Welcome to Dee’s Soap Box. Who the heck is Dee, you may be wondering? Well, I’m a 57 years young woman, happily married to my amazing husband Greg for the past 21 years, and we have two strange, funny dogs, a Standard Schnauzer named Li’l Miss Lara, and a Schnerrier (Schnauzer/Terrier) named Wee Master Brodee.
I was born in Smithtown, Long Island New York. I lived for a time in Northport, then in Queens, then in Commack. I went to the same high school as Bob Costas, who is older than I, and Rosey O’Donnell, who is younger than I and went years later. As a New Yorker, I have an off-beat sense of humour, and had an off-beat family
Have you ever driven with your grandparents? My grandfather had to be the worst driver ever and he wasn’t even a cabbie. My grandmother drove too, but only from the backseat.
While on a road trip one day, my grandfather was driving and my grandmother was engrossed in conversation as we approached a fork in the road. My grandfather being the dutiful hen-pecked husband he was, asked my grandmother if he should go right or left. As no answer was forthcoming, I bet my brother he would go right and my brother took left. We both lost our bets when he parked the car in the middle of the fork!
Scary as that was – it paled when compared to the time we drove the Lincoln tunnel… going the wrong way! There we were headed straight for the largest truck I’ve ever seen, so he slammed it into reverse and drove backwards all the way to the off ramp, with horns blaring, people shouting obscenities, my grandmother yelling and the rest of us wishing we could evacuate the car instead of our bowels! So much for that new car smell! Knowing the tongue-lashing he’d receive at home, I think my grandfather would have rather died that day than face my grandmother’s wrath.
Grandmother was a proud Jewish New Yorker. In fact she was so proud of her high status, she had to wear her mink wherever she went, including the local 7-11 at 2am. She looked particularly stylish in her beautiful knee-length mink, over top her ankle-length nightgown and her bathrobe. To her Harper’s Bazaar meant great shopping!
Yeah, my grandmother was really something, a proud, Jewish New Yorker. And no matter where she went, she had to show off her mink. We’d want to get munchies at 2 a.m. at the local 7-11, and she had to come, with her layers, her nightgown, her bathrobe and her mink coat. I remember having envied my brother for seeing the Who’s first concert, with all his friends. But then one of his friends looked up and elbowed my brother, saying, hey, isn’t that your grandmother over there? He wanted to die, he just ducked down and she was looking around, in her mink, imagine wearing mink to see the Who, and calling Mark, Mark. He’d even have crawled into Keith Moon’s drum to escape, but luckily she didn’t spot him.
Yeah, she drove my brother nuts, she was always asking, Oh, Mark, where ya going, whatcha doing? But one day, she just went too far, when she asked Oh, Mark, where ya going? To which he answered “the bathroom”. Oh, then a few seconds later, “whatcha gonna do?” Now how does one answer that, uh, would you like to come with me and watch? Or should I just not flush so you can see for yourself?
Yes, my grandmother was quite the piece of work; I’d like to say God Love Her, but sadly, even he couldn’t. And petty? Wow, that’s an understatement. She would actually mark on her calendar when she called one of her two sisters, then not call again as it was “their turn.” So when she’d see them weeks or months later at a family gathering, they’d ask why they’d not heard from her and they’d all argue as to who had called whom last. Of course, my Nana was the only one who actually made note of this, as her sisters actually had lives and couldn’t be bothered keeping track. That, and they were rather happy not to have had to speak with her. Nana believed if one had family, they didn’t need friends, and her favourite expression said it all; she had no use for friends. If she couldn’t get something out of having someone in her life, she had no use for them, so they could just go away.
She was also a worrier, and when we weren’t in plain sight, she went searching. I once had the nerve to go from the backyard to the front yard through the back gate and she didn’t know where I was. When she discovered I had gone to the front she said I should have gone through the house so she’d know where I was. She was forever having visions that I’d be kidnapped, raped, beaten, murdered and dumped into the sewer. Considering how she felt about me, I often wondered if it wasn’t wishful thinking.