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6025 Gardena Lane - Where it is Always 1995

   6025 Gardena Lane Summer `997

(Photo above is 6025 Gardena Lane in Summer mid - 1990"s)

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6025 Gardena Lane - Where it is Always 1995

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Here dwelled together June and Stan...

and the Year is always nineteen ninety five!

June's memory and spirit provide a presence...

and a presence that will never die.

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How very near June seems, yet so very far...

in that age before the world went all awry.

The laughter of the holiday joys can still be heard...

for all whose ears are attuned to catch the distant time.

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As the night descends on Gardena Lane...

the setting sun bathes the hillside in a golden glow.

To the nostalgic mind, June's voice very softly...

 in awe can still be heard: "Isn't it so beautiful."

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A lonely jogger strains against the hill.

Here, though the world explode,  these two survive...

and the year is always nineteen ninety five.
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Stan Berg - July 4th 2006

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Winter 1998 6025 Gardena Lane

(Above photo is 6025 Gardena Lane in Winter mid- 1990's)

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For most Americans the 4th of July means American Independence Day and a happy holiday, but since July 4th 2006 it has been a day of sad memories for me…it was a day of suffering for June. I was called early that morning by the Benedictine Villa to tell me that June had suffered a grand-mal seizure. It was the third seizure June had experienced after her journey into the late stages of her Alzheimer’s, disease. June was in her 10th year of Alzheimer’s. I thought the seizures had been controlled with medication after the first two in the prior year. Anyone who has witnessed a loved one with such a seizure knows the horror of it. The body gets rigid and shakes uncontrollably from muscle spasms, consciousness is lost. Compound that with the Alzheimer’s victim’s inability to understand and further couple it with the normal daily fear experienced in the late stages of the disease. When the victim regains consciousness they are physically exhausted, confused and fearful.

Later in the day of July 4th 2006, as June was sleeping, and in my sadness, I drove to the Sofitel Hotel. My hope was that I would be able to recapture a glimpse of some of June and my earlier happy days in the lobby of that Hotel. In the old days we would sit at one of the lobby tables and have a glass of our favorite wine, a fruit-cheese plate with French bread and “people watch”.

The trauma of the morning did not allow that to happen. Instead, I sought refuge in writing a poem about June and our home at 6025 Gardena Lane with a time setting of a few years before Alzheimer’s took over our lives. The year selected was 1995. My escape year poem was inspired by a poem written by a Sherlock Holmes fan (V. Starrett - 1942) called “221B Baker Street” and his escape year was 1895…

June and Stan in San Diego 1995Why the year 1995 - It was a great year in which the word "Alzheimer's" was never a part of our vocabulary. There was no 9/11 mentality loose in our world. Although we did not go to London that year, we did have a grand travel time in connection  with forensic activities.

We spent a February week at Seattle, Washington in connection with the American Academy of Forensic Science. (AAFS) We spent a week in June in San Diego, California with the forensic firearms group.  (AFTE) July found us in  in Costa Mesa, California for a week with the International Association for Identification. (IAI) That fall in September we had a fun week in Alexandria, Minnesota with the Minnesota State Forensic Group. (Minn Division of IAI)

(Photo on the right above is of June and Stan at San Diego, California in June 1995 - AFTE Conference.)

We later hosted the Holidays at 6025 as was our custom for many  years. It was a year in which the smile that would light up June's entire face was ever present. The setting is also exactly one hundred years later than (1895)  the original "221b"(Baker Street) poem by Starrett.

I have heard June comment on so many  occasions as we sat together in the kitchen in the late afternoon, looking down across the lawn and the hillside -

"Isn't it so beautiful."

Even as June later struggled with Alzheimer's, she appreciated God's beauty when I seemed to be blind or overlooked it.

June always loved our home at 6025 Gardena Lane more than any other home we have ever owned...this was our third house or home that we owned but the first one in which June and I participated to the extent of selecting the lot on a  hillside, participating in the design of the semi-split level plans and watched it being built. We both lived in this home for almost 40 years before Alzheimer's took June away. Almost without fail, as June and I would back our car down the sloping driveway and into the street, June would look back at our home and remark:

 "We have such a nice Home"

June 1994The home was not especially deluxe, but we did have two real brick fireplaces, one on each level and a living room with a series of five tall large windows that overlooked the hillside.

June loved the home...what a sad day when June left our home forever to finish out her remaining days in a nursing home...16 March 2005...her 8th year of Alzheimer's.

Now, whenever I back our car out of the driveway, I again hear her words: "We have such a nice Home!"

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Photo Notes: The photo on the right side above is of June sitting in front of one of our fireplaces on the lower level in our family room/office. Photo in December 1994. June is demonstrating her usual million dollar smile. Photo below right is June sleeping by upper level fireplace with family cat "Wumpy" resting on top of her. (Ca. 1970) Photo bottom below right is June and my mother Ellen during Christmas time in 2000.

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Initially I bought into the myth that Alzheimer's was basically a memory disease. I understood that with patience, understanding and some adjustments, I would be able to take care of June in our home for her lifetime. It was later that I came to understand the cruel scope of Alzheimer's disease.

June SleepingIn reality June's brain was slowly dying and the short term memory (later long term) were only the beginning symptoms of this terrible disease.

As the brain slowly died, it would began to shut down the body functions (walking, talking, eating etc.) with associated personality changes.

Eventually her proper care would be far beyond what I could manage for her alone in our home.

On 16 March 2005, June was placed in the care of an Alzheimer's facility.

On 23 October 2008, June passed away from the complications of this disease.

June was and will always be, the love and light of my life.

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June and Ellen Christmas timeJuly 4th, 2012 Update: Today July 4th, 2012, after visiting June’s grave-site at Lakewood Cemetery with a dozen red roses and prayers, I visited the Holy Spirit Chapel and the Alzheimer’s Villa at the Benedictine. I visited June’s old room No. 207 in the Villa...an emotional moment. I also visited with the staff and listened to some musical entertainment being put on for the residents by a husband and wife duo. I saw Meicy the kindly Nursing Assistant who was on duty the morning June passed away in 2008. The last song by the duo was by coincidence, “The Tennessee Waltz”…June and my song!...or was it a coincidence?

July 4th, 2013 Update: A quiet but emotional 4th of July...lunch at Green Mill in Rosedale to check on June's Alzheimer's awareness card dispenser and replace any needed cards...Then a visit to June's old room 207 in the Alzheimer's Villa of the Benedictine Health Care Center and then on to the Holy Spirit Chapel for prayers and some quiet time and coffee in the Chapel's lobby area...dinner later at Keys in Spring Lake Park to also check on June's Alzheimer's awareness card dispenser. Yesterday, Wednesday July 3rd, I replaced June's roses at Lakewood Cemetery with fresh orange roses.

 

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Readers:  For greater detail on June's life with Alzheimer's, please click on the below link:

"June K. Berg's Journey into Alzheimer's"

Readers: For additional  information on seizures and convulsions related to Alzheimer's, please click on the below link:

"Seizures, Convulsions and Alzheimer's"

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Reader's Comments

Ada Padron Criscione  - Edgewater, New Jersey - (5 July 2012): "Stanton you have a gift for sharing a story. So many times I read what you have written and I am totally taken to another place. This morning I was transported to 6025 Gardena Lane. Thank you for sharing"

Christine Walend -  Lorain, Ohio - (5 July 2012): "I thank you for sharing this, Stanton. My mom has suffered 2 seizures..one in February, one in April. The first one that she had, they thought it was a possible stroke, posible seizure? She ended up in the hospital for a few days for testing..., since it was her 1st one and she has a pacemaker and existing heart problems? Turns out it was not her heart. Your page is very informative for me, I "thank you" so much for all you have done to help people understand this dreadful disease."

Jan Burns Great Wyrley, United Kingdom - (9 August 2012):"A very moving poem Stan, your explanation about your experiences and the creation of the poem gives the reader an insight into what life was like for you and June - how lucky you were you to have found each other."

Kathy Guess Kalamazoo, Michigan - (9 August 2012): "Thank You For Sharing Stanton very interesting about you and you lovely wife June's life and great poem !!"

Sheri DuBro Alpert  - Englewood, Ohio - (2 October 2012): "Your posts are always so beautiful and touching. My mom and dad just celebrated their 53rd anniversary last week. It broke my heart thinking of my dads thoughts. A woman he loved his whole life in at the ending stages. We cherish every moment we have with her now and memories from the past.  I pray for a cure everyday. For myself, siblings and children. You inspire me daily."

Dianne Cogar  - Springfield, Ohio - (4 October 2012): "I love this song though it is so very sad.  It makes me stop to think  about this myself, "Who Will Watch The Home Place."...(4 July 2013):Beautiful Poem."

Sandra Lynn Valentin-Mitchell  - Chicago, Illinois - (7 October 2012): "We often think of all this..., as there really isn't anyone to take care of anything for us!  So we just say, "What will be will be".  Very sad though, when we look around at everything that is now ours and has personal meaning..."I'm so sorry for your hurt,...June and you were so fortunate to have each other!"

Laura Carter  - Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom - (8 October 2012): "My family have been thinking about this with the onset of grandads Alzheimer's. We promised him we would keep him in his home, a place full of memories of nan for him. My mum will stay there when the time comes but I don't know if I could. I like to think that the memories we make are worth so much more than the possessions we have. I hope you are ok. I love reading about your life with June. You were both very lucky to have found your soul mates."  

Amy Stiel Almas  - Waterford, Michigan - (4 July 2013): "God Bless you, Stan! Thank you for being the advocate you are. June would be so proud!"

Terry Ferlas  - Cottage Grove, Minnesota - (4 July 2013):"Oh, I just love it Stan!"

Buddy Bear (Maura) - Dublin, Ireland - (4 July 2013): "Stan those seizures are awful to witness my mother has suffered a number of them over the years, very frightening to watch. That is a beautiful poem. The photo of you and June is Beautiful, a very handsome couple."

Gill Denman  - Essex, United Kingdom - (4 July 2013): "Stan. This is a very special post, it taps into a few things which may well give those of us who are facing these things some insight that we didn't have, also it has the emotions reflecting back that we feel.  The seizures I didn't know about, but make a lot of sense.  Also that feeling of how apart you are from the world when horrors strike.  I remember going to a funeral of a close friend not too many years ago, someone in the car said to me that we were surrounded by life going on as normal, we were in a bubble where our link to the outside had been broken.  It felt as though an invisible wall had been constructed around us.  Try to have a peaceful and reflective July 4, try to relax and enjoy, easy for me to say, I know, it isn't me experienceing it, but I do have some insight.  I do want you to be able to enjoy the holiday."

Bernadette Barbour  - Jupiter Island, Florida(4 July 2013): "I love that poem Stanton.  June is home and free from all that.  Try not to remember it (I know it's hard) and meditate with those Beautiful memories.  Still watching my Mum, she is off nearly all meds now and hardly ever gets a seizure anymore, TG.  Enjoy your 4th of July Stan."

Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Inc., - Canada - (4 July 2013): "Thank you so much for sharing! We really appreciate your experience and input.  -Amelia White, Events Coordinator."

Martina Kaut  - Furtwangen, Germany - (4 July 2013): "You touched my soul, with every word ... thank you Stanton O. Berg for sharing with us."

Mary Berneche  - Roseville, Minnesota - (4 July 2013): "Stan, a beautiful poem about a beautiful lady. It shows how very much you loved her."

Marc Francis Roddin  - Mountain View, California- (4 July 2013): "Thanks very much for sharing this. My Dad has had Alzheimers for ten years but has not had any seizures. Now I know what we might expect."

Beth Ann Doucette  - Lino Lakes, Minnesota - (5 July 2013):"I totally agree with Terry and Mary...Absolutely beautiful!...Thank you for sharing...We are resting after an awesome family 4th and counting our blessings...Take care."

Louise Ann Howard  - Batemans Bay, New South Wales, Australia - (3 July 2014):"Oh Stan. I read your article. Will read your poem asap. My brother in law was born today so it is a birthday we never forget. I always remember the 4th July. So sorry to hear about how hard times were for you. I hope today you have a good 4th of July. With comfort happy memories too. Louise."

John Stevens - Twin Falls, Idaho - "Beautiful poem Stan."

Helen Russin - Bridgeport, Ohio - (4 July 2014):"Thanks for sharing your lovely memories and poem, Stan."

KellyDee Ramos - Laveen, Arizona - (4 July 2014): " So beautiful Stanton."

Bonnie Siep - Ottsville, Pennsylvania - (4 July 2014): "Thank you again Mr Berg for sharing a wonderful tear felt love life of your loving wife June & yourself . I am always in tears when I read about your life with June . I know she was a Wonderful Women loved very Much by many who knew her . I never knew June , all though I wish I would of known her . Just by reading what you write about her tells me she was a Gem ..... My heart goes out to you , I can see the Both of you had a Love like no other . You have so many Great Memories of June that No One can Ever take away from you and one day you will be with your beloved June reunited as one again I'm sure she is looking down upon you with a big Beautiful Smile awaiting your arrival back home . I will be thinking of you Mr Berg as always."