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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

MY HUSBAND'S FAMILY PART 4: HIS MOTHER


This is not her car, but it might as well have been.

(Reworked from several old posts & some recent memories.)


My mother-in-law, Audrey, used to work at the Los Angeles County Courthouse.  She drove her car to work & parked in a lot on a hill & walked down a flight of stairs to get to the sidewalk.  She parked as close to the stairway as possible.  One day she got the very best space--right in front of the stairs!  She went to work & when she got back to the parking lot she found her car waiting for her.  Not at the top of the stairs, but at the bottom!  It had come down the stairs on its own.  She said she must have forgotten to set the parking brake, but I think it just got tired of waiting for her to come back.  Amazingly enough (to you, but not to those of us who knew Audrey) she got in & drove it home.  That was the last time she ever drove.  I guess she figured a bus wouldn't go looking for her.  

Bud & I started dating shortly before I was 16 & married when I was 20.  We became engaged when I was 18.  Many mothers feel that no girl is good enough for their son.  We spent many nights at his folk’s house watching TV.  Audrey would say, “You shouldn’t just sit around the house.  Why don’t you go to a movie--go bowling--get married?”  Do you remember hope chests?  She gave me a gift for my hope chest every month that we were engaged.  She gave me almost all of our sterling silver & I have service for 12.

A side note on silver: When Audrey & my father-in-law, Phil, were engaged they went together to pick out their silver.  She looked at the patterns.  He “weighed” them in his hand.  They got the heaviest pattern that she would agree to.  I guess he figured they might have to melt them down to pay for groceries someday.

She was brilliant.  She graduated high school at 15, went to college & law school--& had to wait to take the bar exam because she wasn’t yet 21.  There weren’t very many openings for female attorneys in those days, so she decided to take the civil service exam so she could get a job as a court clerk.  The exam consisted of many, many questions--most of them having no bearing on her prospective job.  She was not prone to sarcasm or profanity, but I guess she had had enough when she got to the question: “If the distance from the earth to the moon is approximately 1,256,640,000 feet & a ball of string has 750 feet of string, how many balls of string would it take to reach from the earth to the moon?”  Her answer was “Balls & balls & balls--& that goes for the rest of your damn questions, too!!”  I guess she was right.  She got the job.

Reading & education were very important to her.  She offered to pay for any education for her children, their spouses & her grandchildren--& was often taken up on that offer. She read voraciously & often bought books as gifts.  She wrote a book for each of my kids when they were little.  She never had them published, but she did have them printed & bound.  (An excerpt from "I, Matthew":  "Matt's mother got him a very short haircut.  His mother called it a crewcut.  His grandmother called it a shame.")

My friend Bonnie & my very prim & proper (appearing) mother-in-law, Audrey, were among our guests at a formal luncheon.  I don’t think they had met before.  They were sitting next to each other.  Something gooey, chocolaty & decadently delicious was served for dessert.  Bonnie tasted it & said without thinking, as she was prone to do, “My God, this is better than sex!!” & was instantly embarrassed because of who her luncheon partner was.  She fell in love with Audrey when she smiled & replied, “Yes, it is--& you don’t have to wash up afterwards, either!!”

Audrey developed diabetes later in life.  I took her to her first visit with an endocrinologist. He asked her what her stool looked like.  Her response; "I never look!!"  The doctor wanted her blood sugar checked regularly.  She refused to prick her finger & learn to use a blood glucose monitor.  We lived about 5 minutes from them & since I have diabetes myself, I had a monitor & offered to come over twice a week & check her sugar.  She agreed, but ONLY if she could pay me $5.00 a visit.  I once asked her how many daughters-in-law she thought were invited to come to their mother-in-law’s home on a regular basis, cause her pain & get paid for it?  Not too many, I’d bet!

When one of her grandsons was married she & Phil, my parents & 2 other couples, all of whom were married 50+ years, were sitting at one table.  When the groom came to visit their table she told him, “Glenn, look at us.  If this doesn’t scare you, nothing will!”

Her standard answer to “How are you?” was “Splendid!”  She was not one to give (or listen to) an “organ recital”.  That’s what she called it when you ask people how they feel & they tell you about their kidneys, liver, etc.

We took Audrey & Phil to the World’s Fair in Vancouver in 1986.  We knew it would be difficult for her to walk around, so we rented motorized scooters (like they show on TV for the handicapped) for her & Phil.  He liked it but she was too embarrassed to use it until Bud & I rented two for ourselves.  What fun it was to buzz around in those!

I remember 2 cars she owned, “Hadda” & “Shasta”.  Audrey considered the names logical.  One always “Hadda” have this or that fixed & the other--well, “Shasta” have gas & oil, doesn’t she?

I’ve always felt that God played the ultimate joke on Audrey when she died.  She was always very modest about her body.  One evening she got up from the living room sofa where they were watching TV & told Phil she had to go to the bathroom.  When she didn’t come out after a reasonable time he went to check on her.  She had had a sudden heart attack & died quickly & quietly while using the “facilities”.  We told him to call the paramedics & rushed over.  This modest lady’s body was seen sitting on the toilet by her husband, son, daughter-in-law & 2 paramedics.  She said she had to go--& she did!  Bud & I almost found ourselves in the position where we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  She was 88 years old.  Audrey & Phil had been married 64 1/2 years. 

Her engagement picture:

Some cartoons that might be more suited to 
someone else's mother-in-law than mine:







Audrey, I hope you got a laugh out of this----fishducky

 












Monday, January 28, 2019

MY HUSBAND'S FAMILY PART 3: HIS FATHER


This is the orchestra my favorite (& only) father-in-law, Phil, put together when he was 
only 19.  They toured the orient.  He is 3rd from the left, with the violin.




Phil had a habit that really annoyed his wife.  He would spit out of the car window while driving.  One day, he released a wad & decided to quit doing that right then & there.  Perhaps the fact that the car window was still rolled up & became spit-covered had a hand in his decision.  He’s passed on now; we’ll never know for sure.

Another Phil story happened shortly before he gave up his driver’s license.  He was on a major street which fortunately had very light traffic at the time.  He had apparently been weaving & was stopped at a red light, I assume taking up a lane & a half, when a car full of young men pulled up alongside him.  The driver politely asked him, “Excuse me, sir, but could you please tell me what street this is?”  Phil answered, “Olympic Boulevard.”  The other driver thanked him & politely asked, “Would you mind sharing it with us?”


My father-in-law used to be the leader of the house orchestra at the Saltair Hotel in Salt Lake City.  The hotel had a publicity photo made with his picture--handsome devil that he was, in his tux--& the words, “Ladies!!  Get a free autographed picture of Phil Fischer!!”  Matt, who was about 10 or 12, was visiting his grandfather with a friend.  Phil showed the boys the picture & they said, “Big deal!!  A free picture of Grandpa Phil!!”  He smiled his devilish smile & said, “I wasn’t always Grandpa Phil!!”  He was quite the dude. He liked to wear a grey pinstripe suit, white shirt with French cuffs, a silk tie--& red socks.

He tried to make a living as a professional musician when he was a family man, but it was impossible during the depression.  He got a job playing the violin in a Mexican restaurant for food & tips.  He said he couldn't eat the food & the tips were non-existent.  He eventually became the vice-president of the local musician's union, Local 47.  In that union, he also became the West Coast Studio Representative.

My kids used to jokingly (& endearingly) call him the old buzzard.  He thought it was funny & even got a personalized license plate "OLD BUZZ" until his wife made him turn it in.

He wasn't the handiest of handymen around his house.  One time he decided to replace a broken bedroom window himself, to save a buck.  He carefully measured the window & bought a new pane of glass.  He laid the new pane conveniently on the grass.  He removed  the old glass & took a step back from the window onto the new glass, breaking it.  Buying yet another new glass ended up costing him more than calling someone out to replace it while Phil could be comfortably sitting in his easy chair. 

Phil normally parked in his driveway, but he got a ticket--twice--for parking in front of his house during street cleaning time, directly under the warning sign.  He posted a sign of his own on top of the city’s warning.  It read, “Don’t park here, Stupid!”



When Phil was about 90, his regular physician either retired or died (which I'd guess you'd call a final retirement) so we took him to our doctor for a checkup.  He took Phil off of about half of his meds.  Among other things, he was regularly taking both a diuretic & pills to keep him from peeing so much.  He felt much better afterwards.

I used to write a newsletter filled with jokes & cartoons to send to our family (mostly his 10 grandchildren) who were all over the world.  He said he liked a good laugh, too, & insisted on his own copy.  He said he shouldn't be deprived just because he lived a mile from me.











Carol Wyer's new book is being released today.
It's funny!!






I miss you, you old buzzard----fishducky

 



Friday, January 25, 2019

MY HUSBAND'S FAMILY PART 2: NATALIE




Bud had an older sister, Jackie.  I wrote a post about her a couple of days ago.  Natalie is Bud's little sister.  She's only a little younger than me.  Her birthday is November 12 & mine is September 27.  We were born the same year, so you can see she's just a baby. An 84 year old baby!!


Whenever Nat got pregnant, she'd call & let us know.  Somehow, I got pregnant about two months after that.  (I know how I got pregnant.  I just mean the timing was strange.)  We each have three kids about three months apart.  We saw the same obstetrician.  We would go to our appointments together, get checked & weighed & then go out for a hot fudge sundae.  We figured we'd have time to lose the weight before our next appointments.

When we first bought our condo on Maui Natalie & her three kids came out to stay with us & our three kids.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with Hawaiian prices, but our grocery bill was enormous!  Nat was going over the grocery shopping list that Bud had made & saw either “ice cream” or “candy”, I don't remember which.  We loved when she said, in all seriousness, “Don’t buy that, the kids will just eat it!”

Nat came back from a long day at the beach.  (She denies it, but Bud & I have seen her tanning her armpits & spreading her belly button open so it would get tan inside.)  She told us she had met the “nicest” couple on the beach, who also had a condo in our complex, & that we should go down the next day to meet them.  Natalie, who was at that time a bit of a prude but has since become a slut lovely modern lady, said, “I think they’re married, but I’m not sure.  It doesn’t matter, but I think they are married.  But I’m not sure.  But I think so.  But I’m not sure.”  I, of course, said, “Nat, if you want to know, I’ll ask them.”

Bud & I went to the beach the next day & met Jack & Jane.  Nat was right--they were very nice.  After visiting for a while, I said to Jane, “I want to ask you something that is absolutely none of my business.  I won’t be insulted if you don’t want to answer.  Actually, it’s my sister-in-law that wants to know.  Are you & Jack married?”  She laughed & said, “Oh, my God, NO!!”

(Some asides on Jack & Jane.)  Jack & Jane ran their air conditioning constantly & it apparently couldn’t handle the stress.  One day Jack came out of the condo & said to Jane, “I didn’t even know you’d planted a crop, but it’s ready for harvest.”  Moisture must have been running out of the A/C vent because there were actual mushrooms growing in the carpet just below it.

Jane was an heiress of some sort & had beaucoup dollars.  One day she had a problem & asked for my attorney/accountant husband’s help in solving it.  She told him she had just received a disturbing letter from her bank.  To quote her precisely, “The bank said I’m UNDERDEPOSITED!”  It’s just that we’d never heard it phrased quite that way before.

They lived in Salt Lake City & though she was not a Mormon, she was obviously less than familiar with Jews & Jewish food.  She came to Los Angeles on business & I took her to Junior’s Delicatessen for lunch.  Our waitress served a bowl of chicken soup to the lady sitting in the next booth.  It contained a very large matzo ball.  Jane asked me, in all seriousness, “Why does that lady have a tennis ball in her soup?”

Back to Natalie: Her husband fooled around while Nat & the girls were in Hawaii & they subsequently got a divorce.  A couple of years later Nat started dating again.  She went with Dick for a few years, until he insisted on getting married.  She had had enough of marriage & they broke up.  She & her ex-husband are now the best of friends.  They go out to dinner & to plays together.  They even travel together, but just as friends.

Nat & Bud got together about once a month for the past year or so.  They would go out to lunch & then play gin rummy.  I won't say that it's a very high stakes game but as much as $5.00 has changed hands.










Carol Wyer's new book THE DARE
will be out in April.
Watch for it!!













----fishducky



 






                                                         

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

MY HUSBAND'S FAMILY PART 1: JACKIE


(Everything in this post is a fact.)

Today I’d like you to meet one of my favorite people; my late sister-in-law, Jackie.  Let me tell you what kind of person she was.  We both used to give New Year’s Eve parties every year.  I was having my hair done in the morning, in preparation for my party, when I suddenly felt ill.  By the time I got home around noon, I was dizzy & nauseous.  (NO, I wasn’t pregnant.)   I called my doctor & he ordered me to bed.  We were expecting about 50 or 60 people in a few hours & I didn’t want to call them & cancel so I called Jackie & asked her what I should do.  She said I should stay in bed & that she would be right over.  (She lived about 3 quarters of an hour from our house & was having her own LARGE party that evening.)  She came over & set up everything beautifully for our party--no small job!!  She came into my bedroom & told me everything was done & she was leaving.  I said, “Thank you so much!!” & she said, “What for?”  She thought everyone acted that way.  They don’t!!
 
            She was a world class sleeper.  I was visiting at her house one afternoon before I ran some errands.  She told me she was very tired & needed a nap--right then!!  She asked me if I could run my errands & come back to visit when I was through.  She told me she really wanted to talk & if she was still sleeping, to wake her up.  I finished & went back to her house.  She was still asleep, so I woke her up & WE TALKED FOR A HALF HOUR OR SO when she said she was very sorry, but she had to go back to sleep.  I told her that was fine & went home.  She called that evening & asked why I didn’t come back like I’d promised!!

            Jackie was supposed to be my Maid of Honor (I already loved her that much) but by the time we got married she was very pregnant & didn’t think she could stand up for that long.  We still kid my nephew about attending our wedding in utero.  Speaking of “in utero”, I was expecting our first child any day when we were playing bridge with Jackie & her husband, Ben.  My water broke & we called my OB, the same one Jackie used.  The doctor said I wasn’t ready to go to the hospital yet & if I wasn’t feeling too much pain I should just continue our bridge game.  He felt comfortable leaving me in Ben’s care.  Ben was a veterinarian.  While waiting to “drop my litter” I sat on several folded towels.

            My mother called Jackie & her cleaning woman answered & told her that she was sick & resting & couldn’t come to the phone.  My mom asked Pressie what was wrong & then proceeded to tell her (in depth) how to take care of her.  When Pressie told Jackie about the call she said, in all seriousness, “I didn’t know Fran’s mother was a doctor!!”  My mom wasn’t a doctor--she was simply a Jewish mother.  Pressie apparently hadn’t had too much experience with those.

The men in Jackie’s life: Her husband was a great gardener.  I don’t know the chemical content of urine, but when their two young sons were playing in the backyard & had to go potty, Ben had them pee on the bird of paradise plants.  They didn’t have to be let into the house & the plants flourished!!  

Jackie & I both smoked--in those days, everyone did.  I was at her house when she asked bathrobe clad 3 year old Michael to bring us an ashtray.  He did, carefully polishing it with his robe before handing it to us.  I guess you learn what you see.  Another time, she was taking a bath & we were talking.  Her other son, Glenn, then about 2, kept yelling, “Mommy!!  Mommy!!”  She impatiently turned to him (she had been trying to teach him not to interrupt) & said, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?”   A big smile crept onto his face (he now had her attention) & he loudly said, “COOGIE!!”   When I could stop laughing, I got him one.  (A cookie, that is.)

My husband just reminded me of this other “Glenn/bathtub” story, which I can't leave out!!  Jackie was taking a bath & little Glenn was sitting on the edge of the tub, intently staring at her & looking sad.  She asked him what the problem was & he said, “You got no penis!!  Where your penis go?”   She explained to him that men & boys have a penis, but girls & women don’t.  She said she was a woman so she had never had one & that it was OK.  He said, “I got one.”  She said, “Yes.”  “Michael got one.”  “Yes.”  “Daddy got one.”  “Yes.”  She asked him if he understood.  He thought for a minute & his little face brightened up.  He said, “I know--Daddy buy you one!!”

I was at her house to help her decorate her Christmas tree.  She asked me to bring her a large box of glass ornaments, which she had put on top of the toilet.  I was carrying them to her when I stumbled & dropped the box, breaking them all!!  I asked her what else I could do to help.  She laughed & said I should just sit down & watch.  I had already helped enough!!
       
         She was one of those people who could eat & eat--which she did--& never gain an ounce.  (Don’t  you just hate those?)  We were double dating one evening  (before she met Ben) & were at Rand’s Roundup, an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant.  The four of us had just finished off two very full plates of food, each.  Jackie got up to get more & asked her date, “Aren’t you going to eat anything?”  Her date-- a large policeman with an appetite to match--could only moan.  (A sidebar about this restaurant: They had a jukebox in the bar.  There was a small notice on it with the price.  “10 cents a play.  2 for a quarter.”  Such a deal!!)  She was once given a gift of chocolate covered ants & bumblebees & invited me over.  I was the only one she knew who would be willing to try them with her.  They tasted sort of like a Nestle’s Crunch bar.  They were good!!

       She told me about a new recipe for hors d’oeuvres that she had found.  It sounds odd, but it’s delicious.  You take 3 or 4 very thin slices of salami, spread cream cheese on them, stack them, cut them in quarters & top each stack with a small slice of sweet pickle.  Cutting the stack of round salami slices leaves you with 4 triangles, each with one side rounded.  I guess she was thinking of something else when we asked her what they were called.  She told us they were “triangle squares”--& to this day, that’s what they are.

      Ben was 12 years older than Jackie & had an established veterinary practice when they married.  They had four children quickly so he would still be around to watch them grow up.  They say life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.  Jackie passed away from cancer when she was 40 & her 4 children were still in their teens.  Her services were held in a chapel that seated around 100 people.  It was filled to overflowing & probably twice that many more mourners listened to the service by way of loudspeakers while sitting on the grass outside. She was loved by a lot of people!!  Her husband was left to raise their children & did that job beautifully.  He never remarried.  He was in his 80’s when he died.

     


Most of these cartoons are about seniors.  
Jackie never got to be one.
















  I just made some triangle squares, Jackie.  Want one?----fishducky

 



                     
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