The Jewish Mother's Dream: a Poem

    May 2011          
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Ode to a Jewish Mama

By Phyllis Gardner

Forced to confess, under harsh interrogation
Whilst receiving in Ohio my college education
That I dated, and not on infrequent occasion
Assorted young men of the Christian persuasion


Emergency measures were quickly proclaimed
Plans based on the time honored theory, ingrained
That a nice Jewish girl and a nice Jewish boy
Sail smoother through marriage than a Jew and a goy


So Mama, whilst preaching Judaic tradition
Sent her sole conceived daughter on a one sighted mission
She, perusing my options for optimal contact
I, finally consenting, if she’d but get off my back
That I’d check out her plum, the pick of the berries
La crème de la crème - the Medical Library!
“One visit,” I promised, “All or nothing,” I said
As visions of matrimony danced in her head
“And make sure that he’s Jewish,” warned Mama sans tact
“Knowing you, you’ll latch on to a goyishe quack!”


So – equipped with my textbooks and bodily diversions
I set out to trap me a promising surgeon
I enter the sanctum and sit by the aisle
Surreptitiously sorting Jew from gentile
Perusing the pickings and the lay of the land
Awaiting profferance of a gold wedding band
But the boys study on, unaware of my plight
And I sit all alone as day turns into night
Til I finally decide, Jewish doctor or not
I’ll date whom I please, and the heck with mom’s plot!


So I march towards the exit, not giving a hoot
When I note with surprise a young man in pursuit!
My instincts in action, I slow down my pace
We collide at the door; we turn face to face

”Excuse me,” says he, “No, my fault,” murmur I
“But, oy vey, you hit hard!” (that’s the old college try)
Oy vey?” he exclaims (all the Yiddish I know)
“You mean there’s a Jewish girl here in Ohio?”
Well, that’s how it started
Mom thinks it’s grand ‘bout the new diamond ring that I sport on my hand
So Mama is happy and no one can mock her
Cause I landed one heck of a “gantser k-nocker
Translation: a “big shot”, I’m no concoctor – as in
What could be better than a nice Jewish doctor?


Phyllis Okin Gardner
All true, except I never married him
Written my senior year at Ohio State, 1971
In honor of my mom, Regina Graf Okin,
who was never pushy, really


from the May 2011 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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