Since Mother's Day is coming, I thought I would reminisce about my mother.
I've written about mother's law practice elsewhere. Now I want to mention another idiosyncracy of hers.
Mother hated bad news--no, she didn't believe in bad news, and felt that if she didn't share it, it didn't count. So if anything bad happened, she never told me. This was particularly annoying, as I lived out of town, and depended on her to keep me up to date on family news.
Once I was visiting her, and noticed that my cousin Bernie's wife was not present on a family occasion. Mother had to admit that Noreen and Bernie were getting divorced. Instead if mentioning it, mother disappearated Noreen. She became a non-person. No grudge, she just was never mentioned. It was like those group pictures of Soviet leaders, where the unfortunate one who had fallen from grace was simply edited out of the picture.
She handled her own divorce differently. She couldn't disappearate dad, because we two children were evidence he had existed. She simply ignored the divorce. His name was listed in the phone book as long as she lived. When she moved, the new phone was listed in his name, even though he had not lived with her in years, and she was still mad at him.
One reason for her anger was that he had left her for a woman who was not good-looking at all. She found this insulting. She might have handled the whole thing better if my stepmother had been a beauty. After all, who could hold a grudge if her husband left her for Ingrid Bergman? Mother felt she might have kept her own options open if Clark Gable had come calling.
When bubbe, her own mother, was sick, mother insisted on being upbeat. Every time I called, she told me bubbe was "a little bit better." These improvements continued until bubbe improved into another state of existence.
If I called mother and she bitched about her aches and pains, I knew she was okay and enjoying life. It was when she started feeling better every time I called that I really got worried. Toward the end, she was hospitalized frequently, but she never informed me when this happened. She didn't want to worry me. So I would call and listen to the sound of the phone ringing in the empty house.
Then I would call my brother to find out what had happened this time.