Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lola and the Ghost Whisperer

This past Wednesday, I got home from work and turned on my computer. Yahoo is my homepage and one of the top stories was about CBS canceling Ghost Whisper. I saw that and was really annoyed as that is one of the few TV shows on CBS today that I like. I actually feel that television is for the most part pathetic with their "reality" shows (not reality at all and totally scripted without the expense of paying actors). I also noticed a few other shows I like being cancelled from CBS and did notice they all are "thinking" shows. This morning when I got up and turned on the TV, oddly enough CBS had paid programming running rather than local or network news. I assumed it was to get money to make up for the shows they are cancelling.

But back to last Wednesday. When I saw Ghost Whisperer being cancelled I was not only annoyed by the show being cancelled but by the thought that my grandmother, Lola, just doesn't appear to me the way ghosts appear to Melinda on the show. While I was contemplating that, I had a recollection of a dream from the week before where I was talking to Lola (mind you, I didn't see her; it was more of a "knowing" thing) and she told me that what I was looking for was available to me on line or in my possession. As I remembered this dream, I was immediately drawn to Red's funeral book and began looking at the names of guests and of those that sent flower arrangements.

The second name on the flower arrangement page was Lola and Charlie Cox! I thought, "really"! Could it be that she was released from Norwalk State Hospital and married and lived a nice life (like Susan Sarandon's grandmother did on Who Do You Think You Are?)? I kind of got my hopes up and let my "creative" mind run away with the story. I had the brief feeling that my grandmother went on to live a nice life without her son and husband, free from the confinements on a mental hospital in the 1930s, and for a moment, I was happy for her.

This finding led me back to the Internet to search for Lola Cox. I found her. According to the Social Security Death Index, she was born in 1891 or so (not the year I assume my grandmother was born), but she was born in Illinois and her middle initial was "L" (my grandmother's middle initial on every document I've found to date). The zip code that her last social security benefit was paid was 90044. Well, that just happened to be the zip code her brother William lived and died in. I couldn't focus on anything other than pulling that death certificate!

Thursday morning came and I went to work. I decided the suspense was too much and decided to take a long lunch and drive out to the Los Angeles Registrar Recorder's Office to pull that death certificate. Much to my dismay, it was not my Lola. Her parents were not my great grandparents, nor was the informant anyone I could identify. This was just another cold lead. I returned to work feeling let down and hot (my car A/C doesn't work and it was a warm day filled with gridlock on the LA freeways).

I was so distraught that I decided to call the California Department of Mental Health. I spoke with someone that I had spoken with about a month ago. She reiterated to me that fact that when someone dies in the State system, there is a death certificate, but it is not public record due to privacy issues. (Maybe this is the case with Lola as I cannot find anything on her beyond 1932.) She also suggested I contact someone from the California Memorial Project that is NOT the person I have tried on several occasions to contact via phone and email, to no avail. Actually, the very nice woman I spoke with at Metropolitan / Norwalk Hospital was not even aware of this project, a project that Norwalk is involved with.

So, I cannot find my grandmother after 1932. I know she somehow landed in Norwalk and not a single individual or State organization gave a shit about my dad, the child left behind because of this, and I am banned from getting any information unless I get a court order. This is really, really pissing me off. Privacy laws, I get, but there is no way in hell that Lola is alive today or no way that she was EVER allowed to sign a piece of paper allowing her records to be turned over to anyone. She was admitted during an ugly time in the history of our system; one that the employee I spoke with from the State admits was horrible. A time when just about anyone could legally admit someone on pretty lame grounds. Yet, knowing this, I cannot have access to my grandmother's records without a court order! Something that baffles me is how to obtain a court order. A court order, from what I've learned from attorneys, is a document required for litigation, yet the hospital does not use the term "litigation". The whole thing gives me a headache.

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