About My Mom

Part 2


My bank account had fifty-five thousand dollars in savings. My parents managed to save this money after many years by scrimping on everything. Actually, Dad saved, and you, mom, did not understand what it meant to save. You were nearsighted but did not wear glasses and did not see what happened right under your nose. The same with money—you were not savvy with prices and could not haggle. Dad was in charge of the money for the family, setting aside what he could from modest salaries, and then pensions. (My dad worked as a Yeshiva`s bus driver for thirty years, taking children to their homes around Brooklyn.)

When passing on their saved money to me, my parents had almost nothing left in their bank account and thus were able to utilize certain state benefits for the poor. Up to a certain point this was acceptable to us all.

I even paid Dad interest on this money. I never inquired what he intended to do with this money, what was he saving it for.

Leah and I occasionally reminded him that he could not take anything with him to the grave and it would be wise to handle the “burial situation” since cemetery plot prices are constantly increasing. He angrily blew us off, saying “There’s no rush!” He loved round numbers and put an ultimate goal for himself to raise the sum of his savings to one hundred thousand.

At the end of each month we sat down at the table in my parents’ apartment and “balanced the books.” He handed over the savings to me, calculated his interest income, and reminded me if I owed him a couple of dozen dollars in the event he bought anything for me. Finishing the calculations on the calculator at first, then verifying on paper, my dad handed me the sheet with the new sum written showing how much of his and my mother’s money was on my account.