Before I Forget

Trish Vradenburg is a playwright, author, television writer and Alzheimer’s disease advocate. She and her husband, George, founded UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, with the goal of finding a cure or treatment for Alzheimer’s by the year 2020.

Was My Mom Abused?

On July 2, USA Today reported that more than 20 former employees of a Georgia Alzheimer’s care center are facing dozens of criminal charges after a three-month state investigation uncovered allegations of cruel treatments of patients. The cruelty ranged from physical abuse – slapping patients and throwing water on them – to outright neglect and financial exploitation. Other abuse included shackling patients to their beds with sheets and ‘double diapering’ so the staff wouldn’t have to change soiled diapers so often. As it …

For Mom, My Heroine, on Mother’s Day

My mother had a cleft palate.  It was fixed when she was three years-old, and you could never tell anything was wrong by looking at her, but it left her with two impediments: her speech and her mother. Because of my mom’s speech impediment, my grandmother told my mom she would probably never get married.  Really?  Is that the way you bolster your child’s self-confidence?  Maybe she thought she was protecting her daughter from the harsh realities of life.  To …

The Lady with All the Answers

Dear Abby:  I have always wanted to have my family history traced, but I can’t afford to spend a lot of money to do it. Have you any suggestions? – M. J. B. in Oakland, Calif. Dear M. J. B.: Yes. Run for a public office. Such was the incisive wit of Pauline Friedman Phillips, known to millions as Dear Abby. Affectionately nicknamed “Popo” by friends, Dear Abby was the advice maven of a generation – or rather, generations. Dear …

The Sexy Goddess

Rita Hayworth was a dazzler.  Women wanted to be her; men wanted to be with her. She was a graceful and electric dancer.  Her mother was in the Ziegfeld Follies, but wanted her daughter to act; her father, a renowned dancer, wanted her to dance.  They both got their way. Margarita Carmen Cansino was born in Brooklyn in 1918.  In 1937, feeling that her name typecast her, she dyed her brown tresses a blazing red and became Rita Hayworth.  She …

JR Will Never Die…

A shameless rogue with a conscience that must have been surgically removed at birth, “Dallas” character JR Ewing was envied, loved, despised, almost killed, and yet he was impossible to resist. No one could have played him with such magnificent relish – an irresistible villain – like Larry Hagman.  This was a man who embraced life with a joyous sense of abandon: he rode a Harley-Davidson wearing a chicken suit, made love flying a plane, put bourbon on his cornflakes. …

I Must Have a Puppy

It occurs to me that my mother never told us some basics about what she wanted should she ever have Alzheimer’s.  True, few people think in those terms, but since both my grandmother and mother had Alzheimer’s, there’s a good chance I will be next.  So, here’s my first list for my husband, daughter and son: I must have a puppy to lick me and stay by my side and think everything I do is wonderful. Hair: I must always …