Our mother passed away in December, 1992. Shortly after, our Uncle Norman also passed. My sister drove up from Connecticut and stayed with me to attend his funeral. After the burial, we went back to his house where our Aunt Evelyn, his wife, hosted the collation.
There were reminiscences of Uncle Norman, jokes and the usual Irish banter; we all pitched in our two cents. Somehow, the humor turned to our mother, Edie. She was extremely smart and read everything she could get her hands on. She was way above the curve when it came to national events. We were told as children that she had won the Anthony Medal, a mark of academic excellence, from George J. West School.
She was obsessed with the atomic bomb. As children we had practiced crouching under our school desks for cover. That was the extent of it. We were aware that there were fallout shelters, but they didn’t mean too much to us as children.
As our elders were talking about her obsession, our witty Uncle Joe said, “I said to Edie, if it hits, I hope it hits my toilet because it’s all clogged up.” Laughter abounded.
One day, my sister and I decided to visit one of Mom’s best friends. She was like an aunt to us and her children were like cousins. She was so happy for the unexpected visit and commented that our presence brought back the spirit of our mother.
A very funny lady, she out of the blue declared, “I’ll never forget how worried your mother was about the atomic bomb. Her brother said to her, [Edie, don’t worry about it; if it hits you will be so crazed you will be cutting out paper dolls in The Butler Psychiatric Hospital.]”
We had a great belly laugh, not believing that was the first time we heard that story.