Clearing Up Bubbe Meises
I wouldn’t call my dad a liar, but I would say that sometimes … well, truth can be slightly distorted. In Yiddish, we call these bubbe meises. Literally, it means grandmother’s stories. You know, like “old wives tales.”
So, anyway, my dad has been telling my sister and I stories about how he spent many, many hours with my mom’s older family, during our parents long-ago teenage courtship. He explains how he sat for hours listening to Dot’s stories or learning how to make Nanny’s soup. Now, while it’s true my dad does love old people, this sounded a little … suspect. So, Marisa and I asked mom to clear up the confusion during one of our bi-monthly trips up to Stew Leonard’s.
And because I can never do this story justice, I offer you (almost) direct dialogue.
Me: Mom, when you guys were dating, did Dad spend hours with your family?
Mom: What?? No! Maybe an hour or two with Nanny learning how to make soup, and once to help Lillian or Dot with something, but not like, more than 4 hours total out of … years!
Marisa: Really? Because he said it was like, days upon days. Like a weekly thing!
Mom: No! He was busy with me, getting busy*!
Me: … blink blink … brain washing … blink blink
Mom: (indignantly) What?!
Marisa: Mom, we don’t want to know that!
Mom: What did you think we were doing? Holding hands and making hamantaschen?
“Holding hands and making hamantaschen.”
The moral of this story? Don’t ask questions.
*Busy wasn’t the actual word used. But because I love my mother, I let her have some editing rights. But having her come up with another euphemism for what she actually said was almost as painful as the original conversation.