July 11

Mrs. M is in terrible shape; I’m praying she’ll pull through, because I feel Lotte’s pain. I see her now and then in group hangouts, and — oh! Today she told me an amazing story!

Old man M. is a stingy money-grubbing sleazeball who’s hassled and pressured his wife their whole life — but she’s always known how to keep her head up :) A few days ago, when the doctor told her she wasn’t going to make it, she had her husband come in (Lotte was in the room), and gave him this little speech:
“There’s something I have to tell you, because I don’t want anyone getting confused or upset after I’m gone. I’ve kept house all this time as neatly and cheaply as I could. But there is one thing you’ll have to forgive me for: I’ve been going behind your back for the last thirty years. When we first got married, you budgeted out this tiny amount for groceries and other things around the house. When we moved into a bigger place, and business started getting better, I couldn’t make you raise my allowance to keep up with expenses; well, the point is, you know that even when we were spending the most, you still expected me to make it through the week on seventy dollars. I kept my mouth shut and I took the money, and I made up the difference behind the counter, because no one expected the wife to rob the register. I didn’t waste a cent, and I would have happily taken this with me to the grave, if it weren’t for whoever has to keep house for you after I’m gone, in case she doesn’t know how to help herself out and would have had to put up with you always telling her your first wife made it work.”

Lotte and I talked about how blind people can be, for someone not to suspect anything’s going on when they’re handing over seventy dollars and seeing stuff come in worth maybe twice as much. But I’ve known people myself who could have hung up the lamp from the Hannukah story in their house and not noticed anything :P

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