Happy Birthday To Min, Who Has Decided She Is 65
Today is my mother Min Shapiro’s birthday. If she were celebrating at an earthly venue, she'd be 102. But since Mom is in her heavenly high-rise with ocean views on all sides, she has elected to be 65.
"Any age?" I asked as we Face Time-ed on our iPads. (I have the 2. She has 3. They get them first up there.) "If you get to choose any age, why 65? Why not some time in your 20's when you were a hot chick?"
Mother frowned; I had erred for I knew she had always considered herself a glamour girl. A Dorothy Lamour look-alike I had written in my memoir.
"I didn’t mean that, Mom," I said quickly. "You were gorgeous your whole life, and, um, afterlife. I’m just wondering what was so special about that age."
With that, she held a photo up to the screen. "Remember?" she asked. "The 40th birthday party I threw for you? I was so proud I could pay for it myself. You were skinny then. Your hair was long. A beauty."
"So you loved 65 because I looked good?" I asked. Another familiar theme: Mom concerned that pudginess could thwart chances at my happiness. I changed the subject. "What about you, Mom? Other than the party, was that a good year for you?"
"Well, your father had been dead — by the way, he says 'hello' — for 20 years so I was free of worrying about his health and when he would drop dead and make me a widow. And to be honest, widowhood wasn’t so bad. I should have stuck to it rather than ... "
"Oh yes, your awful second marriage."
"That’s been deleted from my file," she said. "Like it never happened."
"Boy, you’ve got it good up there," I said. "You get to choose your age, erase bad experiences, not so bad. Of course, there’s the part about missing us down here on earth, and not being in on the good things that happen here."
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