Excerpt from my book –
Several years ago while visiting my parents, post stroke and brain aneurysm, I picked at a tossed salad and winced as my mother stirred four sugars into a cup of coffee. The phone rang. Her “Hello” was followed by silence and then she began to curse like a mighty wind. Next, she dropped the phone as if bitten. “He calls every day,” she said. “Shitass never says a word.”
“Who calls?” I asked, concerned.
“Don’t know who he is (big pause,) but it might be Angelo.”
The fork was halfway to my mouth. “Angelo? Who’s Angelo?”
My seventy-eight year old mother’s wrinkled face reddened deeply. Not meeting my eyes she said, “My first boyfriend.”
My father snored in another room, as he has for almost sixty years. Angelo? I never heard of any Angelo. Boyfriend? Still not looking at me she said, “You know, your father wasn’t the only one.”
I was stunned, my head tilted to one side. This woman, who I was having a hard time recognizing lately anyway, was suddenly sporting a flaming feather boa and lime green slicker. She was larger than I’d imagined and as her only daughter, I wanted more.
Loudly crunching a carrot I asked, “Did you ever kiss him?”
Slowly stirring her coffee, she looked out the window beyond the parking lot and brick, “Once,” then smiled to herself. “We might have kissed…once.”
This phone call may have been a wrong number or more likely it was a computer generated sales call or who knows…maybe Angelo (Mom was voted ‘sexiest voice’ at the local senior center).
The elderly are prime targets for phone scum. I become infuriated when I think of all the scammers / frauds / criminals who have called my mother and convinced her to purchase something she does not need.
As her POA, I always review her credit card statement and have found charges for Triple A (she hasn’t driven in years), brass cleaner (no brass in her apartment), a cookbook subscription (at least she’d read that, but she’d been charged for it twice) and ear aids to help her hear “like a bat”.
Interestingly, most telemarketers list on her credit card statement with a phone number while many other companies do not. And when I call to question a charge, I take pleasure in telling whoever answers how despicable they are to prey on the elderly. They seem immune, but the charges are usually reversed.
In addition, I’ve told Mom never to give out her credit card number and (just in case) convinced her to reduce her credit spending limit to $300, though I could not persuade her to simply hang up the phone. I guess she is often lonely and enjoys the conversations. She just can’t help herself sometimes.
And Angelo…….well, who knows.
Here’s some interesting reading. It’s from CT Watchdog (though this occurs in every state)… http://ctwatchdog.com/2010/11/11/more-connecticut-grandparents-victimized-by-phone-scams