My mom was a FORCE OF NATURE. There are hurricanes, lunar eclipse, volcano eruptions, and my mom. All of these you only have to experience once to remember.
With her chandelier earrings and eight necklaces at once, she would move heaven and earth to get what she wanted. If her efforts protected you, you were blessed. If they opposed you, standing up against her was like standing up to a tornado.
Selma Ungar can best be described in stories. So here are a few:
- We were on a family vacation in Cape Cod. Way before the days you took an airplane to your destination, you loaded up the family car with more suitcases than your father thought could ever fit. Somewhere in Nantucket I got an ear ache late one night. My mom found an all-night pharmacy. She didn’t want to drive alone and she didn’t want to leave my sister and me alone so the four of us got in the car. She went in and we could watch through the windows as the pharmacist followed her all the way through the store, yapping at her heels the whole way. When she got to the car my dad asked, “Selma what did you do?” Always innocent, she said “I didn’t do anything, all I said was you have the map of Jerusalem written on your face”. The whole way across the store and out the door he tried to deny to my mom that he was Jewish. My mom would have none of it. She swept in and out of the store like a tornado and she would not be deterred.
- When I was in 7th grade I was supposed to be in a fashion show. I broke a finger and had to wear a big metal splint. So my mom insisted on bedecking the split with the same color ribbons as each outfit I would wear down the runway.
- After my dad died, my mom turned to the Internet. First she ordered beads for her crafting. She soon graduated to ordering men from an assortment of dating websites. There was Paul the owner of an 800 million dollar company, West Coast Al who had been Jay Leno’s attorney, East Coast Al who she ditched West Coast Al for, then ditched him in the bathroom and went to the airport. There was Mike in Florida, Hawaii man and more.
On her 91st birthday she fell and never walked again. This development led to her move to assisted living. Her forcefulness changed policy there, from using the center’s van to take residents to funerals to how residents are watched and cared for in the dining room
In May we checked out of our hotel in Tel Aviv when the concierge said of Moshe and me, “you have added color to our lobby during your stay”. We may have added color for ten days, my mother added color for a life time. She was a FORCE OF NATURE.