My Parents 30th Anniversary
It was coming up on my parents’ 30th Anniversary. My wife, sister and I decided to throw them a surprise party.
We arranged to use one of their close friends’ home up in Rockland County. They had a large house with about an acre of land.
We sent out invitations to my parents’ friends and arranged for Barbara’s parents to drive them to Rockland on the pretense that they, my parents, in-laws and the family friends who owned the house, were all going to dinner. Barbara, my sister and I would go up that morning and prepare everything.
A few days before the party, my mother cornered my sister on the subway.
My mother, sister and Barbara all took the subway together to work in Manhattan.
Taking the subway in rush hour was always an adventure. Stalled trains, mechanical trouble, etc were the norm. Barbara once caused everyone to have to leave the train because her pocketbook was caught in the door and it wouldn’t close. The conductor thought it was broken and ordered everyone off. They weren’t happy.
Another time, Regina tied Barbara to the pole for fun, causing her to almost miss her train. There were many adventures on the subway.
Barbara and Regina (my sister) worked in the same insurance company at the main office. My sister was an administrative assistant to the underwriters and Barbara, at the time was the Status Girl.
When agents would call the underwriting office to see how their applications were progressing, Barbara would tell them the “status” of their file, hence the title “Status Girl”.
My mother worked for a big agent of that insurance company and would always call asking for the status of the applications from her office. She would get Barbara.
Barbara couldn’t tell her everything in the file, some of it was restricted information. This led to threats on my mother’s part trying to get Barbara to give her information. My mother would often threaten not to feed Barbara dinner, or threats of that nature in order to get her way. The dinner threat was very effective.
There were also threats between my sister and mother over the work of the underwriters.
My mother would call asking to speak with a particular underwriter (after getting information out of Barbara), my sister trying to protect the underwriter, would try to make up an excuse why the underwriter was unavailable. Threats would be made to get the call put through.
There seemed to be a conflict of interest going on between my sister, Barbara and my mother. My aunt who also worked in insurance would also call up and threaten.
I found it hilarious as I sure other people in the office who knew what was going on did.
Getting back to my mother cornering my sister on the subway, my mother wanted to know if we were doing anything for her anniversary. My sister denied anything was going on. This answer did not satisfy my mother and she leaned my sister over the platform trying to scare the information out of her. My sister held fast to her story. (I got this part of the story from my sister, I cannot verify this actually happened, but it sounds true)
I don’t think my mother would have pushed her off the platform, but you can never be too sure.
The day came, a nice warm sunny day in August.
Barbara, Regina and I made up an excuse as to where we were going that day and headed up to Rockland County.
We set up the party.
I made deli platters and fruit displays. I even made a heart out of a watermelon and filled the cavity with individual melon balls secured by toothpicks. We had cake, drinks, salads, music, everything to make a successful party.
The guests arrived. We all waited for my in-laws to drive my parents up to the house.
They pulled in the driveway. We all hid, except for the owners of the house. When they came in we pulled off the surprise.
The party was a success, there was eating, drinking and dancing. Everyone had a good time. I filmed the party with my Bell and Howell Super 8 Film o Sound camera system which consisted of a camera and a cassette tape recorder linked to the camera by a cable. The system synched the film and the recorder. This was before video cameras.
I used that Bell and Howell a lot. Unfortunately the projector and cassette player broke about 20 years ago, so I can’t show the films with the sound.
I went around filming the guests and they gave me little interviews like at a wedding where the guests are asked to say something to the bride and groom.
Finally, I cornered my mother and father and asked them to say a few words to the camera.
Before my father could say anything, my mother who was quite tipsy by then, grabbed the mike and said: “Joe, after 30 years you’re still a good screwer!”
My father and I looked at each other and decided there wasn’t anything else to say.
I shut off the camera.