Mama’s Three Authorities

Even though Mama always won the arguments between her and Papa throughout all the years of their marriage, up to the very end, Papa still did what he wanted.  This frustrated Mama.

Mama never used G-d as an authority—S/he was too important.  G-d was the one she went to when one of her boys was sick and she wanted a special favor.  This was a very unusual relationship, for they knew their roles and it seemed that both were pleased with the other.

Mama’s authorities were:

  1. The rabbi of the shul (synagogue) in Flemington, New Jersey.
  2. Dr. Beaudette, the poultry pathologist at Rutgers University, the state agricultural college.  When the chickens were sick, Papa took them in to find out what could be done.
  3. FDR —“President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was good for the Jews so he was a good leader.”

Papa sometimes got a word in, but mostly he listened.  Usually it was over Papa spending too much money.  When it came to money, Papa said, “It was meant to be spent,” so he never had any. 

When he could not take Mama’s nagging he hopped into the red, half-ton, International pickup truck and went to the Circle Diner on the Flemington Circle (eight miles away) for a cup of coffee.

Papa was a staunch Republican and disliked FDR.  He voted for Alf Landon in 1936 and was a great supporter of Wendell Wilkie who lost to FDR in the 1940 presidential race. 

When it came to Mama’s three authorities, Papa did not always agree.  Despite this, they never argued about it.  It seemed that they had a live and let live attitude.

Papa’s attitude towards the rabbi and religion was much more “relaxed than Mama’s.

Papa’s attitude towards Dr. Beaudette was the same respect that mama had.

Papa’s attitude to FDR was the exact opposite.  While he had long heated debates with the men who were summer roomers and boarders, he never argued with Mama over politics.