Lessons from My Mother by (2 Stories)

Prompted By How We Met

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Lessons from My Mother


My mother told me, Stay with your own kind.

We Jews think alike; we’re all of one mind.

But those limitations I could not abide.

I had my own values; I had my pride.


So among the many choices of Jews in town,

a Catholic and Protestant is what I found

to be my best friends forever and ever.

They were smart, loyal, extremely clever.


The girls were not snobs and put on no airs

unlike Jewish princesses with teased hair.

They cared not for status in the right crowd.

Though Mother pressured me I would not be cowed.


Birds of a feather flock together, she’d state.

Without Jewish friends you don’t have the bait

to find a Jewish husband which you must do

and keep our lineage pure and true.


But Mother, I said, I’m only thirteen.

It doesn’t matter now with whom I am seen.

Then she got perfectly serious and blunt:

You’re never too young to be on the hunt.


A doctor, a lawyer, an Indian chief,

as long as he’s Jewish; now don’t give me grief.

But grief was hers with pain and many tears

while I dated Irishmen for twenty years.


You never listen, my mother told me,

Poor and Christian is what you’ll turn out to be.

But when I heard my biological clock tick

I turned to a Jewish service to have a pick.


I found me a man good, kind and true

and together a baby boy we grew

with lineage that goes back to Moses.

Thus my history with Gentile guys closes.


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Characterizations: been there, funny, well written


  1. John Zussman says:

    As a Jewish teen subject to similar family entreaties, this witty poem resonated for me. To my parents’ disappointment, I ignored their advice and married a Catholic girl. Best decision I ever made. Thanks for making me laugh about it.

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    Clever way to express yourself. I understand the points you make. My parents made the same points, but John’s Catholic wife has been my dearest friend since 10th grade, and we speak the same language…music, ethics, love.

    I, also felt a lot of pressure to marry a Jewish man, but the one I married wasn’t so Jewish (his family was so non-observant that he wasn’t even bar mitzvahed), so that point was virtually moot, and hasn’t helped the relationship at all. Glad it all worked out for you.

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