Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Ruth Anne

In a fit of avian misremembering, I wondered, "why the hell is the sky falling for Amba?"

Never mind.


LOL. You've got your chickens crossed.

Why I put in a link.

michael Reynolds

I'm actually surprised at how well your family and friends seem to have behaved. I guess I go in assuming that 80% of people who swear eternal friendship, admiration and support will walk away when the trouble starts. The fact that you can single out just one disappointment is an amazing affirmation from my point of view.


Yep. Been there. Been dropped from that. A situation like that shows you who your real friends are, and who runs like they owe you money.

Even if you start all over again with a much smaller group, they're the ones who are worth having in your life. Unless you're emotionally in junior high school and counting your friends by sheer quantity instead of quality.


It's a lot to ask for people to visit (nonetheless, a few have, each once). Not so much to ask them to call, what? A couple of times a year? Maybe they "just can't face" the mortality of someone they drew on as a pillar of strength, but that to me is the ultimate in cowardice and/or hypocrisy. I don't have these bitter feelings toward anyone who has simply contacted us. And I will probably feel warmly always towards those who went to the trouble to visit, even if we never see them again. There are people you can feel the steady connection to even when it is not often polished up by explicit communication. But the ones you know are just waiting to cry crocodile tears when you're gone, those are the ones towards whom you feel both hurt and contempt.


I'm so sorry, Annie. After my grandmother had a stroke a couple of years ago, she moved in with my mother. My sister practically moved in to help with her daily care. They had a day-nurse, who was a big help, but, as my grandmother was...difficult, nights and weekends were almost impossible for them. I flew out at least four times and did whatever I could do from a distance to help. (They're in California, and I'm in Florida.) In the meantime, there were several realtvies who lived within 20 miles, and more who lived on the west coast, who could't be bothered at all. Only my aunt in Nebraska provided any help. My mother and sister went through hell trying to keep everything together, and they finally had to put my grandmother in a nursing home. I haven't been close with the other members of my family for a long time, and now I remember why. Sometimes, I think humanity would be great if it weren't for all the people.


Kim -- I don't think I've ever known a family in this situation where there wasn't either one sibling who carried most of the burden (a friend of mine in Florida, just like a male Cinderella or Cordelia, cared for both his parents until their deaths, without much help, even financial, from nearby, much wealthier sister and brothers), or one sibling (the one with the power of attorney?) who made things impossible for all the others via peremptory decisions about nursing homes, weird moves around property and wills, etc. It's astonishing how many families (mine is truly NOT among them, whatever fractures we might show under stress) have heartless, greedy people in them, who are sometimes the favorites, or the successful ones, or the ones running the show.


It's one time, though, when you really miss having a kid or kids. Not because they would necessarily be that helpful in practical terms -- ours would be grown up and living his own life by now -- but because you would feel connected to the earth. At holiday time, you would be the "home" that someone would be coming to.

But that, of course, is the "selfish" reason for having kids.

michael Reynolds

I suspect in part people don't quite know how to behave. They're scared of death, scared of illness, and worse, kind of embarrassed about it all. Like illness is a faux pas.

We don't do old age and illness in America, we do youth and denial. And of course, blame. Getting old or sick is a failure. Obviously Jacques screwed up. Should have taken his vitamins or whatever. Should have had his chakras aligned. Shouldn't have done this or that. It's his fault and thank God the rest of us won't do anything like that and find ourselves in a similar bind.

People also don't know how to react to people are brave and steadfast and quietly heroic. You embarrass people as much as Jacques does. He embarrasses people by being sick, you embarrass people by being better than they are. False modesty won't help you, by the way, granted that you no doubt behave miserably a lot of the time, you really are better than most people and if you think that doesn't bother people you're a real idealist.

You've diagnosed the situation accurately. When it's over there'll be a collective sigh of relief and a flood of praise.


There are people who cannot accept illness, in themselves or others, and are simply missing the "caring-for, caring-about" gene. You really cannot blame them for a lacuna in their emotional parts. Not everyone is teachable when it comes to giving--and don't forget--receiving care. Be grateful for those you know who are gifted with this capacity, and try to forgive the others their deficiencies.

Horace Jeffery Hodges

I only learned about Jacques and his story because of your blog, which motivated me to order the book.

Such a man deserves better friends than those who never even call . . . but in you, he has a woman wonderful enough to have made even his time in Donbas worth the ordeal since his escape led him, eventually, to you.

I'm paraphrasing his own words from a blog entry that you posted some months back after watching a television program about Hitler and WW2, so perhaps you'll recall.

Anyway, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or whatever . . . Happy Holidays, at any rate

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


I'll take "all of the above," Gypsy Scholar! And Merry Christmas to you.



My heart goes out to you. Scotched plans, anger, exhaustion, self pity, self sacrifice, frustration, guilt, encouragement, hope, and despair: such are a caregiver's ports of call. Sometimes, even the one for whom you care can no longer comprehend what you are doing for him.

Others can compliment you, but the burden is still yours. Sometimes you feel cheated by fate. The smallest kindness from others can bring you to tears. The complacent self absorption of others who could help so much just by small sacrifices makes you want to scream.

You have loved a man with the hours of your days; with every beat of your heart and every ounce of your flesh; to the very weariness of your bones, and he loved you. That reward goes only to those who give themselves completely. Pity the rest.


It sounds, Rod, as if you know whereof you speak. Or is it just empathy?



Mostly empathy, with a little analogy and some experience. First, I've read these pages for awhile, so I have some idea what you have been going through. That is what informed the last paragraph of my last post - it is mostly a reflection on what you have shared.

My mother-in-law had a series of cascading health problems starting last summer. As it happened, she passed away less than a week after we started 24 hour home hospice care, so I really haven't lived through the slow, grinding process by which some of us die, but I have stared it in the eyes.

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