(1873-1938 is not too well known today. In the early years of the 20th century he and his colleague were popular and influential instructors at the Art Students’ League in New York City. Norman Rockwell was one of Fogarty’s pupils. Thomas Fogarty was competent in several media but especially noted for his pen and ink work, particularly his illustrations for ‘Sailing Alone Around the World’ by .
I extend my deepest gratitude to Paul Giambarba for introducing us to Thomas Fogarty.
Copyright © 2015 by Joseph P. Badame
All rights reserved.
“Washing the Dishes”
By Joseph P. Badame,
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Please help our returning soldiers in need.
They and their families helped us.
Now, we need to help them.
Phyliss and Joseph Badame
Oh so long ago
WASHING THE DISHES
Timelessly, the glory of nature was once again coming alive. It was the spring of 1976. A few years earlier we had installed ourselves in our newly built “Factory for Living.”
We were both working full-time, Phyliss at St. Joseph’s School close to home and I at an architectural office in Princeton.
It had been an exhausting week for both of us preparing for a party on Sunday for more than forty family members and friends while executing our job commitments. It was a work of love every year for Phyliss to do this for her mother and a work of love for me to do it for both of them.
The birthday party was one of a dozen festive occasions of the year. For the prior eighty-eight years, the glory of this season had ushered in Mrs. Crudo’s birthday every March 14th. This special day was her opportunity to be surrounded by her entire family. It was her day. Actually, Phyliss made every day her mother’s day. She was a most devoted daughter. She was most devoted of daughters.
Sunday arrived and an exhausting week blended into an even more exhausting day. Mountains of homemade delights made from scratch, were everywhere. Quite possibly, making the huge Italian rum cake the day before used all of our remaining energy. Phyliss baked the cake and made the filling; we assembled it; and I decorated it. We were a team of two – she was the master chef; I was the artist – two captains on the same ship with the same destination.
As usual, the cake for 40 could have fed 100. That’s the way it was with everything we prepared. God forbid, someone wanted an extra helping and there was none. Such a happening was a mortal sin that had no forgiveness. Even the priest could not pardon this transgression.
Everyone attended. The festivities filled the day. The party went well. Everyone had an extraordinary time, especially Mrs. Crudo. That’s what this week had been all about for Phyliss. That’s what her life had been all about.
Stomachs grumbling from the abuse, the men plopped themselves in the television room after a hard day of work at the dinner table. The women and I retired to the kitchen. They tirelessly cleared the tables, dealt with the aftermath, and parceled the massive quantities of leftovers into neat, foil-wrapped packages for the guests to take home.
I fought my way to the sink, planted my flag, and declared that I would wash the dishes as they emptied them. Phyliss reluctantly acquiesced.
It was a shame that my skill did not equal the level of my assertiveness. I hadn’t a clue about what I was doing. One summer during high school washing dishes in the basement of the Horn and Hardart Cafeteria in Philadelphia had apparently taught me absolutely nothing about the craft of washing dishes of which I was about to embark.
With authority and mastery, I filled one sink bowl with water and detergent and “dumped” everything I could fit into the soapy mix – the dishes, cups, saucers, flatware, glasses and small pots, everything – completely bypassing the obviously useless and time-consuming steps of pre-rinsing and separating.
Phyliss, always alert and vigilant, noticed the impending disaster I was causing and ventured over to offer kind advice. In a moment of testosterone surge, I insisted that I knew what I was doing. “How difficult could washing dishes be?” After all, I washed dishes all my life (for two people). And, then there were my “professional” cafeteria skills I had acquired. Not wanting to harm the ego of the man she loved, she quietly retreated to her former station, leaving me alone to flail in my ineptitude.
I proudly finished my task. Yes, the sink and everything around it was a disaster; the dishes were still greasy; and the glasses were streaked, spotted and oily – the pots, don’t ask. It was a monumental mess of my own creation. The look on my face must have betrayed my quandary. It pleaded, “How do I get out of here?”
Seeing my dilemma, Phyliss smiled and adroitly suggested that I help the guests to their cars with the goodies that the ladies had prepared. She ushered me out of the kitchen to the front door in the foyer. I gladly followed dragging what was left of my pride, with my tail between my legs with the look of a puppy that had just peed on the carpet.
I eagerly carried out my new assignment with the bravado of Don Quixote, packing bags, helping sort the piles of coats on the beds, looking for keys, lighting the way for the guests, sometimes moving cars that had been carelessly parked, and holding doors open for the damsels. It took almost an hour to complete the task. But, complete it I did.
I forgot to mention the most important task assigned in confidence by Mrs. Crudo, that of dispensing a gallon of homemade wine to the “privileged” few and discretely wrapping it in a plain brown bag, as if nobody knew what was in the bag. Secrecy was paramount in distributing the “treasure of the grapes.”
With this conquest behind me and the dish washing disaster a forgotten memory, the full measure of my manhood had been restored.
After I escorted the last of the guests, I returned to the kitchen. Phyliss had a “devilish,” yet loving look on her face. The loving look was perpetual, the devilish look, not so much. It was apparent that the dishes were all put away and the kitchen was back in order. She was holding a dish towel in her hand. She hugged me and gave me a kiss. She whispered in my ear, “I still love you.” “That was odd,” I thought. We completed the last of the chores and retired yielding to the call of lassitude. Mission accomplished for this year. A little puzzled, sleep still came easily.
Several weeks later, I visited my mom. While there, she told me at the party, in my absence, Phyliss had stealthily rewashed the all the dishes and glasses, correctly this time. My mom dried them, and put them back into the cabinets before I returned. She had been a willing accomplice to the clandestine deed, but proved to be a less than loyal confidant.
Phyliss and I never discussed the “disaster of the dishes” for the next thirty-seven years. She never told me, and I never asked – sort of our own version of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
After her mom’s birthday party that year, at every other gathering and festivity, we always washed the dishes together, her way. When we were done, she always hugged me, smiled and said, “I still love you.” with that same knowing and devilish look. Did she know I knew? How could I not love her?
For all those years, I am certain many wondered what the two of us were doing cavorting at the kitchen sink. Everyone knows that washing dishes is a tedious and mundane task avoided by just about every human being. I am sure it didn’t exactly look like we were washing dishes. In fact, they were right. We were not.
We were having a love affair.
Don’t miss the wonderful opportunities that come every day to have “secret love affairs” with your beloved – nothing complicated or earth-shattering, just sublime, touching, and unforgettable moments for just the two of you. We were blessed to have experienced hundreds and hundreds, quite possibly thousands.
When it seemed that she could give me no more love, it just doubled and tripled with no reduction of love for the multitude who were already the fortunate recipients of her gifts. For Phyliss, love and compassion were not zero sum emotions. Love for one did not diminish love for the others.
What I did learn so many times was the devotion and love my dear wife had for me was boundless.
There was no argument, no rivalry, just quiet devotion, adoration, understanding, sometimes subtle redirection of her misguided knight, and remarkable selflessness and love for her “Man of La Mancha.”
I would eventually have to lament the loss of our little secret tradition of “washing the dishes” when she no longer could. Now, I must wash the dishes at that same sink every day, alone with just the memories, oh, so fond memories.
Her wisdom, love, and understanding were limitless. How fortunate I was.
I didn’t have to dream the impossible dream.
Through the blessings bestowed upon me by Phyliss, I lived it every day.
Thank you for your interest in my books. This is a full list of the e-Book Library authored by Joseph Badame. My goal has been, and continues to be, to present enjoyable yet serious reading among the literary static of today while highlighting important life lessons originating from the courage and wisdom of my late wife, Phyliss.
“My Teacher, My Bride” is a full book that may be a reading challenge in today’s frenzied life. It is a long read in today’s world of “sound bites” and instant gratification. It is a true story of two inseparable lovers, full of humor, life lessons, and unfortunately some sadness. But above all, it is a cornucopia of insights into the fortitude, acumen, and wisdom of a most unusually accomplished and compassionate woman of character.
A most worthwhile book is “Life’s Little Book for a Happy Marriage.” After 57 wonderful years with Phyliss, I managed to glean a great deal of wisdom from her and have included much of what I learned in this volume. Any married couple or individuals contemplating marriage will find it valuable to enhance their relationship.
The other works are short stories that are expansions of concepts in the main book. Several stories are on other subjects relevant to today’s world and some are guides to caring for a disabled loved one and observations about diabetes and claustrophobia.
There are three books written under my pen name “Apollos Rivoire” (Paul Revere). These books are fiction base on historic events and some political commentary.
All the works are free and available at . The hyperlinks listed below the titles will lead you directly to each book. They are also available at all the major retailers and formatted for various e-book reading devices such as Amazon’s, “Kindle;” Barnes and Noble’s, “Nook;” Apple’s “I-phone” and “I-pad;” as well as laptops, and personal computers. Some retailers such as Amazon may charge a minimum fee for a download. The e-books can be given a “library” status on “Smashwords” for more permanent storage. When book are revised, the old edition and the new addition are available to those who downloaded the earlier version.
If you ever considered authoring or publishing a work yourself, please investigate the services offered by “Smashwords.” They are great people providing great services for free including publication and tracking. Today, there is no reason why anyone wanting to publish their literary work cannot. In most cases once you have your properly formatted manuscript in “Microsoft Word,” a title page in” jpg” format, and a short and long description of your masterpiece, publication is usually less than an hour away – sometimes minutes away – globally! Literally, (no pun intended) “What are you waiting for!” Why merely read, when you can read and write. Consult my short story, “My One Grand Regret” for a little inspiration. If I cannot inspire you, give Walt Whitman a try. If he can’t inspire you, stick to reading. It’s OK. That’s just fine.
Joseph P. Badame
“My Teacher, My Bride
(I Married My Teacher)
“Hugs and Kisses”
“The Last Day of School”
“Our First Kiss-Last Kiss”
“My One Grand Regret”
“Our Marriage in Saint Peter’s Basilica”
“The Cookie and Dandelions”
Our Moment, Falling in Love Again”
“Life’s Little Book for Happy Marriage”
“Daddy, Mommy! Are you awake, yet?”
“Diabetes: The Orgy of Sweets”
“No Thanks!, Judy’s Story”
“I Give Up – You Win”
“Intimacy & Disability”
“The Death of the Love of My Love”
“Our Peace Corps Adventure in Tunisia”
“The Magic of a Master Teacher”
What do vacations to exotic places, beautiful and sumptuous surroundings, exciting venues, exhilarating activities, new and interesting people, appointments meant for royalty, and washing the dishes all have in common? Obviously, they are all prerequisites for an invigorating and enviable marriage experience. But, wait a minute. Washing the dishes? What if someone told you that none of the mentioned items is a perquisite for a wonderful marriage, except washing the dishes? You would tell them that they lost their minds. Ten minutes from now you might change your mind instead of losing it. Look for yourself.