Nick Douglas of Blogebrity’s kind mention of my mother made me think about how wonderful my mother is as a person. She is probably the most giving person I know.
Maybe too giving.
Mom, this is for you.
My Mother is a Giving Person
A Post in Three Chapters
by Neil Kramer
My Mother Gives Away a Sweater
My mother owns an ugly plaid sweater. When Sophia and I were in New York last month, Sophia politely told my mother that the sweater was nice. When we returned back to Los Angeles, we discovered the god-awful sweater sitting in Sophia’s suitcase. Sophia called my mother and asked why.
My mother answered, “Because you liked it so much.”
My Mother Gives Away a Noodle Kugel
When we were sitting shiva for my father, people were supposed to follow the tradition of bringing food to the mourners. Instead, we had constant guests and my mother was serving them.
The very sweet Adele Horowiz from Apartment 4D brought down some cookies for the guests and a “special” noodle kugel for us. Sophia and I each had a piece and it was the best thing we ever ate. We went downstairs to pick up some more soda for the visitors. We then returned, eager for another piece of the kugel. But when we walked in, we saw five new visitors, and my mother was serving them all OUR KUGEL.
Sophia and I surrounded my mother in the kitchen. .
“What are you doing?” asked Sophia. “That noodle kugel was for us, not them!”
“It was so good,” answered my mother. “I wanted them to try it.”
I pointed to a huge pile of cakes, cookies, and candy sitting on the kitchen counter.
“Give them some of this crap!” I said. “Not Adele Horowitz’s homemade noodle kugel!”
“That’s right,” added Sophia. “We’re the mourners. We deserve the kugel!”
I sniffed the air. It smelled like kugel.
“I can still smell how good it is.”
Sophia peeked into the living room.
“You better keep on smelling. Because I think your guests are finishing the last piece.”
My Mother Gives Away My House in Malibu
A funeral, like a wedding, is a place to you see relatives you never see otherwise. When we were sitting shiva, my cousin, Brian, came to visit. He is twelve years younger than me. He lives in upstate New York and I’ve seen him twice in my life.
While my mother talked with some visitors, Brian and I went into my room to talk and get to know each other better. I was flattered when I learned that I was a major influence on his life.
“When I was little, you and your parents took me to my first Star Wars movie. Remember? You had these little R2D2 wind-up toys. And your mother gave me one.”
“Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.” I said, not really remembering these toys at all. “That’s great, just great.”
He told me that after the movie, Star Wars became the center of his life. He saw every movie and became a major collector of Star Wars memorabilia. He said he made a good amount of money buying and selling these collectibles on Ebay.
“I’m glad I got you started!” I said, laughing.
“Oh, I’ve had even better luck with your comic books and baseball cards,” he said.
“What do you mean?” I asked, suddenly confused.
“Didn’t you know? I once came visiting when you were in college. Your mother gave me all of your comic books and baseball cards.”
I always wondered what happened to my comics and baseball cards. Unlike my father, who kept every receipt since 1950, my mother threw out everything. I always assumed my mother tossed out my childhood stuff when she cleaned out my closet.
“You had this one Archie comic…” Brian said, taking out an imaginary comic book and lovingly opening a page, “…that was in such excellent condition — I was able to sell it for $75!”
“Oh, yeah, I’ve sold quite a few of the comic books and some of the baseball cards. But I’m definitely holding on to that Roberto Clemente.”
“I had a Roberto Clemente?!”
“Oh, yeah. Mint condition.”
“What else did my mother give you?”
“Well, I’ve added a lot to my Matchbox car collection…”
“I thought they were still in the closet.”
“No, I combined our collections and won some contest for ‘America’s Best Matchbox Car Collection.’ I got $5000 from the Mattel Company.”
“I loved my Matchbox collection.”
“They’re fun. But they’re not worth as much as that Lionel train set you had.”
“My train set?”
“Your mother said you only used it once. It wasn’t easy getting it into my Honda Civic”
“I completely forgot I had a train set.”
“That’s what your mother said. She said you called it “boring'”
“It was boring. Who wants to watch a train go round and round?”
“I think it’s boring also, but trust me, there are A LOT of collectors out there who don’t. It did really well on Ebay when I sold it for… well, let’s just say it did VERY VERY well…”
“What do you do for a living? I mean, besides selling my old stuff on Ebay?”
“I used to do sales for a lighting company, but I quit because I was making so much money with…”
I yelled it like I did when I was ten years old and wanted to rat on someone.
“What?” she called out from the kitchen.
“Mom, come here!”
I wasn’t sure what I was going to say to my my grieving mother. All I could think about was the house in Malibu I could have bought with the money from my old baseball cards.
My mother entered.
“Did you call?”
She was carrying a plate of food, wrapped in aluminum foil.
“Oh, hi, Brian. There you are. I was just saving you a piece of this delicious noodle kugel to take home.”