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Grandparents Dramas


Everyone is seated around the table wearing party hats, eating cookies and ice-cream. There is a lot of laughter and noise. Wrapping paper from birthday gifts is all over the floor. The birthday cake is brought in with five candles and Bobbie blows them out while everyone sings: "Happy birthday." As his mother cuts the cake, Bobbie is jumping up and down on his chair, calling out: "Me first! Me first!

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Carol and Bob are a couple in their late fifties. Bob is a lawyer, a partner in a large firm, still working at least ten hours a day. He has enough investments and savings as well as a pension plan to be able to take early retirement and Carol is urging him to do so. Carol: Bob, it's eight o'clock. Where have you been? Bob: I have a very big case in court tomorrow. I couldn't depend on the younger partners to prepare it. Carol: Isn't it time that you cut down on work? Since I stopped teaching at the high school, I feel like I spend my time waiting for you to come home.

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In the first episode, Carol tried to persuade Bob to retire so that they could spend more time together, traveling and visiting the grandchildren. Carol herself is a retired teacher, who finds great satisfaction doing volunteer work with high school dropouts. Bob feels that his life is his work and is afraid to retire. But a year or so later, his brother-in-law dies after having a stroke. And Bob has a slight heart episode. Also, he begins to feel that the younger partners in the law office that he established are trying to keep him behind the scenes, fearful that an older partner might give their law firm a has-been image.
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Harvey, 58, an insurance salesman, is married to Janice, 53. Janice's 79 year-old mother, Martha, suffers from Alzheimer's. Martha lives in her own apartment with live-in caretakers, Gloria and Joseph, a Filipino couple, both in their 30s, who look after her but need constant supervision. Harvey is upset because his wife spends so much time with her mother, and she has even quit her job as a travel agent so that she can spend more time looking after her mother every day. Harvey and Janice have three children, Benny, 14, Jason, 16 and Rita, 17, all in high school.
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Jenny, 55, a piano teacher, married with two grown children and three grandchildren, and Iris, 61, a retired librarian, married with no children, are the daughters of Ruth, 81, who has recently suffered a stroke and is recovering slowly in a rehabilitation hospital. It is anticipated that she will be able to return home in a month or two. Meanwhile, her case is being managed by a rehabilitation team consisting of a social worker, her doctor, a psychologist, a physiotherapist and a speech therapist. Iris, recently retired, visits her mother every day and stays for a few hours, while Jenny, who teaches four days a week at the local conservatory, comes twice a week for an hour or so.
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