A Woman Scorned
Frankie occasionally dated, but it seemed each romance ended with my mother intervening and putting her 2 cents in, usually driving the girls away. No one was good enough for her son. One serious relationship that everyone thought would go somewhere was destroyed by my mother. She had a habit of calling the parents of the girl and complaining to them that their daughter was distracting Frankie from getting on with his life, to accusing them of trying to spend his money. In time, the girl just walked off into the sunset. When this relationship ended, my mother said, “I bet Frankie stopped seeing Joanne, because she said something about me, he didn’t like.” Delusional. My mother was high maintenance. Frankie had no balls about him when it came to my mother. She always knew best. Big Frank, my stepfather, just stayed out of the picture. Frankie belonged to my mother and only her. Except for once.
Across the street from where Frankie parked cars, for my step father, and down the street from the White Tower, there was a famous barber shop. It was famous for one reason. It boasted as having the only “lady barber” in Connecticut. And it did. Men would flock to this barber shop to have Donna “do them”. Donna was an older woman, had dyed red teased hair, chain smoked and applied her makeup as a child would. As the story went, she had a “reputation”. Donna was tough and proud of it.
Frankie fell in love with Donna and vice versa. My mother, as you can well imagine, pulled every trick out of the book to stop the two of them from seeing each other. She sent Frankie down to Florida to college. When he charged $500 worth of phone calls to my mother’s bill, to make calls back home to Donna, she quickly brought Frankie back home and made him enroll in New Haven College. He then skipped classes to be with Donna so my mother yanked him out of that college.
She then decided that he should attend Stone Business College. That didn’t work. No school or trade lasted more than 4 months.
Meanwhile, my mother had banned Donna from ever being served at the White Tower restaurant. Their arguments over Frankie in public became legend, with my mother screaming names at Donna like, whore, slut, pig.
Wow, 2 women fighting over 1 man. Too bad one was his mother.
But alas, a very sad day came. This was the era of the draft and all single men were drafted. My brother had received his draft notice and my mother treated it like a death in the family. Certainly not mine though. My brother was given a party, leaving on the day of my mother’s birthday. Ample ammunition for Mary the drama queen.
Family came by and gave him presents and money. The one saving grace, according to my mother, was that at last Frankie would be rid of Donna, and their separation, my mother felt, would be the end of the relationship. Or so my mother thought. He would at last, find himself in the Army and be the man she wanted him to be.
My mother tearfully drove Frankie to the recruiter’s office where they said their goodbyes with my brother stating that he had finally ended the relationship with Donna, leaving my mother tearful and proud.
A week later, I came home from school, and found my brother sitting in the kitchen.
He said he had gone to Fort Dix New Jersey and had failed the physical exam. It seems like that “baseball arm” had reared its ugly head and he was dismissed from active duty.
You would have thought my mother had received the Purple Heart. She was beside herself with joy. Once again she was together with her son and they could plan his life according to Mary. He immediately resumed working at my stepfather’s parking lot until “something better” came along. My mother and Frankie were together again.
The happiness didn’t last long. A month later my mother received a phone call from my aunt. She was the Town Clerk of Hamden and had just received a marriage license stating that my brother and Donna had gotten married in April. He had never gone into the Army. He had found out just before he was to leave that he didn’t have to go. Frankie and Donna had eloped.
That night when Frankie got home, my mother had her script ready. She asked him to step out to the back porch. There in piles, were all his clothes, belongings, baseball trophies, and the 5 scrapbooks she had made that detailed his baseball career.
Her words were short, mean and hateful. “You want to hurt me”? “Well you might as well put a knife through my heart, because I would rather be dead than see you with this woman.” As this crazy woman is saying this, she is flinging everything he owns off the 2nd floor back porch and onto the street below. “Now get out of my house and never come back”, she screamed.
My brother walked into the bathroom, and started to grab his tooth brush and comb. She followed him, relentless in her hatred as well as her love for him, and stood in bathroom next to him screaming, “You’re just like your dead father. Want to know what he died from? He didn’t die of cancer. He died of syphilis. That’s the way you’re going to die. You’re just like him.”
As I stood by the bathroom door, I could see the reflection of Frankie’s face in the mirror. . He bent over the bathroom sink and just sobbed.
I went in my room and did the same. He was the child she adored. What happened? Tough love? Disturbed love is more like it.
When I came out of my room, Frankie and his things were gone.
My mother was doing the laundry as if nothing had happened.