Back in the 1950s, there was a weekly show called “I Remember Mama.” I think it was broadcast on CBS and sponsored by Chock full o’Nuts. Those were the days when a show often had a single sponsor. I think of my mom almost every day, and especially around Mother’s Day, I like to reminisce.
Mom went all out to give me a bar mitzvah for the ages. I had survived double pneumonia with measles and polio and my bar mitzvah was a celebration of more than my achieving manhood. It was a celebration of my survival.
Whereas many bar mitzvahs are more for the adults than for the kids, Mom made sure that was not the case with my bar mitzvah. She—along with a most innovative caterer, Bill Lewis, comedian Richard Lewis’ late father–created a cowboy motif. The youngsters were all given cowboy hats, bandanas and toy pistols. There was a “Burt’s Bar” and square dancing for the young and old alike.
Everything was perfect with one major exception—Mom almost died that night. Unknown to all, Mom had been experiencing severe stomach pain for a week or more, but refused to see a doctor because she didn’t want anything to disrupt my bar mitzvah.
When the reception ended and I went to bed, Mom left for the hospital in an ambulance. The next morning, I descended the stairs eagerly awaiting my chance to open the presents when I saw the look of concern on my maternal Grandma’s face. I knew something was wrong, but could not imagine that my mother was fighting for her life. She remained in the hospital for two weeks, which seemed like eternity.
I am so grateful that she not only survived but also went on to live until the age of 91. Most mothers would gladly give their lives to save the lives of their children, but I am not sure how many would do so to make sure their kids had a great party.
Happy Mother’s Day!