Meeting Dorothy Heinlein ….

February 1, 2009

kayleigh has been estranged from her mother for many years.   I’ve never met her mother, but according to most everyone, including relatives on her own side, she was not a pleasant woman.  She left when kayleigh was very young.  kayleigh’s brother though, older, has remained in contact with their mother.  Their mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and recently placed into a special needs home.

By coincidence, yesterday kayleigh was having coffee with her brother when he received a call from the home.  Their mother was having a bad day, disrupting the place to such an extent that the other patients could not be cared for properly.  They asked him if he could stop by.  kayleigh assured him that she would have no issue with driving over to see what was going on, and they did.

kayleigh remained in the background to keep the disruption at a minimum, thinking that their mother probably wouldn’t recognize her anymore (she didn’t).

She struck up a conversation with one of the other patients.  The lady introduced herself as Dorothy Heinlein.

Because of the name,  kayleigh offhandedly said, “Oh, are you related to Robert Heinlein?”

The lady lit up.  “Yes!  He was my brother in law!”  And she proceeded to tell a few stories about Robert Heinlein, and participation in the Heinlein Centennial in Kansas City!  Her husband, Robert Heinlein’s younger brother, was a professor here locally.

Mrs. Heinlein was especially nice and very vibrant, kayleigh said, and took kayleigh  on a tour of the facility.  She was very proud to show kayleigh her room, noting the special fact that she had *two* windows, and showed her the extra closet space, and a “not too firm, not too soft” mattress.

It was pretty plain that Mrs. Heinlein was trying to assure kayleigh that her mother was staying in a good place.   She even offered to introduce herself to kayleigh’s mother and make friends.

When kayleigh admitted that she had been estranged from her mother for several years, Mrs. Heinlein patted her arm very knowingly and said, “We’ll just keep to ourselves then, but I’ll keep an eye on her for you.”

kayleigh said she seemed to enjoy the thought of conspiracy.

And yes, this is the very nice lady kayleigh spoke to.

In spite of the situation and the place they met, that’s pretty darned cool!


2 Responses to “Meeting Dorothy Heinlein ….”

  1. Susie Davis Says:

    How wonderful that you had this encounter with Dorothy! I grew up next door to the Heinleins in Wyoming. A year younger than their only son, I spent a lot of time at their house – The house, by the way, that my father designed for them in the 50s.
    Dorothy was always a firecracker of a socializer. She was one of my mom’s best friends and was a true friend to our family, always ready to help, share a recipe, talk your ear off! She was a very important adult to me as I grew up. Thank you again for sharing your story. Dorothy died in January. I’m not sure exactly how old she was – mid to late 90s.

  2. Khozyain Says:

    Thank you very much for the comment and added info about Dorothy. kayleigh and I are both sad to hear of her passing. She sounds like she was a pistol!

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