Innergiggler's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Long Island

The sweet pungence of freshly cut grass triggers a bright image of my parents’ home on Long Island.  I’m 15 again; it’s a brilliantly hot Saturday afternoon in August and the sun shines directly on our backyard.  My watch reads 2:00p – right on time; his pick-up truck pulls into the driveway.   Anticipation forces my heart to beat a little faster. 

From my second story bedroom window I watch him set up the manual lawnmower as the sun shimmers on this shirtless wonder.   I study his red crew cut which blends perfectly with his tan and deeply freckled body.  Slightly more than twice my age – he’s a genius with that simple machine, erasing any grass growing above two inches.  Like broken hearts the grass is strewn about the yard with little resistance.  And in concert with his strength, those muscles punctuate every movement – rippling in a circular and hypnotic motion as his brawny, burly arms force the machine to cut – slice – manipulate each blade of grass to his guided direction.  His dominance increases and I can hear him grunting, “Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh!”  Does he know I’m listening?  Is he calling me?

My 15 year old libido is strongly aroused now and I want him to…to…?  At 15 I was somewhat confused as to ‘how and what I wanted him to do’ infusing the images of excerpts from “Peyton Place”, “79 Park Avenue” and other books my mom had hidden in the basement.  Through all this, there is one constant – I smell Hank.

Closing my eyes for a moment I now allow his sweat-drenched arms to surround and cloak me.  The strength of his hold and the nakedness of his slightly hairy chest create a yearning below my waist.  Its unfamiliar feeling travels throughout my body all the way to my toes and fingertips.  The perfume of his moisture is intoxicating. 

A ringing phone calls out but I am too mesmerized by the Hank Show so I let the interruption play itself out.  I won’t allow any intrusion – especially because it’s time for him to move to the next level – raking.   I hold my breath as he bends and scrapes, and smile at the slight dip of his jeans below the top of his BVDs’s.  I’m almost frightened by the imagined machinery inside his pants but not enough to turn away.   With raking of the back area complete, he moves around to the front of the house.  Now I try summoning the courage to run out and offer him water.  Some days he reaches out for the glass – on others he turns me down.  Either way his white teeth flash gratitude.  And I am closer to – smelling Hank.

Eventually, as I made the transition away from home off to college, friends and relatives asked me what I’d miss most about home.  I never told anyone – I was gonna miss smelling Hank.

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My first recollection of animals becoming human was in the 1990s…okay so I don’t evolve easily.  But I would have put a knife to your jugular before letting  you lay a hand on our collie…Lady…who was more human than many swell folks I’ve encountered…and sort of…Mom’s soul mate. 

We also harbored …fed and cleaned cages for three successive parakeets… Chipper…Chipper 2…then Chipper 3 who only lasted a short time…I’ll discuss the baby alligator another time.

So why the hell am I telling you this crap about animals…okay I’m setting up a disclaimer for my Mom …building a case for “Don’t judge me because I inadvertently mutilated animals…”

Living comfortably on Long Island in the 60s…70s…frankly anytime…often necessitated  certain symbols of status…Mom…had grown up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side…an immigrant’s haven…was the sixth of eight children and the first born in the U.S…making her very conscious of how others viewed her.  Come on…you took Sociology 101…many of her girlfriends were already sporting fur coats and Mom wanted one too! 

But good old Dad said “NO!”  He couldn’t get down with the idea of spending thousands of dollars on a coat.  “You’re cold?  Wear two coats at $20 each!”  Dad was a pragmatist and also cheap.  Knowing Mom…she did everything she could…and I don’t want to go there…but nothing worked. 

One night Dad, li’l brother Mitch and I were sitting around the kitchen table waiting for Mom to serve the usual steak…baked potato…canned string beans …when we heard her humming…then watched her strutting down the seven obligatory split level steps…singing her own rendition of a Patti Page standard…“How Much Is That Minky In The Window”…The one with the smooth dark brown furrrrrr…?” She wore an old coat cut up…with seven or eight patches of varied materials sewn all over…making her look tattered and wan…still don’t know what that means…which led to a huge Lichtman family belly laugh!  Dad chuckled the loudest but quickly sat down so Mom could serve him dinner…his humor could only go so far…don’t mess with his growling stomach…

Two weeks later on a Friday evening about 10:30…Mitch and I heard the automatic garage door opening…we were in the den watching TV so we hauled ass and did a quick clean up of a pizza box…dirty napkins…ice cream wrappers…empty soda cans…but were then interrupted…when…

Mom sashayed into the house wearing a smile longer than the Seine… and around her shoulders was a brand new dark brownish/black ankle length fur coat…her glow accompanied the announcement that she’d designed the coat two weeks before. 

Mom told us it was made with female mink pelts which were superior to male pelts…some things never change… and here’s the statement of contrition…none of us knew at that time…approximately 60 female minks were needed…and Mom was slim… to keep our mother warm and fashionable through many winters to come.  She loved her coat…but loved something else more…golf…and you don’t need a mink coat to play golf

So…in 1976…they moved to Hollywood, Florida…I inherited the coat which I sported winters while riding my blue bicycle throughout Manhattan.  Again…before animals were human…I am apologizing to PETA and Sue Nadell* for the whole Lichtman family.

*Devout PETA member and loving friend…

**Excerpt from “How I Buried My Mom While Attached To Her Umbilical Cord”