Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Mom’s “Fonzi” scheme

You know every time I hear the phrase; “Ponzi Scheme” I think about my mom and I start laughing. And it’s not because I think that people losing their money is funny, no.
It’s just because I imagine what my conversations with my mom would turn into every time she’d hear it on the news.

Now my mom lived a pretty shitty life, all within a seven year span between 1963 and 1969 she lost her husband, son, and was told by the doctors over at Methodist that her daughter was downs syndrome. A real tough hand my mom was dealt, a real tough hand.

And my mom was strong too, with all the hard aches and “mountains” she had to climb she just kept on going. I mean I don’t know, if I had all that shit happen to me in such a short period of time I may have just looked for a tall building and an open window. Because let me tell you, that was a lot of stuff for someone to go through. A lot of stuff.

And my mom was proud too, don’t you dare ever call her an “old lady” just because her hair was snow white or her hearing was bad. No, there must be something wrong with your eyes and you must be mumbling when you talk.

“You know you mumble when you talk, that’s why I can’t hear you”

And Brooklyn, let me tell you my mom was a Brooklyn girl from the start. She was raised on Eighteenth Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenue long before the real estate people called it “Greenwood Heights”. She used to shop and hang out in Park Slope before Pete Hammill was born, and she used to dance the nights away at the “Grand Prospect Hall” during World War Two. Oh, right, there were trips to Coney Island and rides on the parachute jump with her favorite boyfriends.

Yes, my mom was a real Brooklyn girl and maybe those nights at the Prospect Hall were spent too close to the live music. Because when my mom got older, her hearing was leaving faster than all the Irish and Italians who lived in Kensington.

“You know Ronnie you really need to speak up,
and stop mumbling too”

“Mom, I think you should have your ears checked, because…”

“There’s NOTHING wrong with my hearing”
“YOU need to speak up when you talk!”

And then there was the “sounds like” but
that’s not what I really said sentences.

“Hey Mom I’m going out tonight with the guys”
“Flies? Where did you see a fly?”
“No, mom, I said the guys, not flies”
“You know you mumble”

“Hey mom, isn’t it a great day”

“Who’s gay?”

“Oh, I knew that Rock Hudson was gay, or at least
that’s what people used to whisper all the time”

“Ronnie, did I ever tell you the story about the time Beatrice and I went to a gay club my mistake. I think it was in the 1940’s somewhere in Greenwich Village. The most handsome guys in the world, and I knew something was wrong because they didn’t even look at us.”

“No, mom, I never heard that story, and I never knew you used to hang out in the Village when you were young.”

Yes there were the “books” that sounded like “crooks”
The “block” who sounded like “clock”.
The “pears” who sounded like “stairs”.

It went on and on, and no, my mom never got a hearing aid.
No, because only “old” people get hearing aids, and my mother
was not old.

So, all this brings me to this whole “Ponzi” scheme thing,
and I can just imagine what the conversation would be
like if mom was still alive.

And I think it would go something like this:

“Hey mom, what to you think about this whole “Ponzi scheme?”

“Fonzi’s team?”

“I loved that show Ronnie, wasn’t it funny? and what a shame that Ron Howard went bald, he looked so nice with that red hair”
“Oh, and your sister Isabel, boy does she love that Fonzi”.

“No, mom, I said “PONZI” scheme.


“Oh, I remember him from that show too, don’t you think that Rod Blagojevich guy looks just like him? It must be the hair or something”

“You know mom , you have a point, you really have a point”

Yeah, do I miss my Mom, and I’m sure
glad she never got a hearing aid after all.

Ron Lopez

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Anonymous said...

Oh man this is my brothers life now! He lives with my mom whos 83 goin on 20, but shes always telling him to stop mumbling, thank god shes still with us, we are so fortunate, Will

kat said...


I certainly do enjoy your stories. Although I've only been in the neighborhood for a little more than 5 years, it seems like home. And your stories are not so unfamiliar as mine own growing up in small town PA. Good friends, great family, even greater memories.

Miriam said...

That was so sweet. A beautiful tribute to your mom!