Amici:We gave my mother about a dozen nicknames over the years ... immediately after the polyps were removed from her throat (forcing her to quit smoking some 30+ years ago), she sounded like Tom Waits (before Tom Waits did) and we called her Don Corleone.
A few years later, after suffering her first nasty stroke (when she lost the peripheral vision in both her eyes--she can only see on the right from both eyes), we called her, “Oh, Eagle eye, over here.”
And there were the occasional driving issues, which forced her to give up running people over.
Then came Jimbowsk, which had to do with my taking her on trips to Atlantic City. Tired of feeding slots my fazools, Mom took to the tables where her eyesight wouldn’t be a hindrance ... it’s as big a sucker’s bet as the slots but she was happy and how can you deny Mom her happiness?
Back in the day, when I was but a lad of ten or so (and an altar boy, if yous can believe it), we had a Macy’s in our basement and a telephone that rang an awful lot around post time at the local tracks. There was swag that fell off the back of a truck somewhere every Saturday morning and made it to our basement and there were these guys that dropped off envelopes ... hey, all I know is it paid for my first set of drums, catholic school and a second house ...
Not long after the second house was bought, the first one was sold when Poppa Tommy (my Dad) was pinched moving a truck of Chivas Regal (why it’s my drink to this day).
The money from the 1st house kept the old man out of the joint but he quickly split and it was up to Mom to hold the fort. It wasn’t easy and she had to return to work, but we did have to sell house #2 and become renters for the first time in our lives (as kids, my sister and I) ... and while the old man was flourishing in his own world (minus his two kids--he lost them for obvious reasons, plus a few more), Spiranza (Hope to yous nons) not only held the fort, she managed to get me through adulthood (okay, so it took 40+ years). Her daughter (my sister) has a library dedicated in her name where she taught high school to English as a second language students in Manhattan and her dopey son did manage to get a few books in the library.
We eventually took to calling her Hopey, Dominooch and the usual, Ma! These days I call her “My Mommy!”
She may be the most stubborn woman on the face of the planet. “No, sonny, I’m fine” (stroke #10). “Don’t come over, it’s raining outside” (stroke #11). “Leave me alone with the fffffffffuckin’ cell phone already” (stroke #12) ... and my head often feels like it’ll explode trying to get her to let me know when something is wrong because she’s more concerned that the drizzle outside will kill me somehow ... and no matter how many times she looks to her collection of Jesus statues (which my boys rearrange just to keep her on her toes) and prays for me, I can always get her to lose the muffle on the F-bomb ... and it comes out: “Ffffffffffffffffffuck. See, now you made me curse. Get the hell out of here. Oh, Jesus, forgive him. He’s a sick bas--(she stops cursing and makes the sign of the cross, at which point I say, “That bunt or steal, I forget”). “Get out! Go! Now. Go home!”
She’s still my Mom and I love her like crazy ...
She had another mini stroke Sunday (and didn’t bother telling me while I was there that she’d lost her balance when she woke up). She didn’t bother telling me the same thing happened a few times Monday and finally on Tuesday when her friend was over, she was forced to acknowledge that “something” was wrong and she called her doctor. She’s in the hospital since yesterday afternoon and although her words were slurring a bit on the phone, today she was back in form when I peppered her with a few more questions.
Ma, did you lose your balance again last night or not?
Go shit in your hat.
Ma, I’m serious. Yes or no, you okay last night?
Oh, God, how many times is he gonna ask the same thing?
Never mind blowing smoke with the Oh God routine. Yes or no?
Fffffffffffffffffffffffuck off already, Sonny.
[Half an hour later, after the pills they gave her made her groggy.]
Ma, you should shut off the television. Get some rest.
Leave it on, it puts me to sleep.
Then lower it. They can hear it on the next floor.
Charlie, please. Go home. I’m fine.
You want me to lower it?
Oh, Jesus, please, this pain in the ass kid. Get lost, sonny, please.
Update on the website. It is now live, but is no longer Charliestella.com. It is now Charliestella.net because the jerkoff responsible for the .com disappeared ... hopefully for good, the c-----cker ...