Missing My Mother

Captain’s Log   6,030

I got an email from last night’s dinner date asking to postpone.  He has a serious sinus infection and needs to get well so he can get on a plane to Brazil in a few days.  Having flown with a serious cold, I know how challenging that can be.  So we have pushed it back to the end of June after he returns.   I wish I could report on a cool dinner in the Gaslamp District of San Diego, but alas……


He’s a real urban guy and this is where he like to hang out.  To be truthful, I avoid it for the most part.  It’s crowded, usually packed with tourists drinking heavily, and it is beyond over-priced.  The restaurants serve food festooned with twigs and drizzled sauces.  I am not a drizzled sauces kind of girl. 

20 years ago, this part of the city was cheap transient hotels, dive bars, tattoo parlors, and brothels (all catering to the navy boys in town).  Now it’s trendy.  But the “undesirable”  elements are still there – only they have moved a few blocks away.  The new public library (near the heart of the Gaslamp) becomes a tent city for the homeless after the library closes every night.


Serious issues that I feel our city doesn’t do enough to address.

People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) outreach workers Tyler Mostul, left, and Joshua Orem, second from left, along with Deputy Sheriff Jason Elkins, wake up Francis Evans, 70, who was found sleeping in the grass on a hillside across the way from the Hollywood Bowl.

This is what happens when the police roust homeless people from their encampments by local rivers.  They have nowhere to go.  It’s easier for them to stay on the streets rather than use shelters.  Shelters force them to take all of their belongings with them every morning at 7:00.  They cannot return again until 6:00 in the evening.  Yes, they are given two hot meals and a place to sleep, but most say they are robbed and beaten during the night.  I believe them.  I have heard that story too many times from people in the system.

There are several homeless encampments very close to my house (and also Big Sister Mia).  I have stumbled upon a few while geocaching.  I stay away from those areas.  The people who live there are fiercely protective of their territory and their possessions.  I understand completely.  There are also homeless encampments hidden in the canyons in Balboa Park where I work.   I see this every single day.  The police warn us when a new “urban camper” shows up who is dangerous.  More than once I have had homeless guys ask to come into the museum to warm up when I open the building before dawn on early-morning news days.  I feel like a shit when I ask them to leave, but I cannot have them doing that.  They always want to sleep on the floor in the store.  I usually get them a cup of coffee.  At least a cup of coffee.

I do what I can.  I always give people on the street money.  Always.  It is not my place to judge what they do with that money.  They use it for whatever they need in the moment.   Once they have the money, they make the choice.  Not me.  If I don’t agree with their choices, them I am a judgmental asshole.  Since when do I have the right to decide what other people choose to do?  I don’t.


Wow.  That took a direction.  One never knows.


Four years ago today I was planning my mother’s funeral.  She died at 2:30 AM and by 9:00, we were at the funeral home going over all the plans.  She had pre-arranged everything more than 15 years before she died, but most of what she wanted was no longer available.  We basically started from scratch.  My sister and I (and her kids) wandered around in a fog for several days.  Since we had nowhere to really go except our motel in the next town, my high school pal (who used to run the funeral home) opened her house to us.  She gave us food and a place to relax.  She did this for two days, and I cannot tell you how grateful we are to her for her generosity and understanding.  We could not have gone through it as well as we did without her.  Her name is Jean Fisch, and she is one of my heroes.

I miss my mom.  Losing your mom is the hardest thing in the world.  We all know it has to happen someday, but we push that away as far as possible.  We were prepared for mom’s death, but it was still devastating.

mom on bench

An early photo sent over recently from Jean Fisch.  Our mothers were best friends.  They were Ya Ya ladies.  They met every day at the cafe for coffee and chit chat.  They had sacred times together.   I am so grateful these ladies had each other for all those years.  We all learned from them.

I miss my mother.  When I think about what I was doing 4 years ago with Jean’s son (who now runs the business), I cannot believe it actually happened.  I also got the surprise of my life when my pal Terri Tinkel showed up with her husband, Dean.  They drove all the way from Indiana to Iowa to attend my mom’s funeral.  It’s having friends like Jean and Terri that illustrate how rich life can be if you give it a chance.

Blessings on this day of remembering and celebrating the good things life has to offer.


Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

21 responses to “Missing My Mother

  1. Stephanie

    Your mother must have been a helluva good person to raise a woman who wrote these words,”If I don’t agree with their choices, them I am a judgmental asshole.” I think I love you both.

  2. I’m sorry for your grief – it never goes away, it simply becomes a deeper part of us.

  3. susanna

    This was a wonderful post. Your heart showed through everywhere. Your mother was a true beauty and from what I surmise she was too busy being real and funny and quirky to even notice! Now that’s beautiful.

  4. Patty O"

    Interesting and varied post today, Poolie, and one that deserves long conversation, not short replies. But it did make me think of my own mother who passed in 1992. I still have times when something will happen and my first thought is, “I want to call Mom and share that!”…and then I remember. I think we all have moments like that. I am glad you think of your own mother with such love.

  5. goatbarnwitch

    Your tangent about the homeless and your gracious non-judgment of them reflects the values and outlook your mother gave you. What a lovely way to honor her on this anniversary. Never easy, no matter how long they are gone but magickal when we find the beauty and bravery given to us by our mothers

  6. You are a winner yourself.

  7. Joanie Benson

    What a natural beauty!! I can tell because back then women didn’t wear a total mask of makeup like they do today to look as pretty as she does.

  8. I’m so glad that Dean suggested we make that trip. It was so special….just like you are….to me. I enjoyed spending time with your family as well. I will never forget Dean’s astonishment at the size of the ice cream servings at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor even though they were in the midst of relocating! And seeing the birds flying over the church after the ceremony.

    My mother has been gone almost 22 years….I still miss her.

  9. Sending you kind thoughts on your sad day today.

  10. bholles

    I miss her too and so grateful to Jean for taking care of us during that difficult time.

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s