Dear Mom,

I haven’t seen you in a while now. Five years have flown. I can’t ask “How’s life?” but somehow “How’s death?” seems inappropriate. Anyway, thought I’d bring you up to date.

Trust you’re not as lonely there as you once were. I mean: the entire nuclear Family Hoffman has reunited, what with the addition of Uncle Bob. (Frankly, we were hoping Ed would join you, but it hasn’t worked out).

Let me bring you up to speed. Much has changed since 2009.

First things first: Hal says hello. He’s been struggling a bit, but Mom, the kid never complains. (Not that he has time to—he’s always on line emailing YouTube rock videos. Oh—maybe I should explain. There’s this website, you see, where you can watch clips of old entertainment. You would love it, Mom and would spend endless time surfing Benny Goodman, Tony Bennett, and all your favorites. Oh, and you can tell your middle husband Sam he’ll even find Jerry Vale). Anyway, Hal predominates my Cleveland life.

—And the children are fine, even thriving. Grandchildren, too…FIVE!. The kids didn’t come back, you know. Stayed in New York and Chicago… made a traveller out of me. Nothing from Jamie yet.

Incidentally, Aunt Helen does not say hello, but don’t take it personally. (Fact is our aunt had a rough winter. For a while we thought she might be having First Seder with you). It’s just that, as she approaches the century mark Aunt Helen prefers speaking to only blood Bogarts…and Carrie.

OK, stay with me on this, Mom—
Three years after your exit I developed a girlfriend. You didn’t know her, but you may have known OF her. Remember Dick Baskin? Well this is his sister, Marv and Sue’s kid. Yeah—a South Euclid girl! (OK, the rich end of Wrenford, but so what?). Anyway, in the summer of ’12 H and a bunch of his friends were going to Cain Park and asked me to join them. Herzog was there—remember you leased cars through him? And Ross. Well, we bought tickets but one month out I didn’t have a date. Long story short, Dick’s sis took the open seat and within days I was in with both feet.

All good, Mom—and we live together now—even play gin rummy.

Cleveland’s the same —more or less. I still see Bobby, Arthur and Marc. Stuart, too (in the summer). The guys had a reunion in Vegas a few years back. Ermine and Snyder had a turf war over where to sleep and Fenton stayed at another hotel to save a few bucks. (Go figure). He even left on the Saturday since weekends cost more. Yeah, the more things change, Mom, the more they stay the same.

I moved my office…to La Place. You’d love it: there’s a Chinese restaurant in my building.

And I don’t play poker much. There’s just no time. ‘Staying home more–with Carrie. ‘ Guess my priorities shifted. They opened a casino downtown and I’ve yet to stop in. As your first husband would counsel, “No good can come from it”. Frankly, as it turns out I’d rather drive to Mountaineer.

What else? Remember how good I looked at Michael’s wedding…how I’d lost all that weight? Well, the bad news is that what I didn’t regain before you left, I’ve gotten back since. The good news is though, that I’m addressing it. Oh—and speaking of the Great Neck nuptials, you looked so elegant that night, going down the aisle, beaming with pride from the Hal-guided wheelchair. I don’t think it’s the same one, but your cousin Sheila’s now rolling. (Just an FYI).  I know — you don’t think it’s funny. But Mom—she doesn’t have a diagnosis!

Oh, and another thing that’s not funny:

‘ Haven’t spoken with Ed. Here, let me say it in your good ear: I HAVEN’T TALKED TO ED TURNER, your third husband. ‘ Did see him at Berkowitz the day of your funeral and he said he’d stop by — at Hal’s. We’re still waiting, Mom. Even though Shivah ended sixty months ago. Sorry. I know you wanted to believe. I know.

I guess that’s it, Mommy. But I did save the best for last. Since you’ve gone there’ve been five grandchildren and one of them, a sterling, smiling Eli, was named in your memory. He is beautiful, Mom. Absolutely beautiful.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m exhausted. Helen and I hit Marc’s, Jack’s, Izzi’s, the Post Office, Heinen’s AND Target today. Like I said, the more things change….

I love you, Mom. I’ll write more often.


3 Responses to “SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE”

  1. Stuart says:

    Your Mom would have been so proud of her Sons and their extended families. And, she would have been so welcoming to Carrie. She would have loved Youtube. Still remember her listening to “Runaway” on WHK in her kitchen in 1961.

  2. H says:

    After reading Stuart’s comment I would love to have a real conversation with my mother. Not the mother from the 1990’s +, but the real one from the early sixties. I didn’t know that about WHK radio and their music

  3. m says:

    Bruce, Ed will not be joining your mother and the Hoffman clan. His reservation has been made for another place, one of eternal unrest.

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