Old Mrs. MacNamara died in 1966. I remember the year because they gave out these little cards at her funeral that had the date on them. I didn’t save the card, if that’s what you’re thinking. But I can still see it in my mind. In gray ink at the top it said 1966. Under that was a picture of her face. Some words underneath that. On the other side was a picture of a saint and some more words. It was like a catholic playing card.
I have a photographic memory but that doesn’t mean what you probably think it does. People think it means I can remember everything but it doesn’t. It just means my memories look like photographs. Movies, too, but not really. The movies are more like a flip book. You know, a lot of pictures that you flip through really fast. That’s kind of how my memories work. It’s not as good as it sounds. The photos and flip books fade over time. When I was an actor the way I remembered my lines was to study the script long enough that then I could just read it when on stage.
Old Mrs. Mac was my first funeral but I wasn’t sad. I barely knew her and I didn’t like her so I didn’t care that she was dead. I do not know what she died of. Nor care.
Like Marjorie and Thomas, Old Mrs. Mac was in a wheelchair. They were English and she was Irish but I wonder if both their family crests could have been wheelchairs? Her hands were permanently fixed all curled in on themselves as if she were squeezing a golf ball but she wasn’t. She held them up a few inches above the knitted blanket covering her lap and said the following sentence, “These are my sins!” She was speaking to anyone who was within listening distance.
I guess the funeral was somber. Everybody looked super serious and hardly talked. Most of the talk was whispering. It was boring as hell. At one point Ethel look at me while we were sitting in the pews. She smiled. I thought, what the fuck are you smiling about? Your mother is dead. Aren’t you supposed to be sad? I guess I wasn’t the only one.