Advice to Papa & Her Boys

We always went to Mama for advice.  It did not matter what the subject was and we always knew what the answer would be.  It was almost always a final seal of approval of what we probably would have done even if we did not ask for Mama’s final blessing. 

We seldom asked for her opinion, for her answer would have been, “Why are you asking me?  How should I know?” You went to college.  You should know.  You should know. 

I still can hear her saying that right now.  It always was the same, “Tu di erlekhe zakh” We boys took it to mean, do the right thing.  I just looked up the word in Weinreich and the first definition is observant then came virtuous, honest, straightforward, and honorable.

This was not the case with Papa.  He always came to Mama when it was a matter of business and Mama never gave him the same answer she gave us boys.  It was sound business advice as if she had a Harvard MBA. 

Papa always did what he wanted.  It invariably was the opposite of Mama’s advice.  Mama later said, ”Meks (Papa’s name was Max) I told you so.” He would turn around and drive to the Circle Diner on the Flemington Circle (eight miles away) and hang around at the counter with a cup of coffee.

The values that Mama instilled in her boys, especially of doing the “right thing”, have stood them well in later life.  They have been handed down to our children as well as to our nephews and nieces. 

Often when I am alone I still ask Mama, “What should I do?” From afar I can still hear her voice saying, “Fishele, tu di erlekhe zakh.”

Mama gave her boys good advice.