Men My Mother Dated

In the spring of 1953, Mom attended, in a period of two weeks, six different screenings of "The Eddie Cantor Story" at the Centre theatre in Oklahoma City, each with a different man.

The first, on a Monday evening, was in the company of Hubert Flanders. Hubert was a dentist who had trouble leaving his work at the office. He insisted on rehashing the various procedures he'd performed that day for Mom's benefit. This first viewing of the movie was her eighth date with Hubert, and her last. She broke it off with him as he walked her home.

The very next day, Mickey Calvenetti, a co-worker at Garrett Grommett Corp., stopped by Mom's desk. Mickey had been after Mom for a date for some time and was delighted to oblige when Mom suggested that they go out that very evening. He took her to a restaurant owned by his uncle, Vito. After a delightful veal piccatta, he suggested they take in a movie. After all, the Centre was just a few blocks away and he'd heard great things about this new Eddie Cantor biopic.

Come Friday morning, Mom was asked out by Smitty, her milkman. He asked, offhandedly, if she had a big weekend planned and she admitted that she hadn't. Smitty, who'd long admired Mom but feared attempting to bridge the chasm that exists between milkman and client, finally took the plunge. Mom agreed but cringed inwardly when Smitty spoke of his desire to take in "The Eddie Cantor Story." He'd seemed so shy and apprehensive about asking her out, though, that she feared she'd scare him off if she hedged. She had, after all, no desire to spend her Friday night at home alone.

Early Sunday evening, Mom attended a gathering of young singles at St. Luke's Methodist Church. As the gathering broke up, Lloyd Leveridge, a young man Mom had long had her eye on, asked if she wouldn't like to join a group who were going to the movies. Mom's worst fears were confirmed when it turned out the group was going to see "The Eddie Cantor Story." Still, she didn't want to discourage Lloyd's first overture, so she agreed.

On Wednesday, Mom was reminded by her hairdresser, Maxine, that she'd promised weeks before to entertain Maxine's son, Ronnie, who was in the Air Force, on his last night before he was shipped overseas. Ronnie, a big Eddie Cantor fan, wanted to catch "The Eddie Cantor Story" before leaving the States and Mom didn't see how she could say no to a departing soldier.

On Saturday, Mom did her marketing and, like most Saturdays, Phil Hobaica, the apprentice butcher at Shadid's Market, gave her his very best pitch. However, this time, when Phil made his pitch, Mom agreed to an evening at the Centre theatre, for on Wednesday evening, she had noticed that "Invaders from Mars" was to begin a week-long run the very next night and Mom was a nut for science fiction.

You can imagine her dismay when she learned that, in fact, "The Eddie Cantor Story" had been held over. She saw precious little of the film on this sixth viewing, however, as she spent most of the two hours fending off Phil's advances.

According to my father, Mom occasionally, even all these years later, recites lines from "The Eddie Cantor Story" in her sleep.

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