When I first brought Roxy home last April we stopped in Williamsburg to do a few things and I went to see my Grandma, Jackie, and show off the RV. She thought it was pretty cool and wanted to go for a ride. I didn’t have time that day but promised I’d come back soon and take her for a drive.
Summer & Fall got away from me and the next time I was in Williamsburg was for Thanksgiving. Jackie’s 87th Birthday was the day after Thanksgiving so I decided that for her birthday I’d take her out for a drive. It was a bright sunny day and I decided that a trip down the Colonial Parkway would be perfect! When we returned my parents (Bob & Sandy) would be there with lunch to celebrate.
I went over to Chambrel (she was living in Independent Living at the time) to pick her up, I called right before I got there, and when I arrived at her apartment she was ready to go. We walked out to the van and she was very impressed. As I was helping her buckle the seat belt she looked back down the aisle and said “I think this car is much nicer than the one Sandy’s daughter has.” blink. blink. ummmm… (I am Sandy’s daughter, she’s clearly thinking there are 2 RVs…hmmm…). I suppose I should mention that my grandma has dementia and it’s recently gotten a lot worse. She knows things about the present but can’t remember the past and has a lot of trouble with abstract things. Knowing that she was confused I just let the comment slide and headed out to Jamestown.
I was planning to drive the parkway all the way from Jamestown to Yorktown so we headed out to Jamestown Road to the beginning of the parkway. Jackie was enjoying the ride and commenting on all the trees and cars and people and everything.
When we arrived at Jamestown she again commented about how my RV was just like “Sandy’s daughter’s”. This time I corrected her and said that I was Sandy’s daughter and she replied “Well, you do look like her!” LOL! I explained to her that I’d recently lost a lot of weight and looked different than I did the last time she saw me. She kinda got it and went back to admiring the trees and cars and now the river – complete with ferries, sailboats and kayaks!
We drove on and she continued to be very confused asking me if I knew her son Ben (yes, yes, I did know Ben) and asking if I ever went camping with Sandy’s daughter (that was hard to answer with a straight face…I wanted to sarcastic – Nope, never met Sandy’s daughter!).
We ended up getting off the Parkway at the Williamsburg Visitor Center and headed back to Chambrel for lunch. She was less confused when she saw my parents but to this day that drive remains something that she doesn’t remember or understand. When I saw her at Christmas (I showed up with my parents so she saw all 3 of us at once) she was very happy that it was me and “not that other one”.
A few days after Christmas we moved Jackie from her Independent living apartment to an assisted living apartment (this was quite a feat because we had to coordinate with her 105 1/2 year old boyfriend’s move to assisted living – that’s another story for another post but we pulled it off and they moved to Assisted living within a week of each other!), and in order keep Jackie occupied when we actually moved her stuff I took her for another ride. This time she was more lucid and knew who I was and what we were doing.
This past weekend I went to Williamsburg and went over to see Jackie & take her for another ride. After a few moments of initial confusion she remembered that I’d taken her for a ride before and she settled in to enjoy the sights!
We picked up the Parkway where we’d left off and drove all the way to Yorktown and back and she really enjoyed herself! She loved seeing the trees, bridges, water, even the re-enactment that was happening at Yorktown. When we returned to Chambrel she wanted the grand tour of the RV and asked questions and thought it was the coolest thing ever. When we went inside she asked if we could bring Curtis (her 105 1/2 year old BF) out to see it so we walked out where we could see it and she said “you could just get in that and live the rest of your life!” Yes, yes, you could!
Over the years I’ve spent more time with grandma in the car than anywhere else. Before she lived at Chambrel she lived in Fredericksburg and since her house was on my way to Williamsburg or Richmond it was almost always my job to pick up Jackie and bring her to the family event. It’s pretty cool that we can still enjoy that time together in a different way!
History Lesson for the Day: I’d always thought that Yorktown was a Civil War Battle Site, but I was working with 6th graders this year and they were studying Yorktown along with the Revolutionary War. The Revolutionary War was won at Yorktown. When Jackie and I got there on Sunday there was a re-enactment going on. They were flying US flags. wait…there wouldn’t have been US flags at the Revolutionary War, Betsy Ross hadn’t sewn them yet! Then I saw another flag that I thought was British, but quickly realized was Confederate. This was looking a lot like a Civil War re-enactment, not Revolutionary. So I looked it up…turns out Yorktown was a prominent location in BOTH wars!
After I got Jackie back to Chambrel for lunch with her honey Dad and I headed out to Jamestown Island to ride our bikes! It was about an 8 mile bike ride and we got to see the whole island! It was a great way to see the park and enjoy the river! We didn’t visit the archeological site, but I saw enough to “count” it and get my passport stamped!