An Early Christmas for Aunt Diane


Diane Householder Norrbom is my aunt, my mother’s half-sister, but spiritually no “half-” about it. My mother trusts her more than anyone, including me, and so she should.

Ever since my brother Brian, who was Mom’s caregiver, died, Diane has risen to the enormous challenge of seeing to it that Mom is taken care of. That task is compounded by the fact that Diane lives in Lakewood, California. Several times Diane has driven across the Mojave desert to come put out fires, jump through bureaucratic hoops, hire and fire caregivers, and address a slew of troubles. The proper disposition of my late brother’s unusable vehicle alone was a nightmare, since the title was collateralized by one of those horrible loanshark outfits. She had to punch through a couple of brick walls for that one, even with my inept “help.”

So I’m grateful to her. So when she came to town last Thursday, I told her we’d go out and have some fun, and the budget would be $200.

Wouldn’t you know it–time and opportunity slid away, and we never had that fun. But I had made a commitment, one very specific as to funding. And she was.leaving this morning.


This morning I gave her a shipping envelope that contained a hundred dollar bill, a fifty, a twenty, a ten, and four fives. “I don’t know what this is about,” she said. I told her a classmate of mine had posted on Facebook that we are not what we say we’re going to do, but what we actually do, and that the money needed to be spent on having fun, and that my target time for a California visit is February, but don’t wait for then to spend it, just spend it on fun, and please don’t give any of it away to needy relatives, including me. She agreed, and we have tentative plans to have February fun at the Redondo Beach pier, which I have visited before with great gusto.


But there was more in the envelope:  three original drawings of mine, temporary-mounted on two pieces of posterboard. One is my double-take on Greta Garbo, part of my November “Finishline” series; one is not only a Finishline drawing but the latest in my Utensil series; and one is a recent post-Inktober ink drawing. I am currently charging either $20.00 an hour or $100 apiece, whichever is less, for drawings on this scale, so on that basis Diane got an envelope with contents valued at $500.00. But she deserves much much more, and not merely material things. She has been an incredible, strong matriarch for our family.


Speaking of family, here is Misty, Diane’s niece and Mom’s current live-in caregiver. (Here she shows her surfergirl/hippiechick California roots by flashing us a peace sign.) Bless her heart. She has made a world of difference in Mom’s quality of life.

And it was Diane who brought Mom and Misty together. Just another of Diane’s wise miracles.

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