I was lying in bed after my long shift at work when I heard her come in the door at quarter to twelve. It was a common Saturday night occurrence. The 25-year-old tenant lying in bed alone, after a dateless evening, while the 80 year old cruises in after her weekly date with her 82-year-old boyfriend Benny. “He is no Mel,” she said, “but he drives a Cadillac, buys me dinner every Saturday night and takes me dancing too.”
True he was not the love of her life like her husband had been for several decades before he passed away, but Benny sure liked her. As the door slammed, I could hear them arguing in the kitchen. The door slammed again and Benny was gone. About three minutes later I heard a knock at the back door. But what happened next you could not make up.
“Ann, I just want a little love,” Benny said with a whine.
“You get out of here. GET OUT OF HERE!” she said.
Then came the crash of the furniture and the sound of him chasing her around the kitchen table.
She told us later that he was trying to feel her up. As I recounted the story, obtaining the perfect reaction from her horrified middle-aged children at a family gathering, one asked me if I had contemplated going downstairs to help her.
“Hell, no. Would you get between your mother and a good fight? She is a 5 foot nothing Italian grandmother that could kick your ass to Timbuktu and back. She knew that there was a ‘no boys in the house’ rule. That and I was having too much fun listening to her.”
For three years I lived with her. She used to give me crap about store bought spaghetti sauce and for dressing like, and I quote, “a hobo.” Once she even called me a “sporty girl,” whatever the hell that meant. She wanted me to dress more like my best friend, her granddaughter B. I told her that I didn’t have that amount of class. She used to laugh.
When I got engaged to Derek and she met him for the first time, I caught her flirting with him like he was a flyboy home from WWII. I overheard her asking him if he knew how crazy I was. He replied that he did and that he loved me anyway. She then regaled him with stories of every stupid thing I ever did while living at her house, to include her favorite story of me falling down the stairs while carrying a mattress.
I loved her like she was my own. She leaves behind a son, two daughters, her very favorite granddaughter and five grandchildren. But now she is with Mel. She threatened us for over a decade that she wouldn’t make it another year without him and she finally made good on her promise.
You will be forever missed, Ann, and the void you leave behind will never be filled.
Rest in peace.