The Schumanns were all there; lined up on the stairway between our apartments like bowling pins. Grandma Rose stood her ground as the head pin. Grandpa Robbie who looked like movie gangster George Raft and their firstborn, Bert positioned themselves respectfully behind her. Remaining above was Uncle Herby; the most sweet-natured of the five siblings. My Aunt Evie, only fourteen years older than I and my favorite used her fingers as a comb to untangle Aunt Sandy’s curly hair. Sandy, who up until that moment was the baby of the family, rarely hid her disdain for me, making our encounters mostly unpleasant and sometimes a little scary. Even Spotty, the street dog that returned each night to sleep on the tiled floors between the two apartments, stayed in that morning sensing another scrap-source was arriving.Read More
One More Thing Before I Go
Last spring when the scent of lilacs followed me from the backyard into my kitchen, I thought of my mother’s distant cousin and her daughters, who, like my lilacs, visited yearly when the earth warmed and the days grew longer. I pictured us all in idyllic memories of jump rope games and playing with dolls. But, except for MaryAnn, the littlest daughter, I could not remember their names.
A few years ago, I could have called my mother. She would have teased me for my forgetfulness, asked what I was making for dinner (there was never a phone conversation where we didn’t talk about food) and repeated her mother-to-daughter mantra, “When are you coming over?” We would have shared stories of those long-ago days before hanging-up and re-joining our lives. But my mother has passed on and while the images of our family lingers-the details are lost. I write One more thing before I go, my living record for my son, in hope that one day, when he has a question I can no longer answer, it can be found in this blog.
I’m the happy product of the baby-boomer generation that afforded me a dad who worked long hours at his job and mom who worked longer hours at home. My mother’s parenting began in the early morning hours, as she put together my three course breakfast before tiptoeing into my room to wake me. For those of you born too late to be privy to 1950’s breakfast delights—here’s a sample: fresh squeezed orange juice, or a grapefruit half, scrambled eggs, cold sugary cereal with whole milk and buttered toast with raspberry jam. And that was only school-days fare—on weekends she served up multi-course feasts.Read More