One of the interesting things about Grandma’s mind as she ages is the way in which she categorizes and accounts for things. She will proclaim that anything nice in the house, for instance, came from the Kimberly Bank.
Grandma raised her family in the small rural southern Idaho town of Kimberly. I’m not sure if the bank was the nicest and most well-furnished building in Kimberly or what…but somehow, “Kimberly Bank” has become associated in her mind with quality goods.
There is one item that I know for a fact came from the Kimberly Bank. Kimberly was a small and close-knit community so when my Mom graduated high school and got married to my Dad, the manager of the Kimberly Bank gave them a rather large and ornate clock that used to hang in the bank. Perhaps the bank was doing a renovation and it didn’t fit with the late-60’s decor. I’m really not sure.
I remember that clock hanging in the center of our living room all the years I was growing up. I remember my Dad winding the clock with a key, and the tick…tick…tick sound it would make as the pendulum swung back and forth. Eventually one of the springs wore out and the clock hasn’t run ever since. That clock still hangs on my living room wall and I suppose I’ll get around to fixing it one day.
These days it’s often comical what Grandma will claim had it’s origin at the Kimberly Bank.
She’ll point to my TV (a modern flat-screen) and say…”I’m not sure where I got that…but I think it was the Kimberly Bank.”
The TV….the recliner, a simple wooden stool. In her mind all of these things came from the Kimberly Bank. I’ve tried questioning her about it. I’ve said “I don’t think that they had flat-screen TVs when you lived in Kimberly (30 years ago)”.
She responds with “Well I don’t know…”
“Grandma, why would they have a recliner in the Kimberly Bank?”
“Well, they must have done…where else did I get it?”
…And on and on the discussion goes…
I wish I better understood the history behind the Kimberly Bank association. Unfortunately the only other person who might have known would have been my Mom, and those secrets died with her.
In addition to her love of all things Kimberly Bank, Grandma has started taking credit for things. The first thing that I noticed this with was my brother’s book. Prior to Brandon’s book “All Woman and Springtime” being released, he sent a galley copy to Grandma. She didn’t really read it in order, choosing instead to thumb through and read random snippets. After awhile she put the book down, looked over at me and said:
“You know I helped Brandon name his book. Only my idea was All Woman IN Springtime”
It’s pretty easy for me to see where she got the idea that she helped choose the name of the book. Brandon was in final edits when he stayed with her in Idaho shortly after Mom died. I’m sure that she overheard or perhaps even participated in conversations with him about his book and the back and forth he had with the editor over the name.
A short time later, however, Grandma started taking credit for other things. She and I were talking about Brandon’s book one day and she once again claimed that she’d helped with the title. As I often do, I nodded politely and told her what a great title it is. Then she read his name off of the cover.
“You know, I named your brother.”
I know this isn’t true…but I’m not going to try to correct her. Whatever the reason, she needs to feel that she’s contributed, that she still contributes. It may be that as she’s becoming more and more isolated with her eyesight and hearing getting worse, that she’s looking for things to help her feel relevant. It must be very frustrating to be as independent as Grandma has always been and to realize that your body and mind are slowly failing you and making you reliant on others.
I’m happy to participate in whatever way I can to help her feel comfortable, safe and that she has purpose.
Though I do worry that one day she’ll claim that she named me and that I came from the Kimberly Bank.
On second thought…maybe that wouldn’t be so bad. I’ve heard that’s where all the good stuff originates.