Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Attitude Adjustment Story

Memories of Mom
Before I begin this post, in honor of my late mother Helen, I need to wish my wife Sylvia Ann Garber (nee Bank) a very happy 63rd, January 17th. I know she will be thrilled that I remembered her birthday but she will also probably kill me for remembering that it is number 63 and more than that...for telling all of you how old she is now! Oh well, I'll be seeing you soon Mom.

The first little anecdote occurred when my parents had been married for about two years. My Grandmother Araxy (Mom's mother whom we called Grandma Roxy) had asked how much money Mom & Dad had in their savings account. Mom told her that they had $5,000. Later, when Mom and Dad were alone, Dad puzzlingly said, "But Helen, we have less than $1,000. Why would you tell your mother that we had $5,000?" to which Mom replied, "Because that's how much we should have in the bank by now". 

An example of Mom's wit was demonstrated when she drove me home from the oral surgeon's after I had a molar cut out. My mouth was stuffed with gauze and I could not talk even though she seemed to enjoy asking me questions that she knew I couldn't answer. When we got home, Dad asked how things went and Mom cheerfully responded, "Oh Bill, it was wonderful. Paul didn't say one word the whole way home. Now I know how to keep him quiet...a trip to the dentist's!"

The next little blurb occurred when I was in High School. Mom wanted to replace a burned out bulb in the ceiling light of our dining room and started to use one of the wooden chairs at our table to stand on. I informed her that was a bad idea and that I would get the ladder but she insisted that since she "didn't weigh anywhere near as much as you do, there would be no problem." Of course, as soon as she stood on the wooden seat it split the chair in two and even though I caught her, she instinctively put her hand down to break her fall...and she did break something...her wrist. I informed her of this fact but she protested, "I've never broken a bone in my life and besides, it hurts too much to be broken.  I've always heard that sprains hurt more than breaks".  Somehow, I talked her into letting me take her to the emergency room and I was right...her wrist was broken and since my mother was blessed with a great sense of humor, she let me rib her about "Being Right" for years to come.

Finally, as an example of how her sense of humor never quavered even as she lay dying and knew it, comes these little gems. Just before becoming bedridden, Mom said she saw herself naked in the mirror and said she was so skinny and that "I knew I was a starving Armenian but I never realized that I was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp too!" And then only  days before her passing, my wife Sylvia was helping Mom dress and seeing her emaciated state uttered out of pity , "Oh Poor Helen..." to which Mom sternly replied, "Listen you, I'm not poor!"

My only regret is that I never persuaded her that her favorite singer, Anthony Newly,  was a wonderful actor and song writer but also a piss-poor singer...And for proof I offer this little gem:

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