I stayed up late a lot as a kid. I was way too young and it was way too late. The four of us kids had little black and white televisions in our rooms. My mother was on survival mode by that time of day. Whatever kept the kids quietly in their rooms so she could finally sleep was okay with her. It was the mid 1970’s. My father worked long hours at my grandfather’s gas station.
The Mary Tyler Moore Hour and Twilight Zone were my teddy bears. The movies from the 1940’s and 50’s were my introduction to grownup life. I was certain my future held silk peignoir sets as a married lady and spotless aprons while cooking for my husband and children.
I was confused by one thing that happened repeatedly in these movies. A gentleman would offer a lady a drink. And the lady would say “No thank you, I don’t drink.” I obsessed on this sentence.
What do you mean you don’t drink?! Drinking is optional??!! Don’t they get thirsty?! I finally asked my mother after weeks of confusion. And she explained alcohol, while trying not to giggle at my 8-year-old innocence.
She explained a lot of things to me while stifling a smile. And now I’m the mommy. And my inquisitive child is named for you in Hebrew. Peninah Tikvah, our Pearl of Hope. Thank you for the secret talks we had. Thank you for staying strong during my teen years. You prepared me for this life without you, without me even knowing it. I grew up to be the mother I am. Unconventional in so many ways. I wish I could do it all over again with you. You were spectacular Paula Kornspan, RN. And never forget the RN. Because like she always said, “she worked hard for those two letters.”