Saturday, March 13, 2010

The case of the bootleg bus pass.

My grandma Ida moved to Tucson, Arizona just after we moved out to Utah.  Partially to be closer to her only child (my mom) and grandchildren, but also to get out of the cold New York winters.  She lived down there in the same apartment complex as her last husband’s IDA4sister (Sadie) and Sadie’s sister-in-law, Adele.
In fine Jewish tradition, she married her late sister’s widower, my “Uncle Sid”, many years after divorcing my grandfather.
I was somewhere in my early 20’s when my older brother and I went on a road trip to southern California, via Tucson.  Yes, it’s quite a bit out of the way, but we decided it would be nice to visit her while we were out and about.  Other than blasting “Hotel California” as we crossed the border between Arizona and California, my most vivid memory of that trip was an argument between the three elderly ladies over a $5 bill and a bus pass.
While we were visiting with them, my grandmother asked Sadie if she would pick up a bus pass for her, since she was going down to get herself one then next day anyway.  Sadie said of course and my grandmother took a $5 bill out of her purse and handed it to Sadie.  As Sadie was tucking the bill into her own purse, Adele chimes in and tells her to pin the $5 bill to the inside of the purse so that she would know which one was Ida’s.  I’m taking a little poetic license here, because I don’t remember the exact conversation after all these years, but it went something like this:
Adele:  Make sure you pin the bill to the inside of your purse.
Ida: Why?
Adele:  So she can make sure she buys the bus pass with your $5.
Ida:  What does it matter?
Adele: If she doesn’t use your $5, then it won’t be your bus pass.
Ida: It doesn’t matter what $5 she uses, I gave her $5, she gives me my bus pass.
Adele:  But if she doesn’t use your $5 it won’t be your bus pass.  It will be her bus pass, and then she’ll have two.
Ida:  It doesn’t matter what $5 she uses, it will still be my bus pass.
This went on for, I kid you not, 15 minutes before Sadie finally gave in and said “Here, look, I’m pinning it to the inside of my purse.”
We left the next day, so I’ll never know if Sadie really used Ida’s $5 bill, or if Ida spent the next month riding around on the bus with Sadie’s second bus pass.

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