How I adored Vivie! Our love affair began when I was still a hospitality aide, emptying the laundry bins for the GNAs, one of whom I would soon be.
One of my most important evening tasks, and one that was required by law, was offering an evening snack to the patients. I didn't get a lot of takers since most of the old folks had their supper and wanted to head straight for bed.
But I asked anyway: "Would you like some juice? Would you like some ice cream? How about a sandwich?"
Faith, who was an old hand at the hospitality aide business and who trained me, told me not to ask Vivie if she wanted a snack. "She never wants anything," Faith told me.
But disobedient soul that I am, I asked Vivie anyway. Faith was right. Vivie always shook her head and waved me away.
But with persistence I had a Vivie breakthrough. Each evening a woman and her young daughter, perhaps the daughter was four or five, would come in to put Vivie to bed.
Just before Halloween, the little girl was wearing her Halloween costume. She was dressed as a princess.
"Your Highness," I cried, as I entered Vivie's room, "I didn't realize you are a princess."
Then I curtsied.
The little girl giggled and Vivie giggled. After that, Vivie smiled when she saw me, though she continued to wave me away.
One night I got to Vivie's room with my snack cart just after the woman had gotten Vivie into bed, wearing a fresh snap-up-the-front smock and with a hairnet on her dark hair to keep her permed, dyed curls in place.
"Would you like a snack?" I inquired as usual.
"Why do you ask me?" Vivie spluttered. "You know I never want anything."
"I ask because I care," I said.
"Oh, oh," Vivie responded, making her usual spluttering noises as she searched for the right word. "Oh, I just love you."
I hugged her and kissed her cheek.
I knew I had a new friend.