I'm starting this by quoting the title from a Bee Gees song. I like the Bee Gees. I like sushi too, but we'll get to that later. This truly is the beginning of my purge. Will anyone read it? I don't know. I just like looking at this box of letters I've collected from my mother, and know that my eyes may soon not be the only eyes to lay eyes upon them. There's just GOT to be people out there who have or had an over-protective mother overwhelming their lives with obscene fears, irrational warnings and inappropriate comments that frequently stop the Earth in its tracks.
To my recollection, this all began after my father passed away. I was just a normal, happy spectacled kid with a great sense of humor and a talent to play piano. I remember those early days back East very well. My 1st and 2nd schools, my teachers, my 1st "girlfriends", our house (with what seemed like a forest for a back yard), my pet turtle, my 1st dog, the weeping willow trees, the cold, the television, and our family. I remember singing Simon & Garfunkel songs, selling lemonade, running up to the neighborhood bookmobile, learning how to ride a bike, taking swimming lessons, and laughing with my father. We were Frick and Frack.
It all changed after he died of pancreatic cancer at 43. God. 43 was so OLD back then, wasn't it? I mean, people in their 40's today are generally cooler. Hipper. I just can't picture my dad lip syncing Kanye West's "Stronger."
My mom's personality really seemed to shift with my dad out of the picture. All of a sudden I noticed her Keane-esque Big Eyes watching me. Worrying about me. Clinging. Following me. I guess I get it in a way...but I'll never forgive her for not seeing the problems it all caused. I accept her...I love her...but more importantly at this point in my life, my children love her. And that's nice.
The trauma started hitting me hard by the time I was in 7th grade. I was in a private school in Miami Beach where my mother and I moved soon after I turned 9. I had a lot of friends, and I had a crush on a beautiful girl named Sara. She was everything a 12 year old boy could want in a girl: She was pretty, she was popular, and she was a girl.
Cut to one typical, humid Miami school day. There I was with all my pals in the boy's locker room getting dressed after a rousing Phys-Ed class. I was a bit of a geek, but I loved running around and getting crazy! (I once jumped 8'4 in the standing broad jump!) Now the girl's (Sara's) locker room was right next to ours separated only by the coach's office. We were all rushing to get out of our gym shorts and back into our school clothes. And then I remember hearing my mother's voice in the distance. "Adam...?" "Adam...?" No. It couldn't be. My heart sank. "Aaaaadaaaammmmm?" The voice was getting louder because she was getting closer. I remember seeing some of the guys scrambling to pull their pants up in time before... No. It was too late. There was my mom, stepping INTO THE BOY'S LOCKER ROOM. I know. Horrific. But it gets worse. She was carrying a sweater. Oh my God. The coach was right behind her, pleading with her to get outta there. The girls (Sara) were rushing out of THEIR locker room to see what was going on. I could hear them giggling. The camera slowly zooms in on this boy named Adam, looking up to his mom. I remember her finally saying to the now captive audience...that she thought I would need my sweater a little later in the afternoon. "Nice day...looks like rain", as Eeyore used to say. It may not have been the end of my life, but it certainly was the end of my life in 7th grade (with Sara).
Now I don't care what you say, this was not the behavior of a typical, neurotic Jewish mother. No. I won't buy that. Events like this hit deeper than the belly laughs they brought my close friends who assured me that I shouldn't be so sensitive. "She's eccentric!", they'd say. But I knew there was some medical term for it. Even then.
Years went by and I got accepted into a college in California. I leaped into my black Cutlass Supreme with the tinted windows and started driving away. Far away from her, from everyone I knew and loved, from every place I knew and loved, and everything I'd gotten used to. And eventually, my mother's unhealthy need to know and be everything to me manifested into her letters that never seemed to stop filling my mailbox at the dorm.
Which brings me to this. Revenge? No. Merely a way for me to vent and share like experiences with the masses. Certainly SOMEONE out there ran from their mother bringing them a sweater and killing all chances of happiness? No? Come on. Well, it could happen! For now, relish in the fact that it did happen to me and I'm here to play show and tell. I'll begin posting her letters in some sort of creative order. Lots of envelopes to re-open. It'll be fun. As soon as I can find my sweater. I'm feeling a bit cold right now.
The Sunburned Country
1 week ago