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October 08, 1993 - Image 91

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-10-08

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

In Mourning

The grieving
process, and life,
can take strange
twists.

MINA KOENIGSFIELD

SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

S

ix months before my
husband died, Phil
and Beth moved
here from Spring-
field. Phil had been hired
by a company with which
my husband was familiar
and when we met them at
a neighborhood barbecue,
Fred gave the younger
man a few words of advice
about the general manag-
er, whose background was
in accounting, and the
chief engineer, who had a
drinking problem.
They joined the country
club and Saturday after-
noons Beth and their two
small children would
swim in the pool while
Phil played golf.
They came to Fred's

funeral and, two months
later, on a foggy October
morning, Phil was killed
in a traffic accident on
the turnpike.
I thought Beth would
move back to Springfield
with the children. Her
family still lived there
and I'm sure she had
friends she had grown up
with. But for some reason
she decided to stay. She
found a job in a book-
store, and then a better
one in an insurance office,
and finally decided that
she could not only make
more money selling real
estate, but would be able
to work out of her home.
We had lunch regularly
and one afternoon the

telephone rang; it was
Beth. "I'm afraid I need
some help," she said. "I'm
at a closing and I'm sure I
won't be able to get away
in time to pick up Jacob
at nursery school. And
Harriet will be coming
home at 3:30. The back-
door key is under the
mat. If you aren't too
busy could you pick up
Jacob and then wait for
me until I get home?"
"Of course," I said.
"Where is the nursery
school?"
She gave me the
address and told me she
would call them, and at 2
o'clock I presented myself
at the Wee Care Academy
where my identification
was carefully scrutinized
before Jacob was entrust-
ed to my care, along with
a picture of a large blue
bird with yellow eyes and
a red beak.
I drove back to Beth's
house while Jacob told me
about a boy named
Patrick who had once
again hit a girl during
nap time. The key was
under the mat and we
went in the back door.
Jacob placed his picture
on the kitchen table next
to a bowl of fruit and
after selecting a banana
he disappeared; while I
was making myself a cup
of tea I could hear the
sound of "Sesame Street"
from the living room.
Harriet appeared as I
was washing the cup and
the teapot. "How was
school?" I asked.
"Just fine, thank you."
She took an apple from
the bowl and I said, "Your
brother is watching
`Sesame Street.' " She
nodded and took a bite of
the apple. I said, "Would
you like to watch it too?"
She nodded and said, "I'll
go with you."
"Do you like 'Sesame

Street?'"
"Of course," I replied
and we walked down the
hall. Grover . and a friend
were fishing and Harriet
seated herself on the floor
next to Jacob. I crossed
the room and sat in Phil's
green leather chair, and
as the children continued
to watch the television
screen I noticed that on
the table next to the chair
was an ashtray, a pipe,
and a plastic pouch of
tobacco.
"Patrick hit another
girl," Jacob said. "During
nap time."
"Why did he do that?"
Harriet asked and Jacob
shrugged.
On the floor beside the
chair was a pair of men's
bedroom slippers.
It seemed that every-
thing that had belonged
to Phil was just where it
had been the day he was
killed. On the sideboard
in the dining room was an
unopened soft drink and a
glass and an empty ice
bowl.
His golf clubs were in
the front closet and when
I went upstairs I discov-
ered his striped pajamas
hanging on the back of
the bathroom door and
found his shaving brush
and razor on the top shelf
of the medicine cabinet.
Beth arrived home a
few minutes before 4 p.m.
I followed the children
out to the kitchen and
watched her kiss them
and then admire the pic-
ture of the blue bird.
"Your daddy would have
been so proud of you," she 0)
said and Jacob beamed.
The children returned
to "Sesame Street," Beth oc
w
walked out to the dining co
room and returned with ,E
the bowl and as she was (p
c)
filling it with ice I said,
"What are you doing?"
She looked puzzled.

CO

93

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