In Praise Of Vivien Yellin

If you live in Florida you’ve probably met my mother. For the past month she was inviting everyone in her path to an Ice Cream Social/Book Party. A salesman she met at Target. Her audiologist. The woman at the party store who sold her paper plates. An entire waiting room of patients at her internist’s.

She’s my best salesman. I realized this when my memoir was first available.

MOM: (calling from Florida before 9 on a Sunday morning) I just got my friend Shirley to pre-order.

ME: Mom, isn’t Shirley in hospice?

MOM: I told her she’d have something to live for.

The ice cream social was held in the party room of my mom’s condominium building. The one with the lovely ocean view. I’m grateful I could see the view because during my five days in Florida I never stepped outside once (sunny; 73 degrees) other than to pass from a car into a restaurant. A long granite countertop was lined with pink placemats, each one with its own tub and flavor of Breyer’s. At the end of the counter were syrup toppings and bowls of crushed pineapple, coconut, and strawberry jam.

But I know the real reason the ladies showed up on their walkers and in their wheelchairs was the brownies. And I don’t mean out-of-the-Betty-Crocker-box brownies – but my mom’s homemade brownies. Crème de Menthe. Marshmallow Krispies. Cheesecake. Double Chocolate. Mocha. And Sugar Free. Just recalling them makes me want to lick my computer screen.

After 45 minutes of the social part, we moved onto the book part. I was the entertainment, officially the “program”. Under my mother’s beaming smile I gave a synopsis of the book (short) and read a few scenes (snippets) and answered questions. (“No, there aren’t any offensive sex scenes.”) Then I read the dedication in the book.

For my mom – VIVIEN YELLIN – Thank you for your love, your salmon patties, your wry humor, adorable good spirits, and for teaching me to always look at the world through the other guy’s point of view.

She’s really special. I wish you could meet her. If you haven’t already run into her at Target.




10 / December / 2011  Uncategorized 

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