Sunday, December 7, 2008

A little pip squeak with a big voice

On Friday night, I heard a story about my mom that made me crack up.

I was hanging out with my mom's college roommate, Bonnie, and her husband Arnie. Bonnie met Sally at the University of Connecticut in 1964. Bonnie was a freshman and Sally was a senior, but they were placed in the same dorm room. At first, Sally was annoyed to be "stuck with a freshman." Soon, despite the age gap, they became best friends.

When Sally graduated and moved to New York City, she and Bonnie remained close. A few years later, Bonnie moved to the city, too. A new phase of adventures began for them.

Because my mom didn't meet my dad until she was 33, she had 12 years of single life in NYC. (Think Carrie Bradshaw, but with jet-black hair and set in the 70s). I didn't realize until Friday night that Bonnie and Arnie have all the juicy gossip (and funny stories) about those years.

"I just remembered a great story about your mom," Arnie began. "Since she was a teacher and had the summers off, she and her girlfriends used to rent a house in Vermont."

Already this was news to me. My mom had never mentioned summers in Vermont. Trust me -- I would have remembered!

"She invited us to come up to Vermont and stay with her for a weekend," Arnie continued. "We drove for hours through the woods. We were really in the middle of nowhere."

"It was beautiful," Bonnie added.

"When we got there, this group of guys answered the door," Arnie said. "They rented the house on the alternate weekends and said there would be no room for us."

"Your mom hadn't gotten there yet, so we hung around and waited for her," Bonnie said. "When she showed up, we told her what the guys said."

"Well!" Arnie said. "She marched into that house and said, 'This is my weekend to be here! You're going to leave and my friends are staying. Those are the rules. Get out!'"

Arnie and Bonnie burst out laughing.

"She was ballsy!" I exclaimed. In missing my mom's softer side, I'd forgotten how feisty she was. I imagined this little 5-foot pip squeak yelling at a group of guys and shook my head. Oh, Sally. "So what happened?"

"The guys packed up and left," Arnie said. He and Bonnie were still laughing at the memory.

Is there a story you've heard about your parents in their youth that made you crack up, or surprised you, or made you really proud? Share with me!


  1. There's nothing I love more than hearing stories about my mom. I know A LOT from what she has told me and our memories together, but I'm always craving to know more. One of the many difficult things in losing someone you love is that you can never ask them questions, and hear stories from them. But, I guess that's what family and her friends are for. I have a ton of great memories of my mom. But I'll share one of my favs...when my mom was pregnant with me and my twin sister, all of the photos show her smiling ear to ear with this HUGE belly. Me and my sister were full term twins - each almost 8 lbs (which is very rare). But, the funny thing is my mom had no idea she was having twins until like the 8th month (back then they didn't to sonos regularly). Mid-way through my mom's pregnancy my grandpa (dad's dad) passed away. So, my mom was convinced she was just eating A LOT and putting on a ton of weight because of shiva. It still cracks me up that when I look at the pictures of her during that time, she looks like there has to be a minimum of 2 babies in there if not more. But, I loved how she told us many times throughout the years in her witty and sweet style how, "I just thought I was eating a lot."

  2. I love that story, Gayle! I can hear your mom's voice in my head saying, "I just thought I was eating a lot." She must have been so surprised and thrilled to have twin girls.

  3. Gee, which one is better... the story about my dad and his fraternity brothers carting in truckloads of sand so they could have a "beach party" in their house? Or, the time my mom's sorority made her enter some pageant as a punishment for missing a meeting (she went to my dad's hockey game instead) and she won the damn thing!