Confucius Say: “Take Advice with Take-Out” © 2009

By Dee-Dee Diamond

Wearily that fall night, I pulled into the unfamiliar strip mall. I placed my order to go, and then plopped down next to another waiting patron. She was about sixty and her eyes were struggling to stay open.

The older woman sighed heavily and turned to me. “I’m so tired, “She complained. I was a total stranger, yet she looked in my face for sympathy.

“Why are you so tired”, I politely inquired.

“All my life I never slept in an empty bed. When I was a kid, (on The Lower Eastside), I slept between 2 fat sisters, in one bed. I needed their “OK” to even pull the string to turn out the light bulb above my head.

Then I was married, to 2 husbands, one right after the other so my bed was constantly a shared one.

Now I’m a widow for 6 months alone, in my cold bed so I can’t sleep”.

“WOW” … what a load of crap she shot my way, delivered in her husky New Yawk accent.

Boldly, I faced her directly and returned “I was married for 16 years, my husband took off, and I sleep alone, (these days) BUT guess what… it ain’t so bad!”

After I saw her amused change of expression, I advised her “Put an electric blanket under your bed sheet, turn it to warm, prior to crawling under the blanket. You’ll think a body’s in there, too. Then sleep like a baby…like I do!” We howled at my suggestion like schoolgirls in cahoots.

Now the talkative matron confessed, “I really hated my late husband, Irving! I tried to keep a straight face as she went on… “An electric blanket would be a warming pleasure after him…the S.O.B.!” Thanks kid! By the way what’s your name?” She asked in her Mae West/Sophie Tucker, (I couldn’t decide which) voice, adding,” by the way I’m Jenny Ross

“Dearie,” she then whispered confidently in my ear, “Buy insurance…buy insurance”, She repeated, “Pay for it even if you must cut back on eating!”

I flinched at this spontaneous odd directive which came from this bizarre encounter. Why did she share with me such unsolicited advice at The Chung Lee Take-out?

“Dee-Dee” I said as the pink- silver blonde took both my hands in hers.

What was her motive? Did she sell insurance or what? Was this take-out joint her moveable office? I wondered…

As Jenny Ross spoke, in her animated way, punctuated by her hand gestures, I couldn’t help but hear her and see her wrists full of dangling jeweled bracelets. Her significant square emerald earrings stood out, against her neon light hair, strategically styled behind her teacup- handle shaped ears. The camel wool suit trimmed with over-sized fox lapels hugged her soffit torso in a tailored to order fit. A beige snakeskin pocketbook with matching shoes, yelled “I got bucks and I deserve to flaunt it!” She certainly did not look like she needed to hustle me, as I appraised the figure she cut.

“Let me tell you my story, Ms. Dee-Dee so you’ll get it…being a young woman now on your own.”

“I, Jenny Stone, and Irving Ross were lovers for 9 years. We met while I was working nights as a silverware saleslady. I had to work to supplement my husband, Bob’s meager salary and… his stinginess. The sales group of married women, (which I was a member), sold door- to- door, in Brooklyn. Our customers were poor stay- at -home housewives. They paid for their silver sets on the installment plan. I spun rainbow dreams of serving grandiose dinners with their one- by -one purchases of silver servingpieces. They needed some warmth, excitement, company and someone to listen with heart, so that they looked forward to my weekly visits. Each shining fork, spoon and knife was associated with our sweet time spent together. As things turned out, she acknowledged, if my customers were able to hold onto their silver, today it would be worth much more than they paid.

Irving Ross was a shrewd accountant that did the books for Grossmann’s Silverwares Inc., as with a few other firms. He was a wealthy professional.

The older married, almost handsome, Irving was smitten with attractive young salesgirl…me. I had no way of knowing that he was a serial womanizer, and I was his freshest prey”, she explained, still making excuses for her behavior, while shaking her head in disgust.

“I had married my husband Bob at 20 and was naïve when it came to men. I was taken in with what I thought was innocent flattery and flirtation. When I had to work late to tally up my teams’ receipts, he and I, would go for a drink…, and soon it became dinner… then a Motel. He bought me, his girlfriend, lavish jewelry. One terrifying night Bob finally noticed all my jewelry, I lied and said they were costume. Bob believed me.

Somewhere in our eight years together Irving, started insisting that we divorce our spouses and then marry, each other. He wouldn’t let up!

So, he is being so adamant of his passionate enduring love… and me so tired of being poor, I let Irving bully me into acquiescence.

It was painful for both our families who were shocked, disappointed and almost destroyed by our betrayal. Once we admitted to our infidelity, I had to go thru with the plan. Bob, my husband cried at first, then became ruthless calling me every bad name you can call a woman.

“I was led like a lamb to slaughter” into “the Devil Irving Ross Hell”!

Soon after we married, Irving stopped making love to me and turned his back to me in bed. It was about that same time, the arguments started and rapidly exploded. The fights were mostly about my spending habits or my 2 sons which he resented, now. These were the same boys he had sworn, before, he adored as his own. The only time we had sex would be after a blow-out fight which aroused the animal in Irving. I grew to hate the “real” Irving. If I threatened to leave him, he threatened that I’d be end up on welfare with my “damn” sons. Dee-Dee, honey, I was a child of the Depression, and this was my nightmare. My siblings had dropped me after what sorrow Irving, and I had selfishly caused. So, I was stuck in a terrible place and miserable with nowhere to go. I had made my bed, and now I had to lie in it!

One afternoon the doorbell rang. A younger woman confronts me loudly sobbing with,” Irving and I are lovers. I’m a widow and we’ve been seeing each other. He doesn’t love you… let him go”

I slammed the door in the woman’s face while I almost fainted. Then I invited the upset woman in… to tell me “All about it”. Would you believe I felt sorry for the little widow? After all she, too, was prey for that beast, Irving.

When the fuck, came home from work that night, I laced it into him but good. “How could you do this after all the trouble we caused for OUR LOVE? We splintered 2 families only for you to do this. A poor little widow you hit on. You lowlife!”

I was ready to escape. Fortunately, by this time, both my sons had their schooling financed. While I was miserable, I had stolen and saved unbeknownst to my dear Irving. Now I would divorce him… immediately. I had only myself to support these days.

But Irving wouldn’t hear of it. He cried like an ugly baby. He’d do anything I wanted if I wouldn’t divorce him.

To demonstrate his belief in our future, he bought me a lovely house in Woodmere, in the posh Five Towns. Irving also bought us “his”, and “hers” Cadillacs; A black car for him, and a white spectacular one for me. While he was still afraid of my threat of divorce, I had him buy mortgage insurance on the house. I demanded he gets the same type of insurance on the new autos.

As a couple we lived in our new house and drove the new cars for about a year, when Irving was up to his old tricks once again!

He was carrying-on with some other woman and fighting brutally with me.

My beautiful boys, who I loved more than life itself, were unwelcome in “Irving’s” home. He could do what he pleased, but I could not! Thank Goodness I was tougher now and fought back with venom equally.

After one particularly terrible screaming battle, Irving landed in the hospital with a heart attack and… died. Not a tear was shed from anyone for the whore- master, Irving Ross. Oh, Happy Day!

I, Jenny Stone Ross and my boys rejoiced! We would stamp on the floor of the house, in the direction of HELL to Irving and I would holler on- top- of- my- lungs, “The boys and I want to “Thank You for dropping dead and to let you how much we love the house and the cars”!

My sweet revenge and a comfortable way of life, I swear I owe it all to insurance. A house free, and clear, and 2 beautiful Cadillacs. Insurance, my dear young friend is a girl’s best friend!

Finally, when her take-out dinners, (for her and her “boys”), were ready, Jenny Ross grandiosely departed out to her Cadillac, blowing me a kiss and left me with some sound advice.

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Dee-Dee Diamond

Dee-Dee Diamond

Born & raised in Brooklyn, 80 years, ago. Interviewed by The Brooklyn Historical Society. I published a funny book called” First Stop Brooklyn” it's on Amazon.