Friday, August 17, 2012

women in the neighborhood

Nothing embarrassed my mother, nothing and that made her different from the other women in the neighborhood. Those 50's housewives were invisible and they had no voice in the important arenas of life.

These descriptions did not apply to my mother. If Marie was unhappy about a restaurant meal she would take herself back to the kitchen and inform the chef of his culinary mistake and educate him to a tastier technique. That would leave me back at the table playing with my silverware and looking the other way until she emerged triumphant, a new friendship forged with this chef and they are laughing and patting each other on the shoulder.

She excelled in shopping and finding the best deal and if that was not available she would hide the garment in one of those roomy drawers underneath the counter under a bunch of hangers and wait for the damn thing to go on sale. She would watch the papers incessantly and call me excited with the discovery that her capri pants were five dollars cheaper and we could rescue them from their hidden place and the sales people were never the wiser, a game played well.  She exalted in the secrecy.

She was an outrageous flirt, oh she liked the boys, check out her girlhood diary. On Saturday night my high school date would arrive and I was up in the bathroom frantically trying to cover a row of pimples with Cover Girl rosy beige glow.  I knew she was sitting in the rocking chair in her housecoat with the hem of  her lacy nightie peeking out, swinging her shapely crossed leg and entertaining my teen-aged romeo. And probably better than I would be able to do, well I didn't care, they were uninteresting slobs . . .

Did I say flirt?  When I was still a young mother I took her on all-day shopping trips once a month and one time she suggested having an early morning donut at a bakery on Central avenue. We walked into the fragrant shop and I saw a roomful of truckers swigging their morning coffee before mounting their rigs and heading out.  "Hey Marie!" and "Marie, over here!" and "lookin' good, Marie!" came from various tables in the room and I am chagrined and she is beaming.

She was a darling and years ago traveling back from Philadelphia with my youngest son and his then girlfriend she had us crazy laughing all the way to the Mississippi  and then some. And the girlfriend patted her hand and said, "I like you." And that of course left me seething in the front seat, "why does no one ever like me?"  Well, we all know that answer.  Occasionally, I can be fun but not on a regular basis, too much work.

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