SECTION ONE 

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COLUMN NINETY, MAY 1, 2003
(Copyright 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)

THANKS, MOM!
MAY IS MY MONTH!


LENA ARONOWITZ

May is my month!

I have many reasons to love my dear, departed mother and one of them is that 75 years ago she picked the nicest time of the year to bring me into this world. She gave birth to me on her kitchen table at 207 Farnsworth Avenue, the main drag of little Bordentown, where the Delaware River pinches New Jersey's waistline. One of my heroes, Citizen Tom Paine, used to live right up the street. I was born in good company.

The date of my birth was May 20, 1928, the year Al Smith lost the presidential election to you know who. My Socialist parents named me after the Democratic candidate. Actually, I don't remember if I ever knew which grandfather, uncle or other relative I was named after in the tradition of Jewish families. My Yiddish name is pronounced Afroyim Gehdahlia but I haven't heard anyone call me that in many, many years. I feel very fortunate to have been born in May.

It so happens that Mother's Day also falls in May and it should be obvious by now that I?m dedicating this column to my Mom, Lena, who loved me and favored me, her youngest. Just as I have loved and favored my youngest. The baby of the family always gets spoiled rotten, especially when, like me, you're a boy with three big sisters. My beloved father, Morris, died when I was 15, leaving the rest of my upbringing in the hands of four doting women. All in all, I had a sweet, charming and innocent childhood. I loved my Ma and Pa. This was in the days before expensive therapists and shrinks had to pick your pocket for telling you to blame it all on your parents.

The only time I rebelled against my ma was when I was 16 and ran away from home. I hitchhiked all the way from New Jersey to my middle sister in Tampa, Florida, where she lived with her husband, David Becker, then a World War II soldier based in that city. But running away from home at the age of 16 seems to be something of a rite of passage, doesn't it? Except for my youngest. When he was 16, I was the one to run away from home. I went to live in Washington, D.C. with a Greek goddess who worked in the White House right next to the Oval  office. I used to photocopy my manuscripts there, but that's a whole other story.

Yeah, I loved my Ma, even though it wasn't until she was in an old age home flirting with senility that she told me something I should have been taught years and years earlier. My wife had died and I was having nothing but romantic problems when my Ma advised me in her customary Yiddish:

"Ah, women! Women are like birds. They'll fly around your head and drive you crazy!"

Here's to my Mom!  ##

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