29 Mar

My parents were in town for two weeks, living with me.  Anyone can love their family when they’re 7,ooo miles away.  But would I still like them when they were asleep downstairs, in the same room, puffy eyed sharing coffee in the morning?  So we put our relationship to the test.  My folks moved in.

If you remember, faithful reader, and I am sure you do, from a blog post not-so-long-ago, about my apartment, it is not an apartment at all.  It is a store, on the ground-level, with a giant sliding door that opens directly to the busy street, turned art studio, turned home.  By now, after 6 months here, it is livable, for me, at least, there is a kitchen, a couch, even a closet, but it is still not up to code for 2 aging, if youthful, Jews.

My father is 77 years old, from the Bronx.  My mom is 12 years his junior, from Boston, Massachusetts.  They have traveled, and moved, a lot, and said they were willing to try living on the pullout if I was willing to let them.

Of course I was!  These were the people who, however disgustingly, made love to create me, who raised me, paid for everything I ate, I wore, I did, or I wanted, for 18 years– and more, honestly, of my life.  How could I say no?  But, I thought, after this, we’re even.

I picked them up at the airport, and we headed home, together.  I had cleaned up as much as possible, but there’s only so much you can do in a place where pieces of the ceiling fall every day.  But, they said, after inspecting the sink and shower and fridge, they liked it.  They could do it.

But could I?

They got comfortable.  The mess spread from the living room into the studio.  There were towels draped over the backs of chairs, plastic bags of change and half-eaten sandwiches everywhere, in just a few days, we had gone through almost 6 months of toilet paper.  What the hell was going on?  Were they running a spa?  Were they collecting donations for Sudanese refugees?  Were they making stuff out of toilet paper? – Were they actually wearing toilet paper under their clothes, like mummies, for some kind of temperature control?  Is this what being old is like?  My art studio had been turned into a durational conceptual performance installation I could never think of alone, THIS IS WHAT YOUR APARTMENT LOOKS LIKE WHEN YOUR PARENTS MOVE IN.

And so much cheese.  I am not sure where the cheese was coming from.  They constantly discussed, monitored, and replenished the cheese supply.  In retirement, cheese has become their full-time job.  They find comfort in it.  As long as there there is cheese, nothing can go wrong.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A


But I stayed cool.  These are, after all, my parents. I am them, and they are me.  Their DNA, and some star dust, of course, is responsible for brining the KING OF ALL JEWISH BASEBALL into this world.  The least I could do is calmly eat cheese and wait to reclaim my life.

So, patiently, each night, I snuck into my own apartment, slowly sliding the front door open and closed, tip-toeing past their bed, brushing my teeth on the dark, and going upstairs to live silently, like Anne Frank, in my last waking hours of the day so not to disturb them.

And now, they’re gone.  And I  miss them, can’t live without them.  I forgot how to be myself.  You must excuse me, I am going to cut this blog post short, I am going to the store, I need cheese…

FIsh Family.  Representing Team Israel for life.

My parents

5 Responses to “MY PARENTS”

  1. Wendy Maus March 29, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    You’re a good son! 😉

  2. Diane Mason March 29, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    Parents everywhere love you for this

  3. March 29, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    This was great Nate. As happens, we slowly become our parents. Marcia and Jerry look great. Your Mom looks like a better version of Helen, (her mother). Never met Jerry’s parents, so couldn’t say about him. Known Marcia all my life. Didn’t even know Jerry was older than us. Way to go Jerry. Glad you love this exciting part of your life. Enjoy, for it passes bye too quickly. It’s actually been four years since we saw you at our cousin’s reunion. Love, Cousin’s Judy and Gene

  4. mbloomberg March 29, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

    Ok, we use ALOT of toilet paper; we drape towels everywhere to dry; we go to bed early. But what’s with the cheese? We just bought it for a snack and so you’d have some protein besides peanut butter in the pantry.

    We miss you and the cheese!

  5. Rick Yaverbaum March 31, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Nate, Come on?! Where was the toilet paper going?! Your father is a highly productive man! Great blog, again. Ricky

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