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2 Aug

Phyllis DanzigIf birthdays are a time to celebrate the fact that someone was born and became part of your existence (or the reason for your existence), then, today, I celebrate my mom. She would have been 83 years old! But, since birthdays are mostly a time to celebrate turning a year older or, perhaps, reaching a milestone, then I can just feel crushed.  No matter how hard I try to remain upbeat and no matter how easy it is to feel my mom’s presence even now, I cannot help but be angry that she/we were robbed of the last 20.5 years of togetherness.

That being said, I must go on with a thought/question I’ve had for a while: If my mom were alive, would she have a Facebook page? For some, this might seem like a very trivial issue and perhaps even completely not worthy of contemplation.  However, I am curious. I first thought about this years ago when an alumnus of the high school where I work stopped into the library to look at old yearbooks. She had been a widow for a few years and started her first Facebook page to get back in touch with people. Whether or not she had hoped to connect with eligible men (I did not inquire), they started popping up. And, she did not recognize the men with whom she had graduated 40 years earlier. She had lost her yearbook in a fire and wanted to check out their names and graduation photos before “friending” them. How smart- and safe! I enjoyed my chat with her and learning about her current quest. And, it was fun to see her reaction to finding the names and photos – “Oh, that’s him…still cute. Oooh- I do remember him… Hmmm, I still don’t know who he is.” For a while after this interesting visit, I wondered who she decided to friend and if she made any platonic or romantic connections.  I hope her research yielded happy results.

Back to Phyllis Tabak Danzig’s potential profile and posts and why I think she would have, at the very least, given Facebook a try. First, we were a big CB Radio family. Do you remember those things? My dad was a technology tinkerer. CB Radios brought him back to his morse code army days and connected him to like-minded people. Our family took many road trips for vacations and my mother’s antique business. CB Radio jargon and chatter gave them something fun to do and even my sister and I got caught up in the craze. My sister and I can recall our “handles”- she was Sunflower and I was Buttercup. I know, how cute. My dad, with his full head of thick brown hair, took on one of his favorite American symbols: The Bald Eagle. Strangely, neither my sister nor I can recall my mom’s handle. Whether in the car or our home’s office, the CB Radio was an absolute obsession for my parents during the mid/late 1970s. Also, like my father, my mother learned to navigate a computer and the early Internet way before they were easy to use. The technology might have intrigued her and certainly would not have stumped her.

So, if I am right, my mom’s profile would include Tabak, her maiden name. I am not sure about the photo- she was camera-shy. And, her birthday might be listed, but not the year, for sure. As an antiques dealer, she would want to “advertise” her vocation/hobby. She certainly would “like”  The Red Bank Antiques Center page and probably post photos of her booth and inventory. She would be part of a few groups, mostly antiques related, but perhaps also exercise since she had become a Pilates devotee.  We certainly would have friended each other. She would not Like with abandon. She was too honest and even critical for that. And, I, as her daughter and Facebook friend, would appreciate her choosiness. At the very least, even if she would not have become a Facebook fan, my page would be littered with photos of her and us during our shared adult years. 

Of course, all of this is not realistic and is relevant only if…. I am not usually an “only if” person, but this day brings out that wonder and longing for what could have been.

As postscript, I am curious if you are of my mom’s generation, do you have a Facebook page? If you’re closer to my generation, does your mom have a Facebook page? And, how is that going for you or her?



3 Aug

My mom!

My mom would have turned 80 today. Since she died before looking “old,” I find it easy and comforting to picture her when she looked young (okay, 60) and radiant as in this photo.

Recently, I received my daily e-mail quotation from Real Simple and was struck by how it conveys a main impetus for my blog (after eliminating the “in-law”).

“Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends” (Mencken).

Because I have a conscience which I credit my mom with helping develop, her impact on my life has never ended. I guess that would be a good goal or the moment when we know, as mothers, that we’ve succeeded with our children—when we see that they are making decisions and living life as if we are part of their conscience.

It’s exactly what I miss—my mom’s advice, support and criticism. I have this romanticized vision of my mom telling me how great my children are—how it’s because of what I do…  Also, I imagine her telling me that I am doing some things wrong. I think I would love to hear her say, “You’re letting her stay out too late….Do you think he is eating enough vegetables?…Have you ever thought you should limit computer access?” And, I imagine changing these problems simply because my mom thinks I should. Of course, in reality, I know some of these comments would make me angry. It is easy for me imagine her visit as all wonderful, how nice to be the conscience of a person who is always doing the right thing. But, I know that your conscience (i.e. your mom) is also great at pointing out your flaws and mistakes.

Still, I continue to miss all of that and wish my 80-year-old mom was here. I am grateful that she at least left me with a very solid foundation and is an active part of my conscience.

I am not sure if H. L. Mencken said this with the positive force that I infer, but I am thankful for the thought. And, I wonder, who makes up your conscience?


Mencken, H. L. “Daily Thought.” Real Simple  29 July 2011 : Web. 2 Aug 2011..

Honoring my Dad on his Birthday

21 Jun

While writing this blog helps me celebrate the relationship I did have and think about the relationship I could have with my mom, I often get a pang of guilt for not writing about my dad. He passed away six years before my mom and was always a HUGE and WONDERFUL part of my life. I had a great relationship with my dad. In fact, I often credit him with some of the most important factors that have shaped me.

Today is my dad’s birthday and he would have turned 82.  While he was obstinate and strict and did not lavish me with things, I always felt loved and secure, without judgment or measurement. It was easier to please my dad than my mom. All I had to do was try my hardest and keep safe. When I came home from my freshman year in college and announced that I wanted to change my major and career goal from economics (and either business or law) to English and teaching, I feared I would disappoint him. Wow, was I wrong. He was thrilled that I had found a passion and profession. He was quirky, but I don’t remember being embarrassed. He had a CB Radio and handle, Bold Eagle, and spent hours on it, at home and in the car. As soon as the Commodore 64 computer came out, he bought one and spent hours on that. He was a Brooklyn native and New Jersey resident, yet wore Stetson cowboy boots and hats. He drove me anywhere I needed to go and, I think, tried to say yes when he could. Yet, it was not all perfect. I remember when he was angry that I drove his car to work in an ice storm. At the time I thought (and I’m still not sure) that he was more worried about his new car than me. He was a cosmetics company executive, but told me I looked like a call girl when I put on too much blush (ok, so I was young, only 12 and used a ton of gel rouge).  Yet, he was responsible for teaching me so many life lessons during those crucial moments, like when I broke our first and only color TV, broke into our house because I forgot my key, or had to re-write an English essay he thought was horrible.

I could go on and on. I miss him as much as I miss my mom. Yet, there is a certain tie that I have with my mom and that I yearn for as a woman and mother. So, especially today, and actually always, I wish my mom and I wish my dad….

What differences do you recall in how your parents handled important moments in your life? Even if you were “daddy’s little girl,” do you find the mother/daughter bond to be even more crucial? What are the differences in a mother’s and father’s influence in our adult lives?

White Before Memorial Day

10 May

I am wearing white pants and shoes today and I wish I knew what my mom would say! While I am curious and even a bit uncomfortable not knowing her opinion, I do believe that I would still be wearing white today even if she was here to shake her head, showing disappointment. That’s the sort of relationship we had, especially as adults. While I continued to seek my mom’s opinion (even about such “trivial matters” as clothing), by the time I was 18ish, I did my own thing anyway.  I often and vividly recall the time she did not like the pink items I put together. How could she not understand that I didn’t care—it was and is my favorite color and, therefore, I claimed poetic license for pink in my wardrobe—anything goes. Yet, like many daughters, I did desire her approval. I can’t remember all of the instances, but I do hope we were mostly in agreement.

Back to the white dilemma–would she be flexible in fashion? Would she stick to outdated societal standards? Would she be progressive and embrace Michelle Obama and the current freedom in fashion? 

My white dilemma might generate memories of your mother’s rules of etiquette or need to conform to societal standards. Did your mother wear white before Memorial Day? Do you? What social “norms” did your mother adhere to? Possibly even more interesting, which did she ignore or protest? And, how did this affect you then? Now?