Title: “Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg!”
Author: Marguerite Beck-Rex
Word Count: 395
Summary: Appearances may be deceiving, but the story is even better than you think.
Molly was one of the first to catch my eye as someone I wanted to get to know when I moved into my 460-unit upper Connecticut Ave. coop building. She looked like an older white-haired version of dark-haired Molly Goldberg, my favorite main housewife character in a 1930s radio (and then television) program about neighbors in a Bronx apartment building who leaned out windows to call to each other to exchange gossip. “Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg!”
I imagined still more. This new-to-me Molly would probably have grown up in New York City, like me, and would be further left than me, probably a socialist, and certainly on the side of working people.
Ours is an unusually friendly building, and it wasn’t hard to invite Molly for morning coffee so that we could get to know each other. We settled on tea in her apartment. Molly and her husband were new to the community as well.
Molly told me that she was a retired academic–an urban anthropologist–and had never lived in New York, much less in the Bronx. But she certainly knew the radio program I’d thought of when I first met her. Because of her first name, as she grew up she was teased by other kids shouting at her. “Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg!” I wasn’t the first to have that idea.
In her retirement, Molly is a playwright, specializing in one-character or two-character short dramatic works. Currently, Molly is confirming my initial notion about her political leanings, by writing a one-woman monologue on the life of Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, the first woman appointed to a Presidential cabinet position.
Molly also quickly became the bossy, almost irascible chairperson of our building’s volunteer network. I, and apparently others, on one occasion walked out of a meeting Molly was chairing. That one night Molly was fully irascible, and more politic people than I found ways to ease a transition to a new chair of the volunteer network.
Molly and I since returned to being friendly in a wry sort of way. I love running into her, and am happy to see her moving about since we’re both of an age at which health and mobility sometimes are issues. Our favorite exchange of greetings is: “How’s your creative life these days?” “Well, how’s your creative life?”
“Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg!”
Author Marguerite Beck-Rex is a writer and artist living in NW DC. You can see her blog here: Ink Paint Words