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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I'm cheerful when I'm not hysterical.
Bumper Sticker of the Year!

I love my job,
How bizarre! Are you sure you're in America?

my cats, and my coffee,!

and as long as I can work out I feel physically wonderful.
That's great! Better than I feel!

And I just got paid.
Oh, Amba, can't you see what I'm trying to tell you is...I love you! :0

Good to see a 5:00AM post!

michael Reynolds

Great post.

Sounds like you're the Zelig in Jacques' consciousness.


How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!


Routine neuro appointment today, blank-faced young intern asking him stupid generic questions that are so alien and noncontextual, they aren't going to elicit the intelligence lurking in anybody.

When the neurologist says "I'm going to say three words and then you'll repeat them back to me later," there's no way of knowing that even though the person's repeated those three words back to you, they think it's 1914 and you're the Archduke Ferdinand.


Michael, what a wonderful thought -- me Zelig!


Kim -- just what the doctor ordered!

Melinda -- a neurologist's office is through the looking glass at best, no? Yesterday our neurologist, who runs a memory disorders clinic, told us he has a memory problem (he'd forgotten to fax in a prescription). At some point he said, "I think it's safe to say that he has levodopa-responsive Parkinsonism [proven by the fact that he responds to levodopa -- a tautology]. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine."

I appreciated the honesty.


You write about what surely must be an insanely challenging time in such a fascinating way that I feel a little guilty at how much I enjoy these posts. Sorry for repeating the following, and in today's climate it's even more crazy to say, but your experience as your husband's caregiver and the way you talk about his condition would be SO great as a book. I'd sure buy multiple copies. And then it will be sold for the movies with you played by Helen Mirren and J by...Charles Durning? (Wait, maybe Mirren and Durning are too old. Meryl Streep and Brian Dennehy? Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini?)


Kate Winslet?? Keep going younger, Danny! I'm kvelling.

Donna B.

Danny's right about the book, ya know.


This is just the penultimate chapter, not the whole book.


A series of books?

An Opera?


Yes, a book.


Hello, amba. Ron pointed me to your blog, and I thought I'd take a look.

I know exactly what you're talking about here...went through this with my mom. Anyway, thanks for sharing this, and bless you.


Thanks, Darcy. And -- stick around!


FISH! There's an exquisite, secret logic to that--backwards evolution?? You are truly fabulous--even if you are my beloved daughter. You have this welded-together detached scientific reportage and total emotional frantic bewilderment, and then there's your amused acceptance of the chaotic and the unpredictable that is your life now. Add in the banality of the (probably mad at being helpless/useless) intern and the oh-so-human irony of a memory-impaired physician and you have the world of the absurd. To say that I admire you beggars praise. I love you--that's more like it.


Oh, Annie. !!!!!

You know that not in a million years will I share on line an explication of my thoughts on this one (and I that I do now, as always I have done, admire your approach so profoundly). But I will always read, I will always notice, and I will always hug in my thoughts, even if I don't say much anymore.



"He needs a lot more of a world." Is some sort of adult day care feasible? Lots of people, diversion--of course he wouldn't be able to fit them into the jigsaw that has become his memories of his past, but you can't recreate his world for him, so wouldn't "a world," even though it wasn't "his world" be better than the isolation? The hard part would be the amount of time ande effort required of you to get him so such a place--unless there's a pickup van that makes the rounds and gets people delivered to such a place. It may be far from ideal, but would it be better? For both of you?

Love, Mom


Oh, Annie... Your plight makes me weep and wish and wonder, but I don't have any good answers.

You are a marvelous person working in difficult circumstances.

But let's not focus on compliments for adversity...

Truth be told, anyone not in the same position can offer only sentiments colored by the tint on the looking glass.

I went through this with a friend and lover of many years who eventually fell to the assault of AIDS. When opportunistic cancer finally invaded his brain, I regretfully accept that I was thankful the event remained short... although it was horrible watching the sudden and rapid deterioration of such a marvelous mind. The disease had taken his body years before, leaving him in a wheelchair, confined to a hospital bed, depending on wheelchair-accessible transportation and locales for everything he needed, making him one of the early adopters of online grocery stores and the like.

I'm thrilled to say it left the soul of him untouched until those final two months.

Still, I have no answers. Derek's own family found it uncomfortable facing the rapid-fire truths and declarations that rushed forth from his unrestrained mouth. They struggled to deal with the physical limitations we had worked through for a very long time. Even his lifelong best friend used confusion and ignorance as excuses.

Only dear friends and family wanted to help, remained with us, traveled to the other end of the country with me to attend his final downfall.

I wish those eight weeks gave me some marvelous insight and guidance to share with you. They don't. Every circumstance is different, every life a standalone event.

Despite my experiences, all I can do is wish you well, say you're a stronger person than most, and tell you that many of us are here for you.


"Rvery circumstance is different, every life a standalone event."

Jason, that's so true; as Melinda knows, and reader, and all will sooner or later experience, in some completely unpredictable way.

And you can't see it in perspective while it's happening. You're like far at sea, tossed up and down, seeing only the troughs when you're in them, and seeing nothing but more peaks and troughs ahead when you're on the peaks.

Your friend Derek sounds like a determined fighter, who refused to let the disease take his life until it took his life. In some ways anything that attacks the brain is the cruelest. We may not be entirely reducible to our brains, but there's nothing we're more dependent on. It's like a lens between self and world, and when it's darkened or distorted both self and world go to hell together.

Some might argue that physical disability with a clear brain is worse. I wouldn't get into that argument because, as Jason says, these ordeals are not comparable. Each one is unique: the attack and the means available for resistance and defense. The very worst thing is meaninglessness. That's the devil.


"I wish those eight weeks gave me some marvelous insight and guidance to share with you. They don't."

I'm so sorry for your loss, Jason. I really think, though, that simply sharing your comment is ~insight and guidance~ of the most generous kind.

Being there for your dear friend/lover was a selfless thing- something that is deep w/in all of us- maybe to varying extents, but it's there.

Your compassion and loyalty has proven true. You look at the world differently for the experience and are a better person for it, IMhumbleO. And that we all have such situations either ahead or behind us is a very human expectation/experience. I don't relish the thought of the scars ahead. I'm fortunate to have few scars from any human losses thus far. Knowing how others cope is a tool i'll need for my own stories ahead.


I second that, Jason.


Hi -- random reader, age 31, stumbled upon this post and had to comment. Though we all read things with a mind toward our own experiences, my heart goes out to you, and I just want to thank you for helping me to understand a lot of what my mom went through as my dad was dying. You have painted the picture for me. I haven't lost my husband (nor do I even have one). But in going through the long decline of my dad, all I can say is, looking back, the pain of losing him to death was greatly reduced by the thought that he was no longer suffering. In the years since, I find that I think of him most of the time as he was when he wasn't as sick, but also that I tend to remember more the funny moments of his illness (like catching him up on a ladder fixing something in the garage when he was in a wheelchair and I have no no no idea how he got up there) than the truly terrible, heartbreaking ones. I am most thankful for that. Not everyone can do what you do, some spouses can't or won't. You are a kind, strong, good person for the care you are giving.

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