My Mother

Ulla, my mother. Sept 13, 1931-Aug 19, 1999.

 

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For so many hours I have tried to find words that aren’t false, for she hated falsity. Inconsolable, is a word that comes to mind. Also: Pure joy, like a child.
I offered consolations that were not backed by turns of events in this life.

I think of her standards: That you bring gifts, help, uplift, gold-sprinkle the atmosphere. Die sooner than be an ungracious house-guest.
Thank people with gusto, greet people warmly, POUR, she used to tell me, BEFORE your guests have reached empty glasses. NEVER ask a guest: “So, are you hungry…?”

No, you anticipate needs, and meet them.

Oh she would have lost her mind in this PC sourpuss era.

Traveled the world as a Pan Am stewardess–managed to cause an airport to shut down by chickening out of a plot to export rotten explosive herring from Sweden, via Karachi. Was it?
Her favorite country was Haiti, hands down.

My whole life was following her way of thinking and now I am stuck without her and nobody thinks this way and it’s awful. Everybody wants to do things the rational way. I can see her eyes sparking with contempt.

She got my sister and I to the Sahara desert twice on a nurse’s salary as a single mother because we “had to” see the stars. Once there, we “had to” go to a deserted island virtually off the map (almost ended very badly) and we “had to” purchase several large birdcages and send them to various people in the US, including her estranged husband’s parents in Fort Lauderdale–and bring a few home. When we went to visit her dance teacher (yes, dance teacher) Willie, from Barbados, she thought for a long time about a suitably spectacular gift to bring and settled on a full size fir tree, Christmas tree, which traveled from Sweden in a burlap sack to Barbados, and when it emerged on the conveyor belt…I just can’t tell you. Everybody was like in stitches. The customs official, I can see him before me: “A CHRISTMAS tree?” Her sense of humor and adventure were limitless.

 

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Me and Mom

She and her mother Ingrid, on a trip to Haiti, rented a motorcycle to speed up a mountain to a voodoo ceremony, which I wish I’d questioned her more about. She made my father demand of the radio station WINS that they release the gift monkey a sponsor had sent as it was animal cruelty, Max. He became my parents monkey, but turned against my mother when he fell for my father and lived on his shoulder.
Max tore up a friend’s daughter’s bedroom and Mom had to yield. Max went to a zoo.
All I know of their short lived marriage, in terms of domestic detail, just about, was that they played “Rule Brittania!” on the record player to time my father’s eggs to perfection.
Sublime sense of humor.
Temper? Oh yes.
But you know—I get it, now. Roy Cohn was my father’s divorce lawyer, which means now we all speak Swedish. No concept such as warn us we are moving to Sweden.
It’s ok, Mom. Trauma is trauma. She set only one small fire, to my father’s second wife’s experimental noir downtown…um..ah never mind. Nobody was hurt. It was this ex wife of my father’s who told me the story, with a smile, kind of. (Yes, I know, it’s not funny. But nobody was hurt, thank God.)

She rescued at least two drowning men, once from shark infested waters. She was asked to carry a leg down a corridor when in Red Cross nurse’s training, to test her nerves.
She made my father confront a man beating his mule at a train station in Yugoslavia, “Are you going to let him treat that animal like that Barry?”

My father recalled, shaking his head:

“There we are in communist Yugoslavia., and Ulla wanted me to pick a fight with a farmer!”

In the Soviet Union, so they did not have to ask, as they could not, she wrapped gifts for the girls in US fashion magazines.

And when she walked in on my father interviewing an important member of some royal family, realizing his secretary had made a mistake, she invented a crisis in New York, to explain the intrusion, and spare the secretary a major scolding. When my sister, her first child, was on her way, she decorated the house, put on her best dress, and made my father guess for two hours WHAT relative was coming to dinner. “Uncle Ellis?” “No” “Aunt Hick?” “No.” He had to exhaust every possibility on all sides of both families before she gave him the critical clue:

“I didn’t say when they were coming.”

That’s how she told him she was pregnant. Elevate, always, was her motto. She had not one snobby bone own her body and you always knew what she was feeling. She did not believe some people are more important than others.

I’m not saying she was some kind of mother angel person. But she was real, as real as real gets. I wished she could be fake sometimes but no.
When we were on a flight that began to plummet from the sky, my son was one year old, she turned to me when everybody else was screaming for saints, (we were flying back from Puerto Rico) and she told me to “SAY THANK YOU” to God. And I did. That was what she said you do in these situations, and it was not her first. She broke her back, and suffered a concussion, in an airplane incident.
How did she live all these lives?
The line I recall, the thing she said, that kills me the most, was about 6 months before she died. She was setting her hair in rollers, and tossing pins into a pan, and she said, “The only things I regret in my life are the times when I did not show enough love.”

This is me often, now, but I am exhausted and I can’t “show love” anymore. I’m trying to, but everybody is psychotic at the moment.

Mom, this is ridiculous, what were you thinking? Living without her is a bleak slow hell. Living with her was a wild hilarious traumatic ride.
There was a Tunisian man–a Muslim in Sweden named Mohammed, who was paraplegic; HeΒ came over sometimes, including, on Christmas eve.
In Sweden!
“He’s a man,” she said.

She said that also, about Peter Olsen.
When my son was due, and I was packing for the hospital, she raised the issue of the importance of a NEW nightgown and robe.
That was another one of those things that just did not end well.
I learned nothing about how to keep the peace, everything about how to keep the….something. What was it? SPIRT.
Now I am a spiritless furless squirrel, gasping for solace in a destroyed, cold world.
“Drink!” she said once, admonishing me for drinking with bird like sips. Go ahead. Say it’s not healthy. I haven’t the strength to argue.
God made my mother, as an antidote to political correctness.
No, that’s not true.
She was Ulla. She was my mom. And I loved her beyond measure, no matter how many times I object to how I was traumatized by it all.
Just told my father I can’t come cook dinner. Can’t move.
Mom, I wish we could spend the night yelling at each other. We could smash some plates. We could clean up. We could laugh again. She would have been SO proud of her grandson, Jeremy, now 22.
And when I am an overbearing tyrant telling him he has to TAKE the gesture, and make it big, it’s her I am channeling.
The only sin in her book, was coldness.

On the last night I would see her alive, I bought her a dozen red roses and Beluga caviar–we partied, and also argued. And then she packed for her trip back to Sweden the next day.

Those roses outlived her. I never tortured a telephone like those two long days when she just did not answer the phone. With each ring, I begged. “Answer Mom. Answer.” Finally smashed it into the floor.

On day 3 we managed to get the lady who watered her flowers into the apartment. I made my father make that last call. His face fell, and in Swedish, he just said the word “no,” over and over. I ran out of the room screaming, and threw up.

She was always, since I was born, my world, my light, my teacher and my greatest ally. We have fallen apart since she died. This is what happens, when you lose a mother. Nobody is there, telling me we have to go to Tunisia…and “DON’T THROW OUT,” the plastic monkeys from the margaritas at Banditos.

Never. I have them right here. IMG_4629

Comments

  1. Celia Farber says:

    John, please. You said that Marcy was partaking in fraud in her work as a shaman. I can’t sustain that as a tiny publisher. I didn’t say you did something horrendous. I just said I can’t publish it. No need to go on at such length about it. These are my rules. Why not just say: “OK.”

  2. Cheryl Nagel says:

    Celia, Thank you for sharing your mom with us – in a way only YOU could do!

  3. Sal says:

    Another incredible episode from the life of Celia. I am reminded of my mom who I lost too early at the age of 57. Mothers are the heart and glue of a family, no doubt, and I too had a spirited one. They must be cherished, especially in the midst of the gender neutral onslaught by the self-annihilating PC culture.
    Now they want to cancel Mother’s Day. Can you believe it?

    https://heatst.com/culture-wars/critics-attack-mothers-day-as-offensive-because-its-a-gendered-holiday/amp/

  4. George Jacobs says:

    Wonderful Celia- gripping, inspiring me to write of my own mother. a wholly different miraculous phenomenon.

  5. Celia, you don’t know how lucky you are to have had a mother who loved you so much! My mother was a vicious, cruel, abusive psychopath who hated my guts. No one cried at her funeral. Who ever heard of a Jewish funeral where no one cried? That ought to give you some idea of her vileness.

    But please know there is no such thing as death. We grieve for ourselves, because our loved ones are on the other side in the beautiful world of Spirit. As a shaman, I take people to the other side to see their loved ones. I would love to do so for you.

    • john powell says:

      If you really were able to “take people to the other side to see their loved ones”, then the various scientific apparatuses available for detecting, measuring and recording such movements of matter and energy would be eagerly and publicly deployed at your doorstep, by the scientific community, to​ collect evidence that you can do what you claim you can do.

      Show me indisputable documentation of even one occurrence of anyone in the scientific community deploying scientific apparatuses to your doorstep, and collecting evidence which proves that you can do what you claim you can do.

      Of course, no such thing has occurred, because the scientific community has collected volumes of evidentiary data which proves, without any doubt, that what you claim you can do CANNOT be done.

      Dead people are dead. They are not living in a “beautiful world of spirit”, and they are not accessible for formal interviews or casual visitations by willful frauds or anyone else who innocently/ignorantly imagines or hallucinates that he/she can do that which science has conclusively proven to be impossible.

      • Celia Farber says:

        John, please do not attack or libel people here, (except obvious trolls, bots, satansist)–but as for genuine TTB people, they are guests here, and I am responsible for whatever gets arrowed at them. I try to stay on top of comments but sometimes I fall behind. I deleted the lower half of your comment because it was libelous. I do not think Marcy partakes in any willful fraud. I ask you to please be mindful in your comments, no matter how angry you may feel. Thank you.

        Sorry, Marcy.

        • john powell says:

          Celia,

          BREAKING STORY!
          File under: Fun Scoops For The Farber Thought-Police/Word-Police Beat. πŸ™‚

          β€’ Fun Scoop #1:

          John Powell did not “attack” or “libel” anyone.

          [See Fun Scoop #3 below, for additional clarification and validation of Fun Scoop #1.]

          Libel is not committed, if there have been no falsehoods published. Everything John Powell wrote about Marcy J. Gordon’s fraudulent claims is true.

          An attack, and a passionate reporting of unflattering facts, are two entirely different compositional endeavors. You KNOW that.

          If that were not true, then every passionate reporting of unflattering facts that you’ve ever composed could be condemned as an “attack”.

          Calling a passionate reporting of unflattering facts an “attack” is obviously counter-factual. You KNOW that.

          In your comment above, you have selectively, prejudicially and knowingly employed the counter-factual accusation of “attack”, regarding the nature of John Powell’s passionate reporting of unflattering facts about Marcy J. Gordon’s claims. That accusation is therefore identifiable as being the only authentic “attack” existing on this page, thus far.

          Presenting a summary of the evidence, the adjudicatory reasoning, and the verdict, in a matter of law or science, does not constitute an “attack” or a “libel”. Any of our fellow reporters and editors, anywhere on earth, can confirm this rather obvious principle for either of us (if either of us really needs it to be confirmed).

          John Powell merely presented a passionate reporting, summarizing the unflattering evidence, the adjudicatory reasoning, and the unflattering verdict, in a matter of law and science. He DID NOT “attack”, and he did not “libel”.

          πŸ™‚ More Fun On The Way! Are You Ready? πŸ™‚

          β€’ Fun Scoop #2:

          An organization’s, a government’s, an industry’s, or any other authority’s mischaracterization of summaries such as the one referenced above; in combination with that organization’s, that government’s, that industry’s or that authority’s formal and systemic “disappearing” of said summary (in whole or in part), constitutes a demonstration of the foundational traits of an age-old subjugating structure which was once portrayed in fiction as “Big Brother”.

          πŸ™‚ Still More Fun On The Way! πŸ™‚

          β€’ Fun Scoop #3:

          The Jewish and Christian bibles are the world’s foremost guides, and most-trusted codes of statutes, instructions and commands, for defining what a “satanist” is.

          Both of those “scriptural” resources clearly declare, with utmost specificity, that “sorcery” is “satanic”/”satanist”, and that “sorcery” includes the practice of claiming to be able to visit and converse with the dead.

          The only logical conclusion, consistent with your definition of John Powell’s passionate reportage of unflattering facts (your defining of his reportage as “attack” and “libel”), is that the Jewish and Christian bibles ARE ALSO GUILTY OF COMMITTING “attack” and “libel” “arrowed at” Marcy J. Gordon and other “sorcerers”, because those “scriptures” passionately articulate the verdict which designates that “sorcery” is FOREVER “satanic”/”satanist”, and is FOREVER deserving of punishment by violent execution AND BY eternity in a “Lake of Fire” (a verdict many magnitudes more harsh than John Powell’s factual yet rather harmless use of the word “charlatan”).

          This Fun Scoop #3 is brought to your attention, so that you may achieve a more thorough administering of your desire to be “responsible for whatever gets arrowed at” your guests.

          In other words, henceforth, with the knowledge provided in Fun Scoop #3, you can commence protecting your guests much more effectively, thoroughly and perfectly, by deleting from the comments section ALL JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN BIBLE PASSAGES WHICH “ATTACK” AND “LIBEL” any of your “satanist” guests who are committing “satanic” crimes against God, Jesus and The Supreme Law of the Holy Land.

          It appears, in your Big Brother-esque shielding of Marcy J. Gordon, that you desire to rescue SOME “satanists” from “attack” and “libel”. Now you know what you should delete from the comments section, to achieve that rescue in perpetuity. The deleting of Jewish and Christian bible passages which “attack” and “libel” the “satanism” of “sorcery” ought to give a very big boost to one’s esteem of one’s Big Brother self.

          I’m glad to be of service.

          πŸ™‚ Fun! Fun! Fun! More Straight Ahead! πŸ™‚

          β€’ Fun Scoop #4:

          In light of the preceding truths, we can correctly, definitively, conclusively say, with certitude, that by mischaracterizing and disappearing John Powell’s written summary of the evidence, the adjudication reasoning, and the verdict in a case of law and science, you have utilized the age-old subjugating structures, intentions and tactics once portrayed in fiction as the foundational workings of “Big Brother; and that you have done so to advocate for someone who is identified as a “satanist” in both the Jewish and Christian “scriptural” code of statutes.

          Therefore, you are now worthy (much more worthy than you’ve known heretofore), WORTHY of being given the blessing of being able to smell that hot mess you’ve gotten yourself into.

          Hip hip, hooray! Hip hip, hooray! Hip hip, hooray!

          πŸ™‚ You’re On A Roll Now! Extra Fun & Play! This Is Your Lucky Day! πŸ™‚

          β€’ Fun Scoop #5:

          Seriously though, this is all no biggie. Everybody has different views about what fun is. So just have yourself a jolly time, your way, today and every day.

          Enjoy. Sing. Dance. Twirl. Turn on Chubby Checkers and do the boogaloo, the jitterbug, the jerk, the shake, and twist the night away.

          Ignore, while you may, whatever unsettling light you glimpse in whatever unflattering reporters like John Powell say.

          Ignore and delete while you may, because only in the end will all of us have to settle for being the same where we lay.

          “I’m not into thought/word policing”, you wrote in a comment to your post by Peter Mare, on the 16th of May.

          That’s Fun Scoop #6, because it’s obviously just another comedic trick in our persistent jamboree charade.

          We’ve got it made. We’ve got it all down. Comedic hot mess on parade.

          πŸ™‚ WHOOOPIE! WHOOOPIE! EVER SWEET HOT MESS HOLIDAYS! πŸ™‚

          • john powell says:

            Fraud is fraud, whenever any form of benefit is received by the suspect/defendant, subsequent to his/her provision of a product or service which does not and cannot accomplish the objective advertised or promoted by the suspect/defendant.

            Marcy J. Gordon appears to be coherent and fit to stand trial, and she is therefore responsible/accountable for her willful promotion of the impossible as a commodity she brings to market, whether she does so for financial gain or for other benefit.

            Fraud is fraud, whether or not financial payment is part of the transaction.

            Ego-gratification gained by fraud, absent any financial payment, is still a commercial exchange in the eyes of the law.

            Fraud *IS* fraud!

          • chris mullen says:

            We get it John, you are a materialist, good for you! You do realize there are people out there who don’t share your worldview, right?

            • john powell says:

              Mr. Mullen, you have NO IDEA what I am. I am thousands of things unknown to you. I have not consulted with you, to inform you about ANY OF those thousands of things.

              I am not a “materialist”. I am not any “ist” at all.

              Your use of an “ist” label, to create an identification of me in your imagination, certainly reveals that your imagination has a very low bar when it comes to the amount of knowledge you consider when making conclusions about what a particular human being is.

              I am not a “materialist”. No, that is NOT what I am. I am much more that that. The word “materialist” does not, and CANNOT identify ANYTHING about what I am.

              What you are, Chris Mullen, CANNOT be summarized or identified by any “ist” label either.

              No, you are NOT an “anti-materialist” or a “non-materialist”. Any person who would label you as such would be ignoring and dismissing the thousands of things which you make you what you are.

              One of the things which make you what you are, is the fact that you are an individual who enthusiastically endorses materialism when it suits your purposes.

              In addition to my thousands of other personal characteristics and features, one thing that I am is a human adult who has completely and absolutely acknowledged the supremacy of scientific fact over primitive impossible fantasies and the primal fears of death which produce those fantasies.

              All matter, and all energy, whether visible or invisible, is observable, measurable, and recordable.

              Matter and energy are ALL there is in the universe. Everything which exists is made of combinations of matter and energy. Even antimatter is a material whose particles possess observable, measurable and recordable mass and energy.

              That’s also true for our imaginations. Our imaginations consist of combinations of matter and energy which are observable, measurable and recordable.

              If you stood on one side of the Grand Canyon, and announced that you have the magical “spiritual” power to fly across to the other side of the canyon, then the matter and energy which you and your imagined “spirit-self” are made of could be observed, measured and recorded, while they fly across the canyon, IF THEY REALLY WERE flying across to the other side of the canyon.

              If you announced that the flight of your imagined “spirit-self”, to the other side of the canyon, cannot be observed, cannot be measured, and cannot be recorded, because your “spirit” manifests itself using a material which is not made of matter and energy (or, if you announced that ONLY believers in the “spirit-self” could observe your imagined “spiritual” flight to the other side of the canyon), then you would be doing nothing different than a child and her/his parents do when the child announces that she/he is magically going to Disneyland, underneath the dining room tablecloth, to have a conversation with Mickey Mouse, Dumbo the elephant, Peter Pan, and the critter cast of The Jungle Book, while the parents assure the child that they too can see the child’s imagined “spirit-friends” after the child invites the parents to join her/him in that magic castle “worldview” which is hidden in the Fantasy Land under the cavernous dining room table.

              No, I am not a materialist. Neither am I an imaginationist.

              I am not ANY of anyone’s “ist” identity labels, which are commonly flung against critics for the purpose of justifying the feeling of security in this or that magic castle “worldview” underneath this or that cavernous tablecloth; and for the purpose of putting people who have reasonable criticisms of Fantasy Land tablecloths into identity boxes which provide an easy way to dismiss and ignore reasonable criticisms, to falsely establish confidence in the validity of the magic castle “worldview” in which people can fly from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other, without their movement being observed, measured, and recorded by adults operating non-imaginary detectors of non-fantasized/non-fraudulent Reality.

              No offense intended here, Mr. Mullen. You hurled an epithet at me (an epithet which implied a defect in my character), and you asked a ridiculous question which was clearly meant to be snide and condescending. I have simply corrected mistakes of that epithet, and given you a reasonable answer to your ridiculous question.

              Take care. πŸ™‚

              None of this stuff is anywhere near as importance as the fact that around six million of our sisters and brothers on this planet starve to death every year, in direct consequence of “divinely-chosen”/”divinely-blessed” humans living as competing nations and competing pursuers of self-enrichment, treating the planet’s resources as profitable products to be owned and sold to the lucky, instead of treating those resources as earth’s gifts of necessities to be sustainably and compassionately shared equally by all, even by the unluckiest.

              Onward goes the darkness of Man’s
              Great Patriotic Parade to The Death of His Species,
              blinded by the resource rivalries inspired by
              every popular version of Man’s so-called Divine Light:
              National Might, National Right, and
              Freedom to raise The Height
              of Self
              over The Planetary Whole
              which gets crushed
              under the weight of
              hoarded Wealth and Privilege
              that rises ever higher out of sight.

              “Starve to death, you filthy losers,
              you nobodies, you nothings, because
              we are the owners,
              and our luxuries are waiting for us to
              devour them, tonight!”

  6. Sharon Warner says:

    You have such a gift Celia; I too feel as if I know Ulla

    I lost my Father the same year 1999

  7. Paul says:

    Beautifully evocative piece of writing.
    I feel as if I knew her now…

  8. Berenice Kavanagh says:

    thank you Celia. tears.
    give my love to the plastic monkeys.

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