My mom’s favorite food was “a good hotdog”. Even when my father, late in life, became financially successful and could afford nice restaurants, my mom was true blue. Zero affectations, she was as down to earth as they come. Yes, her jokes were sometimes “dirty”. She mixed it up as she covered some “cleaner” material too.
Once he could afford it, my father loved to buy her nice things, but never full price – always from Loehmann’s or other outlets. But still nice. My mom on the other hand, till the end, loved flea markets. She’d be so proud of her 50 cents purchases. Unlike many wives back in the day, instead of smidging the truth a bit about the price and saying it was less expensive, my mom would go the other direction. She would tell my dad it cost more, because he wanted her to have the things they could never afford. It was cute. Mom would say – I got this dress for 75 cents, but don’t tell your father!
Mom always worked hard. For many years she worked at my dad’s dry cleaning shop. Later she worked for the NY State Vocational Rehabilitation department. She would come home from work, throw dinner together, and joke, “I’m fast. Fast but lousy but fast.“ She actually was a great cook.
Later, after Dad’s career change, Mom and Dad sometimes travelled in fancy circles. She hated pretensions. She’d often say, “Look, I’m just a poor girl from the Bronx” or “Your father dresses me up like I’m a paper doll. I’m just as happy in my flea market outfits” or “You can take a girl out of the Bronx, but you can’t take the Bronx out of the girl” (I’m not sure if I imagined that last saying or if she’d actually say it!)
My Dad’s side of this is quite colorful too; I can’t wait to delve into it. But not yet.
My takeaway? I learned from her what’s important. I’ve definitely gotten caught up in superficial stuff and have had to pull myself back. But I have a solid anchor; it’s who you are that’s important, not what you have. ©
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6 thoughts on “A POOR GIRL FROM THE BRONX”
Thanks so much for this. Very sweet. I always liked Mom’s french fries, her spaghetti, and her chicken made with dry Liptons onion soup mix and ketchup. It was yummy. And of course I also remember her jokes – both the dirty ones and the clean ones.
Bob! My favorite meal from Mom was spaghetti AND french fries served together. She knew that’s how I liked it. ? I need to get that ketchup Lipton onion soup (bbq)) chicken recipe from you. It’s still the best I’ve ever had!
Your writing makes me sad that I never met your mother. She sounds like someone I would really like. My mother also was a good cook — but she never enjoyed it. I’m glad that you are searching out the positive. A good reminder for me to do that as well.
Susan, Thank you so much for your kind words. She would have loved to have met you too! I think she probably would have joined us on the dance floor!
Quite the opposite of my mom, but delightful. I can see her if I close my eyes, and I see where you get some of your fire.
Thank you Linda! That makes me happy. I’m glad some of her energy was contagious! She was quite a dancer too. 🙂 It is interesting when looking for the positive, how much can be found. She (Sonny) made a lot of people smile (and laugh!) 🙂