My husband Dan and I scheduled a trip to San Francisco from Sunday, April 21 arriving home on Saturday, April 27. The trip was a birthday gift for me to go down memory lane where my parents started their lives together. They were married in San Francisco and made many friends.
My Dad was stationed at an army base there. We tried to find it but no longer exists. My Mother worked at a bank in Carmel. They didn’t stay because of their family ties in Milwaukee. But they left their hearts in San Francisco. I had been there many years ago when my husband was training for his job at Fireman’s Fund. Now my brother-in-law lives there and we decided to go again to visit him and see the areas my parents talked about.
The first thing I packed was my meds, including the ones I take for Alzheimer’s disease to help with memory and clarity. I packed light so that I could manage my own suitcase and wanted to not be bogged down with too many clothes. The tennis shoes I packed I forgot were too small and that I was planning to give to my daughter who, wears a half size smaller. So the ones I packed were uncomfortable. I ended up buying a new larger pair in Carmel, the latest walking shoe. And they turned out to be very comfy.
After the service, Dad had plans to open up a drug store. His Army buddy was a pharmacist and wanted to partner in the business. My Dad planned to take care of retail and advertising. He was a commercial artist. My husband and brother-in-law surprised me by finding my parent’s favorite coffee shop in Carmel. They had the old photo of my mother standing in front of it. They asked if I recognized it and then showed me the original picture. We had lunch there. It is still there. What a surprise. Going down memory lane. They snapped a photo of me in front of it.
My mother had Alzheimer’s. Now her sister is living with it at the age of 90. And now me, age 66. My message here is do as much as you can to live in the moment. Don’t be afraid to travel with care-givers and your meds. Enjoy each day and hope for a cure.
~ Barb Johnson is a journalist living with early stage Alzheimer’s disease. ~