First, Dad Lost Mom. Then He Lost His Tether to Reason.
By Lisa Richmon
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, May 17, 2004; Page C09
When my mother, Trudy, died, my father, Alan, went underground.
He resurfaced a month later with Sally, a wealthy Boca Raton widow.
Dad married Sally at the Boca Raton Hotel and divorced her before I finished writing thank you notes for my mother's Shiva brisket. One by one, my parents' old friends dropped him.
"Your mother was really the one we loved," said my mother's friend Annette, whose raspy voice belied her Linda Evans face, on more than one occasion.
It seemed like hundreds of widows of two types followed Sally: Those who had facelifts and those who needed them. The opportunity to hunt and gather a new crop of nipped platinum blondes and tucked redheads became a life force all its own -- one that made him uncharacteristically quixotic. The father I knew was a reserved, intelligent southern gentleman. His charm, however, would only secure a dinner date, not a woman to take my mother's place in the kitchen or elsewhere.
"All these women know is to give you a peck on the cheek after you take them to dinner," he complained.
"Tell me, Daddy, what do you expect after a rack of lamb and a dab of chocolate mousse?"
"A little affection. Some of them are like cold fish."
Womanizer, ladies' man -- misogynist -- was a side of this old-school CPA that nobody saw coming. Approaching 75, he had my neck whipping around like a frenzied KitchenAid.
Unfortunately, he did more hunting than gathering. I saw myself moving from Daddy's girl to dating coach to caretaker.
After Dad's Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diagnoses (unaware, he went back to the same doctor for a second opinion), he finally considered an assisted-living facility near our home in Virginia Beach.
"Joe," he politely addressed the administrator. "Why don't you have more Jewish residents?" Joe indulged my father for an hour of such questions.
"We had four. One just died."
"Dad, you just picked through 400 Jews in Florida," I pointed out.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company