My grandfather immigrated to New York from Russia when he was in his seventies, and immediately started making up for lost time. Having been a proud member of the Communist Party during his prime, he decided to give religion a try. “I really like it,” he told me. “Except for the whole God business. Who believes those fables, anyway?” We suspected that what he really liked was the senior citizen’s luncheon at the synogogue.
At the time, my grandfather was working as a Home aide (or “homo aide” as he pronounced it) to a man who was about 4 months older than he was. He wanted to work, he said, because he did not want to be a burden on anyone and would not accept any charity. Apparently not wanting to be a burden to anyone did not include his charge who my grandfather regaled with tales of his accomplishments in the Soviet Union until the poor man begged for the batteries from his hearing aid to be removed.
One day, my grandfather introduced us to his girlfriend. My problems with her were threefold: 1. She seemed to be the same age as I was. 2. She looked exactly like Raisa Gorbachev. 3. She greeted me with the news that she had psychic powers. Normally any one of these would send to me a warm bath with a hairdryer, but I think that the combination of all three stunned me into a will to live.
“I was married before,” she told me. “And we had a puppy, his name was Dick.”
She told the story in Russian and “Dick” isn’t a Russian word, so I never figured out why they named their dog Dick, except that maybe she was indeed psychic and was thinking years ahead to my blog fodder. “So one day, Boris goes for a walk with Dick and he lets him off the leash, and Dick is white and it is snowing and Dick disappears. So, he comes home without Dick. And I say where is Dick? and he says Dick is gone. And I say, Go and find Dick. Do not come home without Dick.”
I swear, this woman who did not speak three words of English used “Dick” in every fucking sentence for a few paragraphs. And because I have the mentality of a ten year old boy, I kept encouraging her, with questions like, “So, wait, who was missing?” and “I’m confused, he came home without what?”
It was a beautiful introduction to a woman who at the time, as one day we would learn, was already his wife.
Also, I have a post up on NYC Moms Blog this morning. I just don’t want you to feel like I’m doing things behind your back.