Thursday, March 8, 2012

forget me not

Well I thought that's what these were, they grew thickly on the lawn on the South side of the Bishop Boardman Apartments, a local home for the elderly on 8th Avenue in South Slope. I crouched there for a long time reaching through the fence trying to get the right focus and stay out of my own shadow but there was little I could do. I had parked there to bring my husband's box of zappos shoes to the post office, to spare myself the misery of the misery that typically befalls the household when, on Saturday morning, the day requires waiting in the long post office line on top of everything else Saturdays require.

An elderly woman was looking at me and muttering under her breath about how New Yorkers only help New Yorkers when I passed her with the box, it seemed like she was talking about me, but I imagined she noticed I was carrying a large box that rendered me unavailable to help her. I suppose everyone has had moments when it seems like no one is willing to help.

On the way back from the PO I saw her again, standing there in nearly the same spot, asking me to walk her the rest of the way to the facility because she feared the strong wind might cause her to lose her balance. With my arms free I was more than able to help and happy to, because I always wondered about all the people that live there, what it's like in there, what their stories are. I also marvel at the trees that grow on the grounds, one large oak with an astonishingly solid collar of hefty branches coming from it, it seems magically strong, as well as the white maple that stands tall on the other side of the entrance. Trees so enchanting they manage to evoke a sacred grove right there on 8th Avenue.

I spoke to the woman as we walked. She spoke of how she was leaving Bishop Boardman, how it had gone downhill since taken over by HUD. She felt the woman that runs it, someone named MCcuin, shows little kindness to the elderly that live there, answers them with sarcasm as if she forgets their humanity. It is so easy for humans to lose the sense of another's humanity, I've done it and it's done to me all the time. I know when I'm being inserted into protocol. I oughtta know. I also see the suffering or vacancy in the eyes of those who feel they have to emotionally abandon us and themselves.

If my acquaintance is right about Bishop Boardman, I hope it can recover its dignity, dignity like the dignity of those grand trees that shade its West facing entrance. The place has potential.

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