I brought a roll of aluminum foil to my mother’s, not for leftovers, but to use as mask-making material. (By covering half my face, I thought I would call myself, “Half-baked Man.”) Although that didn’t work out as well as I had hoped, I did discover that the shiny, crumply stuff is a fantastic sculptural medium — ideal for making an almost infinite number of things, e.g., a very warm glove that morphs into a silvery, amphibian-like head; a tiara and bracelet; a sphere for guessing which hand it’s hidden in; balls to juggle with; a metallic-looking bonsai plant; and the entire alphabet in a 16” flexible rod.

The hidden ball game was hard for my mother to grasp initially — no matter which role she took. With gentle coaching though we were able to play a few rounds. Later, she correctly identified each letter of the alphabet as soon as I formed it.

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On my next visit, I made a more elaborate foil crown, embellished with jewels from a child’s mosaic kit that came with stick-on shapes. Perhaps out of modesty, my mother declined to wear it. In the dining room, I offered it to R~, the former theatre professor, who usually wears a blue, NY Yankees baseball cap. He was happy to replace it with something more regal looking, and received many compliments on it from those at his table. Recently, he fell and broke his hip and ended up in rehab. I only hope they are treating him royally.

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