August 15, 2007  
My Arlene

"Mel, You’re right!"

The strangest thing happened this weekend. I was showering when my beautiful wife tapped on the glass door and said “the doors are going the wrong way, you’ll get water on the floor”. I quickly explained that they need to go the way they’re going and that her way would cause the floor to get wet. She said “you’re right”. I said please repeat that, she said “you’re right” I was in shock and couldn’t stop laughing. When I stopped I made up a poem and sang it to Arlene while I was showering. I’m dedicating this to my wonderful wife Arlene.

“You’re right, you’re right”, today’s my lucky day!
“You’re right, you’re right” something my wife would never say.
I think I heard her say it back in 1963,
She happened to say it to someone else, I know it was not to me.
I was standing in the shower when she knocked upon the door.
“Sweetheart, the doors are going the wrong way, you’ll get water on the floor.”
I corrected her and to my surprise my wife for once agreed.
So I stand here soaping myself and humming merrily
Nu, so, tell me why shouldn’t I be right, Arlene, I’m 63.

I shared about Arlene here and there in past articles but I never really just spoke about Arlene, my beautiful wife.

I met Arlene when I was 17 years old and she was 16. We were both taking a typing class and I looked at all the girls in the class and was immediately drawn to her. She wouldn’t speak to me, I looked Italian to her and she would not be able to introduce me to her parents. Hashem is good and brought us together at the Temple Gates of Prayer where I was the Chazzan for the Jr. Congregation on Rosh Hashana. She eventually dated me after breaking up with my ex best friend, Gary, it was sad because he had a car, I didn’t know what I missed more, him or the car.

We quickly became best friends and spoke daily and often I’d walk her home from school, after all she only lived 10 blocks in the opposite direction. We became “an item”, always doing things together. I admired her Mom and Dad and as I met the rest of her family I admired them as well. In June of 1964 Arlene graduated from Queens College. That September I graduated from Pace University.

We married in June of ’64. I had this euphoric feeling that is still with me 43 years later. I thought we’d live happily ever after; boy did I have a lot to learn. We married at the Hillside House in Jamaica N.Y. All the frustrating things that could happen did happen but we both made it thru speaking to each other as well as our families during and after the wedding. Interestingly when I went to measured for my tuxedo I said that we’re getting married on the 21st, Arlene quickly corrected me and said “the 20th”. This proved to be a problem over the next 43 years…did we get married on the 20th or 21st? I still get confused and many times I’d tell people our wrong anniversary date, Arlene quickly corrects me.

The Honeymoon

We scheduled a 2 day honeymoon in Washington D.C. and when we deplaned our luggage was missing along with Arlene’s birth control pills. Monday I returned to work and so we continued honeymooning the next weekend in Newburgh New York at the Holiday Inn. We purchased a used 1958 Fiat (Italian car) while we were engaged, the car was unable to exceed 50 miles per hour without shaking. I’d often feel it was faster to walk. I have wonderful memories of us singing as we drove.. “When I’m Sixty Four” and “Henry The Eighth I Am” what a wonderful drive. Today, I can sit quietly, close my eyes and remember the pure happiness we felt.

The First Meal Or the First Supper

I’ll never forget the first meal Arlene made as my wife. We had just come home from our wedding, ready to take inventory of the gifts, my mother had called 2 times wanting to know how much and from whom, “Mom, it’s 1 o’clock in the morning, can I tell you tomorrow”. “O.K. bubbala”.
Arlene called from the kitchen “sweetheart, come in I made you dinner” - we had not eaten anything during the wedding. On the table were two plates with a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of milk on each. I picked up my camera and took a photograph. Arlene’s a very thoughtful person. I’m thinking of going to bed with her and she’s cooking for me. I still enjoy a good grilled cheese sandwich, but only when Arlene makes it.

Our First Apartment

We leased a studio apartment at Skyline Towers in Flushing, New York and we lived on the 10th floor. There even was a doorman that would open the door for us. Wow, we had a view of the New York skyline; it was wonderful. It was a dream come true. We soon adopted a guinea pig named Barney but we gave him away after Adam Scott, our son, was born. The Landlord had increased our rent from $100.00 to $130.00 a month. We had $500.00 saved up and I said “lets find a house so we can pay less”. Arlene does not fall in love with things, animals, people flowers, yes, but not things. We traveled all the way out to Holtsville, 60 miles out of the city and purchased a high ranch paying $14,500.00 with a $98.00 a month mortgage. Initially we both worked; me for Gimbels and Arlene for the NYC school system but now we only had one income of $130.00 a week. While our home was being built Arlene became pregnant with our second son Lewis Brian Yahre. The building of the house had no direct correlation to her getting pregnant.

Arlene, Super Chef

Our neighbor across the street would bring over lasagna knowing it was one of my favorite meals. Arlene was given the recipe but during the preparation neglected to cook the noodles. I realized this as soon as my fork hit the noodles; I licked the cheese and meat off the noodles and said it was delicious. She smiled, tasted it and tears began flowing down her cheek. “Arlene, it tastes really good” She said it tasted terrible.” I sat there silently feeling sorry for her. The only good that came from that story is I’ve told it about 50 times in my lifetime and still laugh…I’m so bad.

Happy times in Holtsville

I really love Arlene, she’s so much smarter than I. She’s not only the perfect wife but also the perfect mother. Unlike me she’s always dependable, organized, meticulously neat and lovingly compassionate.

We have many happy memories of being in that house although we only lived there 3 years. We planted a tree in front of the house which still stands there 37 years later. Our youngest son was born there and our oldest became quite the mischievous little person. Adam, our oldest son, would go thru the neighborhood and bring home people’s sprinklers. He was 3 at the time and we would return them the next day. I remember when he was playing with the garden hose and my Dad told him to stop. He opened the hose full blast on my Dad. Adam came running into the house shouting “he’s trying to kill me” my Dad was soaked and yelling in Yiddish and saying “he’s a meshuggeneh like his father and I’m going to kill him”, I was laughing hysterically. Not Arlene. She was busy scolding Adam, explaining why it was wrong.

To be continued…..

Have a great August, don’t shvitz too much, be smart, stay cool, eat Kosher. Mel (the Fat Guy)

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