The Stan Chronicles

The Stan Chronicles: Writer and broadcaster Bill Richardson was 23 when he moved from Winnipeg to Vancouver, in August of 1978, and 56 when he reversed the journey, in June, 2012. That was when his father Stan, diagnosed with dementia, was admitted into a personal care home: the Manor, as it’s identified here. Richardson thought he was returning for the last few months of his father’s life. Almost two years later, he’s still there. The Stan Chronicles are excerpts from his journal.

Remember your Manors

Remember your Manors


Stan took a stumble the other day; his right arm and hand got badly bashed up.

I’m trying to get there for mealtimes, to help him eat. He hasn’t got much appetite, so mostly it’s thrust on my part, with the fork, and parry on his, with his left hand.

Afterwards, he likes to have a dollop of scotch, from a supply I now keep on hand. I got to the manor tonight just as the soup was being served.

Bill: Hi, how are you feeling?
Stan: As long as we know well enough in advance.
Bill: Know what? Would you like some soup?
Stan: Well enough in advance so we can plan.
Bill: Know what? Plan what? It’s chicken noodle.
Stan: Know whether she’s coming or not. So we can plan.
Bill: Who? Who’s coming? Have some soup.
Stan: Why, the Queen.

(Helen enters the dining room, wearing her toque, using her wheelchair as a walker. In her wheelchair are three cabbage patch dolls; she takes them everywhere, talks to them, feeds them and so on.)

Helen (in a voice that obviates the need for hearing aids): Listen here, you bastards. From today on, it’s going to be different. None of you is going to come into my room. Do you understand? NO-ONE. And I won’t come down for dinner until we have Rice Krispies. You’re all assholes.

(Helen exits, everyone shrugs.)

Bill: What was that about the Queen?
Stan: I think I should make sure that bottle of scotch has been secured.
Bill: Have some soup.


About the author

Bill Richardson

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