By Angelo Sculli
As most of RMOWP knows, I retired in 1997 to pursue a second career as a wildlife photographer. A year later, I was diagnosed with ALS, commonly called Lou Gerhig’s disease after the great Yankee HOF first baseman. I now had to contend with a progressive disease that would eventually leave me completely paralyzed.
Through 2004, I was able to travel alone but it was more difficult to get fed, drive and handle my luggage. Having to use a wheelchair also compounded my problems leading me to find travel buddies to help. Around this time, I met Barbara Bradley who agreed to travel with me to Utah for the (2006) Moab conference. That was how I came to join RMOWP. I will admit that I was apprehensive coming into that first meeting as other photography clubs, organizations and groups had their fair share of cliques and egos that were not conducive to a good experience. My first introduction was the happy hour where everybody let down their hair, had a drink(s) and had a good time. Everybody was very nice to me, even Beto and Jack who became my favorite targets for pranks!
Since that first conference, my disease has progressed to the point where I had to stop traveling. In 2012, I moved into an assisted living facility in Charlotte, North Carolina and moved this year to Harborchase in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Assisted Living places are another world that I encourage y’all to investigate before you need one (I am looking at you Kathy). I pay a monthly fee, have an apartment, get laundry, 3 meals a day, activities, transportation to doctors and a veritable cornucopia of characters.
My illness has progressed to where I need a power wheelchair which forced me to give up chasing skirts! These women move so slow I could catch them! Elderly people have varying degrees of forgetfulness, different levels of mobility and the ability to take of themselves. I must warn you that the standard joke about one benefit of being old is you can hide your own Easter eggs is not a joke.
I have also learned that women 80 and 90 can be cougars. I had a 99-year-old stalker ask me to go to the beach for the weekend. I had to complain when she started to follow me to my room. One other deal breaker for me is Depend lines. As distracting as panty lines under yoga pants can be, Depend lines are a turnoff.
Recently Harborchase started wine parties where everybody gathers and uncorks a bottle of wine. Jack, I must warn you, these women can drink! I limit myself to a glass or two so I can drive without putting a hole in the wall. A few of them drank four glasses and were checking the bottles for residuals. Mind you these women are in their late 80’s or early 90’s and use walkers to stagger back to their rooms.
Lastly, I entitled this manuscript “My Super Power” and, if you have read this nonsense to this point, I can imagine Barb saying “OK, Angelo, stop messing around and wrap this up.”
I discovered my super power when I was in the Charlotte Assisted Living facility and, simply put, some can fly, some can freeze things and some people see dead people. I see effete, rude, boorish and self-important idiots! They’re everywhere!