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Mark M Lichterman

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BECOMING163:Day Two 3
By Mark M Lichterman
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011
Last edited: Wednesday, August 01, 2012
This short story is rated "PG13" by the Author.
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Mayonnaise, mustard, two types of salad dressings, catsup, flour and sugar. They got aspirin, Band-Aids, cough syrup and a thermometer. Glancing at Marsha, a thought passing between them, remembering something he was rather sure they’ll be needing, soon, very soon, he hoped, Mitchell put a small, round bottle of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly into the cart.

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“The point is, before you go making plans for us—for you and me—how’s about remembering that there is an us, and that maybe I’d like to be asked and given a choice!”

“Are you telling me that before I do anything, before I say anything, I’m supposed to get approval from you first?”

“No, not everything, Mitchell, but if it affects me too, then yes! I’d like for you to use your head once in a while and talk to me first so that maybe I can voice my opinion, too!”

“Use my head once in a while? Shit! I didn’t know I was making a life and death decision there! I only accepted breakfast for us! And so long as we were going anyway, I asked an old lady if she wanted to get out her house for a while! Big deal!” He glared at her, but Marsha had turned back to the window.


The Second Day of Their Lives 3

Seagate, New York

December 19, 1955: 12:10 p.m.

Potatoes, tomatoes, onions, a head of lettuce, oranges, apples, bananas.

Marsha pushed the cart. Mitchell walked alongside.

White bread, chocolate chip cookies and, of course, Twinkies. She dropped a box of Cream of Wheat into the cart and then a box of Shredded Wheat.

They hadn’t spoken for about thirty-five minutes, and their silence was deafening.

Napkins, paper towels… “Marcie.”

….Toilet paper. “What?” answered without looking at him.

“Look, baby,” draping his arm about her shoulders, “I’ve been thinking, and I guess you’re right”—he really didn’t think she was right, however, and although he still felt that she was making a mountain out of a molehill, so he thought, regarding his mother yesterday, and like yesterday, he found that he could not stand having her angry at him—“I should have asked you first. I’m sorry, and from now on, before I make any arrangements that involve us, you and me, I’ll try to remember to talk to you first. Okay?”

Unpopped popcorn, potato chips.

Marsha was still silent… still… till, passing through the candy aisle, taking his hand, “All you have to do is remember that it’s not just Mitchell anymore; it’s us, you and me, Mitchell and Marsha.”

Relieved that she’d forgiven him, and that she was talking to him again, “Okay,” he said. As they were walking through the candy aisle, “Look,” taking a box off the shelf, dropping it in the basket, “they’ve named a candy after us: M&Ms.”

Salt, pepper, cinnamon. Milk, butter, eggs.

The multitude of staples was filling the basket. Face soap, scouring powder, steel-wool pads, a floor mop and a dust mop. Writing paper along with envelopes and a small, round bottle of Carter’s indelible blue/black ink.

Approaching the meat counter, “Any idea of what you’d like for dinner tonight?”

“Actually,” Mitchell said, “I thought we’d go out for dinner tonight. I’d like you to see Times Square, and there’s this great Chinese rest…”

“No,” making the decision—by herself—“I want to make dinner tonight. Tell you what!” Making another decision, picking up a one-pound package of ground chuck, “You like meatloaf….”

Unsure if she was asking or telling him.

“…I’ll make a meatloaf!”

“Have you ever done it before; make a meatloaf?”

“I’ve got a cookbook. What could be so hard about making meatloaf?”

By now needing a second shopping cart.

Mayonnaise, mustard, two types of salad dressings, catsup, flour and sugar. They got aspirin, Band-Aids, cough syrup and a thermometer. Glancing at Marsha, a thought passing between them, remembering something he was rather sure they’ll be needing, soon, very soon, he hoped, Mitchell put a small, round bottle of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly into the cart.

“Wow,” Loading the last of the bags into the back seat because the trunk was full, “that sure cost some dough!”

“Sorry, Mitch, but when you don’t have anything, you need everything.”

“Yeah, I know. It’s not your fault things cost so much. But, Jesus, almost sixty bucks!”


The woman sitting behind the desk, Miss Eunice Doupe, asked, “How much do you wish to open your account with?”

“Eight…” Stopping, thinking, Better ask, he looked at Marsha, “eight hundred okay?”

“No”—making the decision—“let’s make it nine.”

“That’ll only leave us about a hundred. We’ll need money for… Excuse me, Miss, uh,” looking at the nameplate on her desk, “uh, Dopey?”

She’d heard it at least a million times. “The correct pronunciation of my name,” the thin-faced, middle-aged lady said impatiently, “is Due-pay!”

“Oh. Yeah! Sorry, Miss Due… uh, pay, excuse me.” Holding his hand in front of Marsha’s ear, “This is supposed to be our honeymoon,” he whispered, “and we’ll need cash for spending ’cause there’s lots of places I want to take you to see.”

“Okay, make it eight hundred.” Looking at Miss Doupe, “Can we write a check today?” Marsha asked. “We’re on our way to buy a television, and…”

“Yes!” Miss Doupe answered curtly. “So long as you’re depositing cash, I’ll give you some temporary checks to use until yours are printed. Until then, ask whomever you give a check to, to call here for confirmation… Now, what name would you like on this account?”

“Lipensky,” taking Marsha’s hand, “Mitchell and Marsha Lipensky. L-I-P-E-N-S-K-Y.”


“Know what?”

Taking his eyes from his driving, looking at her, “What?”

“That lady back at the bank—she’s a bitch.”

“Yeah, she is!” Laughing, “You said bitch. You’re learning!”

“And if she wants her name pronounced Dou-pay, then damn-it, she ought’a spell it that way.”

“Wow, a damn-it, too, eh!”

“Big deal; you taught me how to swear.”


“The guard on shift recognizing the car from when it had passed through better than two hours before, “You permanent residents here?”

“Yes, Lipensky,” Mitchell answered. “We’re at 2915 Neptune.”

Consulting the clipboard, “Got’ch’ya! Hold on.” Opening the desk drawer, making a notation on the clipboard, the guard handed Mitchell a numbered “Seagate” decal. “When you get home,” he said, “put it here,” tapping the upper left corner of the windshield.

Marsha carried an armful of bags into the building as he ran across the street, bringing Ida her groceries. Mitchell then began the many trips to and from the elevator, as Marsha began to put it all away.

“Marcie, why are we putting all this stuff on shelves, if we’re just going to have to take all off to line the shelves?”

“Because,” she said, “this is the way I want to do it.”

Cold foods in the refrigerator. Boxed and canned goods on the shelves in the kitchen cabinet designated as the pantry. Cleaning things beneath the sink, and medical items in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. And, because Marsha thought, When we need it, we’ll need it! the bottle of Vaseline went into the top drawer of the dresser along with the writing paper, envelopes and ink.

While Marsha finished in the kitchen, returning downstairs with a cup of water, Mitchell soaked the Seagate decal and pasted it on the inside, upper left-hand corner of the windshield.


They compared prices in three stores, then returned to the first and purchased a fifteen-inch, blonde-wood veneer, Crosley console television set.

The carton didn’t fit in the trunk, so Mitchell lowered the top and, the salesman lending some muscle, the two men put the box onto the back seat before raising the top again.

It was becoming dark and snow was beginning to fall as they parked in front of the building.

With the help of Marsha, they were able to wrestle the carton out of the back seat of the car, to the elevator and into their apartment.


Marsha studied the “Niles Township, Jewish Congregation, Sisterhood Cookbook” given to her by Myra.

Following the instructions step by step, she put the ground chuck into a bowl, as…

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Reviewed by Annabel Sheila
Hmmmm.....Mitchie sure is good-natured....cause Miss Dopey isn't the only "bitch on the block"...giggle.....great job, Mark....

Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Great writing, Mark; well done!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Texas, Karen Lynn. ;D
Reviewed by Laura Fall
A wonderful story indeed Mark and as always well done and told excellent Laura

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