Lorraine, My Mother-in-Law

My Mother-in-law, Lorraine Hemmy, was an absolute saint. She was a wonderful person, a hard-working lady & someone with a huge heart.

After her husband, John, passed away in Jan 2002 (just months after his daughter & my wife, Laurie, did 4 months earlier), I’d actually stay at her place whenever I visited NY.

It was impossible for me to stay at my Mom’s place as my younger sister, Joann, is the epitome of a hoarder. There’s no other way to explain someone who has filled 3 complete bedrooms, every closet, hallways & the dining room with her “stuff”…things she hasn’t used or worn in ages, many new & unopened items, things she wouldn’t fit into if she stood in front of one of those shrinking mirrors.

(We no longer see eye-to-eye on anything…duh…and I’ve disowned her, or whatever it’s called, for stuff she’s done & said that were downright mean, hurtful & absolutely untrue.

My older sister & I are plotting to take everything my Mom owns (when she passes) & not give her anything? Really?

If Lorraine is a Saint, then my older sister Rosemarie is Mary!

I’m still waiting for all the birthday & Christmas gifts Joann promised that she was going to mail to my Heather over the years.)

For every Valentine’s Day, Mothers Day & birthdays, I would send my Mom & Lorraine a dozen yellow roses (yes, a dozen each…they didn’t hafta share!) from Texas. You know, the yellow rose of Texas?

Well, a few years ago, I finally found what what Joann was doing with them after they arrived at my Mom’s house (BTW, she’s been living with my Mom since about ‘92/‘93 after my Dad died & she broke up with her husband.)

Well it seems that my wonderful sister would either immediately throw them away or stick them down in the basement because “they bothered her allergies”.

Supposedly.

Don’t tell me anything. Don’t suggest that I, perhaps, do or send something different.

No. Just get rid of them ASAP.

And, of course, my Mom never said anything so I wouldn’t get mad or be disappointed. Do anything to avoid problems between the kids, right?

(After finding out, I switched to these gigantic gourmet food & fruit baskets that Mom really enjoyed…as verified by third-party reports!)

Anyway, back to Lorraine…

I loved her & John so very much…and NOT because they always agreed with me over their Laurie whenever we had differing opinions about something.

I can still hear “Oh, Laurie, you’re nuts!” when we discussed something in front of them or asked them for their opinion.

Yes, I loved them – – without even considering their full & undying support of me!

> We’d often have Sunday dinners at their home in Staten Island (except for the 3 years we lived in Holbrook, Long Island). Laurie’s sister Linda & her family would usually be there as well.

Like Laurie, Lorraine was an excellent “meat & potatoes” cook. Italian food wasn’t exactly her forte.

But we’d often have the kid-dubbed “Baked Ziti Surprise”!

You could find a stray chicken leg, thigh or wing somewhere in there. Or a random sausage or even a spare rib.

I know, you don’t often expect much resistance when you bite down on baked ziti, but you hadda stay alert!

And then there was the chocolate incident one Easter.

They always had a family dog around the house. Usually, some hairy, happy-go-lucky fella who was always playful & good with kids.

But, somehow, they’d always find a way to torture my poor Mother-in-law!

Well, this one Easter morning, Lorraine made up a bunch of chocolate thingies for the grandkids, probably 10 pounds’ worth, and left them drying on the kitchen counters & table when she went to 10:00 Mass.

Upon arriving home (and we happened to arrive just as she was returning home), we were shocked to see all the chocolate gone. (“Shocked” was a major understatement.)

Upon learning that neither John nor “the boys” (Laurie’s younger twin brothers) were responsible, she realized that the dog had eaten it all!!!

Chocolate is not to be fed to dogs & too much could easily be fatal.

This dog ate enough to kill a whole pack.

All we would hear for the next 20 minutes was her yelling at the dog…”I hope you die, you stupid dog! Bad boy! You ate all the kids’ chocolate!”

Lorraine was also famous for her Thanksgiving Day feasts.

Just like her Laurie, she’d often make every vegetable known to man. That gene was definitely passed down.

And whether the Thanksgiving meal was at her house or over Linda’s (Laurie’s sister), they ALWAYS forgot the rolls in the oven & burned them.

Always.

Including the one year when I suggested that they actually use the timer to help. I was duly informed that was not necessary.

They then burned the damned rolls.

One year (not sure if it was an exception to the charred rule), one of Laurie’s younger twin brothers (John or Joseph) asked for a roll at the other end of the table. God forbid if they simply passed the basket down, I mean, it had the rolls, not the whole turkey, in it.

Instead, Laurie’s sister, Linda, decided to toss one of the rolls across the room. It would up hitting Nanny Irene right in the face! Never in a million years would I have ever imagined Linda doing that…as well as watching Nanny as the missle landed!!!

I’ll be going straight to Hell for laughing (after initially gasping as I saw it all unfolding right before my eyes)!

Lorraine was, indeed, a good soul! She flew down to San Antonio twice, for a week each time, when Laurie was sick. One of those visits was actually when her own husband was recovering from severe injuries he suffered in a terrible fall at home…I never found out about the accident until Laurie had passed as they didn’t want to upset her/us.

She was definitely the matriarch of the family & its rock…and I miss her greatly.

As always, thank you for listening!

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2 Comments

  1. Diane on August 31, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Oh I remember the roll throwing incident -my mom was the one who was throwing it to one of the “boys”. It was even more funny because no one would ever have expected mom to throw anything across the Thanksgiving dinner table! Thanks for the memories, Mike!

  2. Michael LoRusso on August 31, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    You’re right! That made it even more shocking!

    I remember looking at Great-Nanny when the wayward missle landed!!! 🤪

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