able/disabled, aging, celebrations, disabilities, folklore, health, independence, mobility

Colliding with Reality

Grade School age, taken on Talmadge Street. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016
Grade School age, 1930s, taken on Talmadge Street, in Los Angeles. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016

 

 

When my wheelchair attendant at El Paso airport introduced himself as, “Moses,” I mused, “Aha! He will lead us to the Promised Land,” but not exactly.

 

 

 

I was headed to the University of California in Berkeley for the 75th anniversary of the Western States Folklore Society. My dear friend and colleague, Mariah, generously volunteered to accompany me, aware that traveling alone had become much too challenging.

Early 1950s. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.
Early 1950s. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.

I thought I had properly planned ahead finding out which hotel or housing facility would be closest to the sessions. The University Faculty Club seemed the most promising with so-called accommodations for the handicapped. However, to avoid the inside stairs we had to go outside and down a steep path made perilous by the constant rain. Can you imagine my negotiating a cane in one hand and an umbrella in the other while trying not to slip just to reach the breakfast dining room?

 

Contemplating dim sum in Oakland, CA, 2016. Photo by Mariah Chase. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016
Contemplating dim sum in Oakland, CA, 2016. Photo by Mariah Chase. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016

I also struggled with the hilly wet campus terrain sloshing from building to building for different sessions. And when I finally reached my destination, I ran into another problem. In my Las Cruces home, I take a nap everyday for about two hours. My body would not allow me to break that habit, so when I sat in afternoon sessions,I automatically fell asleep.How embarrassing! I missed hearing many great papers, or so they tell me.

Most of my colleagues from the UCLA Folklore Program were not present, some of them already dead. What compensated for that loss, however, was meeting a new crop of enthusiastic graduate students.That made up for everything.

So what was my take-away from this experience? I will no longer attend academic meetings. In addition, I have just purchased the next step in mobility devices, a rollator that will allow me to sit down when walking becomes too tiring and painful.

Still, I had a wonderful time including a quasi-romantic encounter at LAX with a bizarre beau, a coroner.

Replica of my first tricycle, 1930s. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.
Replica of my first tricycle, 1930s. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.

 

 

Replica of my first two-wheeler at age 12. (Full disclosure), my dad got me a used boy's bike that I named, "Rocket." © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.
Replica of my first two-wheeler at age 12. (Full disclosure), my dad got me a used boy’s bike that I named, “Rocket.” © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.
A rollator that should improve my mobility. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.
A rollator that should improve my mobility. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.

 

Norine Dresser is a folklorist, who despite her age and physical disabilities still looks forward to more adventures that don’t include academic meetings.

 

 

12 thoughts on “Colliding with Reality”

  1. You are delightful….I can only imagine how you managed to navigate CALIF. Glad you are home safe and sound.

    Blessings Dr Hilda

    NMMCP CONSULTING at TESORO INTEGRATIVE HEALTH CENTER 1605 South Main St. -BLDG A LC NM 88005 look for yellow sign with red letters, go to the back, BLDG -A with the TIBETAN PRAYER FLAGS

    Hilda Luz Chavez, ND. TRADITIONAL NATUROPATH 37+ yrs experience in the field of Natural Medicine

    (915) 204-5440- CELL (575) 882-4281- FAX Chavezhl@aol.com– EMAIL

    http://www.NMMCPCONSULTING.com

  2. Thanks for the feedback from your recent adventure. Sounds like facing reality
    is somewhat overrated.

    “If you get ta heaven afore I do, just bore a hole and pull me through!”

    With love and admiration,

    Bob Cutler
    Washington DC
    (enroute to Australia)

  3. Your “Rollator” sparked a laugh. Please, please, please let me paint it green and rename it rollagator… You say the word and I’m off to Home Depot for a can of spray paint!

    With hugs and smiles,
    Roxana Gillett
    Las Cruces, NM

  4. I LOVE these photos of you. Such a sweet child — who grew into such a lovely woman. I’m so happy new generations are exposed to your wit and wisdom. Why deprive them, and you, of that joy? I’m sure someone can teach you to Skype, if you don’t already know. Lots of lectures (and TV shows) do that now. Then you can snooze in private and be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on camera. Plus they can save the speech for their archives and you can post it on your site. Love you, N!

    1. I hate to brag, but I already know how to Skype. Do you? If so, let’s set up a Skype date. That would be fun. You always give me so many compliments, and I truly appreciate them. Love right back atcha, N.

  5. Loved your childhood photos which brought me back to my own fond memories of our family relationship. Thanks for sharing with us other oldies but goodies – misery loves company, especially when the company is as delighttful as yours. Here’s a special hug in honor of your sense of humor, which never gets old.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s