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Mark M Lichterman

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By Mark M Lichterman
Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2011
Last edited: Saturday, September 15, 2012
This short story is rated "R" by the Author.
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Rubbers? It had never occurred to him that his mother and father had used contraceptives. But then again, even at this time, about a month and a half from his twenty-first birthday, Mitchell Lipensky still could not imagine his mother and father having intercourse.

"Becoming" can now also be purchased as a Kindle Ebook @$4.95


“Hey, Ray,” he called. “Thanks! I’m getting married!”

“No shit?” Flipping his cigarette over the side, “Congratulations!”

“Yeah, thanks.” Going below to his locker, he took a couple of nickels from his wallet. Back topside, saluting the flag, starting down the gangway, “Got a couple’a calls I gotta make, Ray.”

“Sure, Mitchie, go ahead.”

Leaving the ship, walking to the row of telephone booths by the facility’s entrance, fishing a nickel from his pocket, Mitchell dialed “O.”


July 5, 1955, to August 29, 1955

Chicago/Skokie, Illinois/Staten Island,  New York


“Mother, Daddy,” Thinking the best way to say it was just to say it, “Mitchell asked me to marry him…” Putting the phone on the cradle, walking past them into the living room, sitting on the edge of the sofa, fully expecting her father to be happy for her and her mother to be negative, “and I told him I would.”

Eli’s mouth dropped open. Swallowing, blinking his eyes a number of times, a look of sadness coming to his face, “Baby, you mean now, while he’s in the service? And you’ll leave here,” encompassing the room with a sweep of his arm, “and go to New York?” Following Marsha, sitting heavily onto one of the easy chairs, “He expects you to leave your family,” Eli said unbelievably, “and move all the way to New York City!”

Surprised at his attitude, “Daddy, yes. We love each other!”

Simply put, Eli could not imagine life without his daughter. Simply put, Marsha was often the one person in the world that could make Eli smile.

Married! he thought, My baby married and away, far away! He’d never thought of her getting married. And this young? Why, she’s not even nineteen yet… Yet Rhea was only sixteen when she and Eli had married. “How will you live?” he asked desperately. “Mitchell can’t make enough money to support the two of you in the, uh…?”

“Coast Guard, Daddy. We’ve talked about that. Mitchell said that I’ll get an, uh, allotment check from the government each month, and he gets paid for being in the service, also. I’ll have to work, of course, but I’m working now anyway. And with my Lanathins training and a recommendation I shouldn’t have a problem finding another job. I know you’re worried, Daddy, but we’ll get by okay.”

“Well, baby, Mitchell seems like a real nice boy…” Attempting to smile, Eli’s smile was but a thin veneer and, his sadness at losing his daughter showing through, “if that’s what you want, then I’m happy for you.” But at that moment, Eli Goldman hated Mitchell Lipensky.

Her eyes tearful, much to Marsha’s surprise, coming to the sofa, sitting next to her, “I’m so happy for you!” Oddly, she meant it, not as her daughter imagined—because she was going to be rid of her—but with Roger married and strangely distant, and her daughter soon to be married, with or without her blessings, Rhea felt as though a part of her life was about to end, and for the first time in her life she felt maternal towards her daughter. Further shocking her, “Would you like a wedding, Marsha?” Rhea asked. “A real wedding?”

Stunned, Marsha realized that her mother was sincerely happy for her. Also, she saw something she had never seen her mother do—at least as far as she could remember—she was crying. And Marsha felt something from her mother that she had never felt before: maternal love. “Mother,” fighting back tears, “do you want to make me a wedding?”

“Oh, yes!” Rhea answered emphatically, as though by doing this she might be able to wipe away near-nineteen years of neglect and indifference. “Baby,”—baby?—squeezing her daughter’s hand for emphasis, “we’d love…” glancing at Eli, then back to her daughter, “to make you a wedding.”

Knowing his wife, having some idea of what she meant by “a wedding,” “But the money?”

Looking at Eli, “Don’t worry about the money!”

“Yes, sure,” Eli said sincerely. “Nothing’s too good for my baby.” Standing, Eli went into the bathroom, closed the door, sat on the edge of the bathtub… and silently cried.


Walter and Myra looked at each other, each waiting for the other to get off the sofa and answer the telephone. With a sigh, putting his coffee cup onto the coffee table, pulling himself onto his feet, Walter crossed the den and, lifting the receiver, “Yes, operator,” looking at his wife, “we’ll accept the charges…”

Mitchell, what’s wrong?”

Turning her attention from television, Myra looked at her husband.

“Nothing’s wrong! I’ve got good news—great news!”

Walter thought, and rightfully so, that Mitchell was wasting his time in the Coast Guard education-wise, just as he’d done in high school. “Yeah, and what’s that?” he asked facetiously. “You get a promotion?”

“No, Dad…” Knowing his father was crazy about Marsha, and fully expecting him to be happy about this, “I’ve asked Marsha to marry me,” he said, “and she said yes.”

For a long moment the line was silent, then, “Mitchell…” The tone of his voice causing Myra to come to the desk. “you’re too young,” looking at his wife, “to get married now.”

Myra’s hand going to her throat, “He wants to get married?”

“Come on, Dad. I’ll be twenty-one next month. Lots’a guys on the ship are married, and most of ’em,” he lied, “are even younger than me.”

Aware that, probably, there was not enough time to tell, still, “Is Marsha pregnant?”

Angered at this, “How can you even ask something like that? No! Of course not!”

“What are you going to do for money? Where do you plan on living?”

“She’ll get an allotment check, and I get paid, and she’ll work, just like she’s doing now, only here. Look, you and mom have been telling me that I ought to look up your aunt Ida, so I thought I’d call her, and go see her on my next weekend liberty, and maybe look for an apartment near her, so at least we’ll have some family near by.”

“Mitchell, I’m telling you,” looking at his wife again, “that your mother and I are completely against this!”

“Okay, Dad,” his stubborn tone taking over, “so now you’ve told me!”

“Think about it! This is for a long time. Forever! Marsha’s a nice girl…” truly, Walter was crazy about her, “but why the rush? Why can’t you wait till you’re discharged, until you know what you’re going to do with your life, and that’ll give the two of you time to get to know each other better.”

“Dad, Marcie and I have known each other for years. We love each other and want to be married, now! And when I get discharged I’m coming to work for you as a salesman, like we’ve talked about. You still want me to, don’t you?”

“Yes,” Walter said begrudging, “of course I want you to! … Myra,” giving the phone to his wife, “you try to talk some sense into him!” Going back to the sofa, he lit a cigarette.

“Mitchell, why now? she asked angrily.” Making a V of her index and forefinger, motioning for Walter to give her a cigarette. He handed her the one he’d lit and reachd for another for himself. “Why the hell can’t you wait?”

Surprised at his mother’s tone of voice, “Mom, we love each other! We can’t stand being away from each other like this!”

A jealous possessiveness gripped Myra’s heart. Feeling she’d lost her husband to a boat, she was now loosing her eldest son to some girl, “Just how well do you think you know her?”

“Well enough, Mom. We’ve known each other for more than six years.

“Bullshit! So you met her six years ago? That doesn’t mean you know her! Know what I think, Mitchell? I think you just want to get laid!”

In the back of his mind he remembered his mother had said this very same thing about Susan. Even though, shocked at her choice of words, “No, Mom!” Even if, yes, he most certainly did want to get laid, “How can you talk this way?”

Stopping short of re-asking if Marsha was pregnant. “Okay, mister smart-guy…” She’d heard her husband ask these same questions, but had not heard the answer. “…what are you going to do for money? Where’ll the two of you live?”

“Mom,” he said tiredly, “she’ll get a job like she’s got now, and she’ll get an allotment check from the government, and I’m going to look up aunt Ida and see if there’s someplace near her to live.”

Not giving up, “Why didn’t you talk to me first, before you asked… her?”

Her? What the hell’s going on? Last I saw, she was crazy about Marsha, too. “Talk to you first?” he questioned. “Why, Mom? You think dad asked grandma Lipensky’s permission to ask you to marry him?”

“Your father was old enough to make his own decisions!”

“And I’m not?” he asked angrily.

“No, Mitchell, I don’t think you are!”

“Okay, Mom, that’s your opinion, but we are going to get married whether you like it or not. I don’t need your permission, you know!”

“And a wedding? I suppose she’s going to want a wedding!”

“Mom, I don’t…”

“We can’t afford to make a wedding!”

The novelty of three-dimensional photography having declined over the past few years, Mitchell was aware that cheaper competition had taken a large chunk out of the studio’s monthly billing.

“Mom, first off, you know Marsha’s name! And we didn’t have time to talk about a wedding, but we do want to do it as quickly and cheaply as possible. I can’t get another leave till almost the middle of October, so that’s when we’ll do it… Mom,” softening his tone, “I know that you’ve always wanted a daughter. I know that you like Marsha and that she likes you. And if you think about it, it’s like you’re finally going to have a daughter.”

The thought had entered Myra’s mind, but having this girl, that she’d been with a total of three times, for a “daughter” was far outweighed by the thought of losing her son. “It’s not exactly the same thing, Mitchell.”

“Okay, Mom. I’m really sorry that you and dad feel this way, but Marsha’s a real nice girl and it’s completely up to you whether or not you’ll have her for a friend, or maybe even like a daughter.”

Digesting this, pondering the word daughter. Knowing, if indeed Mitchell and Marsha did marry, that it might very well be up to her to make or break whatever type of relationship she may have with her future daughter-in-law… My daughter-in-law!

He waited for his mother to respond, but when she didn’t, “Mom, I want to get Marsha an engagement ring. You’ve been holding my Bar Mitzvah gelt and all my war bonds. You told me I got about eight hundred for my Bar Mitzvah, and I know that I’ve got to have at least twenty bonds that have matured by this time, and if there’s any that haven’t…”

Putting her hand over the receiver, whispering to Walter, “He wants his Bar Mitzvah money, and to have the war bonds cashed to get a ring for her.”

“…I’ll cash in anyway. Do you think we can get a nice ring for…”

Walter shrugged his shoulders.

Interrupting him, “Mitchie, we don’t have your money.”

“What do you mean, you don’t have my money? It is mine, isn’t it?”

“Yes, of course the money was yours…”


“…but we had to use it for…”

“But I was counting on it for a ring, Mom.”

Becoming defensive, “Mitchell, we needed the money for business! We always planned on putting it back, but when money was slow coming in, when things got real bad, we had to use it to pay bills.”

Shit! “Okay, okay! I’m glad it was there when you needed it, but I need some now! Can you give me anything?”

“Hold on.” Covering the receiver with her hand, “He wants to know what we can give him.”

“Tell him, uh, seven, eight hundred.”

“You father says we can give you a thousand, maybe twelve hundred.”

Shit! “Okay, Mom. It’s less than I expected, but if that’s all there is, I guess that’s all there is.”

Wanting to change the subject, “Mitchell?”

Extremely upset because they’d taken his money—the money that he’d counted on—without asking him. “Yeah, Mom?”

“Children? You’ll be careful, won’t you?”

“You don’t want to be a grandma?”

Grandma! The idea of being a grandma hadn’t occurred to her and, Myra’s heart jumping, “Yes, of course I want to be a grandma, but not until you can afford it… You will use rubbers won’t you?”

Rubbers? It had never occurred to him that his mother and father had used contraceptives. But then again, even at this time, about a month and a half from his twenty-first birthday, Mitchell Lipensky still could not imagine his mother and father having intercourse. And then again, having his mother tell him to use rubbers was more than just a little disconcerting and, feeling the heat of embarrassment, “Yes, Mom,” he said. “I’ll be sure to use rubbers.”

“You’d better! …Well, if you insist on doing this, you may as well give me Marsha’s number so we can call and congratulate her, and meet our machetunim.”


“Your future in-laws, Marsha’s parents, Mister and Mrs… uh?”


“Yes, Goldman. The Goldmans and Lipenskys are about to become machetunim, and I want to invite them to dinner on Sunday, so we can meet each other.”

“Great! That’s great, Mom! Marcie’s number is… You have a pencil?”


“Sheldrake 3-4709… And, Mom,” very relieved at her acceptance, “thanks.”

“Thanks for what?”

For accepting this. And for having the Goldmans for dinner.”

“I was young once, too.” Looking at Walter, fleetingly wondering where the years had gone. “Bye, Mitchie.”


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Reviewed by Annabel Sheila
Aw! I love weddings!!!!

Cheers, Mark!

Your pal,
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Very good writing, Mark; well done as always!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Texas, Karen Lynn. :D
Reviewed by Laura Fall
A Wonderful write indeed and as always such an enjoyable read as this story is great and now there are Wedding Bells possibly how romantic and now keeping one in suspense of the big day also .Great story my friend Laura
Reviewed by Rose Rideout
Do parents really know what's best or do they have to let us live and make our own mistakes. Life is where we take it. Great write Markie.

Your #1 Newfie Friend Hugs XOXOXO, Rose

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