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December 01, 1989 - Image 96

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I PEOPLE I

Letters

Continued from preceding page

Gifts

for:

Dods

Moms

Kids

Family

Friends

Teachers

Babysitters

TWO
DIG DAYS!

At the Jewish Community Center
Maple at Drake Road, West Bloomfield

PROCEEDS SUPPORT J.C.C. PROGRAMS FOR MENTALLY IMPAIRED

wanted her to know about me
and no more. If I didn't want
to tell her about my friends'
drug use or my mother's bat-
tle with cancer (and I didn't),
she had no way of finding out.
I was actually afraid to reveal
too much. I knew that Sylvia
thought I was mature and
responsible and that she
looked to me for advice.
What, then, would she think
if I admitted that I had
panicked and started yelling
at my mother when I found
her in the bathroom crying
over the handful of hair in her
hand?
So I kept all that to myself.
And when my mother died
just after my 17th birthday,
I spent two weeks trying to
hide from friends who didn't
know how to react and
relatives who told me how I
should feel ("Be thankful
there was no pain"). I didn't
want to be alone, but I need-
ed to talk to someone who
would really listen. I was
finally ready to tell Sylvia.

My mother died of cancer
after being sick for 16
months, and it's only after the
funeral is over and the people
are gone that reality hits.
Why, why, why? I can't under-
stand this. She was only 42.
My brother is only 9.

Sylvia wrote back im-
mediately, folding her letter
into the only sympathy card
that arrived addressed to me.

When I read your letter, I
cried for you and your fami-
ly. Whenever you need to talk,
think about me, okay? My
mother is 47. I didn't know
how to tell you this, but she's
dying of cancer, too.

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TWO BLOCKS EAST OF WOODWARD

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MARILYN J. GOLD-AGENCY

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26561 W. 12 Mile Road, Suite 203, Southfield, MI 48034

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1, 1989

WE'RE
OUT
FOR
BLOOD.

GIVE BLOOD

+ American Red Cross

On Saturday, Dan takes the
kids for the day, and Sylvia
and I go for a walk in the
woods. This is how, we've
recently discovered, we both
like to spend our free time.
There's a slight chill and the
faint scent of dead leaves in
the air. We stretch out to talk
in the sun alongside a group
of bare trees.
Sylvia says that she's wor-
ried that other people look
down on her because she
chose to start a family and
stay home with her kids in-
stead of going to college.
Sometimes, she says, she
wonders if she made the right
choice.
"Is there really such a thing
as right and wrong choices, or
just decisions one person
makes that another person
wouldn't?" I ask, partly to
make her feel better and part-
ly to convince myself. I would
not have chosen to have my
first child alone at 19 or to
marry at 22, but Sylvia did.
I don't know if she'd ever
place a career ahead of a rela-
tionship, but I did.
I envy her sometimes,
despite — and often because

of — her decisions. Like when
I see Dan gently put a sleepy
child to bed or when I'm spen-
ding another Saturday night
home alone. Sylvia seems
blissfully content with her life
in comparison, but I know
that hers is a full-time job
with its bad days, too. And I
admire her stamina.
The last thing I want to do
is to look down on her. But for
many years, I did. I never
wrote to her about my in-
terests in theater, art, and
literature, reasoning that so-
meone who barely made it
through high school couldn't
possibly understand those
passions. How foolish that
was. Now I know that when
we stand up and brush the
leaves from our clothes, it
won't matter who walks in
front on the narrow path
back. In our travels we walk
side by side.
In March of 1983 the
familiar white envelope ap-

All those years
when we were
growing up, we
needed someone
who would listen
to our problems
without judging
our actions.

peared in my dormitory
mailbox. I read it on my way
to the student union. Midway
there, I sank to the grass and
started to cry.

My mother died last week,

Sylvia wrote. I know it's for

the best — she didn't deserve
to be in such pain. I can't
move back in with my dad, so
I'm going to have to try it on
my own. Hope, what should I
do?

I was 19 years old and a
freshman, majoring in jour-
nalism, at Northwestern
University near Chicago.
Sylvia was working at her
local library and dating a
30-year-old man who didn't
want to get married.
Sylvia's phone call came
three weeks later. Her voice
wobbled for a while until she
finally gave up and cried.
"I'm pregnant," she sobbed.
"I don't believe in abortion.
I'm going to have the baby.
I'm all alone, and I'm scared.
Can you come see me?"
Pregnant? As in diaper
rash, mashed peas, day care?
My life was a whirlwind of
fraternity parties, exams, and
late-night discussions about
determinism. I was debating
whether or not getting a kit-
ten the next year would be
too much responsibility.
I knew that Sylvia's past
year hadn't been that great.
She'd ended a long-term rela-
tionship and spent a lot of

c__

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