Tomorrow morning, and I mean the very wee hours of the morning, I’m flying to Frankfort, Kentucky to see a man about a brain. Not just any brain, as you well know. My father’s brain — and the Brain in a Jar book I wrote about growing up with my dad’s great mind and watching it succumb to Alzheimer’s disease. The title of the book comes from the fact that my dad kept his father’s AD-riddled brain, in a jar, on his office desk — a reminder of what he was fighting in his patients as well as himself.
The process of writing this book and losing my father have been overwhelming at times. I think I’ve cried more in the last two years than in all my other years combined. The day I went with Nora and Kathy to check out whether Juniper Memory Care would be a good place for Beau, I thought they’d have to carry me out on a stretcher or in a straight-jacket.
Interesting that the word “straight-jacket” pops in to my head.
In looking through some old correspondence, for the book, I found a letter that my grandfather sent my father about Bercaw history. Turns out that my great great grandfather, George Washington Bercaw, died in the Kentucky State Asylum. His wife died there as well.
My journey to Kentucky to meet Larry of Broadstone Books (the publisher of Brain in Jar) is a trip to a place that I didn’t see coming. In fact, Frankfort is one of the few places in the United States that I’ve never been. A place that is part of a family history I never knew until I started this project. Talk about a full-circle ending.
When Larry picks me up in Lexington, our first stop is the now-defunct Kentucky State Asylum to see if we can find George Washington Bercaw’s grave. Just FYI, this was Larry’s idea, but it is further proof that is he is the right publisher for Brain.
Later in the day, we’ll celebrate our partnership at the Capital Cellars wine bar in Frankfort. At which time, I plan to pat Larry on the back and laugh while I say, “brain in a bar.” And, of course, I’ll also being saying thank you from the bottom of my heart.