Mama Never

Mama NEVER thought her shnir (daughter-in-laws) were good enough for her four boys—except the last one.

Mama NEVER raised her voice except when she was angry with Papa.

Mama NEVER hit her boys—except when Fishele asked, “What do you do with that —a kontshik?” (a half inch dowel peg with four leather thongs)

Mama NEVER said a good word about anyone in Papa’s family, except her shver (father-in-law)—after he died.

Mama NEVER thought Papa was a good businessman—except when he took her advice.

Mama NEVER said teachers were wrong—except when they gave Fishele a B on a report card.

Mama NEVER spoke Polish—except to Paul, our hired hand.

Mama NEVER spoke Russian—except with the woman from the farm across the creek in back of our house.

Mama NEVER drove a car—until we moved to the farm.

Mama NEVER ate treyf (non-kosher)—except when she met Papa’s folks—and she didn’t know it until later.

Mama NEVER talked to her boys about sex—except to tell her boys that, “Nice girls don’t ever do it.”

Mama NEVER ate on Yom Kippur—except when she was pregnant with Fishele, the twins or Semele.
Mama NEVER stopped lifting heavy weights— except after Semele was born and she was 38.

Mama NEVER voted for a Republican—except when the Catholic, John F.  Kennedy ran for president.

Mama NEVER went into a church—except when one of her grandchildren converted and got married.

Mama NEVER stole anything—except little onion rolls—when we ate at Ratner’s on Delancey Street.

Mama NEVER thought kids should eat candy— except her grandchildren.  She was a “health freak.”

Mama NEVER said Christmas was good—except when Semele had a good season in the shoe store. 

Mama NEVER missed taking out her beautiful embroidered shawl, silver candlesticks and lighting Friday night candles— except when she got very, very old.