This was originally posted on June 4, 2006. My mother was born September 25, 1925 and died on November 13, 2003. About three years after she died, I wrote this tribute to her memory and am updating it to post in on facebook for Mother's Day, May 8, 2011.
I feel compelled to write an addendum to last night's post. Regarding my mother, it only told one part of the story and like everyone's story, there are a myriad of sides. When I was a child, though I was the "middle child", I always thought myself to be the favorite, well, at least my mother's favorite. We had what I saw then as a very special and close relationship. That she shared with me at times her sadness and even helplessness and though I saw her cry, probably more than was healthy for a young girl, this was only a small part of what there was between us. My mother had immesurable energy for life. She always had a weight problem (an issue that felt like my own because it made me so sad for her and I worried that others would talk about her)but she seemed to have more energy than most women half her size.
The following would have been a typical day for us when she would take me to New York City. We would wait at the bus stop across the street from our house and get on the De Camp bus number 33 or 88 at either 5 minutes before or 25 minutes after the hour and that hour would have been 10 or 11 AM. We'd get into the City 30 minutes later and walk from the Port Authority to 44th or 45th or one of the streets with those little Ticket Brokers that sold Broadway tickets for the same day. This was before TKTS TKTS on 7th Ave. So, she would buy us tickets to see whatever show or play was hot at the time, say, for instance, The Miracle Worker with Patty Duke and she'd pay top dollar for excellent seats for the Matinee performance, which started at 3 PM, so we would have 3 or 4 hours on our hands. She would take me to lunch and then we might go to Saks Fifth Ave, buy me some clothes which we sent home so we didn't have to carry the bags, nor pay the NYC tax. That would bring us to near curtain time, when we'd hurry off to the theater. I always LOVED the play or musical and more times than not, she would go with me after the performance to wait at the stage door for the star to come out and sign my Playbill. To this day, I have many of those Playbills.
My mother and I saw them all, Funny Girl (Streisand), The Owl and the Pussy Cat (Alan Alda), Golden Boy (Sammy Davis, Jr.), The Impossible Years (Alan King, Bert Convey), Fiddler on the Roof (Herschel Bernardi), On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (Barbara Harris), Superman (Jack Cassidy), Half a Sixpence ((Tony Tanner), Mame (Angela Lansbury), The Star Spangled Girl (Tony Perkins, Connie Stevens, Richard Benjamin), Man of La Mancha (Jose Ferrer), Black Comedy (Geraldine Page, Michael Crawford, Lynn Redgrave, Donald Madden), The Apple Tree (Alan Alda, Larry Blyden, Barbara Harris), Jimmy Shine (Dustin Hoffman in Dec. 1968), Hair (Keith Carradine, Melba Moore, James Rado and many others...I actually saw this one with a good friend, Howard, who came into the city for the day, from Philadelphia ), The Rothschilds(Hal Linden), Two By Two (Danny Kaye, Madeline Kahn). My Mother and I went to the theater in my adult years as well and one play stands out in my mind, Whose Life Is It Anyway? (Mary Tyler Moore). So, back to our day. After we got the autogragh, we might be hungry again, as it was getting dark and we had somme time to kill before we'd go to see an evening movie or even on a few occassions, another show. The day was endless, like my Mother's energy, and the experience was always fun and memorable
Every year we went to Radio City Music Hall and stood on those long lines around the side of the building to get tickets for the Christmas Show. In those days, we got to watch a grand Disney movie like Dumbo or Around the World in Eight Days before the rest of the Christmas extravaganza even began. I loved the costumes and the camels and of course the Rockettes. We'd eat at places like The Brass Rail and it would be a day fit for a queen. I loved those days together. I still love to think about them and look at my Playbill collection. I still love the theater, but I don't kow if I ever enjoy it as much as I did as a child and teenager. The other thing my mother had endless energy and patience for was shopping. She would always know the stores where they helped you, so she and the salesperson would go back and forth from the dressing room to the floor, as I tried on one piece of clothing after another. I would get tired out way before she did. We'd walk out of the store laden with bags of clothing. We'd cap off our shopping with lunch and revsiting our purchases as she drove us home.
Another thing about my Mother was that she almost always supported me in the things I wanted to do. She and my father sent me on teen tours across the United States when I was 14, to Mexico at 15, and the summer when I was 16, they sent me on a two month teen tour to Israel. This turned out to be one of the handful of defining times of my life. When I wanted to go back to Israel the summer after my Junior Semester Abroad (in Florence, Italy...another defining time period of my life) and my parents were against it because there had recently been a terrifying terrorist attack there, they listened to my rationale and that of a dear Syracuse Professor (Professor Mickeljohn) who agreed to write them a letter supporting my desire to go, and in the end they supported me in this too. They allowed me to travel with a friend in Europe in my college years and supported my decision to go to Wichita, Kansas for Grad School. And everywhere I went, my Mother and Father visited me..... Italy, Israel and even in Wichita, Kansas. During my Senior year in college, my Mother took me on a trip to Portugal. I can remember the night when she tripped over me sleeping on the hotel bathroom floor, where I'd gone to escape her snoring. We laughed about that for many years after.
So, I guess what I'm saying is that I am what I am today because of what she could and could not give me. What she lacked, I have been trying to make up for in therapy. What she had to
give, I took in wholeheartedly and encorporated into my being and for that I will always be grateful.