Memorial Messages on a Lonely Rainy Day
By Julia Ross
They held a memorial for Marvin at the Communist Party headquarters. Many there asked if there were enough Communists left to constitute a party. (I thought that if there weren't it would be because they all shot each other in the back. But I held my tongue. Or maybe I didn't. If I did say it nobody got it anyway. So you can't be sure if I said it or not.)
But I know there was at least one Trotskyite and one Neo-Trotskyite in attendance because each so declared. (They each own hill homes worth about a million give or take). And to my surprise the deceased had held a course in Hegel at the site and several of its attendees were present. And said wonderful things about him. So perhaps there were a greater number of splinter groups represented as well.
The deceased lived to 94 so there were several connections and eras represented. Why did I go? I never liked him. But we share a social group so I guess I thought that on a dismal rainy day it would get me out of the house and into a much needed social setting. (Much needed because I am lonely. Why am I lonely? Because I don't like anyone lately. Even the ones I love.)
The hypocrisy is gnawing at me. The corpse elicits perfect examples. He has sat at our group pontificating and lecturing to a small crowd each of whom had different responses. Depending on what?
Big, tall Allan Goldstein ate it up. He read every article the deceased assigned him. He absorbed all the facts and dates and acts and pacts alluded to. He was good at that and often repeated it all to others less interested but perhaps not less impressed. He aggregated factual material to bolster the view that capitalism might fail and the left prevail. But there are other facts lesser known. He had kindly visited the deceased frequently during the deceased's illness bringing ice cream or newspapers. The deceased had complemented him on his absorption of the material read. And on his baseball cap and army boots and Oshkosh shirts.
Megan was very impressed with all the sources quoted but selected carefully those she liked like raisins out of bran flakes. Haaretz (which the corpse revered) was to be discounted. Israelis tortured the poor Palestinians. You can't trust them. She had told the deceased that and he said You're an Idiot. That smarted. He could speak louder and longer so she smoldered silently.
After the many accolades today she ventured that he was often intolerant of others. There were some snickers, giggles, shifting of bodies in those hard folding chairs, and then laughter. Several others said that was true and told stories. All said that he was true to his beliefs.
Many said he didn't reveal his private thoughts or feelings. Many had not known of his marriages or that he even had the meek children present today.
Fiona told us that she had been his supervising therapist. Well, she said, he always told me what he was thinking and feeling. We always had a confidential relationship. I knew he had children. I hired him. He liked me.
Some did not speak. Joel was quiet. He did not relate the incident many of us had witnessed. He, like the deceased, was an ardent Union Man. He said daily, that when the Unions had power the world was a beautiful place. But the deceased told him he was an idiot and to shut up. He said nothing today. I wondered what he was thinking about why he came today. He did not say.
Nielson said he didn't know if the corpse had been a Trotskyite or a Neo Trotskyite. He said "I can't remember what he said about that. I didn't really follow what he said. I have a very Zen attitude toward whatever it was."
Sylvie, who was with Fiona, did not speak to the group. She sat with her cheeks puffed as if withholding something, her lips pursed as by kisses or lemons. Chatting afterward she told me "Well, he always had a crush on me. After all, I wasn't even thirty when I came to the clinic. And I was gorgeous. He had a very big crush on me. Fiona didn't have quite the relationship with him that she thought she had."
Fiona said who was Megan to lord it over the deceased. She said "I had a good relationship with him. He never thought I was an idiot." She didn't recognize Nielson who had been a psychiatrist at her clinic but now was a disheveled, disabled old man. I re-introduced them. "Oh, Fiona, yes, I remember you". I never liked her or her husband he told me over wine.
The sign in the bathroom said "Is Your Toilet Breeding Bolshevics?" The toilet handle was broken. The paper towel dispenser empty. The linoleum cracked. I drank some wine which felt good, ate some brownies which did not, and went home. I can't say if I was more or less lonely after the event but I had certainly been entertained.
from the October 2013 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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