Monday, February 28, 2011

My Parents

I remember my relationship with my mom to usually be somewhat tense. Not like other girls that were so close with their moms. As a teenager I remember going with her to Abraham & Straus Department Store in Manhasset, L.I.  I would try on lots of clothes and somehow  boss her around to hang them up for me and to go  find me another size for me to try on. When I think about it now I think that her interaction with me was quite kind, although I do remember her telling my dad that I was acting a little “crazy” or was I just acting out? I also remember her warning my old boyfriend Jay that I “was crazy”. That was something that would really upset me. How could or would my mom say those things about me to my boyfriend.
 I grew up with a dad that I had heard (from my mom’s friends) adored me and that “his eyes lit up whenever I entered the room”. Was my mom a little jealous of my relationship with my dad ?I do think my dad spoiled me although as I got older when my mom & I would not be getting along he always seemed to protect her from me or took her side.
I recall when I was in my early 30’s and married, living in Manhattan that my mom use to come in and help me heat seal all these crafts kits that I was marketing  to children. This was a mail order business that I had started.  It was called “Creative Me”, which children designed their own t-shirts using special fabric crayons. It was featured in many newspapers, magazines and also on the Joan Hamburg radio show. This time that I spent with my mom I remember being lovely and we got along quite well. She took the train in from Great Neck, Long Island(which we moved to while I was in 6th grade) then  she took a cab, and would come to my apartment to help me fold and insert the fabric crayons,t -shirt and instructions into the kits. Then we would heat seal the bags closed. In the evening my husband and I would load them in our car and drive them over to UPS to mail out.
I also remember how I always wanted my dear friend Cathy’s mom to be my mom, while we were in junior high school and for many years after that. If only Mrs. Fields was my mom. She was cool and so lovely. I would say she had a Grace Kelly style. All my friends use to hang out at Cathy’s house and enjoyed being with her mom. I often wondered if I would I have been a lovelier more “spiritual” human being growing up with Mrs. Fields as my mom. I think the kindness, softness, nurturing kind of mom might have shaped me differently, or maybe not. Speaking to Cathy about writing my memoir and how inspiring my mom has become to me, Cathy asked me the question “could your mom have always been like this and you just didn’t know it?”I really need to think about that question. My immediate response is I don’t think so.
Was I just screwed up on my own, being affected by the wealthy town that I lived in? Was it my own insecurities of not having what my friends had, which was money, live in housekeepers and large beautiful homes .My friends would never act better than me. In fact they all seemed quite lovely and not spoiled. I was the one with the insecurities and problems. They would come to my house and my mom would hang around for a while and talk to them. My friends seemed to enjoy my parents. I was the one who felt embarrassed about mom hanging out with us. As I look back now, I see that this was really my problem, not my moms. Some of my friend’s parents never ever seemed to be around. Perhaps they we’re dining in Manhattan, at the theatre, or traveling in Europe. I just got to meet their housekeepers. I remember on Saturday nights in 7th grade hanging out at Nancy Breslau’s house in Kings Point, listening to Johnny Mathis singing “Chances Are” and singing along to “Wonderful, Wonderful” which was her older sisters record collection .Nancy was one of my friends that had “real” Papagallos in every color.  They were the status symbol back in the sixties. My parents could not afford to buy them for me. So did that also affect me and if so positive or negative? I lost contact with Nancy yet I still have several close friends from Great Neck that mean a lot to me.


1 comment:

  1. I agree with your friend. I bet your mother was great back then. Girls are almost always embarrassed by their mothers at some point in their lives. 15 with my duaghter, she pulled away, but then years later when she was asked in a Whos Who questionaire who her best teacher was, she said ME, as I homeschooled her 5 years. At 15 I don't thinks he would have said that. Mom probably said no to the ballerina doll because of the $$$ problem and didn't want to go into that with you, shielding you from their financial plight. I never shopped with my mom, because she made all my clothes. Once someone came home to our gas plant home and told me they were shocked. They had thought I was rich. Why? i asked. "Because you have more beautiful clothes than anyone in school." I laughed and said that was because Mom was a seamstress and she would buy a yard of material for $1 almost daily and make me a new dress. I did have a ton of dresses and we passed them down to a family that had 2 girls just younger than me. Mom even crocheted and sewed my "going away outfit" for my wedding.