No, ma, Bruce Springsteen isn’t Jewish.
But he’s so nice.
There are very nice non Jewish rock stars
I’m not so sure. Do you know that he’s not Jewish
Don’t call me ma
Ida Morgenstern never complained when Rhoda called her ma
She hated it! It was a TV show. Are you sure that Bruce Springsteen isn’t Jewish?
How many times did my mother and I have this conversation? Oh almost every day from the first time she became aware of Bruce until I owned the Internet. That’s right: me. Al Gore might have invented the Internet but I owned it. Yes I know that Al Gore didn’t invent it.
The phone would ring: I would answer it.
Yes ma This was my landline but it somehow had a distinctive mother ring.
Don’t …uh, Pia on your Internet, could you look up….
It’s not my Internet.
She would ignore that and then ask me to look up everything from Bruce Springsteen’s religion to who wrote “Blue Moon over Kentucky” to Charlie Rose’s life story. Because my mother was interested in just about everything, had become blind from macula degeneration, and couldn’t have her own computer, I became a much more culturally aware person. She would become angry if I wasn’t interested in knowing exactly how long David Letterman (who had to be Jewish, until I proved otherwise) had been on TV.
Since she watched Charlie Rose (who is) every day, she was much more up on every darn current event than I was.
I don’t understand why you won’t tape Charlie Rose on your machine.
Because, honestly, I can read the papers
It’s not the same. Charlie Rose knows how to get people to say everything.
Then there was the Monday argument:
Are you going to watch Ray? (who isn’t but is Italian and from Queens though it’s Long Island on the show so he might as well be.)
No you know I’m not going to be home
You should tape it on your machine
I really couldn’t because I was obsessed with General Hospital though I hated it, and VCR’s were hell on earth with cable boxes. I actually did explain this to my mother who forgave me though she thought that I should have watched Everyone Loves Raymond
A month after 9/11 my mom died suddenly. I couldn’t get network TV and some cable shows for almost a year. More than anything in the world I wanted to watch Everybody Loves Raymond When I finally was able to watch it, I realized that there was a lot of physical comedy my mom couldn’t see, and I could have explained to her. Talk about guilt from the grave!
Now I watch and laugh. I’m only sorry she didn’t get to see Raymond give the toast at Robert and Amy’s wedding. (His brother and sister-in-law.) Raymond was freaking and had no idea what to say. He gave the greatest toast in the history of toasts. First understand that his mother, Marie, is the most guilt inducing mother in the history of mothers. Ida Morgernstern had nothing on her. My mother on the other hand was the mistress of manipulation. Except for the above stories, she could make me do anything without even batting an eyelash. And I don’t move for most people.
Raymond looked around at his father Frank (the incredible Peter Boyle), Marie (Doris Roberts), and began talking about how our memories of our familes become great. We edit. We take out the bad and remember the good and the funny.
Despite her hatred of the word “ma” and the other things that I have said, my mother was my favorite person. She was funny, bright, cute really cute, pretty, cultured and wonderful. The family reunion is my father’s fathers side of the family. But my mom knew the cousins from the time she was a teenager. Shouldn’t really say this but they were her favorite family members. Oh all my dad’s male cousins were a bit in love with her.
When I was growing up she was the person my generation (they were mostly older than me) would come to for advice since she seemed so young and hip. My mom was Kool; she was more than my dad’s shadow. This side of the family knows and appreciates that. When one of my cousins proposed to his wife, she helped him pick out the ring, gave him romance advice.
She listened, she cared, she did everything she could to make people comfortable. She taught me to be a great hostess, and how to make a great salad, because that was the only thing she let my sister and I prepare. We had to set the table and do all the cleaning. Then when fave sis and I turned into great cooks she tried to take the credit. Of course we wouldn’t let her.
Aside from the fact that my sister and I grew up in different households, we haven’t edited our lives at all. Really. Somehow lately our memories have become more cohesive. My sister is beginning to remember things the way I do. And I don’t edit; well, maybe just a little.
We’re going to have a great time at the family reunion, if I have to slink under the earth.
And really ma, Bruce Springsteen isn’t Jewish.
I will try to have a post on Friday before the converging in a Manhattan deli; and one on Sunday, after the obligitory trip to a house on Long Island. Really need help in getting through this!
I want my mommy and daddy to be there. But they won’t be. Hopefully, if they’re not playing Mr. & Mrs North, they will guide us through it.
This post is dedicated to Mrs. M who will make a great Jewish mommy even though she’s not. And that’s the biggest compliment I can give somebody. Can’t wait to be a blogging aunt, though I think we’ll have to make up the rules as we go along. New York Jewish mommy’s are very good at that; I know I had the best.
Like my mom, Mrs. M is there in a crunch. When all is said and done that’s what matters.
I really don’t want to go home; and there is nothing like a sunset over the Pacific. But New York is the land of my people; all of us a mosiac of different groups; proud to have a hyphenated ethniticity and proud to stand as one.
But everybody’s really Jewish, or so my mother thought.