My Dearest Malachi, This is me, your mother. This is a joke. Right? Your brother Myron has told me about your new, and you should pardon the expression, ferkakte, adventure. Why are you doing this to me? You think I don’t have enough to worry about? Why didn’t you tell us? Your father is a wreck. Me? Not so much. He is going to plotz. He’s sitting on the living room floor this very minute watching CNN for news about you and pulling his hair out. But you shouldn’t let that bother you.
Mom- I’m sorry you’re upset. I didn’t want you to worry about me. I’m fine. I am meeting great people. I have plenty to eat, and there is nothing to worry about. Please tell Dad it is a good thing. He should be proud. And tell him to stop watching the lousy corrupt corporate-controlled media circus. You can always call Felicia to check on me and see where I am. She will know.
Dear Malachi, Wait. Felicia? You want I should wait to hear news about you from your sister Felicia? The Miss I live in trendy Green Point Brooklyn now, Felicia? Bensonhurst is not good enough for her? The Miss please stop asking me when I am going get pregnant and give you a Jewish grandchild Felicia? You mean that Felicia? She’s, and you should pardon the expression, a pishke. You think that Felicia who couldn’t take off from work to go to your grandmother’s unveiling, will now in di mitn fuhn alts fly to West Virginia or wherever you are with a bottle of mercurochrome and an Ace bandage in her Gucci bag to rescue you? You mean that Felicia?
Mom- Please don’t talk like that about Felicia. Even though I know you’re kidding (Ha Ha). She’s my designated support person. It’s beautiful here. You would love it. You should be happy for me. You are always telling me I should get out and see the world.
Dear Malachi, By ‘see the world’ I meant you should go have lunch in Queens, or take a yoga class at the Y, and stop watching Your Tube and meet a nice girl maybe. You wouldn’t go to that sleep away camp in the Catskills, so now you’re sleeping on the ground with bear crap and rattle snakes and eating roots and berries. Where the hell is Appalachia anyway?
Dear Malachi, Why are you not answering me? Are you dead?
Dear Malachi, Your father is freaking out! Not me, so much, but still. Call me.
Dear Malachi. OK, I get it. You don’t have to hit me over the head or anything. All I can say is call me if you forgot any of the following: Benadryl? Albuterol? Klonopin? Soap? CBD? Toothpaste? Toothbrush? DentuCreme (just wanted to see if you are paying attention, ha ha), IcyHot? Advil? Off? Am I getting close? Vaseline? Sunscreen? Bandaids? A second pair of glasses? Underwear? A third pair of glasses? BTW, your father is looking up whether Amazon can send drones to the Appalachian Trail. He can have a package ready faster than you would shut the bedroom window and swallow the weed you were smoking when you heard us come home. As if! Call me.
Dear Malachi. After I told your uncle Henny about what you are doing he says to me, “Mille, have you ever heard the one about the Jewish kid who takes a semester off from college and he doesn’t tell his parents, and he starts to hike the full length of the Appalachian Trail from end to end, 2200 miles? Alone? So I say to him, “No,” and he says to me, “Millie, of course you haven’t. That’s because it’s never ever happened before!” So I am asking you, Malachi, why do you need to be the first one? Call me.
Dear Malachi. News Flash: You know what happened to Reese Witherspoon, don’t you? I saw the movie. I know. Call me.
Dear Malachi. Your father has asked his brother, your uncle Mel, if he would ask his wife Carmella (God help us) if she could say a prayer for you and guess what? She said she will say novenas every day for you for the rest of the trip, you only have to send me your GPS location so that, and I don’t understand how all of this will work, she can send the nachas or whatever they are to the right place. And you should take her up on it because, according to Mel, she started saying novenas for the New York Mets just two weeks ago and guess what, they are now only five games back in the NL Wild Card Race and look at how Pete Alonso is doing! Home runs! Am I right? Call me. I’ll set you up.
Dear Malachi. The girl from Park Slope with the red hair and the cute mole on her cheek called. She said her name is Natalie and you said you would call her and you never did and now she heard what you are doing and she needs to talk to you. She says it’s serious and you would know what it is about. Call me.
Ma, I can’t believe that you are acting like this. Ok, that was a lie. I can believe it. You are little bit crazy. But in a good way. I can’t call you and I can’t just stop and drop everything every time you text me and write back to you. This is the greatest thing I have ever done in my entire life. And I would not be doing it if it wasn’t for you and Dad… (Mostly Dad Ha Ha). I’ll see you in three months, tops. P.S. I don’t know anyone named Natalie.
4 thoughts on “My Dearest Malachi, This Is Me, Your Mother”
Joe. Funny, funny, stuff. I take it the “foreign” language is Yiddish. Don’t understand the talk, but get it anyways. Sort of. Had a good friend years and years ago when driving by a “cluttered” home claimed, that a lot of “chatchkes” live there. And I immediately asked in my most innocent ordained catholic way, “who are the Chatchkes”. My friend Shari got a big laugh from this. I’m still learning.
Wonderful writing style with conversation between hovering-over Jewish mother, and always wanted to break free son. Big unveiled understanding of relationships within the Jewish family tradition. Humor reminded me of Alan Sherman. Jewish folk singer. “My Son the Jew”. One of my favorites from the 60’s.
Way to go with this one, Joe.
A mensch indeed. Loved it.
This is a classic, beautiful story. But, one has to know some Yiddish, or lived in New York City, or know those of Jewish background. All of these conditions apply to me, with one exception: I am an Italian-American whose mother was an immigrant, and the dialogue is essentially the same which used to come from my mother’s mind and mouth. One of her most frequent comments was “Why are you doing this to me?” There are many similarities in my mother’s use of language and Malachi’s mother. You have captured a cultural touchstone with much humor and done it with much accuracy. Well done. Lois and I laughed throughout it. Your buddy, Joseph N. Muzio
Thanks so much, Joe. I’m really glad you liked it. I’m pretty sure our mothers, if not not most mothers, share some very basic basic genes.