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Setting the Tone

When my soon-to-be husband got ready to ask me to marry him, he took me to visit his mother. She is divorced from his father and lives several states away, so I had never met her, but he – quite properly, IMO – didn’t want to become engaged until after we had met.

So we go down. And one of the first things she does is take her son aside and tell him that our “public displays off affection” were upsetting her live-ion boyfriend. The PDA? I had put my feet in his lap because I was tired and the sofa was too small for both of us to lay down on it. Now, I could understand his (& probably her) disapproval if a) they weren’t living together & b) she hadn’t put us IN THE SAME ROOM! No, we were NOT sleeping together!!

So, we had officially met. And so, at the very first opportunity we had to get away from the house, my boyfriend proposed. When we returned to the house, it turned out that my future MIL had managed to bump her fender while driving the car. It was this horribly traumatic incident, it seems, that made her flap her hands & rush out of the room saying “I can’t deal with this right now!” when my fiance informed her we had gotten engaged.

Things came to a head when the wedding approached. She told us she was coming, but, somehow, managed to fall off her bicycle (which I didn’t know she had) and hurt her foot. She had a blood clot, so she couldn’t come to the wedding.

As you can imagine, my fiance was crushed, especially when he confessed to me that his mother had asked him if he was sure that I wasn’t “one of those JAPS who never get a job.” Yes, she is Catholic, and I am Jewish.

My husband was horrified to find that his mother had any bigotry in her at all. But it gets better! The real punchline? Her ex-husband, my husband’s father, to whom she had been married for about 17 years, is Jewish. No one in his family could even be remotely described as a “JAP”; this woman wouldn’t know a JAP if one walked up and slapped her – and for hurting my husband so much, I really felt like doing it!!


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