Movies and Good Memories

The last time I visited Pearl was March 5th since Harvard had Spring Break, and I wasn’t in town. To be honest, heading into Hebrew Senior Life, I was nervous and slightly scared--Pearl wasn’t in the best of health when I last saw her and from previous experiences, I know that a lot can change over even a mere week. To my surprise and delight, Pearl was in much better health, and I saw her in the dining room.

She was very happy and bright, and I think the good weather outside contributed to that as she pointed it out to me numerous times. Additionally, the clothes she wore were bright as well and her fingernails were a nice shade of pink. I was happy that she seemed to remember me as we talked.

The majority of our conversations revolved around movies and television shows. There was a cabinet next to use that were full of VCR tapes. I remember looking at them and finding it funny that they were so old, but not really. I distinctly recall having the VCR tapes full of movies and shows when I was a child. And, at some point, DVDs became the main form of media used for recording. We talked about movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany, Aladdin, and Scandal. A lot of times I read off the synopsis of movies that we both hadn’t seen before. She talked about seeing Aladdin when she was much older while I remember seeing it as a child. Yet, it was cool seeing how movies were able to connect us despite the different memories we associated with them.

Later, for some reason, we talked about my hair and how long it was growing. I noticed that she got a haircut and commented that it looked lovely. Happily, she told me that her son cut it, but she didn’t remember when. Due to her hearing, I loudly asked how often her son came to visit her. Last semester, I did met her son, and I know that he mentioned that he frequently visited his mother due to the close proximity at which he lived and the close relationship between them. Although she didn’t hear my question, a nurse told me that Pearl’s son came to visit her every single day. I was pretty surprised because I know that a lot of residents very rarely have people visit them. At the same time, this knowledge brought a smile to my face: there was no doubt that Pearl was so loved by many. It is Pearl’s personality and the way others treat her that intertwine to make her life so rich and fulfilling.

As I left, I hugged Pearl and promised to see her again next week--perhaps I’ll bring my laptop and watch some movie clips with her!

Ellen Zhang