October 30, 1955
“Marcie, hi, honey! So, how was the shower? How’d we make out?”
“We got lots of nice things, but it was… oh, okay, I guess.”
“What do you mean, okay, you guess?”
“Mitchie, I don’t want to bother you with this.”
“If you’re saying it that way, then it’s got to be my mother, right?”
“Really, I’d rather not talk about it.”
“No, Marsha,” becoming angry, “tell me, what happened.”
“Marsha”? “Today, at the hotel… Oh, maybe it’s not such a big deal.”
“If it’s not such a big deal, then why’s it bothering you so much?”
“Look, Mitchell, I don’t want you to be mad at her, it’s just that… Darn it! My aunts made the shower for me, not her!”
“Mitchell”! Sighing, “So tell me already, what happened?”
“Okay… You know how she thinks she’s funny sometimes, and how she likes to think she’s running things. Well she took charge, and if anyone should have taken charge, it should have been one of my aunts,” she said indignantly, “not her!”
“She took charge of your shower?” he said angrily.
Misconstruing his anger, “Yes! But it’s more than just that. I don’t know why, but your mother thought it was her place to open my gifts, and I just sat there like an idiot while she did it! And she didn’t have the right to do it!”
His tone softening, “Maybe she thought she was helping you.” Embarrassed by his mother’s interference, “Maybe she was just trying to help out.”
Her turn to sigh. “Maybe you’re right. Nah, don’t say anything, Mitch. It’s over with, and it’ll only hurt her feelings and make things even worse between us. Besides, there’s only a week before you ship out and I don’t want you having any more aggravation.”
After a few moments of prolonged silence, “Oh, yeah,” Mitchell said. “I got a letter from Norman. He told me he’s joined the Navy and won’t be there to stand up for me.”
“That’s a shame,” she said sincerely. “So who are you going to ask?”
“I’ve been thinking; we’re going to be married a long time…”
“No, Mitchie! Not ‘a long time.’ Forever!”
“Yeah, honey, forever! And that’s why I thought I’d ask your brother. Maybe it’ll help him’n’me be friends.”
“That’s a real nice thing to do, Mitchie. I don’t know what he’ll say, but it’ll sure make Mother happy.”
November 4, 1955
Looking at the clock again, Please, she prayed, let him call, now!”
Picking Marsha up at work, Walter had brought her to Skokie for dinner and Mitchell’s last call before the Halfmoon left on patrol the next morning.
Now, sitting at the far end of the kitchen table, Myra sat directly across from Marsha. Walter, on the bench along the wall, sat to Marsha’s right. The table cleared, each had a cup of coffee before them.
For a reason not yet known, Myra had been silently angry ever since Walter and Marsha came through the door, and the young woman had done her best to stay out of her way, physically and verbally.
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, “I’ve been thinking about it all day, and I still don’t know why, all of a sudden your brother is going to be best man!”
Having spoken to his son, knowing it was his choice, “That’s why you’ve been so quiet, Myra?”
Glancing at her husband, looking back at Marsha, “It’s not like they’re friends; they hardly know each other.”
“That’s why!” Marsha said. “He thinks it’ll help make them friends. Anyway, it was your son’s idea.”
“Oh, yes! I’m sure it was!”
Ignoring the snide remark, “Mitchie thinks it’ll make Roger and him… well, if not friends, then at least friendly brothers-in-law, and I told him if that’s what he wants, it’s certainly okay with me.
“I’m sure it is! And your mother, I’ll just bet she loves it!”
“Sure, why not? Mother felt horrible when Roger and Brenda were married by a judge because Brenda’s parents didn’t want to make a wedding.”
“Shame we can’t all be as rich as Rhea Goldman!”
“Look…”About to retort angrily, thinking better of it, “Having Roger as his best man is your son’s idea, not mine or my mother’s!”
“Know what I’ve been thinking…?” Turning her cup in her hands, said to no one in particular, “If your brother is best man,” now looking at Marsha, “I may not be there.”
His head snapping up, “Myra, what in the hell are you saying?”
Glaring at him, “Stay out of this, Walt! I’m not talking to you!”
“Just what is it you’re telling me?” No longer able to contain her anger, “Are you telling me that if my brother is best man, you’re not coming to your son’s wedding?”
“Yes!” Myra hissed back. “That is exactly what I’m telling you!”
“You have no right telling Mitchell who he should or shouldn’t have as his best man! And if he wants my bother, then damn it, that’s his business!”
Glaring at Marsha, subconsciously turning the cup in her hands…
“Just who is it you want as best man? Larry? Maybe Mortie?”
“You…” pointing at Marsha, “shut up!” Losing all control, flinging her cup across the table…
Instinctively cocking her head, coffee splattering on her head and left shoulder, the cup shattering against the wall, standing quickly, Marsha’s chair fell to the floor.
“Jesus Christ, Myra!”
Hearing the shattering of the cup and the clatter of the chair coming from the den, but knowing better than to butt in, and in any case not knowing whom to butt-in in defense of anyway, standing quietly, Larry and Morton watched, as…
Stammering, “I, I can’t believe you did that!” Marsha looked at the boys, then, hoping for support, to Walter. “How could you?”
“And I want to know…” Myra screamed across the table, “Why do you refuse to call me Mom?”
Her mouth dropping open, “So that’s what this is really about, huh?” Again Marsha looked to Walter for support, but…
Fearing Myra would start on him next, making a mistake he quickly, and always thereafter regretted—because Walter truly loved Marsha—“Yes! For God’s sake,” siding with his wife, turning on the girl, “that’s not too much to ask! Why in hell can’t you just do it?”
Tears coming to Marsha’s eyes, she felt she’d been assaulted by Myra and betrayed and abandoned by Walter—whom she’d truly considered as a friend rather than her father-in-law—and now, trapped, having no means of leaving this house, her eyes shifting from Myra to Walter and back, standing lost and terrified, not knowing what to do, what to say…
The phone rang...