Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Joke's a Joke

Last night, in my dreams, I wrote a letter to God, which went something like this:

Dear God,
Now that you’ve had a good laugh, I’d like my mother back. The lady who is presently inhabiting my mother’s body is nice enough, but it’s not the mother I prefer. I like the feisty one. The one who always wants to have a manicure. The one who, when I asked her if she wanted to get her hair done at rehab center said, “have you seen the way the people look here? Why would I want to pay to have that done to me?” The one who is always dressed to the ‘nines’ and insists on making a fashion statement—not only with fringed, glittery clothes but with gold sneakers, flashy shoes, unique bags and trashy jewelry. (There’s no doubt about who Jordan takes after.) I want to one who never says anything nice to me but can’t say enough nice things about me. I want the one who can make me laugh and cry at the same time. I want the one who I called every day at 5 just to say hello and do a weather check. So thanks, for illustrating that I would desperately miss that mother and now, if you would be so kind, give her back to us.
Your friend,
Iris Linda Groman Jacobson Burnett (Just so you don’t mix me up with any other girls)

Mom and Jordan last spring.....

I wrote about one of my favorite ‘Rosie’ moments which was at the Democratic Convention in 1980. It’s a bit longer than my usual blob but I thought I’d share it so you could see what we’re missing. I was the Director of Security - but that’s another blob. Anyway, mom came to see what I was doing and seemed to enjoy herself. Then, at the end of the evening, when I was ready to walk her to her hotel across the street, this is what I heard on the command radio ....

“Has anyone seen Buttercup’s mother?" (That was my code name).
I looked at Detective O and he looked at me. Neither of us believed what we had heard. But within seconds we heard it again.
“Has anyone seen Buttercup’s family? We seem to have lost them."
The nausea moved quickly from my stomach to my heart to my throat.
“What do you mean you lost my mother?” I shouted into the radio.
“We cannot have this communication on the radio Buttercup. Use your cell,” came back from the Chief.
The cell wasn’t working so I raced back to the security office.
The convention was winding down for the night. It seemed like everyone who wasn't assigned elsewhere, had converged on the security office. I puId through the mess of people, demanded a stranger move out of mychair, and picked up the phone.

It was so noisy that the hotel operator who answered couldn't hear a thing and I hung up. I dialed back. The phone was busy.
“Poor Mom and Cynthia, alone in New York City. Missing. Where could they be? I know where they could be. They could be lying, God forbid, dead in the street, having been accosted by muggers or terrorists. They could be sopping wet from all the rain or bloodied from a club carried by one of those fanatical crackpots. Why am I worried? They were probably tired. They probably just went across the street to the hotel.”
There was too much noise in my office. I set out down the long hallway under the podium and went from office to office looking for a quiet room with a phone. I finally found one occupied by a few strange southern folks, all of whom looked like Willie Nelson. Undeterred by the possibility of a luminary, I marched in and picked up the phone.
It was not easy to get through to the hotel, but when I did, the manager informed her that, “Yes, Mrs. Groman and her party (that would be her pal, Cynthia) had come into the hotel to check in, but had not completed the process. Mrs. Groman,” the clerk relayed, “inquired about the room rate. Then, after being given the financial details, left in quite a huff.”
“Oh my God,” I spoke into the phone even though the clerk was no longer on the line. “They’re wandering the streets alone. Even if the terrorists haven’t clubbed them, thugs certainly must have mugged them. It is pouring. There are no cabs. It’s late and there are two fragile little women either wandering alone or lying dead in some alley.”
Ordinarily I wouldn’t think of mom as fragile, but it was late and I was very tired. Plus, judging from the communications on the command radio, NYPD was not having any luck finding them.
By 3:00 A.M. when all the area hospitals had been contacted, and the police could no longer justify the time they were spending on the search, I decided it was time to break the news to my father. How was I going to tell him that mom was missing, maybe dead in some dirty alley in NYC? How was I going to explain that all of the NYPD was looking, but no one could locate them? I had invited them to come to the Convention and the lost them. I dialed. Mom answered.
"Oh, hello dear. How come you're calling at this hour? You scared me to death.” You know, we did just what you told us to do. We went to that hotel, across from the Convention. I explained that we were only going to be in that room for five hours and they had some nerve saying they were still going to charge us for a full day. I know I wasn't paying but I didn't want you to spend that kind of money, so we walked to the Port Authority and caught the last bus to Lake Hiawatha.”
I was delighted to know that my mother was alive but almost too astounded to speak.
“In the middle of the night Mom? Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?
“I didn’t want to bother you. Now, don’t think we didn’t have a lovely time in spite of that firecracker or gun shot or whatever the noise was and all the silly rushing around. And don’t feel bad that you messed it up. Nobody can control everything. It was nice to see all those famous people and now I'm very tired so I'm going to sleep. Try not to call so late again dear. It upsets your father.” We're just sayin...


Pam said...

Hi Isie,
I loved the description of the Rosie you asked god to return to you.
She will always be there.
Just remember.

Although Aunt Claire is peppy and active, I can see that she is fading, too. She is getting tinier all the time.

I am glad we can be there for each other to watch as the incredible shrinking moms leave us holding the bag.

Anonymous said...

You have a good heart Iris. Thanks for being brave enough to share it.

Anonymous said...

Pammy, we love you. Log onto my (Seth's) Web page at www.myspace.com/growingupx. We want to get your e-mail.