in perpetuity and allows us to stand on a foundation of doers. Let's be doers and not takers. Let's include some "Old School" in our own lives and for all of the Henrys out there...let's fix the hole for Liza without being told to. -Todd
My siblings, Randy, Loren, Dee Anne, Denise and me, Doug, are fifth generation Bozarths of Mclean County, Bloomington Illinois. Mclean is the largest County in Illinois and is noted for being one of the most productive agricultural areas in the United States. If you ever visit, you will see miles and miles of soybean fields and never ending rows of very tall corn. Bloomington is also noted as a strong banking and business community, the corporate home of State Farm Insurance, two Universities and a Bozarth favorite, home of the original Steak and Shake. Our ranch style home was located at a T-in the road, at Lincoln and Hershey Roads. There are many Bozarth stories to tell from our growing up days in Bloomington, but you better just ask Loren about that. During High School, Randy was an outstanding baseball pitcher and during the summer played on a community baseball team which included only the best players of the area. Two of his teammates went on to play at the professional level. Along with baseball, Randy also played Varsity basketball. Being 6' 3" and maybe at most, a whopping 165 pounds, put him playing with the big guys at the post or the center position.
It's been a difficult journey walking through this disease of dementia with my oldest brother, Randy, but this is how I'll always remember him. Champaign Central High School came to Bloomington to play a conference game. They had a player named Clyde Porter, an Illinois All State Player, highly recruited by many colleges to join their team. Clyde was around 6' 8-10 inches tall, and well over 200 pounds. I am sure he was a very nice kid, but he looked mean...very mean. He was 17 but looked 30, and yes, Randy was assigned to guard Clyde. I am sure coach Wood gave Randy a little pep talk... "Randy just do the best you can, just contain that big guy. We know he will get his 20 plus points and 10 plus rebounds, but we don't want him to get any more. Don't let him dominate this game tonight. Let him know that you showed up for the game and that you came to play. Push on him, lean in on him, make him respect you!..Randy! Randy! Gooooo get him." As this happened around 50 years ago I don't recall which team won or lost, or the stats of the game (I personally choose to believe that my big brother's team won). I do know that Randy did more than contain that big guy...he shut him down. "Big Clyde" had a horrible game.
Randy was always up to accepting any challenge or adversity that came his way. He was never one to look for a fight, but never one to back down from one either. As was demonstrated that night, our opponents may be bigger, stronger and favored to win the game, but it doesn't mean that they will win. Half of the battle is showing up for the game, and when the game starts, push on, lean in and let the adversary know you came to play. -Doug Bozarth