Chapter 26: Another Diaspora
Edgecorp has announced that the Towers is being sold, which means all
the residents have to move. Emma Clare’s ashes are buried at the ranch.
Julia announces that she’s moving to Cape Girardeau to live with Alice.
Hannah is reconciled with the circle and tells them that she now owns her
mother’s house. She invites Maude and Bertha and Neill to live there (until
Bertha needs more care than they can provide). Milly says that Dick has
accepted a job with the Houston office. Emma Clare and Gertie nag Herta
into letting go of her leadership of the circle, buying a personal computer,
and translating her mother’s old books. The nurses have a meeting with
Edgecorp’s general partner that is interrupted by Nankhani. With the shaman’s
help, the cat stage manages his demise. Nearly all the circle’s friends
and relatives are present at their final ritual when Herta hands off the
leadership to Milly, Brooke, and Matthew.
There is indeed a successful Korean community in Orange County.
Drs. Chamberlain and Edwards. Allusions to Richard Chamberlain as Dr.
Kildare and Vince Edwards as Dr. Ben Casey, both popular TV dramas.
Leisure Worlds and the other places Geneva and Rita mention are real.
Those Betty Ford Center scrubs are real, too. I had one and wore it for
several years, but hardly anyone ever got the joke. (And they didn’t come
in cat sizes.)
Remember that home computers were rare in 1990. Herta’s computer had a
black screen with neon green lines of print, her screen saver was the famous
flying toasters, and her peripheral was a noisy dot-matrix printer. She
used WordPerfect 5.1, the most popular word processing program in the late
1980s, and learned quickly to press ALT+CTRL+DEL when the computer crashed.
Which happened all the time. Computers ran on Disc Operating Systems (DOS)
that required lots of commands to be typed in. Data was saved on 8-inch
floppy disks. I wrote a user guide in 1988 in which I had to warn computer
owners not to use push pins or magnets to stick their 8-inch floppies on
bulletin boards or to the fridge. If you had your sound on, when this computer
booted up, it told you its name was Aurora. Electronic mail and the Internet
existed (the first dial-up access provider came on-line in 1990) but were
rare outside offices. There’s a fascinating site that gives the
history of computers, starting with the abacus (c. 500 BCE).
After the dragon performs her final task for the circle by eating Nankhani,
she flies away. We don’t know where the dragon goes. I keep hoping she
stayed in Long Beach.
The final ritual includes Matthew as a priest. This would never have happened
a year earlier. The women now understand why the circle had to be broken.
They will create new circles and pass their power and wisdom (and their
juiciness) on to the younger generation.
Why are all three of the diasporas in this book necessary? How does this
lesson apply to real life?
What’s it going to be like in Hannah’s house?
What do you think the crones will be doing in their new homes around the
U.S.? Will they retire again or find new, interesting things to do? For
Copyright © 2011 by Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Permission
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