” Hello please leave a message after the tone”. Mimmy thought the default voice on the answering machine was a real man in her cousins house. She didn’t get it. She had called the same number at least 5 times and always the same man’s voice came on . “Who is this? I’m trying to reach Polly and what are you doing in her house?” She was getting mad and really worked up now. She had always heard Polly’s voice on the machine when she had called before, she did not understand that there was a pre-recorded voice already on these answering machines.
She decided to walk down to her cousin’s house and see what this man was doing there. How dare Polly not tell her she had a man friend ? It kind of made her jealous. It had been a little while since Mimmy had been divorced and the last man friend she had was the maintenance man in her old apartment building. She pronounced it “Maintmenman” all one word.
Mimmy only developed so much mentally and emotionally after the age of 11, when witnessing her Mother’s death at the old homestead. It was of natural causes, however it did quite a number on Mimmy’s young mind as she was alone with her when it happened. It was kind of like it stunted her in the head. The children in her family were farmed out to different cousins to be raised after that.
Mimmy went to her cousin Polly’s family. She and Polly were like sisters. Later after the teenage years, Polly was looked at more like her older sister, almost a mother figure. Mimmy could become jealous of Polly’s relationship with her husband wanting the same for herself. She called Polly’s husband “Big Daddy”. Sometimes this annoyed Polly, especially when Mimm would drawl it out in an almost sensual way, “Hey Big Daaaaadddy.” Polly knew it was an ignorant innocence on Mimmy’s part, but you can only have so much patience. She loved Mimmy dearly, but sometimes, oooohhh Mimmy could really drive her to want to drink (not that she was a drinkin’ woman ).
Mimmy grew up to be quite beautiful to look at and brought plenty of male attention her way without trying. Polly and her husband felt the need to protect Mimmy, but Mimmy got pregnant ( pregum” in Mimmyspeak) anyway by a young man who neither cared about her or wanted their unborn baby. Polly’s hubby introduced an older man who was a drinking buddy of his at the tavern, and they ended up married very soon after that. He was about 30 years older than Mimmi, but was a father and husband to her and her son Lee-Lee. He was quite an odd one also, being a cast off from some gypsy family.
Mimmy was the babysitter of Polly’s children and some of the grandchildren in the years following. You could not ask for a better babysitter. She was so childlike in someways and the kids loved her. She had a saying “I watch them like a hog” (though she meant hawk). She and the kids would play and dance around and have the greatest time while their parents were gone. The kids loved it, they got to do lots of things they would not normally do, like have sword fights with curtain rods and run through the house. Their father was quite strict and never let them leave the yard, so Mimmy time was fun time for them.
Her emotions were not easily controlled, and when the grandmother of the family died, Mimmy fell on the floor screaming and pulling at her hair. You would have thought she was either possessed by a devil or by the holy spirit himself the way she carried on. This made Polly so mad, she kicked at her ordering her up off the ground. No one but Polly could make Mimmy get back in control. It was quite a sight.
As Polly’s children grew into young adults, Mimmy seemed to get a crush on one of the handsome young sons, Jiggs. She would make excuses to stop by many times during the day to ask where he was. Polly put a lid on that nonsense right away. Poor Mimmy she seemed to crave male attention whether from young or old, it did not matter. Polly and her husband watched over her and her son after Mimmy’s old man husband passed away 12 years into the marriage. He was in his 80’s when he died and she was just barely 50 years old.
Mimmy would from time to time have some man move into her house, most of them were as repulsive as she became in her older years. Her body shape changed to mostly belly, very thin hair with bald spots, sores on her arms and legs due to extreme diabetes and skin disorders losing her eyesight eventually. Her son Lee-Lee took care of her to the best of his ability, in between fly fishing, and flying his kite.
One summer day it was over 100 degrees and Mimmy could be seen sitting cross legged in a child’s wading pool in front of her home cooling herself off. This was Lee-Lee’s answer to no air conditioning.
Mimmy left this world with some bright spots though. She had the funniest way of saying things. She loved to go camping and would recite every bit of food that she brought along. She would say “we got onion, we got potato, we got sketti and we got noodos too. ” “Sketti- noodos” came to take on more than one meaning to the family later on. If someone was labeled as crazy, they were also known as “sketti-noodos”. It fit perfectly.
There were lots of other things. At a family birthday party, Mimmy had brought her tea-cup sized poodle with her. A friend asked her what the tiny dog ate. Mimmy ticked off “Oh he eat everything, he eat onion, and tomato and lettuce too. ” The friend asked “What is he a vegetarian?”. Mimmy replied very seriously, “Ooh no, he a tea-cup poodo”. Many laughs at her cute innocence were had over the years.
She also had a little dog whose name was Blackie. She was once overheard yelling at the dog , “Blackie on three, or your hide is purple”. She was trying to get the dog to go outside to potty. “On three” became a staple with the family also.
Mimmy also “cheezed her freeze” speaking of the free government cheese handed out during President Reagan’s regime.
She would get “tipsy” at family holiday parties on one sip of punch, even if there was no alcohol in it, and would laugh and dance herself silly.
Her make up left something to be desired, as it was a little clownish in nature. Eyebrows were drawn on darkly , giving her a very surprised look, almost freakish in nature. Eyeshadow was in the most garish blues and greens and way too dark. Her cheeks were always too red. At times she wore a goofy looking wig thinking she looked so nice. Still you could see that she was once a pretty young girl if you looked hard enough.
She often smelled of cooking oil as she liked to fry everything and not open her windows or doors. It was tolerable unless she had cooked fish the night before. She liked to spray cheap perfume on over it, the odors being be quite incompatible.
Mimmy was big hearted and generous to a fault. She had a charge account at the local hardware store and bought the family expensive gifts at Christmas from there, though she had little enough money. You would also see her every so often carrying a big bouquet of flowers down the street for Polly. She always told Polly “I love you”. A day would not go by with out Mimmy saying “I love you” to Polly, at least by telephone if not in person. Her sing-song voice would grate on Polly’s nerves as she heard from Mimm for the 7th time that same day.
So today, when the man kept answering Polly’s phone for her, Mimmy set out to see who he was and the nerve of him answering her cousin’s phone. The nerve of Polly for not telling her she had a boyfriend (they were both widows now).
Mimmy stopped to pick some huge purple and white lilacs as they were blooming all over their lane and smelled so good. Polly and she lived on the same street so it did not take her long to get there. She knocked on Polly’s screen door, first stopping to fluff her wig a little bit, then trying to see inside. Polly came to the door and Mimmy said, “Where is that man you are hiding?” “Oh for cripe’s sake Mimm, do you really think I have a man in here? I heard your silly messages, that is the voice that comes on the answering machine.” Polly replied in disgust.
Mimmy just looked at her sweetly and said “are you sure there is no man in here?”, patting her wig again (she did so love the men). “I was worried”. She handed Polly the big bouquet of lilacs, and said with a little lilt in her voice “I looovvve you”……………..
Purple represents first love
White Lilacs represent innocence.