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Kim Gamble

Kim Gamble
July 13
dad, children's books, gardens, the ocean, coffee with a friend.


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APRIL 22, 2012 1:33PM


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Aldo Gennaro came to Australia via Julliard in New York in the early seventies, from Chile.

He had spent time in an Augustinian monastery, then branched out into dance and theatre, finally settling into working with people with disabilities, here in Australia. Intellectual, cultural, economic disabilities, Aldo was there to share what he knew about the human body, and how to use it to express love, connection, aspirations and triumph. I may not be writing this too well, but for the moment I hope you will be patient.

My mother ran a school for people who were brain-damaged ~ whether it was Downs or trauma, whatever. Aldo was recommended to teach there ; it's how I came to know him.

He began with dance, and soon formed the idea for a show, which became the first major production staffed entirely by people with mental disabilities. It was called Stepping Out. It premiered at The Sydney Opera House in 1980. A friend, Chris Noonan ( later Babe etc ) made a documentary of it ( camera Dean Dances With Wolves Semler. ) I'm sorry no youtube or hyperlink, but a sample, here :

I wanted to relate a few things Aldo said, about the time he spent at Sunshine Home, mom's school. In the course of putting Stepping Out together, he experienced many many things ...

That was the first time I experienced real love in my life, unconditional love. Those people have the ability. They don't love you because you are special, they love you because the only thing they do is love. It doesn't matter if you are young or old or skinny or plump they give their hearts to you and that comes from very deep within themselves. Every time an intellectually disabled person touched me ... I felt a sense of release and I realised some sort of healing was happening inside of me. ... they are very wounded people and they have the ability, they are the healers. They are the only real healers that I have become involved with in my life.

Aldo died in 1988. He left behind many friends, among them a little dog called Dolores, a gift from an aboriginal community he was working with out west. Of Dolores he said this : 

No, no, no, I don't want a dog. A dog will tie me down too much, I don't need a dog.

... She's very tiny. I can put her in my backpack with no problem at all. She comes with me wherever I go. We have a funny relationship, an independent relationship but also a very close relationship.


Do you know someone with an 'intellectual disability' ? I'd love to hear any more stories, along these lines.


aldo pic : dimity figner, a few weeks before Aldo died.

aldo  quotes : caroline jones ; the search for meaning. abc.1989.



clip for Seer 

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Your posts of late are wonderful...sometimes fairytales, sometimes reality, always magical somehow.
I met a woman who suffered from traumatic brain injury after a car accident. She was taking an painting class at the University of Minnesota. She became an instant friend and I helped her get into an organization called "Interact" here in Minneapolis. I became involved in the organization and helped them get art materials. Interact also does plays and performances for those with intellectual disabilities. The plays are well attended and a joy to watch. They have their own theater and gallery for the artists to sell their works which go partly to the organization and partly to the artist, just like any gallery, only it supports more programs and materials for themselves.
What a wonderful tribute to a truly unique and wise man.
rated with love
rated with love
I didn't know you painted portraits.
Nice Job!
Some of the most manipulative, draining, people I've known have had mild intellectual disabilities. And two of my current favorites (both challenging some days) are disabled that way. I dunno about calling them healers, but I'll give you real. They make you want to fight for them, and yet they aren't the slightest bit helpless.
:-) catch-22

Thankyou very much for that, Poetess. I treasure the link.

what ... ?
I get that, Julie.
I guess I'm coming more from the Downs end of the spectrum,
~ not so 'mild.'
But I think I know some of the ones you mean.
Despite the hideous job you did with this post it brought tears to my eyes. But that could be just the damned pollen, so don't get uppity.
Wish I could play the video. Healing. Really!
What happened to that nice photo above? Anyway. Half of all Down's kids have congenital heart disease, so a big portion of my patients are Trisomy 21 (Down's) syndrome people. Great group, just have to slow down and be kind, they are very affectionate people and love to hug and say "I love you", it's disconcerting if you aren't in the moment. My last director said if he could have a practice with all Down's Syndrome patients he would.
Love the story and hope you write more of Mom Hazel's time as principal of the school. Some people come into your life and impact you in such a profound way, even if that time is short.
Thanks Matt.
I'm ashamed you can't access that video from the US. Sorry about that. Unfortunately it's a govt. tape & I can't embed it.
Possibly googling Stepping Out might bring up a clip. But thanks.

Hi Rita.
I told you about the time, only a couple of years ago, when Josephine & David came to lunch with mom & I ~ found their own way there, train & bus ~ David took lots of photos of the chickens ~ they're married nearly 20 years now. Both were in Stepping Out.
I drove them back up to the station, & waited while they tried to buy their tickets home ~ no luck ; the ticketseller was Indian, & refused to deal with them ... o. my. grandmother.
I always appreciate your posts, but I have to agree with catch-22~ they have been almost magical lately. I really like your avatar too. ~r
Great piece. It has me thinking about a number of things. How people interact and connect and what they can tell us even with the unspoken words of humanness. I have long suspected that many people who are disabled are only disabled here on this plane of existence and often their hugs and "I love yous" are the most important thing that they communicate to us, to remind us that this is the most important thing, through their many experiences and possibly through their many lives. I have no real understanding of this but sometimes the simplest are the ones who make the normal ones nervous, because in their simplicity, the subterfuge that the rest of us hide in and move through is exposed. They are what we are, and we are so undefined, because we are not yet complete. As, stop me here....
Your essay just shows that people who have disabilities are no different than the rest of the human race. Beautiful.
The only person I've known was a neighbor named Johnny Ilif. Not sure about the spelling. He was Dad's age and living with his parents. Dad called him friend. After his parents passed, though, he had to move into the nursing home because there was no where else for him to go. He made the best of it, though, and raised and lowered the flag every day and helped the nurses and made friends with the residents. A good guy.
So many thoughts ... and feelings rise as I begin to read your words here. Somehow this feels a bit like a beginning ... and as I pause to be with what you have shared ... I hope ... in time ... you might share more. Such a touching beginning ... it is ... so many touchings already here ...
P.S., the video was watchable on my phone.
Not your fault, Kim. It's my damned satellite server. Won't give me enuf bandwidth.
My best friend has a traumatic brain injury. She lost her house a couple of years ago due to not being able to work. She lives with me now. Everything mental takes her double the time if she can do it at all and she tends to not have many vocal boundries but everyday is fun. Sometimes it's fun just because I live with my dearest oldest friend and sometimes it's fun because you just have to laugh at what comes out of her mouth. There can be no looking back at the 'what if' it has to be looking forward to the 'what is'.
I agree a wonderful post...I think it is the innocence that makes those with an 'intellectual disability' healers of a sort. They hold no malice, or hate in their hearts and it shines through. I love your new avatar...
The one thing missing in your new avatar, is a pipe.
Lovely post, Kim. I have a niece who had two brain tumors at age 5 and suffers an intellectual disability as a result. She's now 29 and active in Special Olympics. She's also one of the sweetest people I know, as are her friends with similar disabilities. I don't know about healers, but they're certainly huggers. They don't seem to carry the same baggage that the rest of us do and embrace life as it comes, without disappointment or what ifs. I guess I can understand the healing--I've just usually defined it as inspiration.
Your new avatar is very interesting, since it's been brought up. You look like a well-groomed, better looking, Richard Dreyfus (one of my favorite actors, BTW). But where's ole Bess?
Truly extraordinary, Kim.
Beautiful post, Kim. Thank you for sharing Aldo's story.
As a child, there were the twin girls with Downs who rode the school bus with us and were being "mainstreamed" educationally with non- impaired kids. One, the aggressive one as my mom would describe her, regularly beat up my brother. I hated to fight a "retarded" girl to get her to stop punching my brother in the stomach. Damned if I did and damned if I didn't. So I got in deep trouble on account of her. The other twin was a love bomber who gave big outrageous wet kisses and constrictor hugs. So funny how they were exact opposites, ying/yang.

There was the Downs syndrome girl at the swimming pool whose mother always burst into tears of gratitude whenever I would play games with her or challenge her to a cannonball contest off the high dive. The girl was sweet, fun and low key, but the mom was awful always making me stand up at social occasions to announce how darling I was because I would play with her (and they used this term in those days) "mongoloid" daughter.

And there's the Navy veteran I met on a plane who became impaired when her brain was denied oxygen while giving birth in a Navy hospital. Her child was taken from her by the father's family because they thought her incompetant to care for the baby. Last time we talked, it had been years since she'd even seen her child and her husband's family move frequently from state to state to avoid her and delay resolution of the court cases.

They are here with us and they can be as miraculous or as annoying as any so-called "normal" person. Your mother and Aldo did a great thing giving them Sunshine and the opportunity to express themselves just like we all get to express ourselves. You get your good compassionate artistic nature fair and square.
Thank you Kim.

I agree with Catch-22 word for word. There is a difference. I've been scrolling up and looking at Aldo's picture several times. It reminds me of portraits I've seen in museums.... when you stare at a subject and wonder..what is he or she thinking?

And I like your new portrait too.
There's something I have to tell you. But I don't know how to say it. Maybe you've already noticed, since you changed your avatar. But ummm, something in this avatar uh, reminded me of you. Am I maybe... looking too hard at it?
I had a similar experience years ago, in San Francisco. I forget the organization but they were putting on a show of clay masks by disabled people in upscale coffee shop. I don't remember how I came to know the person who directed the show and/or the organization, but he took me "behind the scenes" and introduced me to the artists that had created the masks. I remember this part so vividly, one of the women reached out her hand to shake mine . Her hand was so soft, and as we touched... it was if she had put her hand through this invisible wall, almost like they were in a different dimension or is so hard to describe. I remember feeling so honored to have met them. I purchased some of the masks, that have since been lost in the many moves since then. I will never forget that experience! Thank you for sharing yours here, I so enjoyed it and the fact that it sparked my memory. What an interesting mother you have, and an interesting man this...Aldo...handsome too.
Beautiful post, extraordinary photograph, and... can't find much on Dimity Figner? Only a site about a Harmory Quilt Project at the Canterbury City Community Center. Surely it's the same person... unless "Dimitry Figner" is as common a name in Australia as "John Smith" in the US?

I would very much like to see some more of Figner's work. Can you help?
Oh and by the way this professor look is intriguing....nice new profile pic!

I agree with some of the other comments, lots of love and unabashed sharing it!
What a cool looking man, a face like saint in a Caravaggio painting.

T used to open his Christmas/birthday presents and howl with joy, no matter how great or awful the present was. He had it right. Howl with joy, even when what life gives us is kind of awful, cuz it's all a gift.
Dolores in Spanish: pains, sorrows.
When I worked as a school counselor my cure for burnout and fatigue was to spend time in the room with the developmentally disabled. Aldo said it so well, "they love you because the only thing they do is love." That's exactly how it was.

Nice new photo of you.
Wonderful tribute to an obviously wonderful man, I suspect Aldo did plenty of healing himself.
hey, handsome kim. i'm delighted that you introduced us to aldo. it doesn't surprise me that dancing was something the people at your mom's school loved, that aldo loved too. music and love just sort of go together, don't they?
Such a touching post. I'll echo what Catch-22 says up there in the first comment. And yes, I do know some intellectually challenged folk well and each of them has taught me more than I can relay here. So I'll take your advice and write about it sometime.
Please allow me to be frank. (I'll go back to being Margaret in a sec.)
The new avatar is a bit jarring. Because you look so stern. I'm only mentioning it because everyone else is talking about it. Nothing wrong with stern though! Maybe it's the glasses. Nothing at all wrong with looking stern. Or wearing glasses. Unless you look like Howard Stern. Then there might be something wrong.

Now about the phrase "Intellectual Disability". I'm afraid I must tell you that's an outdated term that went the way of the dodo. Let me be frank again, for another sec. It's insulting, like that term "handicrafted". We don't like it. "Cerebrally Inexperienced" - or "People Who Don't Necessarily Think The Way The Majority of Other People Do But Who Are Just As Good As Them And In Some Cases Better" for short - is what is currently acceptable.
I've always been fiercely proposed to making things like this publicly aware, probably because I have an aunt named Dolores.

Now I'm Margaret again, btw.
Hi Joan. Thank you.

Sheila, I agree with you, completely.

Thank you, Bernadine.

Here's to the Johnny Ilifs, Phyllis.
( I'm glad you could see the video ~ clip 1 is lovely too.)

there's always more ;-)

Barbara thank you, & good on you ~ may we all have a friend like you.
& yes, no what ifs ; what is is all we have. Exactly. & it's a lot.

Lunchlady, thankyou. Innocence shines, doesn't it ?

Hi Larry. I thought some patches for my elbows, too.

Thanks jls.
That's a story of strength. It's that particular kind of strength I find inspiring, & that inspiration, healing. Thanks for sharing that.

Thanks, Miss Phyllis. I thought I should make myself presentable for this post, at least. I left Ol' Bess on Larry's liandra. It was all clogged up with pasta anyway.

Hi Brassawe ; thanks for the read.

Thanks Erica ~ my pleasure :-)

Downs twins ~ I cannot imagine. What an experience for the family, to say nothing of you & your brother !
& the grateful mom ~ tears, Linnnn.
But wow, just wow, about the one who lost her child.
In three instances you covered the spectrum & raised so much more to consider ~ thank you.

Hi Ande,
thank you. I can tell you a little of what he was thinking ...
I am frightened of losing my sight ... I am frightened that the virus will go to my brain ... little fears, they're minimal, they disappear very quickly. Letting go is ... living day by day. Something I always wanted to do but never knew how ... it's liberating.
I think letting go is to do with freedom, it's finding enormous freedom within ourselves.

Margaret I can't thank you enough for bringing it to my attention, here ~ the pm box is so full of links I can hardly keep up. I'm sure others would love to see it too. Again, thank ((you)) XOX !! ... even though it points to brain damage of an entirely different order.

You described that ineffable something well.
The art of these people is as immediate, if not moreso, as any art, & just as beautiful. Thank you. & thanks, about mom :-)

Hi DB,
Thanks. There's only one Dimity here ~ a friend has a sculpture of hers in his garden ~ I put out feelers ; will let you know if I hear anything ( but it's not the quilter, I'm pretty sure about that.)
& yes, a beautiful photo ...

thanks ~ that's a lovely word-picture.
I think Aldo's is the expression of one who is seeing to beyond, here.

Interrobang, thank you.

Thanks John.
Aldo seemed like a heavy weight cool dude. 'Course with a name like "Aldo" he was obviously Sicilian so it's only to be expected. (it's a genetic thing... ALL Sicilians are WAY cool).

Was he a mentor of yours?

BTW, if you're feeling too much of the gentleman, I'll gladly bitch slap Margaret for you. If she's making believe she's Frank, however, you can pop HIM one yourself.
Kim, this is a lovely post.

Something happened to me on Saturday.

While doing the groceries, I saw my friend, Ernie, in the distance and he waved me over. Ernie's the son of Opa Bob and Mami (my blog, Ai Mami) and we haven't seen each other in a while. So we're catching up and a tiny fist pokes me in the shoulder. It's Suus, Ernie's 8 year old daughter who happens to have Down's Syndrome.

I turned around, ready to be annoyed because I didn't know it was Suus poking me and she just grinned and opened her arms wide and gave me an enormous hug. It was a great big dose of hiya-I'm-so-glad-to -see-ya-luv-luv-luv-ya on her part. I hope she got the same from me. It just made my day.
@Larry: I think along w/a pipe, muttonchops would complete the look.
I think the 70s was a rich time, for education, for the arts, for breaking old stereotypes of intellect and am I not surprised your mother was one who helped enrich the world this way?
I enjoyed the video too, the smile when the one fellow says, "I like it...!"
My favorite story sort of along these lines, but not really maybe, is about my friend, Patti, who knew just how to bring Natalie to hysterics of laughter. Natalie, brain-damaged at birth through lack of oxygen, severely handicapped with drawn-close limbs, in a wheel chair her whole life, lived to be thirty...Patti would see Natalie at one of the lake parties and make a bee line straight for her. The rest of us were kind but awkward with Natalie, not knowing how to 'be' with her, but Patti went shouting, "Natalie! Hey sugah'! You gonna' move over now? Take me for a ride?" And on Patti would hop, laughing and kissing on Natalie's cheek while Natalie would get her chair zooming along with her clenched fist on the joystick, wild shrieks of laughter and excitement from Natalie, and even more from Patti....
I learned a lifetime of how to 'be' ...joyous, unencumbered, less awkward...from those two...
All this teasing about the new avatar : )
Kim's obviously been keeping under wraps that he's the (much) better looking brother of the "Inside the Actor's Studio" guy...
Thinking of your words here ... I happened upon this site:
and on this site found these words:
“In the film 'Stepping Out' (Noonan 1980) about therapy that became theatre, Chilean drama therapist Aldo Gennaro says:

‘Institutions suppress individual creativity, creativity is our tool to keep growing.’”

I can only wish I didn’t agree with him ... all these years on. More thoughts than before ... now rise ...

How lucky you, Kim, to have known him. How lucky your mom and all at her school to be able to know and work with him. Still as I hold all of this, so many thoughts ... so many faces ... rise. I wish I had had the chance to watch him work ... to work with him ... to work for someone so wise as your mom. So recently words of art therapy. Here music, drama therapy. Losing fear of creativity ... helping creativity ... the source of so much wisdom ... so much strength ... ways to begin ... to allow one’s love ... to love ...

How many thoughts rise ... and rise ... for me ... for so many others here ...

How moved Aldo would be, I think, that you would share your thoughts ... some of them ... of him with us. How moved he would be by all the thoughts that ... from your thoughts ... rise ... and rise ...

I hope that is your mother's smile ... I hear ...

Still needing ... wanting ... to be ... with all ... of this ...
Thanks, Tom.
I'm sure it went both ways.

Hi Candace. Music & love :-)

I look forward to reading whatever you have.

Thanks for raising the avatar subject again, & Euphemisms.
I'm finding PWDNTTWTMOOPDWAJAGATAISCB a little cumbersome, but it's an improvement on Mongoloid, Special, Gifted or even 'Home-schooled', I agree.
'Dolores' Niece' works for me, too.

Amy !
Aldo wasn't a mentor, just a beautiful friend.
nb. I agree Sicilians are excellent, but remember : not ALL Chileans are Sicilian. As excellent, perhaps, but not always the SAME.
You can bitch slap Margaret anyway. Be my guest.

Thank you ~ I'm so glad to hear that story. What do they know ?
Love, but ( maybe not always ) how to express it. Loving Suus :-)

Margaret I'm ... what's the word ? ... incapable of muttonchops, & even if I was ...
... never mind.
You & Larry go ahead & make jokes. At least someone around here is making an effort, Margaret.

Just Thinking,
I think I just fell in love with your friend Patti.
re the avatar ... Look ; Once & for all. I was Going Out. I'd brushed my hair. A friend had a camera. Why does the fact that an Australian can spruce up occasionally come as such a shock to Americans ? We are naturally a more excellent species than Sicilians, even.

Thanks, anna1liese.
Mom looks back on her time there with great fondness. It was a school, within an institution, but at the same time it was an environment that fostered love among people who were virtually abandoned by the rest of society.
& Aldo ( & others ) allowed them a way to create, express, transcend.
Thanks for that.
You've missed me.

(...although you probably haven't realized I've been gone... : ))
I don't have a "liandra"... I don't even know what a "liandra" is.

I have a Lanai.

@ Margaret: If muttonchops are out. How about a Deerstalker Hat?
(maybe you could pick out the pattern)
Perhaps we both have been scarce.

Larry I don't know what a liandra is either. I'm sorry to hear you have one.
I know what a lanai is ; it must be awful to have both at the same time.
"Thanks, Miss Phyllis. I thought I should make myself presentable for this post, at least.
I left Ol' Bess on Larry's liandra. It was all clogged up with pasta anyway."
Kim Gamble
April 23, 2012 01:05 AM

(notice where you mentioned "liandra")
Oh that liandra !
Look how many words you can make out of 'liandra'! : and anal arid aria darn dina din dial drain laid nil nada nail rand rain rind ...
I worry about Phyllis too, Larry. It must be all that gardening.
... lard liana lanai land indra dan laird liar lair lira air aid
oh the digression.
I think Larry's 'wandering' a bit, don't you, Rita ?
hail handrail dahl hail hand hid hippo hide hind hire heard herd leap
@Larry: I don't know about a Deerstalker hat - he'd look too much like Sherlock Holmes. I think if muttonchops are out, he should go for a powdered wig. Maybe he could bring them back in style. Don't you just go weak in the knees for a man in a powdered wig?

@Amy: Must you drag your coarse nature here, like Pigpen with his dirty blanket? This is not the place for that sort of thing. Not here, in the land of Austramelot. To visit here is to enter an ethereal, enchanted place where the *real* world has no business. Look! Over there, toward the magical misty purple-hued moutaintops! Flitting among the liandra, I believe I saw a fairy! And - oh - what was that, streaking across the cerulean sky? A phoenix, a golden phoenix! Quick, under the berry bush covered in chocolate balls - did you see that mole? It was wearing a little suit, I swear it was! It's so lovely here I never want to leave! I'm going to skip across the moody blue lagoon now because something tells me I can not only walk on water here but skip on it. Then I'm going to slide down yonder ranbow with that family of ducks who just invited me to dinner along with a bunch of gentle wolves! Anything can happen in Austramelot!!! Bye, Ameeeee!!!!
no doubt. a great man.
onl, & young. Thanks for reading.
gram tram ram garret art terra rage garter mate mater mart met mat tag game rate rage rat get met meta mega raga great ream agra arm term rag gate tare tar team meat grater grate term tamer tame mare
re: the avatar....what? I said you look nice!
As for dressed up Australians -- It's just my stunned response of an Oregonian who actually loves to see a well-dressed fellow and there are not near enough males who care about looking snazzy at all here in Oregon...
(not sure if that's a sniff for the lack of hygiene one might find around here as well or slight tears in the eyes for not having seen a lovely suit on a guy in years...)
As for Sicilians....I know nothing.
I swear.

You wrote a lot of posts lately for someone who's been scarce...looks like good ones too, I'll have to catch up....after I catch up in the garden. : )
@Margaret: Not sure about the powdered wig.
It might cause havoc with his black Ban-Lon shirt.
I wouldn't mind a powdered doughnut and coffee.
I'll buy.
I've nothing to add by way of a very close and personal experience with those with the kinds of disabilities that you refer to here, Kim. But those that have crossed my path in life, those with Downs Syndrome, have always touched me with what I know is just love. It is love that is purely innocent, purely unconditional ... just pure.
@Larry: Never heard of Ban Lon (is it a shirt with deodorant inserts in the armpits?) I assumed he was wearing Under Armour. I think he'd look better in a turtle neck tho. He's veering toward stuffy/snobby and the casual shirt & frameless glasses make him seem confused, like he's not completely ready to commit to the look. He may as well go full-on stuffy. Turtle neck, horn rims, herringbone newsboy hat. I'll pass on the doughnut (gives me heartburn) so just coffee for me unless there's grits on the menu. I LOVE grits (cheese optional).

@Amy: OMG, Amy, I almost wish you were here! Austramelot is the most magicalist place I ever been! You can EAT the butterflies!!! Yeah, they taste like Sweet Tarts! And the trees reach out and hug you when you walk by! The flowers talk! The grass hums! And it smells like Teen Spirit! I'm just skipping and tripping around here, chatting with kindly cane toads (they're so loveable!) and cuddling with crocodiles. Did I just see a Care Bear? There goes a Teletubby! I think it's Tiddly Widdly, the one they kept prisoner in the cellar, who had to make all the Tubby Custard. Gotta go Amyyyyyyy!!!!! I'm walking on sunshine!!!! Literally. You can walk on sunbeams here in Austramelot.

Kim: I dug out my Cap'n Crunch Secret Decoder ring from my Archie lunchbox and figured out what you're saying to me in that cryptic message. Also, what you said about Algis. So Algis is the son of Timothy Leary and Jackie Onassis? I believe it. But do you really think I'm a direct descendant of Cleopatra and should go to Egypt and declare myself Queen of the Nile from the top of the Sphinx? I think you're probably right and I'd like to live in a Pyramid and wear a gold snake on my head but first my slaves would have to remodel it for me. Cuz I'd want skylights and windows and stuff. Flowerboxes under the windows. A cow weathervane at the top of the Pyramid. A white picket fence. An indoor pool. Maybe a carport. For my barge. (Bargeport?) And a petting zoo! For the baby goats we'd slaughter in my name!!!
Just Thinking,
Now look what's happened. Why does this always happen ?
I thought if I wore glasses & a jacket people might take me seriously, you know, for a change ...

Thank you.

Larry, Margaret ...
Margaret, Ban Lon is the name of the little guy down the road who does my laundry ~ $ 10.80 for 7 shirts, 3 pants, underwear & socks, towels etc, all folded, once a week ; sheets every second week for extra $ 6.20.
That's why all my clothes are Ban Lon.
I don't know how Larry knew that.
But go on, have your fun with your pipes & muttonchops & hornrim bifocals & patches on your elbows & wigs & paper hats & turtles.
& doughnuts & grits. I looked grits up. It's corn. I pity you people.

Larry, if you want my opinion I think Margaret has been at Algis' LSD.
I'd be careful with the current batch, Margaret ~ have you seen Algis' latest post ? ~ I don't think that batch is from Mykonos.

& yes, I think you're probably Cleopatra & the pyramids could certainly do with a makeover. The colours to begin with. Brown is so BC. Anyway it will get you out of the country for a while, & give your kids that much-needed break. It must be exhausting.

( I don't think they serve grits in Egypt though. More likely you'll be chewing on camel & drinking tea, or tea-drinking camels. Asps, even.)
You only change your sheets every OTHER week?

Is that SOP in Australia?

Hotels too?
I just KNEW I wasn't going to get away with that small revelation.
Yes, Larry. 10 days. More frequently maybe in Summer.
If I have 'company,' fresh sheets, like in a hotel, yes.
I have 2 single beds here, in different rooms. Sometimes I lose track which one I slept in. Sometimes I wake up in one bed screaming, & have to go into the other bed to calm down.
You have "company" over with 2 twins beds?
In separate rooms?
I knew you were a party animal...
Have you ever considered getting bunk beds?
I. said. single. beds.
Single beds. Commonly 3 feet wide. They sleep one. Quite popular in Africa, Asia, & the rest of the world.
You have company, you sit & talk, with a cup of tea, & then you go to bed, in your single ( not twin, not double, queen or king-size bed ) & after a while, you fall asleep.
At around 3 am, you wake up screaming, & swap beds.
Now I'm just worrying about you, Kim.
Single and Twin are the same thing.

Single/Twin Mattress size (width × length)

N. America 39in × 75in

Australia 36in × 75in

UK/Ireland 36in × 75in

Continental Europe 35.4in × 79in

Latin America 35.4in × 79in

Japan 38in × 77in

New Zealand 35 in × 72 in

People are short in New Zealand?
Don't worry, JT. I can do this .

If it's a single bed ... why's it called a twin, hmm ? ...
I couldn't help noticing N American beds are the widest ...
N Zealand beds are shorter because of the war.

... seesh. Some people, isn't it Seer.
That poor child, dealing with her parents' disappointment.
I'd love to write more about mom's time there. It was a time of change, as I think Just Thinking above, pointed out. Sadly it was followed by a time of austerity & greed ; funding was cut, & residents cut loose into the wider community.
There are lots of stories ; some sad ; some, Like Josephine & David, triumphant.
& thanks.
ps. to Seer.
On the opening night of Stepping Out, I sat with mom behind a couple who had left their child at Sunshine when she was an infant. They were major benefactors but visited Vivian only once a year, on her birthday ( they didn't live in our state.)
When Vivian came on alone, to Judy Collins' Send In The Clowns, & danced in the spotlight ~ danced so slowly, carefully, beautifully, the father put his arm across his wife's shoulder & drew her close.
There were tears on mom's & my cheeks too ; & we weren't alone :-)
Wait! Algis descended from whom?!
I have no idea, Linnnn. I think sadly, we've lost another good writer.
Damn drugs.
As per Wikipedia:

"What is referred to as a "single bed" in many parts of the world is known in U.S. terminology as a "twin bed".
In some countries, a "twin bed" may also be used to describe one of two single beds in the same room."

From ~ About Interior Decorating:

Twin beds are also known as single beds. They're the most common choice for children's rooms or multi-use guest rooms.
These beds are narrow and fit easily into the smallest bedroom. Often twin beds have a "trundle" underneath to accommodate a sleep-over or second guest.
Twin beds are used for bunk beds too.

Pros: Because of its small size it will fit easily into smaller bedrooms.
Twin sheets are the least costly of all sheet sizes and are available in lots of patterns.
It's easy to make a twin bed.
Cons: A standard size is too short for many adults.

I still can't get over the fact that you only change your sheets once, every TWO WEEKS.
I sleep in a casket.

Dim: 84" x 24" x 23" (h)

Mfr: Aurora

Type: Wood

Species: Mahogany (chosen because it's resistant to termites & rot, 2 things I cannot abide)
Did you know you can buy caskets at Costco?
Larry - delicate question: What exactly is the cause of your sheets becoming soiled so quickly?

Interesting "fact" according to a mattress company's radio ad:

Did you know that every single year you sweat approx. 26 lbs. of perspiration into your mattress and shed approx. 10 lbs. of skin flakes? That means after a few years mattresses are mostly sweat and dead skin instead of expensive memory foam.
I rated a few days ago, didn't comment, because I had nothing to add of a positive nature. Let's leave that at that.

On the Off-Subject Portion of this post: I love my twin bed. I shove it right under the window and leave a breeze blowing year 'round. I can put my foot out here, my hand out there, my other foot in the windowsill, and still have a hand free to wave. Nobody tells me to quit moving or changing the covers. Life is real good.
Oprah said sheets should be changed every 3 days.

Nuff said...
It's the screaming that has me worried about you. If there is bed-swapping going on in the middle of the night, one would hope there's giggling...screaming, not so much.
...and bed size, shmed size.
If it's good company, who cares?
However, even company might like some room -- in case you're interested there's a sale going on at Forty Winks over your way -- if you scroll down to the bottom (the tiny print there) there's even a mattress that will change the sheets FOR you.
(I love how there's metric and 'imperial' measurements...???)
Oprah should be more cognizant of the ecology, once a week is more than plenty. Oprah has people who worry about all that for her Larry. You in your double wide, that's a lot of trips to the Laundromat.
A Little Night Music ... I have loved that from the first time I heard it ... saw it ... began ... to take it in ...

Here ... Send in the Clowns ... Judi Dench ... am I the only one walking through the lyrics ... the layers of meanings ... with her ... here ...

I listen ... having seen your words about the first performance of Stepping Out, about your being there with your mom, about the parents sitting in front of you ... watching ... listening ... discovering ... the gem ... who was their daughter ... who, from your words, it seems ... they’d not allowed themselves ... to know ...

How much this says about the work of your mom, of Aldo and his ability to draw from these performers ... so much ... that without ... people like your mom ... like you, I think ... like Aldo ... who simply, truly, purely believed in them ... who were able to see within ... beyond ... to see sunshine ... where others ... could see only clouds ...

I am watching Judi Dench ... and feeling what she too would feel ... were she able to watch ... Vivian ... left by her parents ... almost from her start ... dancing ...

From so very far away ... I see the spotlight ... and watch as ... a cocoon is allowed to fall ... as essence ... slowly, carefully, beautifully ... emerged ... dancing ... dancing ... finding her way ... finding her way to ... express ... share ... give ... her free ...

Clowns ... all of us who ... will not ... can not ... allow ourselves ... to see ... the child who ... never allows herself not ... to hope ... not to see ... not ... to freely ... love ...

Thinking of Judi Dench performing at Royal Albert Hall and bringing so much of herself to Sondheim’s music ... to us all ...

Thinking of Vivian ... performing at The Sydney Opera House ... and bringing all ... of herself ... to all of you ... now ... all of us ...

Lovely the weaving here ... lovely the awakening ... lovely the gifts of freeing breath ...

Lovely the tears ... that still ... fall ...

Yes ... in moments like this ... bliss ...
I'm learning so much more about beds here than I thought possible.

Thanks, Larry.
Thanks for putting your astonishment in bold, too. Helps those who might otherwise skim over these things. I didn't say 2 weeks I said 10 days ~ it varies according to where I've been, what I've been doing & the time of year. I can't believe I'm writing about this.
If I've been out butchering livestock & things in summer, for example, I'd probably change the sheets more frequently.
Also, I'd shower before bed.
Normally I'm a shower in the morning person, unless I'm going out.
Does Oprah have any advice on this I should know about ?
When I stay at Teralba ( alone ) I'll go days without showering, & just burn the sheets before I leave.
Also, I can't sleep on poly-anything, or satin. Egyptian cotton only. Ever. Do you iron your sheets too, Larry ?

Thanks, Margaret.
I'm not surprised, about the casket. Ever the considerate mom, it will save your kids so much trouble when, you know, your time's up.
And about what's in mattresses ... eeew !
So, when we sleep in a hotel or a motel we're sleeping on ...
... I really wish you hadn't said all that.
At least when I travel alone I ask for a single bed ; but still ...

Thanks dianaani.
I won't probe on the other topic, but on single/wtftwin beds YES !
You nailed it, exactly.
Feet, hands, entire limbs flung out every which way, au naturel.
Freedom, & none of this creepy someone-else's hand on the shoulder in the middle of the night ~ though recently I woke with a hand & an arm around me & I was alone !
Turned out it was mine, fallen 'asleep' ~ phew !

Just Thinking I won't ask what you're doing on an Australian bed site, but don't worry about the screaming. It's just me ; the neighbours are used to it. I used to think everyone screamed in the middle of the night, but it turns out not to be the case.
The self-changing mattress worries me ~ what if it decided to suddenly change the sheets at 3 am ? Even if it did it while you were having lunch it would be pretty weird.

Rita I see Larry more as the hand-cranked washing machine & wringer types, with a line to dry things running on a pulley from the liandra post to the nearest tree, really. Wooden clothes pegs & all.

Thanks anna1liese.
I'm glad you saw that piece. Yes & she brings her own interpretation to it. Aldo used Judy Collins' but Judy Dench's is more the atmosphere of that night. Glad you enjoyed.
I only sleep in the casket; why would you think I want to be buried in it? I don't intend to be buried at all. My bil's an amateur taxidermist. He's going to stuff me or preserve me or do to me whatever he does to those turkeys and squirrels and other things he shoots, then incorporates into his pole barn decor scheme. My 4 kids have instructions to put me into rotation every 3 mos. amongst each of their households and use me as a coat rack.
Think about it first, Margaret.
They pull your brains out through your nose & put marbles where your eyes were. They rinse your whole innards with formaldahyde ~ you smell like an ant.
Also, they have to break your joints to get them in the right position.
Nothing about the procedure appeals.
I knew a person who had her cat 'done.'
Suffice it to say we are no longer in touch. The dead cat freaked me out.

If you're a guy I'm guessing that still beats having your marbles pulled out through your nose.

Just say'in.
So, now we know about hygiene, changing sheets, showering, caskets, mummification, and pulling marbles out of noses, and how many words can be made from "Margaret."

I love Kim Gamble's posts. They get the award for the absolutely MOST informative of all on OS.

Curious, though. What do you call a super single bed?

And Margaret, why would you want to eat butterflies?
Nothing worse than dating a woman with a stuffed dead cat,
that smells like formaldehyde...
I thought I was still concerned about the screaming, I do feel for your neighbors, much less any romantic partners...but now I have to go sit in a quiet corner to get over the description of cat stuffing.
Oh my god, who would *do* that!!??
As for the automatic sheet changer, clearly the details need working out.
Australian bedsite? google. First site that showed up. I go out of my way for friends.
Still worried about the screaming. I fell asleep every night as a kid clutching my stuffed koala (not stuffed that way! aagghhh) my godfather brought me from Australia that had a wind-up song of Waltzing Matilda. I credit that bear and that song for my mostly scream-free nights. I highly recommend. It might work for you. Romantic partners/neighbors/anyone/you likely can handle a waltzing stuffed koala in the middle of the night better than the screams...just a thought. And I'd try a bed wider than a single, you won't believe the joy. And limbs can go all awry under the window, catching the breeze, waving and free on a nice wide bed too, Kim. and Diana : )
(Clearly most Americans cannot handle this skinny bed thing. We can't handle someone not having a TV either. When we didn't have one, on purpose, for over 15 years, our neighbors kept bringing us theirs! They couldn't handle it. Fortunately you live so far from here, mattresses likely will not be arriving at your door by well-meaning Americans....but we do wish you'd fix this crisis.)
Amy I appreciate your concern. I can feel the love.

Phyllis we call super single size beds 3/4 beds.
Margaret eats butterflies because she's technically insane.

It fair puts you off, Larry.
Formaldehyde then, with an e.

Thanks Just Thinking. Love your bear story.
TVs & wide mattresses are optional ~ so few realise this.
Amazing how much gets done without them.
Makes me think of those in king-size beds facing 4' flat screens & remotes. Which in turn, makes me want to go for a walk.
Well. Egyptian cotton is mine too, satin is just tacky. and slippery probably dangerous over fifty, Robert Crook would enjoy that sentence. Traction could be important when navigating the night.
"Makes me think of those in king-size beds facing 4' flat screens & remotes. Which in turn, makes me want to go for a walk. "

Oh, I am with you on that one.
I do like a wide bed though, full or queen's fine. Pushed under a window that's wide open so I can see out when I wake up. No TV, computer, shoji, or any other screens in the room at all. I'm even pushing for a breaker at the door so all electricity can disappear at night from the room altogether, but that's a bit custom and a dream for now. Egyptian cotton's nice too....miss the koala though, it's long gone...
...why am I here talking about beds again?
Kim, I've had my brains pulled out through my nose many times and I can tell you it's much more unpleasant stuffing them back in than pulling them out. And btw, before the subject of your post is completely submerged under a pile of dead skin and gallons of yes, your Aldo followed a typical path for anyone who goes to Juilliard, spends time in an Augustinian monastery, then branches into dance & theatEr, then moves on to working w/people with mental disabilities; I've seen it time and again. But what's fascinating and utterly puzzling is that he didn't follow the typical progression on to transformative Moldavian folk songs, experimental Somali mime technique and culminating in therapeutic demonic exorcism. What held him back I wonder. Fear? Love? Dolores?

Phyllis, the question is why WOULDN'T you want to eat a butterfly - esp. if it tasted like Sweet Tarts?

JT, I like my queen pillow top w/a pile of books next to it on the nightstand. What is this fascination with twin beds? Does anyone even make them anymore? Maybe companies like Sealy and Serta have a special division, just for the wee people of Australia.
As you well know, my son is autistic. I've written about our growing up together.
He is a much better teacher than I am.

thank you for this
Kim: late to the party but also loving these new reflective memoir-like posts of yours, like catch-22 said. This story of Aldo gives more clues to the decidedly artistic life path you're following. I taught art (drama, dance, visual art, music) to people with disabilities of all kinds for 4 years, some of the most satisfying...and challenging...times of my life. I love that your mother ran a special school and brought artists in. Rather explains your deep sense of compassion. You made me remember many transformative episodes...visiting the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC with a photographer with traumatic head injury; the joyful eyes of a child with no physical movement whatsoever dancing in wheelchair with his mother and father's assistance; that same child choosing blue, not red, to paint, only with the blink of his eyes. He could not even mouth paint, but he could think, and he was making art at that moment. As long as we can make choices, we are human beings.
I know a very fine quality artist who se works are so hauntingly magical, they give me the shivers. And this person suffered a serious injury o herself when younger. After that injury, she began to create at a new level. Sometimes suffering can bring forth great beauty

And ARRRRR! I've got you in me sights, Gamble!
Thanks, lovely ones.
Rita, Crook is zilch, & ever will be, given his attitude. I think it's safe to say "He doesn't matter," which is his own thesis anyway, so I'm not stealing anything ... & yes ~ satin : wtf ?

Mornin' JT.

A much as we love it when people comment on our posts, it's not always easy to respond individually. I hope you'll forgive me for saying :
Oh, thanks ! I was hoping someone would talk about having their brains pulled out through their nose & then stuffed back in !
You've really added something to my post that I didn't think I'd EVER achieve ... DISGUST !
I feel so ... blessed. I'm going to kneel down with my best friend Father Thomas behind the back pew & discuss disgust for a moment ...

Well ! That was ... nice :-)
I think we might need a mop, now.
A few Hail Mary's might not go astray either.
Oopsies !

thanks for coming by & reading. Missing you.

Thanks, Helvetica.
A beautiful story, with pictures.
Loving the last sentence, especially.

Poor Woman, AARRGH !! It be on at the time of yer choosin' !
Sorry,I am late.
I had come here a few times but was too tired to read it.
There is too much emotion involved to give a good critique,but I like to thank you for this insightful piece of writing.
Too bad you are so far away.I am very much interested in this project.
Rated for new ways to walk on...
Thank you for sharing Aldo with us. His photograph reminds me of someone - if I remember I'll tell you - a mystic or guru.

I know lots of people with intellectual disabilities - but that's just my opinion. Aren't you really asking if we know people with emotional/empathic/loving abilities?
Heidi, thank you.
I too wish we we could all be sitting around in the same big, comfortable room.

consonants&vowels ~ Meher Baba ?

Yes, I guess that's what I'm asking. Thanks for that :-)
You write beautifully. Simple. Complex. Dreamy. Grounded. Ah....and, soulful. Thank You for giving so much of yourself.
"I wanted to relate a few things Aldo said, about the time he spent at Sunshine Home, mom's school. In the course of putting Stepping Out together, he experienced many many things ...

That was the first time I experienced real love in my life, unconditional love. Those people have the ability. They don't love you because you are special, they love you because the only thing they do is love. It doesn't matter if you are young or old or skinny or plump they give their hearts to you and that comes from very deep within themselves. Every time an intellectually disabled person touched me ... I felt a sense of release and I realised some sort of healing was happening inside of me. ... they are very wounded people and they have the ability, they are the healers. They are the only real healers that I have become involved with in my life."

So many thoughts step out from all that is offered here ...

A thousand thanks ... still ... for all the gifts ... love gives ...