zichrona livracha/may her memory be a blessing…I’ve heard it, I’ve said it. Prior to August 8th, 2009 it had very little meaning. Now it’s a lifeline. Memories are like little pieces of the people we created them with. The starlight that shines after the star has burned away.
This is my tribute to my mom. It would make me so happy to have you add to it.
- When Mom was still well, she was my one and only newscaster. She was the one that I trusted. Usually, when there was something big in the news I’d ignore it for a while, until it became apparent that I really should be paying attention. Then I’d go by Mom and Dad’s house and we’d sit at the white table in the kitchen for as long as it took Mom to explain all of the myriad details and intricacies of Watergate, or wars in foreign lands, or the latest vote I would soon have to cast. She was brilliant and extremely well read when I didn’t have the time, or maybe it was the inclination, to be.
- Mom was glamorous. I laugh at my children who manage to see all of my faults at first glance. I remember thinking that my mom was absolutely perfect and the most beautiful woman in the world. I wonder if I told her that enough? Probably not.
- Dad called Mom “Dear Abby”. I’d often come home from school to Mom talking on the phone, counseling one friend or another in matters of the heart or mind. I marvelled at her ability to talk on the phone for hours at a time. I still marvel at that.
- Mom was the neighborhood Mom. All of the kids hung at my house. And she was bossy too! Everyone knew that when Mom came home from the grocery store, we were to go out to the car, get the groceries, and put them away. Every kid in my neighborhood knew where we kept the peanut butter. Amazing.
I love you Mom
How did you meet Pauline? I knew a lot of Pauline’s family because they used to come to our boarding house/hotel in upstate New York during the hot NYC summer months. Thinking about it, I probably met my future mother-in-law before I even knew my wife. Years later when working for GE, I was transferred to Sunnyvale, CA and Pauline’s cousin, Paul, told me to look up his cousin Pauline in Palo Alto, CA. “She’s always good for a meal.” Well, finding that Palo Alto and Sunnyvale were separated by just a few miles, I decided to call about that meal. With arrangements made, I arrived at her home to be greeted by Noble, the dog who looked meaner than he really was, a very cordial Pauline, two well behaved children ages 6 and 4, ……….and Elsa, Pauline’s friend, who she had invited for moral support. “My NY family sent me another one……you’re going to California, look up my cousin/sister/??…..Els, you’re coming for dinner…..I’m not going through this again by myself.” Dinner, I later found out, was spaghetti with sauce that had been saved in the freezer……very good, but I had been sent by Cousin Paul for gosh sakes! I have often stated that it turned out to be the most expensive spaghetti dinner I ever ate.
It was Les and Carol Lee that first got me, I think. Actually in retrospect, it was the way Pauline dealt with them. “The Girls”……Les, the pensive, studying, careful one….Carol Lee, the pixie-ish, devil-may-care, daring one……Pauline regarded them as “little people” explaining in terms they could understand, yet firm in their discipline. I was soon “Uncle Stan” to the girls and “handyman around the house” to Pauline. I fell right in….it was comfortable. Sometimes, we went out as a “family” and it amazed me how the girls could handle the “restaurant scene” as perfect little ladies.
Pauline and I started dating…..dinners, movies and such. Going to the Greek restaurant, drinking ouzo, watching the owner pick up a table with his teeth and dance around to the music. Back then, I was a member of the Playboy Club (there was one in San Francisco then) and I wanted to take my out-of-town friend Owen (my future best man) and his wife JoAnn to see it…I invited Pauline to go along. That evening, Pauline and I realized that we were in love. That was July 5, 1966 (7/5/66). Note that adding 7 + 5 + 6 + 6 you get 24. From that time forward, every race car I drove was numbered “24”…..it was our “love number”.
Retaining the Laskin trait of “don’t change things fast”, it took me almost two years to ask Pauline to marry me. During that time my family tried and tried to discourage our togetherness. “Just look at the age difference……Are you nuts?…….A ready-made family?……..What are you thinking?” What I was thinking is that I have found THE ONE(S)!! And they all truly realized it when they got to meet my Pauline and my “The Girls”.
The inscription that Pauline had inscribed in my wedding band reads, “And they lived happily ever after.” In her band, I had inscribed “Pauline & Stan-April 26, 1968”….real original, huh? Pauline’s comment was, “Do you think I’d ever forget?” Yes, Pauline, due to Alzheimer’s disease, you eventually did forget that……and many more things also. Maybe not forgot, but unable to retrieve the memories. However, our love lasted well into your illness……I could tell because, for a long time, you held out your arms to me as I walked down the Greenhills hallway to your table, and of course, the kisses you still gave me. There will always be a place in my heart for you. I miss you so much.