Repaying Mom with interest

Yetta Alderberg, the writer’s mom.

Yetta Alderberg, the writer’s mom. (Credit: Handout)

We were newlywed expatriates from New York living in Michigan when my husband accepted a teaching job on Long Island so we could be closer to family in Brooklyn.

We bought a new house in Old Bethpage in 1956, and I asked Mom if we could live with her and Dad during the three months it took for the house to be built. I insisted on paying her $25 a week for food and, at first, she refused, but then relented.

On the day we were moving into our new home, Mom kissed us goodbye and handed me an envelope. Inside was $300. She had agreed to accept the money for food and saved it to present to us when we left!

Many years later, when Mom was in her 80s, she called with the very sad news that Dad had lost their life savings in the stock market, and they were destitute. We took Mom and Dad into our home, and I was able to repay Mom's generous gift of long ago.

--Joan Nemarich, Old Bethpage

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