With special thanks to Hal for his contributions to this entry

Our mom married three times: Dad (‘48), Sam (’65), and finally Ed. The first two were good, loving men that, unfortunately, died in their fifties. Then there was Number 3.

“Mr. Ed” was unlike his predecessors. Uneducated, (no– slow), he SEEMED nice enough. Indeed, from the time they hooked up he nurtured our mother. So we overlooked what, in retrospect, were glaring red flags.

Like the fact that he lied when they met: about the nature of his residence….about his employment status (should that be unemployment status?) Blatant bullshit. But we let it go.

In today’s world of background checks it might seem naïve. Those, though, were days of trust. He professed care for our mother and said all the right things. ‘Twas enough. We tried not to judge and accepted him “as is.” Clearly Ed was welcomed with open, unquestioning arms.

Even when upon betrothal he revealed the need for a bankruptcy. (We got him one).

Even when the man couldn’t find work. Indeed, Dick Lomaz was kind enough to give him a job. And heck, when the Lomaz Era ended we went to the OTHER side of the family (Mom’s first husband) and Norm Diamond found Ed a home. Family, you know.

Blended as we were, our mother was thrilled. He wasn’t our cup of tea, but he was hers. So be it. OK, we laughed a bit when he’d opine on subjects he couldn’t spell, (let alone understand). And yes, we chuckled as he’d rail on those two employers, neither of whom, Ed insisted, knew how to run a business.

Because he took care of our mother. And she seemed happy. And he DID take care of her. He did….until the day he didn’t.

The morning of the first Seder–1998. Mom was flirting with depression. Mr. Ed’s answer was to tell her the marriage was over, sign her into Windsor Hospital and drive to Baltimore. Just dumped her there! Retrieving our mother, returning to her apartment, we found an empty refrigerator. No food whatsoever. Well, that is a slight exaggeration– there was a loaf of bread. (Guess he forgot to sell the chumetz).

Mom filed for divorce of course, but the prodigal son returned. You see,
our mother could do many things well, but living alone was not one of them. She bought in, and he was back. Game on.

Our mom declined dramatically the last decade. Physically, mentally. She was frustrated at Menorah Park, but tried valiantly to adjust. We assented to the move, but she was never the same. None of us were.

Ed, it seems, wasn’t spending all his time at the home. Some of it was with lawyers. And guess what? The marital house was now titled to his son. Imagine that!

So much for trust. Confronted with his chicanery, The Thief backtracked.
It clearly is a long, long time from May to December. Over that summer Mom’s house went from Ed to his son—back to Ed in June—back to son in June—back to Ed in August…..Clearly someone believed that one good Turner deserves another.

In the midst of all this Hal got a call.

“Come pick your mother’s things up. They’re in the garage.”

And so we went. The Brothers Bogart and Margie. There, in a lonely corner of the garage, damaged and thrown together in damp boxes were seventy plus years of our mother’s earthly goods. Family heirlooms soiled like the fabric of their marriage.

Mom wanted a lawyer again, but we’d seen this movie before. Nonetheless, one visited her at Menorah and they spoke extensively without the encumbrance of sons. We stayed away; it was her thing. And she did file, but ultimately dismissed again. Elaine Hoffman, at the end of the day, wanted to live out her life “married.” G/d bless her.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
She died peacefully this spring—just before Pesach. He’d taken her money and her house, but now G/d had taken her. The last of Ed?

A few years back, while emptying the till, he assured the Brothers Bogart and her brother Bob that the funeral was paid. Accounting for her funds and brandishing his handwritten note, the Thief looked us dead in the eye and confirmed an $8,000 prepayment to Berkowitz.

It was April 6 … about 10 at night …. Our mom had died a half hour earlier. Hal, Margie and I stood at bedside; it was peaceful. Ed walked in and we gave him respect, waiting outside for a minute.

And then it was our turn to say goodbye. We re-entered to Ed’s final parting gift: It seemed, he submitted, that he never really did pay that funeral bill.

He bid adieu, Number 3…. and retreated only to emerge like a February groundhog …at the funeral. (Although invited, he never did find his way to the Shivah). We haven’t seen him since. And that is fine.

This story is about neither love or money. It’s about trust.

Hal asks whether our mom was truly happy. Only she would know. One thing, though, is for certain: He violated her trust and she lived long enough to see it. We all did.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Summer’s come and gone. And life, of course, goes on. It’s November, and Ed’s birthday approaches. Perhaps I’ll send a card. For the heck of it, maybe even address it to Ed Turner’s Conscience, c/o The House That Cele Built. Betcha it comes back “Addressee Unknown!”


     “For when the One Great Scorer comes To write upon your name,

     He marks-not that you won or lost- But how you played the game.”


                                                  Grantland Rice

8 Responses to “TWO OUT OF THREE AIN’T BAD”

  1. Aunt Helen says:

    Bruce, Bruce, Bruce:

    As Pa told you many times when you tried to squirrel away some Oreo cookies for after Pesach: “You dunt chide chumetz.”

    The better comment would have been that he forgot to GIVE it to his children. (rimshot Schmitty)

  2. Grandma Cele says:

    Oh Bruce, please.
    Don’t waste your money on a card and stamp.

  3. Albert says:

    Why must you do things that you KNOW will antogonize adults.

  4. Pa says:

    Just leave the man alone.
    People need their peace and quiet.

  5. Grandpa Irv says:

    Go for it.

  6. Grandma Becky says:

    I loved all my children and grandchildren the same.
    But Ed Turner is traif.
    Screw the bastard.

  7. Aunt Helen says:

    If you are buying stamps, could you get a book for me.
    With the bell. Not a love theme.
    Portrait, not landscape.
    Sheet, not book

  8. Margie says:

    I’m with Grandma Becky.

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