Remembering pp 167-186 | Cite as

Experiencing History: A Journey from Oral History to Performance

  • Natalie M. Fousekis
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Oral History book series (PSOH)


I discovered oral history and Alzheimer’s disease at the same time. Ironically, just as I began to see the value of preserving peoples memories on tape, I learned that my mother was losing her memory to Alzheimer’s. I started to dream about her almost every night. Each time the nightmare was different. Sometimes, I would just be crying and telling a friend about my mom. She or he would try to comfort me and convince me that everything would be all right. Other nights I watched my mom crying from a distance, but I could not reach her and could not help her. A few times she even died in my dreams. For over a month, Alzheimer’s crept into my mind this way—during each evening when I hoped to rest and forget about reality. (Every night I wished I could wake up the next morning and find out that the doctors had made a mistake, but instead I woke up feeling drained and scared about the future.) This disease incensed me—because of my mother’s age, because of my age. On June 5, 1994, a few weeks before the diagnosis, we celebrated her fifty-fifth birthday. I had just turned twenty-six. We still had so many things to do as mother and daughter. I had imagined us going places and doing things together as we always had—hiking, shopping, and visiting museums. For many years we were still able to do these things, but gradually I became a constant observer, watching for clues and signs of her weakness—in her and in me. As I write this a decade later, my mother still has a physical presence in my life, but now her memory has deserted her. There are only flickers of her former self in an occasional smile or a knowing look.


Child Care Oral History Child Care Center Historical Insight Constant Observer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Della Pollock 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie M. Fousekis

There are no affiliations available

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