remember old mr. huldorn? his life stored in two hotel-style dresser drawers, days spent on the fifth floor of the concrete rectangle in the countryside. walks, privileged. and when i visited him, they’d just taken away his green card—which for mr. huldorn was like taking away his prized collection of special edition baseball cards: devastating.
and so he spent his days on his bed. eating snacks of chocolate Easter bunnies & orange-wrapped Skittles from last Halloween. his mom sent him boxes, usually weekly. but he’d ask at least twice a day to please check the mail for more treats—a request usually followed by more hollering about his bathroom habits.
mother-mrs. huldorn sent packages full of chocolate bunnies & orange wrappers because she couldn’t stand to visit anymore. she as getting older & it was just too hard to see her forty-something son holler about his bowels.
i kind of don’t blame her.
mr. huldorn taught me a lot about waiting, patience. and not surprisingly about his bowels. and he also taught me about his daily bathroom habits…
but what i didn’t tell you was that old mr. huldorn, before he hollered about the bathroom, was a valedictorian. a true 4.0-earning, graduation-class-speaking high school valedictorian. it was in another life, now irreconcilable to his own fragile memory. as the story was told, he was a up-and-coming computer genius. the second bill gates, some even said.
his parents were proud—or so the story goes. their prominent positions in the community, country-club lifestyle & ritzy vacation on the Carolina Coast seemed to be the perfect formula for a life of leisure & success.
the story of mr. huldorn’s young Hollywood life goes on as any other—full of drama, suspense, & a small dose of personal tragedy.
it was during college, his sophomore year that the senior mr. huldorn fell out of love with his family & in love with a much younger, thinner, perkier version of the original mrs. huldorn. i can only imagine the wildfire of gossip that spread through those streak-free windows & red-roofed houses, between the mouths of the Stepford Wives on Wisteria Lane.
and the then-young mr. huldorn was, i would imagine, nothing less than devastated.
i was told, the story sounding much like a ghostly tale from a far off century, that the voices started then, after the new mrs. huldorn moved in. the voices got louder & stronger & bothered him more frequently. they talked to him in class, in the library, & during dinners in the dining hall. they told him he was stupid, undeserving. they tried to convince him to jump off roofs & smash computer screens.
and soon enough, it was just too much. the senior mr. huldorn, horrified at what had become of his valedictorian, country-club son waived goodbye for good.
which just left mr. huldorn and his worn out mother. and while the voices taunted the mind of young mr. huldorn, the rumors taunted that red roofed house on the real wisteria lane.
it was his breaking point.
so young mr. huldorn was taken to the hospital. his mother soon discovered just how severe her son’s schizophrenia really was.
fast forward twenty years. and we arrive at the concrete rectangle in the countryside, the fifth floor, the boxes of Easter bunnies, and…the bathroom.
you see, the case of old mr. huldorn’s hollering wasn’t just about the bathroom. it wasn’t just about his rather odd fixation on his bowel movements. and it wasn’t about his green card, either. no, the tale of old mr. huldorn is really about his STORY. it is about second-chances & loving anyways & accepting the seemingly-devastating & rising to the occasion.
and maybe most of all, it is the poignant reminder that none of us should be who we once were.
we have a voice who speaks to us, too. jump, it says, let me catch you. dare, it warns, i will continue to provide. and while we go on in our daily trudge, hollering about the weather & the boss & the clogged toilet, that voice knows where we’ve come from.
and that Voice has big plans for us.
which may or may not include things like green cards & orange wrapped candies & weekly boxes full of chocolate Easter bunnies.