Ilene Segalove's Memories of Mike

Mike Mazurki had an ear I could live inside, a nose I could climb, and a wrinkle on the back of his neck that could hold my entire wardrobe. He was that big. An inflatable big boy who always treated me like I deserved respect. Did I? Why? He didn't know me. I was just some gal Lowell Darling kept bringing to meetings. Someone named Lillian Saddlebury because that's how he heard Ilene Segalove. Smelling of cigars and fancy spray-on man scent, Mike smiled down on me and made me feel good.

I'd never hung out at an ancient hotel ballroom on a weekly basis before. I had been to a few giggly sweet sixteens and a wedding full of purple and yellow people. I couldn't stand them. Lunch at the hotel with Mike and the gang was different. Showing up meant a lot. It meant you hadn't meant you spent an hour every Wednesday that probably lit up an otherwise uneventful six meant you'd get honored, just for being. Lunch at the hotel was a great get together of people who shared an almost forgotten past and were actively engaged in creating a semblence of the present. As long as you made it to just one lunch, you were in...part of the saga, the brotherhood. You counted.

Being with Mike gave me some kind of deep validation. A true feeling of identity my family couldn't give. A feeling of worth my Phi Beta Kappa didn't know. A feeling of value, acceptance, and history. I was an honorary member of the club of people that knew and loved Mike.

But most of all, Mike gave me respect. I sit here now trying to sense what that really means. And where it lives inside of me. I have to say my heart still holds the glow he radiated as he hugged me and announced "Lillian Saddlebury" at lunch. Mike simply embodied an old fashioned kind of caring that this minute reminds me of the way I used to feel when served a thick chocolate milk shake at the corner soda fountain. The silver metal cannister would lovingly pour the glowing icey mixture into your shapely glass and then the soda jerk would drop a straw right in the middle and it would slowly sink and then lean in into the side of the glass and I'd take my first perfect sip. Mmmmmmm...The trueness of it, the nostalgia...that's Mike. A big chocolate milkshake in the shape of a slightly dented, gigantic human.

Back to MazurkiReturn home

Copyright © 1995 Ilene Segalove