Memories! Yes! There are memories. Plenty of them. Most of them are pretty “interesting” at best. Do you understand, that crazy people used to want to come over to my house and visit with her to “chat? She possessed some amazing “madness” that was actually visible to the naked eye. Or, for the next in line of the crazy?
Memories! Yes! Like the corners of your mind! Misty? Nah! Water colored? Nah! Black and white. Yeah! Sweet, Adeline! Crazy! Not Crazy! Mostly crazy. Hey, I was just trying to figure life out. I got stuck with …mucho crazy.
“Oh, your Mother’s a little nervous!” Yep! That was what I kept hearing for many years. Mr. B was totally trying to maintain “damage control.” Gee, dad! Really? Can’t blame him. He was plenty nervous himself.
Mr. B grew up during the depression. So did Sweet Adeline. Chicago. Depression. They consumed bananas multiple times a day. Adeline was so skinny, that everyone referred to her as “the spider.”
My mother was a Spider? God help me. I never got that reference. To me she was more of a Dumpling? Or, Sleeping thing… Yeah… but Spider? Nah. Gingy? Is that the Yiddish term for spider? I’ll need to contact my Yiddish mentor.
Polar palace circa 1950, Hollywood
Big fur coat
Sitting there like an Eskimo
That fur coat and the Robe
Life in a madhouse
I always found a reason to laugh.
To find a reason to laugh out loud
So much of the reality around me
made me laugh out loud!
When my mother read the torah, she read it with an amazing sense of history, religiosity, and intelligence. When she read the torah, wearing her blue robe, we ran for the Hollywood Hills!
My high school friend, Eric, would come over to our home weekly, to get his "Adeline" fix. She would entertain him with her intelligent conversation, her calm lecturing about the history of Judaism, and her gracious hospitality. Eric found Adeline quite fascinating. I sort of understood why he found her so "entertaining.'' She was quite a trip. You never knew if she was davening from her intense prayer, or shaking from the effects of the lithium that had been prescribed to her. I wish that I could say that she ate her lithium with chocolate ice cream, but I cannot. Instead, we got Sweet Adeline! Lithium riddled, manic mood swings, and violent rage, coupled with tinges of someone who was barely there. Eric found our home comforting.
Eric was such an easy going guy. Didn't really know him intimately. I never went to his family's home. But, our relationship was mostly connected to my mother. His fascination with her was quite bizarre, but since I came from bizarre, I didn't even consider that he might be a bit odd. But, there were some obvious signs. I can say that now, in retrospect. I barely remember what happened yesterday, but clearly, I recall Eric's weirdness. Weirdness? He had an obsession with my mother, for one. He never wore clothing that wasn't black. He was clearly highly intelligent and he laughed all the time.
Mickey was one of his friends. Freewheeling, carefree Mickey. Motorcycle riding, class cutting, king of all truants, died on a friday night while on his motorcycle. Smashed right into the Glendale underpass. We were all so upset and shaken. We knew that Mickey was probably high. Eric was clearly numbed and saddened. But, the laughter was still there.
One week later, I found out that Eric would never be coming over to visit Adeline again: he had taken his father's shotgun, and, in front of his father, on their front lawn, blown his brains out.
I never mentioned Eric to Adeline again. She never noticed.