[PW] Short story: woman talking to deceased husband

Steena Chamberlain cheeryadvice at gmail.com
Mon Oct 17 20:51:43 PDT 2016


Wow! Thank you so, so much. I am so delighted that I have tears in my eyes
right now. I read this as a kid, and the poignancy stuck with me through
the decades. I'm hitting the library tomorrow. You've given me a lovely
gift; thank you!

On Sun, Oct 16, 2016 at 7:43 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:

> Below is an excerpt from Erma Bombeck's chapter titled "Rose" that
> seems to fit the end of the story you described.
>
> Year: 1984 (Copyright 1983)
> Book Title: Motherhood, the Second Oldest Profession
> Author: Erma Bombeck
> Publisher: Dell, New York
> Chapter 37: Rose
> Start Page 151, Quote Page 156
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Out of the corner of her eye. Rose noticed another resident of the
> home who had dropped by. "Wait a minute, Seymour, there's someone
> here."
>
> Her visitor said, "You're talking to Seymour? My husband died two
> years ago and talks about a Seymour all the time. Does he play golf?
> What's his handicap?"
> [End excerpt]
>
> I looked in Bombeck's "Motherhood" based on the comment by Todd Mason
> who cited Fred Helenius.
>
> Garson
>
>
> On Sun, Oct 16, 2016 at 2:15 AM, Steena Chamberlain
> <cheeryadvice at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I am looking for the title of a fiction short story that I read in a used
> > book many years ago -- perhaps around 1984-1988. I think the stories in
> the
> > book were written by the same author, though I'm not sure. I don't
> remember
> > the author's name. I erroneously believed the story was in Erma Bombeck's
> > book, "If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?",
> which
> > I read on the same trip. Maybe the actual book was also in the humor
> genera.
> >
> > In the story, an aging woman casually discusses the common, day-to-day
> > events of her life with her husband, who has died years ago, and who she
> > misses deeply. She converses with him constantly, acting as if he can
> hear
> > her from heaven. She says things like, "Well, Ed, today I went to the
> store
> > to buy bread, and while I was there ..." (The former sentence is a
> made-up
> > example of how she talks, and I'm sure his name isn't really Ed.) The
> > entire story is just her ongoing monologue, written almost like diary
> > entries, with different dates listed. One of the few details I remember
> is
> > that the woman references her husband's deep love for golf. At another
> one
> > point, she begins the day's narrative by with the tongue-in-cheek remark,
> > "Ed, if you can hear me, give me a sign ... like lowering the heat to 95
> > degrees." Then she goes on to talk about the sweltering environment in
> the
> > place where she has newly moved. She has hardships as she ages, but the
> > story has a sweet and gentle poignancy. At the end of the story, she is
> > finally placed in a nursing home. On her first day, she continues to talk
> > to Ed quietly, sad but accepting. Then the short story switches from
> first
> > person to third person, as one of the other elderly residents approaches
> > her and asks who she was talking to. The woman awkwardly admits that she
> > was talking to her husband Ed. The second woman brightens and says
> > enthusiastically, "Did you say 'Ed'? Oh! My George died a few years ago,
> > and he talks about an Ed all the time! Does he play golf? What is his
> > handicap?" (I'm pretty sure that these were the exact or almost exact
> words
> > of the last two sentences.) It was a very sweet surprise ending.
> >
> > Does anyone know the title of this short story?
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