Sunday, May 27, 2012

My brothers made my mother look like she was at "Heaven's Gate"

I'm sure this true story "WAR STORY" will make you laugh 
on Memorial Day.
 It is one of the stories in CAN WE COME IN AND LAUGH, TOO? and you'll find many more amusing stories between the covers. Kindle and paperback on Amazon.
Rosetta in 1932 - 23 years old

Let me look back for a moment. The year was 1918 and I was nine years old. That was the year World War I was declared. We were still living in the same apartment on Ogden Avenue. My brother Meyer was drafted into the army and was sent to France. He was an M.P. and was there about three years. He got really lonesome for home and wanted to get a furlough, so he invented an excuse and said that my mother was very sick and he wanted to see her before anything serious took place. He hinted that she could die.

It was a luxury to have a telephone back then and we knew they would send an inspector to check out his story in person. We didn't know when the inspector would come so we had to be ready to react at a moment’s notice to make sure our mother looked very sick.

One day the doorbell rang and sure enough it was the inspector. Thank God for the three flights of steps to climb. In the time it took him to make it to the top, we had enough time to prepare the scene.

My mother was in the kitchen cleaning a chicken. In my day when someone bought a chicken, it had to be cleaned from scratch, feathers and all, before you cut it up to cook. Now-a-days you go into the market and purchase a chicken, or parts of a chicken, and it's all ready for use. That’s progress.

The boys grabbed her just as she was, dress, apron, shoes and all, and dusted some flour on her face. Then they each grabbed one of her arms and hurried her down the hall to the bedroom.

They practically threw her in the bed, clothes, shoes and all, and told her to groan and moan—above all they prompted her to act like she was on Death’s doorway.  There was no electricity at that time and all of the fixtures were the gas light type. They turned the gas lights up and covered her right up to her neck so the inspector couldn't see she was fully dressed. The light from the fixtures cast a sickly greenish glow all over the whole room and between the flour and the green light she looked ghastly.

My brothers led the inspector into the room and said in hushed voices, “I hope Meyer can come home soon.” Hearing that, my mother took the cue and began to groan. She kept up a chant of "Oy Vey" the whole time the inspector was there. It was an award-winning performance, and I remember it to this day. The poor inspector took one look at Ma and said "Oh my, she is very sick, isn’t she?"  He gave her a comforting pat on the arm and said, “We’ll bring him home to you as soon as possible. Don’t worry, Mrs. Schwartz. Just hang on.”

After he left, my mother got up and went back into the kitchen to finish cleaning the chicken!

And, as for Meyer? They granted him a two week furlough and he came home a week later.

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