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Entertainment, Vaudeville, Theater, Hollywood, Actors, Reunion, Siblings, Orphanage,
Printers, Publishers, Wilkins & Lowther, Dorothy Lowther, Grover Wilkins, Orpheum Theatre, Charlie Chaplin

Read a few pages. - Enjoy!


It's In Their Blood:

A Memoir of Siblings Reunited and Their Showbiz Legacy - SAMPLE




Chapter 1

Dire Circumstances


“Easier said than done.” How common the sentence is, and yet, it seems to be the only thing that comes to mind. Nothing original, nothing profound. Simple…but so very true. How many times have we screamed at the television screen, begging, pleading, and hoping that the writer of the latest horror flick might actually instill some hint of common sense into the main character? But it never happens. The main character always freezes when faced with dire circumstances, always hesitates in the most annoying fashion, and always makes you convince yourself of your superior composure when put in similar circumstances. That is, until it actually happens to us, until the sudden shock of reality reminds us of how inferior our composure really is.



She had to be taken off her medication in order to perform the procedure. A powerful blood thinner was keeping her from having a stroke and now, ironically, in order to make her well, she had to take the chance and concede to a test that might indirectly cause the stroke she was trying to avoid. Her blood was too thin, and performing this particular surgical procedure could be dangerous unless the blood would be allowed to thicken. However, the thicker the blood, the greater chance of a stroke…and therein lied the dilemma. The doctor had suspected congestive heart failure to be her problem, but he wouldn’t know for sure until he went further to determine whether that was the case.

We had surmised that Mom’s problem was more than just her heart, more than the physical part, that is. Her depression had started to slowly take over her strong, unrelenting will, and it seemed that in her own way she was giving up. Mom always had a dramatic way about her. In times past, Mom often told us she didn’t care about life, but no one really believed her…I was starting to believe her now. In times past, she had told us she was ready for God to take her home. This was the first time I actually saw her demonstrate it.

She had been forgetting to take her medication, and in doing so, affecting her physical and mental state. Her heart was greatly affected, and it seemed as if her memory problem was not just “acting” or shouting out for attention. Several times, Mom had to be taken to the hospital and then to a care facility afterward. From home to the hospital to the care facility, and then back home again. She was growing weak, and yet just as stubborn as she had always been. Mom had been “forgetful on purpose” all of her life. Her favorite word, “WHATEVER.” But this was more than just “whatever.” This was a slippery slope up ahead, and I was holding on for dear life, trying to keep her from slowly sliding down into an inescapable world of hopeless despair.

I looked around inside the house and realized my own blindness. All this time, I had been convincing myself of the normalcy of her life. Now, I had to force myself to take a good look, an unbiased look, to consider the reality of what was really transpiring.  Clothes were not hung up, floors were not cleaned, mirrors were dirty, and the home itself had not been touched in a very long time.

Television seemed to preoccupy her, along with the multitude of crossword puzzle books she enjoyed working on for as far back as I could remember. I thought how wonderful it was, how healthy it was, for her to work on these puzzles. I figured that it was exercise for the mind, and that it would help Mom think more clearly.

What I didn’t take into consideration was that she was simply going through the motions; she was running through the habitual routines she had been carrying out for the past thirty-five years. I looked closer at these crosswords and realized how many were not finished. Some started and then left as if forgotten, and then another started, and then another. So many started, so little finished - five…ten…twenty crossword books with multitudes of crosswords within them. I could almost hear that word that so often came from my dismissive, comedic mother…“WHATEVER!”

My niece had stopped in many times, also realizing what I had surmised – Grandma needed help. So that is what we tried to do. Maegan did what she could and would often stop in to assist Grandma, but she was also trying to balance her own life. With a husband and two small children, there was only so much she could do, and expecting any more would be too much for me to ask. My other niece, Courtnee, moved in with Mom at one point, trying to do her part, but between personality conflicts and Mom’s host of different problems, we found ourselves back to square one. I told Mom the next time she found herself back in the hospital, I would have to help her find a place to live that provided assistance. She resisted but knew her options were few.

Of course, it happened again. When I arrived, Mom was already in the hospital bed, and at that point, the solution was obvious. She would not see her little home in Hemet again, and I had to start entertaining what no child wants to think about. This was the part of life we all dread. This is the part of life where the child becomes the parent, and the parent becomes the child. All our lives, we have been taken care of by the ones who love us most. We have been their world for so long - from diapers to first steps, through grade school, then high school, through college, marriage, and finally grandchildren. If we're blessed, like I was, our parents are with us, right behind us. Whether we like it or not, they are there…and their warm presence is felt. When we are older, and hopefully wiser, we look back, far back, and start from the first time we can recall. We see the good…and the bad. We feel their embrace and we remember their discipline. We see their gentleness, and we see their anger, but deep down we know they ached for our well-being. We know if they had to do it all over again, they would.

But they made note of their mistakes. We should not think for one second that they are not fully aware of those times when they could have done better. Indeed, they would do it all over again, for the mistakes they made, but also for the gift of love they received…you. And when you become a parent, you feel their pain, their joy, and their regret, and that makes you love them even more than you thought possible. So, even though I had to start thinking about that which I was anticipating with dread, I was also more than willing to take on this next chapter of Mom’s life and embrace it with the love of a child…and the love of a parent.