Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bub!!

Today is my Bubby's birthday.....I think she would've turned 88 today. ( I may be wrong about this...I was never sure what year she was born in.) In honor of her birthday, I will share some funny stories about her.

I used to call my Bubby on the phone and pretend I was her friend, Olive. To this day, I have no idea who in the hell Olive was.  I never met the woman. I have no idea if she really existed. In any case, I'd call her house and tell her it was Olive. Then, my Bub would pretend to have a conversation with Olive. Eventually, I would tell her it was me. She would act so hurt and offended that I "tricked" her. For years I believed that I was fooling her.

High Holidays at her house were always a treat. The adults sat in the dining room. The kids would sit in the kitchen. We weren't allowed to have any pop before the main course was served. G-d forbid we wanted to get ice out of the freezer. It took 3 people to hold things in place and move other things around in order to get the ice trays out without 3 lbs of hamburger meat falling and breaking someone's foot.  We would want to watch TV. Well, the tiny tv's speakers blared into the dining room. Everyone in there would talk louder to talk over the TV. In turn, we would make the TV louder and so on and so forth. Eventually, we got yelled at to turn the TV off because it was too loud.  And, anyone who knows us knows we are loud to begin with. So talking always seems like yelling. My Bub would finally sit down to eat (as the rest of us were finishing) and would tell us all that "Millie didn't have this". Millie was one of her oldest and dearest friends.  In Bub's mind, Millie's family was much quieter and more well behaved then us. Here's what Bub never knew: Millie never had this because her family didn't give 2 shits about her. They probably didn't include her in holidays. And, when my Uncle Aaron passed away, Millie came to the Shiva, brought by her son. We found out that her son decided one day to pack up her apartment and shove her into a nursing home. Millie had nothing and her kids wanted nothing to do with her. We still talk about Millie at holiday meals. We have no idea at this point if she is even still alive. If she is, we should probably invite her to join us.

Bubby would bake for everyone's birthdays--everyone got their favorite cake. Uncle Aaron ALWAYS got a rum cake. I got yellow with chocolate frosting, as did my mom and Lance. My dad would get chocolate with chocolate frosting.  For our birthday parties, we did not have Deerfields or Jewel cakes. We had Bubby cakes. She would bake and frost. My mom would decorate. The cake was always 2 layers...usually one chocolate, one yellow and it would have chocolate frosting.  When I was dating my late husband, she baked him a cake AND decorated it with all Vegas themed things, knowing he loved Vegas. For Andrew's 1st birthday, he got the king of all cakes: a TRIPLE layer one before and no one after ever got a cake like that.

And, speaking of birthdays. We threw my Mom a surprise 40th birthday party. The party was held in our house. My mom was out working that day. As soon as she left, Bubby came over to start arranging her own deli trays---she hand rolled (along with my help) each and every slice of salami, turkey, corned beef, etc. She sliced every vegetable and arranged everything. I cleaned the house. Mind you, I was 16 years old. My mother came home. My Bub lied to her about my Uncle Marlow having a party and they lost power in the house so they moved the party to our house. My mom was having a shit fit about how the house was dirty (I worked all day on that house!) and how she was tired from working all day and didn't want people at the house. My dad took her out and then they came back to the party. Surprise!

We used to go shopping every Saturday with Bub. My dad worked Saturdays so my mom, Lance and I would pick her up and go to different malls, putz around and have lunch. She and my mom were once attacked by crowds of people at Randhurst over the calzones they were eating from Sbarro. People acted like they had never seen food.  We'd go to Stratford Square so I could go to the Hello Kitty store and we could eat Charlie Chan's for lunch.  I think we ate chicken on a stick.....I think......I'm getting old. Can't remember.

Bub was a GIANT worry wart. When I was 19, I was dog sitting for my parents friends dog in Wilmette. They wanted me to sleep at the house with the dog. Fine.  G-d forbid I would've stayed there alone. My mom made me tell her that Tammy was staying with me at the house. So, my Bub decided she had to take Tammy to lunch to thank her for doing this. Off to Olive Garden we went, with her and my Papa. Tammy was terribly uncomfortable the entire time as we were LYING. (my mom said it was ok to lie because it made Bub feel better...uh huh...surely) Bub LOVED the Olive Garden. She'd order an entree but would fill up on salad and breadsticks and then take her meal home. That would last her for  like 2 or 3 meals. She loved, loved, loved that salad!

In any event, this has been a nice stroll down memory lane. Well, for me anyway LOL. And for my family. The rest of you will probably wonder what was funny or amusing about all this. You would have had to have known her to understand. And if you didn't know her, you missed out on quite an amazing lady. NO ONE had more patience or a bigger heart than her. No one ever will. Happy Birthday, Bub!


  1. I'm so glad you have these wonderful memories and you brought them back to me. It was a beautiful blog. Thank you

  2. Thank you so much for writing this. I was thinking about her today. My dad LOVED her baking. No matter how much shit he gave her, he ate her baking right up. Damn, I wish I could have some of her chocolate rum cake right now. Who has the recipe? xoxo

  3. you take after her, kerry. big heart ... great food! also ... bubby made me yellow cakes with chocolate frosting, too. but I was a big banana cake fan and if she hadn't made one in awhile ... it came with chocolate frosting! she also would have boiled cauliflower ready for me when I got home from school! and dried apricots! yes ... I had weird taste buds.