Mr. Wow Blog
Mr. Wow’s Belated Father’s Day
8:35 pm | June 27, 2012

Author: Mr. Wow | Category: Point of View | Comments: 91

Mr. Wow Ponders a Belated Father’s Day.


Every Baby Needs a Da-Da-Daddy.  Maybe.



As usual, I must apologize for the long hiatus. Still struggling.  Losing weight, losing strength.  Upped the meds but feel I’m falling. Still “working” for the old boss. (And quite well, too.) Paralyzed. Unable to motivate myself further. 


But I hate to do a weekly, “I am so depressed” post.  I know so many of you by now.  And many have far graver problems than Mr. W.  Better to be mercifully silent. I think so, anyway.


So, I’ll talk today about an event that has passed—Father’s Day. (Mr. W. is like a sloth.  You stick a pin in, and ten days later it says “ouch!”)


For many years, I had no feelings about never having known my father.  My mother told me he’d dropped dead of walking pneumonia and while that was sad for her, it affected me very little.  I wasn’t looking for father figures, really.  And I didn’t miss what I never had.  But a few years back, I began to wonder how my life might have been different had I known my father, or, more to the point, had he chosen to know me? 


Here’s the story.  My mother had worked since the age of 16, dropping out of school.  She had to.  For a while she supported some of her younger siblings. (All had been abandoned by their crazy parents.)  In time, she worked as an usherette at the old Paramount Theater and in various capacities in the Biltmore and Waldorf Hotels.  Ah, what delicious tales she had of movie stars and other eccentrics.  She was a great storyteller and I begged her to write her adventures.  But, she preferred to write rather morbid poetry.  By the time she was 26, she was working as a nurse’s aide at a New York hospital, Misericordia. Roughly translated, it means Record of Misery. Or giving the death wound to the fallen.  Not the cheeriest!  I was born there, which explains a lot. 


My mom was not totally inexperienced, but pretty close to it.  She didn’t care much for sex, though she was prone to crushes on good-looking men. (I think she hoped they’d all be impotent.)  One of them was a pretty, gay guy.  I still remember his name. Bob Sundell.  My mom was just crazy for him.  Her friends tried to warn her, but she was undeterred.  Finally, her feelings were so obvious, Bob took her out to a bar—“that” kind of bar.  And he made himself quite flamboyant and clearly interested in men.  My mom was crushed, but they remained friends.  She liked gay people.  It was only when her only son turned out to be “that way” that she re-thought her liberalism.


So this is where it stood when my mother met my dad.  He was a handsome strapping fellow. Older than my mom, in his forties to her 26.  He tended bar and sang Irish songs.  Apparently he was inordinately  charming. (From him I inherited my thinning hair, the prick. But, I, too, can be inordinately charming. So, thanks. You prick.) 

    My mother and her friends would frequent the place.  He was attentive.  She was flattered.  One night she stayed late.  He was unusually attentive and plied her with Brandy Alexanders. (She didn’t care for “liquory” liquor.)  One thing led to another, and your Mr. Wow was conceived in the plush banquette of a bar. What a surprise that I developed such a fondness for drink! 

   She said she would later refer to me as “My little Brandy Alexander.”  


My mom continued to visit the warbling Irishman, but there were no further intimacies.  She really wasn’t interested in screwing in a bar.  A few weeks later, however, she noted some disturbances and changes.  She went to her doctor.  She was pregnant.  When she told my father, she really had no idea what to expect, but the conversation was as old as time.  “I’m expecting a baby.”   “Yeah, so whose is it?”  He then dropped a bit of surprising news.  He was long married with several nearly adult children.  He wasn’t getting a divorce and didn’t need any more children.  He suggested she get an abortion, though he did not offer to pay for it.  My mother’s (Italian Catholic) family was also pushing for abortion.  She was not keen on the idea.  She told my dad it certainly was his child, and though she didn’t want to make trouble, she intended to keep it and he had some responsibility—especially as she had had no idea of his marital status.  “Just try to take me to court,” he said. 

    Ah, but my mother, whose life had been hard, wasn’t easily deterred.  She did take him to court.  As she put it to me:  “By the time we were got there, I was very obviously pregnant.  This was 1953.  I was beyond humiliated.  His wife was there!  She looked at me like I was dirt.  But what could I do?  I couldn’t support a child on my salary.  I needed something.”   Well, my mother must have been persuasive.  He was obliged to pay her a monthly contribution.  It was a pittance, but it was something.  She never saw him again. 


In the meantime, my mother’s family was determined to find her a husband.  She could not give birth as single woman.  The baby could not have her maiden name.  And so, they found her a guy.  He seemed nice enough.  The family knew him as did my mother, slightly.   They married.  My mom didn’t love him, but she was married, grateful for the name and determined to be a proper wife.  (He would not, however risk any chance of paternity.  I had his name, but my birth certificate said “Father Unknown.”)

   Soon enough, things changed. He drank.  He stayed out all night. He wanted sex, though my mother was just about to pop.  One day, the bell rang.  My mother found a blowzy, badly bleached woman on her front steps, somewhat tipsy.  “Ya see this tooth,” she brayed, opening her mouth and proudly displaying a big gap.  “He knocked this tooth out.  He’s mine and I ain’t givin’ him up for the likes of you, you tramp.”  My mother, who’d had enough, said she was welcome to him, and could probably have him by late afternoon, if he came home.  He did.  Drunk.  My mother told him of her charming visitor and demanded he get out.  This guy wasn’t in the mood to be back-talked by any woman he’d done the favor of marrying because she was knocked up.  He raised his hand.  My mother said, “I just want to tell you this.  If you hit me, you better make sure I never get up off the floor.  Because if I do, I’ll kill you.”  (My mother had almost drowned a nun who was abusing one of her sisters.  She didn’t kid around.)

   He didn’t touch her.  He packed his bags and left. My mother was alone, as she really preferred to be, anyway.   I was born.  She loved me very much, but was violently high-strung.  She found it difficult to deal with a child, as much as she wanted me.  Her nightmarish growing up had left her scarred in many ways.  One of my very first memories is sitting in a highchair, refusing to eat spaghetti.  She was shrieking. I recall how her face was as red as the sauce.  The more she screamed the more frightened and resistant I was to eat. For years I was skinny and a notoriously picky eater.

    We were separated often, as she escaped into hospitals and finally admitted herself to Manhattan State Hospital after another suicide attempt. (This is when I spent time at St. Joseph’s orphanage up in Peekskill NY)

   Interestingly, while in Manhattan State, my mom met a very nice (wildly neurotic) guy with whom I think she was deeply in love.  But she was afraid their mutual issues would eventually destroy them. (And he was highly sexed, too.  Never a plus in my mom’s eye.)   I met him a few times. He was nice. Handsome.  I thought he might make an acceptable dad.  It didn’t happen.  In the end, he committed suicide. As I learned a long time later.


So for years I was daddy-less.  There were occasional father-substitutes (a good friend I called uncle.  A real uncle, who took me into his home only after his wife—my mother’s sister, Margot—broke down after visiting me up at Peekskill. Apparently, she threatened to throw herself out of the car if he didn’t agree to “take me away from that awful place.”   That was a good period.  I had a father, mother (my wonderful, glamorous aunt Margot who adored me. And my brilliant cousin Stephen, who was like a brother.)   I was pretty happy.  Very happy. My mother would appear periodically, always in a tumult. I associated her with stress.  She was always high-strung, prickly, insecure. (The family didn’t make her feel welcome, a good deal of the time.)  I kind of hoped she’d just go away.  I hardly knew her. 

    We lived in Valley Stream.  It was two-family house.  One of my aunts, Jeannie, her husband and two other cousins—Eric and Neil– lived upstairs.  It was often fraught, because all the sisters were nuts, one way or another. But it was the first real “family” life I’d ever experienced.  (Though I had lived with my aunt Margot for a slightly briefer time, a few years previously, during one of my mother’s disappearances into madness.)

   One day, I came home from school—where I was doing fairly well.  I could tell something was wrong, instantly.  My aunt Margot said, “Young Wow, wonderful news, your mother has found an apartment in Hollis, Queens and you are going to go live with her very soon.”  I burst into tears and became completely hysterical on the spot.  My aunt—my mother’s sister!—said, “You don’t have to go.  I’ll fight for you.  You don’t have to go!”  I saw my uncle, who’d never much cared for this arrangement roll his eyes.  But I knew I had to go. What kind of a boy was I, who didn’t want to live with his mother?  Unnatural!  And I knew what it would do to the family.   I said, “Oh, no.  I’m crying because I am so happy.”

     Did I die then?  I’ve often wondered.


Anyway, most of you know how life in Hollis turned out.  I left at 15.  But here’s the wild P.S.  After several years of failing grades in school, and my obvious interest in rather fey subjects—lady movie stars in particular—my mother really felt the need to find a “male influence” for me. (She knew I was gay.  She was just fighting it.)

     She’d met a man—I forget how, now.  But he seemed nice enough.  Drove a truck around, was unemployed, had two children, one my age, another younger. Boys.  He had bad teeth. My mother, on her limited income, had them fixed.  He talked a good line.  He was charming.  He was looking for work.  He was impotent.  Yup, that’s what he told her.  Music to my mother’s years.  He proposed.  She said yes.  While I wasn’t especially keen on having  a daddy and two brothers, why not?  My mother, who hated dressing up, looked divine as she and this guy headed off for marriage and then a honeymoon in Canada.  She even wore high heels!  (I stayed with my Aunt Margot, who was thrilled my mother “had finally found a man.”)

   We all moved into our tiny two-room Hollis apartment.  Five of us.  He did not get a job.  He did visit grimy friends in Manhattan, taking me and his sons along while he drank and played cards.  Honestly, it was kind of scary. (It was also kind of sexy, in a dangerous way. I was not the typical 13-year-old.)   I did like the older boy, my step-brother.  We bathed together. (I was already tres gay. He didn’t mind either. Though I think he was just curious.)    But how long could we all cram into this place?  It was suffocating.  My mom did her best, and really cared for the boys. But there were bitter recriminations during the day and strange arguments at night.   Finally, it all came to a head, a huge fight ensued and “daddy” packed up his stuff and his kids and headed out to that beat-up truck.

     Oddly, despite all the unpleasantness, I was rather upset. I cried, which surprised me. The kicker was, my mother wanted to keep the boys.  She said, “You are not a fit father.  Just leave them with me.”  (I wasn’t really loving that idea.  It was still a two-room apartment.)  He refused.  Then she said, “Okay leave the younger one” (I can’t recall his name.)   “He’ll have a chance without you.”   Daddy didn’t like that either. It was over.  My mother missed the boys.  I wasn’t sure what I missed.  All her intense attention would once again be focused on me.  Shit.  (I have mused on what happened to those kids.  Nothing good, I imagine. Though I am hardly one to talk!)

   My mother, who had always been extraordinarily candid, then gave me the inside story.  Aside from his obvious indolence and general piggishness, he was not at all impotent. Anything but.  The honeymoon, was for my mother, a nightmare.  “He wanted it constantly.”  And, even with all of us crowded into the apartment, he kept dragging her into the bathroom in the middle of the night for sex. (Those odd nocturnal disagreements I’d heard.)    I felt terribly sorry for my mother, though I couldn’t help think she’d been a fool.  Then she said, “I really wanted you to have a father.”  I shocked her by saying, “Whatever gave you the idea I wanted one?”  Needless to say, this was my mother’s final attempt at male companionship.

   Shortly after all this drama—about five months later– my mother felt compelled to tell me the real story of my father.   She worked herself up into a lather of  “I have to tell you something…something terrible…”   Of course, I thought, “what now?  I’m adopted?”  Or was she dying?  (Her health was rapidly declining.)    Nope, it was the tale of the singing bartender. With the receding hairline. 

     After she was done telling, I burst into tears. (Mr. W. was big for bursting into tears!)   My mother was all, “Oh, my God, do you hate me?”   And I said, “Is that it?  That’s the big reveal?  Mom, this is not 1949 and you are not Ingrid Bergman.  I couldn’t care less.”  I paused and added, “You seem more human to me, and I understand more.”    I don’t think she quite got it, but was relieved I didn’t denounce her on the floor of the U.S. Congress.   I hugged her and took her hand and it was a sweet moment.  One of the  few we ever had. 

     A week later, I was back to being truant from school and she was slapping and screaming and bemoaning my existence.   Still, telling the truth freed both of us. 

    How odd then, well into my middle years I began to think about my father.  What that might have been like?  Were my siblings alive?  Had he ever thought of me? (Aside from the teeny child custody check.)   These thoughts took hold for quite a while.  Then, I recovered.  You don’t miss what you’ve never had, as I always used to say in regard to Daddy. 

    In fact, I was terribly annoyed on this recent Father’s Day, while watching various news programs. Everybody seemed compelled to say “Happy Father’s Day” to everybody else.   How tiresome, surely not every man is a father? Or wants to be reminded of that duty?  

   Boring. Silly. Pointless.


   Okay. Yeah–I guess I would have liked a father.


While tearing off a game of golf, I may make  a play for the caddy/but when I do I don’t follow through ‘cause my heart belongs to…who?





  • Andy

    Mr. Wow, I too have been lax and, so sorry, had no idea you weren’t well.  I was just wondering though since I hadn’t “heard” from you in awhile. 

    Your story is a heartbreak.  I just want to take that child and hold him and hug him.  Times were different then.  My own nother often told the story of her mother, who, it was said had several children with a man other than her father.  Divorced in a day when it was unheard of and they too had this to live down.  Her mother in law did NOT want her for her precious son…So glad to know that in later times you found “B” to love and love you back.

    I wish you the best; hope the meds take hold soon and that you’re back to the self we know.

    I just celebrated two years after the surgeon was digging the hole and I hope the same for you — two multiplied by many.


    9:22 pm | June 27, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Andy…thank you.  And you see why I don’t want to say every week, “I’m depressed.”   Nobody’s been digging into me. I haven’t seen a surgeon since I had my appendix out at age seven.
         My mother was a strong woman. Certainly in her younger days.  Later–less strong.  I guess that’s the way it goes a lot of the time.   Listen, she could have aborted–certainly everybody wanted her to.  Or given me up.  As time went on, and I was not the perfect child, she must have thought of her earlier options.  That’s life too.

      I wish you the best. 


      9:33 pm | June 27, 2012
  • Deirdre

    As I was posting my hello I miss you, I was thinking, it’s only been a month, not that long. He’s getting used to the meds, if something were really wrong, B would put a message on the Blog. Get over yourself, Deirdre, MrWow is okay. So thank you for posting tonight and I am sorry for bugging you!. I am also sorry that you are still struggling and feeling awful. Hopefully, sharing your thoughts and feelings about your father, or lack of, will help chase away the ghosts of that time in your life. You write so honestly and openly, I wish you could be easier on yourself. I think you are far more worthy than you give yourself credit for. I hear the way you describe B. He sounds like a great person who has cared for and about you for a long, long time. He thinks you are worth it. Please take care. Write if and when you want even if just a message telling you are too tired to blog.

    9:40 pm | June 27, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Deirdre…guess what–you’re not bugging me.  And indeed it was B. who urged me to post again–”people are getting nervous.”    I’d thought about this post, the Father’s Day musing, ON Father’s Day.  But I was unable to get my crap together.   Well, it’s a timeless story of a woman done wrong, who tried to do right and what came of it.  Me.

      Obviously, I’m better today, because even with B. prompting me, if I was at my worst, I wouldn’t/couldn’t do it.   I’ve never expressed myself on the subject of my father.  Rarely even to myself.  Funny–not even B. knew of my mother’s second marriage and that debacle, which was more traumatic than I admitted  to myself at the time.  I said to him tonight, “See, you thought you knew everything. But nobody knows everything about anyone.”

      And he could say the same to me.  I’m sure he still has secrets.  But, as I have no plans to move on, I’ll wait for him to tell.


      9:55 pm | June 27, 2012
  • Mr. Wow, you have the makings of a great biography, believe it or not, and you have already written some of the pivotal parts! 

    Mark Twain tried several times to sit down and write his memoir, always failing until he hit on the idea of abandoning the chronological approach and just writing about whatever came to mind.  The resulting book was not reorganized into chronological sequence, either.  Considering how much attention he gives to some stories and how little to others, I doubt a chronological approach would have felt very balanced in his case.

    But anyway.  Your blog entries about your own experiences are really fascinating and will make for a great story when you put them all together one day.  Of course they don’t seem so to you, because you lived it; but it is of interest to others, and you really write very well.

    9:47 pm | June 27, 2012
  • maryburdt

    Wow, Mr. Wow—Your story of your younger life was so engrossing that for a minute, I felt as if I was reading a novel.  Some good writing, huh, Mr. Wow? 

    I had such a wonderful relationship with my dad, but Mom was a bit of a problem.  I think she might have been jealous of me because in my father’s eyes I could do no wrong and he loved me unconditionally.  Every day I miss him, especially on Father’s Day.  Your luck in the father department breaks my heart because you are a son that any father would be proud of. 
    I hope you are beginning to feel a little better.  I worry about you.  Love B and leave the past behind, where it belongs.  You are always in my prayers.


    Your mom and I had something in common…loved Brandy Alexanders!!!

    10:27 pm | June 27, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Mary…I would disagree on the good writing.  But damn–I love a good Brandy Alexander myself!

      thank you.
      1:51 pm | June 28, 2012
  • Mr. Wow
    Mr. Wow

    Dear Lila…I don’t believe it, but that the name Mark Twain appeared in a response from anyone about anything I have written…still won’t make me believe it!

    My story is not so unusual.  And I don’t think I am an artful enough writer to make it seem more unusual than it is.  Oddly enough, in my “career” as Mr. Wow, I have been less interested in what I’ve written and more interested in what I hear in response. Much more interested.  I try to learn from my intelligent readers.

    But–thank you.  Mr. Twain is spinning!

    11:01 pm | June 27, 2012
    • Mr. Wow, your story resonates because it is not so very unusual.  People can relate.  What is unusual, is the talent with which you tell it!!

      11:41 pm | June 27, 2012
    • TheRudeDog

      But you CAN!  As an “artist,” you can process what happens to you as you and then translate it into “Mr. Wow-ese.”  You do it for us; why not start thinking on a … larger scale?  (I didn’t say “grand” because I doubted that word would fly with you!)  Everyday things that happen to everyday people every day aren’t necessarily that interesting but, if one has a talent like yours, you are able to make those things highly interesting because of your experience, your knowledge and your gift with words.

      As I’ve probably mentioned before, I found “things” a lot easier when I learend to accept a damn compliment!!!!!  Instead of hemming and hawing and “Oh, this old thing?”-ing and “No, I would never”-ing, I just said, “Thank you.”  An added plus was that it didn’t make the compliment-er feel like an idiot for having their compliment rejected so boldly.  Try something:  When someone compliments you here, just respond, “Hey, thanks!” if you feel like it.  It doesn’t really have to do with how you feel about what they’re complimenting; it’s just accepting the good words of another with grace.  I wonder how, after a couple of those, you’d feel.  Not like a phony, I bet  :-)

      Last-but-certainly-not-least:  Good grief, what a fine, fine man you have in B.  No, “You need to get off your butt & write something to those people.”  Evidently no lectures.  Evidently no drama.  Evidently no guilt-trips.  Just “…people are getting nervous.”  THAT’s someone who knows you!  Congrats all the way around!

      10:48 am | June 28, 2012
      • Mr. Wow
        Mr. Wow

        Dear Rude…on B., you are SO right.  It used to be different, but after 37 years, he knows how to handle me.   A few days ago he said, “How are things going with Mr Wow?” (He knew they weren’t)  I said, “They’re not.”  He left it alone.   But day before yesterday he came in and said,  ”People are nervous on your site.”  That’s all.   And that was enough for me.  

        I really don’t mourn the past.  I appreciate my life experiences.  And this post was more about my mother and her overcoming.   Her life was a real struggle.  And no outlet.
        1:49 pm | June 28, 2012
  • BabySnooks

    Purging. What I call it. Good for you. Better than any pill.  And most psychiatrists who sit there with this stunned look on their faces. I don’t think they learn much about reality when their doing their residency. I suppose they think all parents are Ozzie and Harriet. And so they sit there with this stunned look on their faces. You, well, are divine. Purge away!

    We all love your mother. For going ahead and having you. Interesting that the one man she apparently really “fell for” was gay – on some level she may have transferred her feelings about his being gay to you. Happens. But you know the more you talk about her the more she seems to have really loved you. My mother was a mess too.  Finding out her sister was her mother really wasn’t the best moment of her life. No one knew. It was probably the coup of the century. But she knew. And it did something to her.  My grandmother probably would have married my grandfather. But my great-grandmother said absolutely no. And so my grandmother ended up with a sister along with a daughter. Some of us really have very fascinating “family trees.” Most of us of course would never talk about it. 


    As for your father, well, it could be worse. You could be Ronan Farrow.  And would forever be wishing your father a Happy Brother-In-Law’s Day!

    11:11 pm | June 27, 2012
  • Mr. Wow
    Mr. Wow

    Dear Baby…you are my favorite Tennessee Williams heroine!  You’re the one to write a book.  

    Yes.  My mother really loved me.  Her tragedy was I couldn’t love her back.  We’d been separated too much.  I formed a personality to protect myself.  She couldn’t get through, even if she’d wanted to, or understood what had happened to me.  And I was not inclined to help her in.

    As for Ronan, etc., I am not overly sympathetic to Mia, though I have no especially positive thoughts about Woody.   I feel for the kid.  To have posted that bitter Father’s Day tweet…lots of pain.  And Mama hasn’t done much to salve the wound. Indeed she inserted herself into his tweet.   Woody opted out a long time ago. Neither is a paragon of parenthood. Oh, wait–who is? Ozzie?  Harriet?

    As for psychiatrists, I have rarely found them looking stunned.  Mostly expressionless, waiting for the hour to be over, waiting for the next one–like hookers.

    11:43 pm | June 27, 2012
    • BabySnooks

      Oh through the years I’ve had a couple of the hookers. I moved on after the first session. The ones who I stunned, well, I love to stun so what can I say?  They stunned me from time to time with their “did it ever occur to you” responses to the melodramaramas so in the end it always worked out well…


      Ronan is purging. More purging to come I suspect. Fine with me. I’m okay with Mia. Not okay with Woody. At least he purges with a sense of humor.


      2:49 pm | June 28, 2012
  • Rho

    Mr. Wow, some story, please write a book.  You lived in Valley Stream?  Not far from me.  Anyway, happy to hear from you again,


    10:01 am | June 28, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Rho…yes, Valley Stream.  How well I remember the…well, it wasn’t really called a mall in those days—but it was where everybody went to shop and hang.  I wish I recalled exactly what it was called.  

      1:55 pm | June 28, 2012
      • Mr. Wow
        Mr. Wow

        Dear Rho–Green Acres!   That was it.  Green Acres.

        1:57 pm | June 28, 2012
        • BabySnooks

          I do love the names of things up East. Even a total dump sounds romantic. In Texas we end up with places called Clute and Cut-and-Shoot.

          2:52 pm | June 28, 2012
        • Rho

          It’s still there Mr. Wow.  Bigger than ever.  I shop there every so often.


          3:50 pm | June 28, 2012
          • Mr. Wow
            Mr. Wow

            Oh, Rho…Green Acres.  I could cry to think of it.  I LOVE that it is still there.  I was happy there.  Geez, if I ever get out this Mr. Wow thing we’ll all go to Green Acres. 


            Okay–not as glam as winning the lottery and crossing the country by train with all of you. (With me and a ukulele.)   But, still fun, I think.   

            7:27 pm | June 28, 2012
        • Deirdre

          Green Acres was the name of the television show that ZsaZsa and Eddie Albert did in the 60s. A farm in upstate New York. She had a pet pig. I won’t terrify you further but I can remember the lyrics to the theme song.

          8:31 am | July 2, 2012
          • Mr. Wow
            Mr. Wow

            Dear Deirdre…

            “No, New York is where I’d rather stay/I get allergic smelling hay.  I just adore a penthouse view–daring I love you but give me Park Avenue.”   

            Yeah, join the other terrifed among us!
            2:32 pm | July 2, 2012
  • lulu

    Riveting story…..Mr.Wow, kudos to you!!!  All I could think of as I read your blog was….we lost Nora Ephron, a masterful woman who gave us such truths about women and men…….now we have Mr. Wow, it is time he starts shinning and giving us his stories not only here in this blog but also in every other medium possible.  You have a support team with everyone here to remind you how good your writing is and how you should really share it and shine not only for us but for yourself, B, your mother and your father too.

    10:23 am | June 28, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Lulu….I knew Nora Ephron.  I am no Nora Ephron.  But I love you for your support.

      2:00 pm | June 28, 2012
  • Charlene

    Thank you for honoring us with another piece of your soul.

    11:10 am | June 28, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Charlene…the honor is that anybody even reads it. 


      Thank you very much.



      7:07 pm | June 28, 2012
  • LandofLove

    Mr. wOw, thank you for yet another piece of interesting and thought-provoking writing. Although we all have had different experiences, we still can relate to your post because we’ve all had family issues. The universality of your columns strikes a chord!

    11:16 am | June 28, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Land…we are all the same, in the end.   Our experiences are so universal.  This, that, then, there.  It’s life. And you know what–when people are really thrown together, they get it.   I see so much of human nature  in bars, when barriers are down.  Not a lot of hate.  More– ”eh, okay.”  And family stuff?   We’ve all been there.

      7:21 pm | June 28, 2012
  • Haunted Lady
    Haunted Lady

    Well, I’m glad to see you again. Your absence was worrisome but I know B is there to take care of you. Much love to him as well as you.

    You should write a book. I think it would be good for you and would have resonance with many people. Parents are the least qualified people to have children but no one has found a better way yet. My mother had histrionic narcissistic personality disorder with sociopathic tendencies. Her illness and the resultant parenting informs me about a lot of my own behavior, likes, dislikes and such. But we all survive, somewhat intact. Look at it this way. You have grown to be a lovely person, you have a lot of empathy for others, you had the good sense to value B and stay with him. And look at all the people who genuinely care for you. Mourn the past and put it to rest but don’t let it intrude on your future.

    11:35 am | June 28, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Haunted One…I don’t mourn the past.  Not that past, anyway.  (Stuff in the last 30 years–eh, still working through it.)    But I have my forum and it is (BIG cliche coming!) cathartic, in  a way, to write it down.  

      And yes, B—who knows and cares for all of you too–does take wonderful care of me.  He’s stuck with a 59-year-old-child.  I never pretended to be anything more than what I was/am.  He made his choice.  I’m sure he often thinks his choice over.  
      2:10 pm | June 28, 2012
  • Susan

    DAMN! You are one helluva writer. Thank you for sharing your life and experiences with us.
    I hope you are feeling stronger everyday.

    1:55 pm | June 28, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Susan..DAMN!  I don’ agree with you. (that I am any kind of a writer)   But I do feel stronger today.  Which is as much as any of us can hope for.


      Thank you!

      7:05 pm | June 28, 2012
  • Lauriate Roly.

    Hello Mr. Wow:

    You’ve been a very interesting character to me since I first read your words on wOw.

    Your stories are always most interesting but what I look for in writings by people like you, are the significant ideas you express through the words you use. I look for certain words, phrases and lines that reveal to me, the deep richness and integrity of the author’s thoughts. I’m repeating some lines you used in your writings to-day that I found very meaningful and touching and richly memorable, as follows:

    “Oddly enough, in my “career” as Mr. Wow, I have been less interested in what I’ve written and more interested in what I hear in response. Much more interested”.

    Very sincere. . . and well written and easy to see that you mean it.

    Work a little harder at getting better. You can never try too much or enough. Others are expecting to hear how much you’ve improved. Don’t disappoint them.

    Kindest regards,


    7:39 pm | June 28, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Lauriate…I am working at getting better.  It’s a molasses process, but I try.

      And I very much appreciate your reading and commenting.  I think (I know) I make you kind of squirmy sometimes.  As the kids say TMI (Too much Information.) 

      It means a lot–really–that you can get past…uh, me. 

      thanks!   MrW


      7:49 pm | June 28, 2012
  • Lauriate Roly.

    Say Mr. Wow:

    You mentioned the word Molasses. You may have arrived at an important revelation, sometimes considered a “succès fou”: but my mom believed totally in Sulphur, and Molasses,  for guys who didn’t know for sure what was ailing them. It always worked for me. Do you think you might give it a go? Nowhere near as good as a Dry Martini, but she always made sure I had one after each treatment. With enough treatments, I emerged. . . cured !

    9:54 pm | June 28, 2012
    • Lauriate, the best thing about molasses… is that it makes for a great gingerbread or oatmeal cookie…

      Sulphur… bleah… but it is a great antibacterial agent.

      Do you think the dry martinis had anything to do with your cure?  Hmmm.

      8:22 am | June 29, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Lauriate…

      But what was ailing you?  Molasses and sulphur might not work for me.  

      6:26 pm | June 29, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Lauriate…from what were you cured, with molasses and sulfur?!

      8:28 pm | June 29, 2012
      • Lauriate Roly.

        Spring fever.
         I used to have it all year, so did Antonio Vivaldi;  – “Four Seasons”.   

        8:56 pm | June 29, 2012
        • Mr. Wow
          Mr. Wow

          Dear Lauriate…spring fever.Is that real thing?  Allergies, yes?  Or  were you just just a terribly amorous young person?


          I’d like to have something Vivaldi had.  His talent, mostly.

          9:26 pm | June 29, 2012
          • Lauriate Roly.

            L’Amour.  L’amour, toujours l’amour.

            10:07 pm | June 29, 2012
        • Lauriate, for you:  Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, “Tempus Est Iocundum.”

          “Oh – oh – oh, totus floreo, iam amore virginali, totis ardeo.  Novus amor est quo pereo!”

          12:19 pm | July 5, 2012
  • Rho

    Mr. Wow, I’ll meet you there in Green Acres.


    9:50 am | June 29, 2012
  • Daniel Sugar

    Orphans, dead parents, lonely children at Christmas, morose spoken word recordings, everything you love about the holidays. Move the turkey over so you can fit your head in the oven.

    April Winchell

    7:46 pm | June 29, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Dr. Sugar…uhhhh.  I’ll try for a cheerier topic next time around.  That or Aunt Vi’s solution. 



      8:31 pm | June 29, 2012
      • BabySnooks

        Oh you know interspersed in your tales of woe is this wonderful sense of humor about it all which in the end is what saves us all.  The wisest of us talk about it. The wisest of the wisest manage to find some humor in it all. You’re divine Mr. Wow.  As I’m sure B knows even if you don’t. 

        10:01 pm | June 29, 2012
  • Lucy

    Dr. WOW E ZOWY

    I am a not so young female who’s best friend – like a brother – was gay. He died at 32 of AIDS, along with 15 other friends of his. But boy did we have fun in his short life. He was hadsome, witty, smart, a great dresser and a great dancer. I’m sure you were too – or still are.

    Your memories take me back – not about your family life – I was one of the lucky ones, I had a great one, but a lot of the “times” you refer to, were my exeriences, too. Life was so much fun. So free.

    We’ve come “A Long Way Baby”. .

    You are writing about the pain right now, and I can feel it, but it hasn’t all been pain – and it won’t be all pain in the future. Get your dancing shoes out, put on a Donna Summer’s album, a great outfit, shake a martini or two…… Remember all the good times.

    I know it’s not  as easy as all that. My ex husband was a manic depressive, and I have many friends who cannot function becasue of depression some days. Myself – I suffer from Panic Disorder – not just anxiety that I can OMMM away with Yoga. No – I need good meds. They keep it in check and I am THANKFUL every single day I live in a modern world with great psychotropic drugs. But……… we ARE part of the equation. We ARE more than our durgs. One of the only things we have control over in this life is how we react to what happens to us. We can chew it to death or “Let it Go” I always chose to Let it Go and focus on the new and positive memories. Hope you will too.

    You keep saying how selfish and immature you are, but your writing belies that fact. You seem deep and thoughtful, funny, witty and intelligent. We are lucky to have you.







    7:09 pm | June 30, 2012
    • Lauriate Roly.

      Say Lucy:

      Would you mind if I stand here in line beside you ?
      We have similar thoughts and together, side by side, would  already start what could easily grow to be a full fledged team of “super” friends of Mr. Wow.
      ( I bet we could get Baby Snooks to stand in line with us)  ? 

      8:20 pm | June 30, 2012
      • LandofLove

        I’m there with you!

        8:40 am | July 1, 2012
        • lulu

          I’ll stand in line too!!!

          10:49 am | July 1, 2012
          • Deirdre

            I would gladly stand in any line to be of help to Mr. Wow!

            8:20 am | July 2, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Lucy (and all!)  Though I am experiencing some “slippage” I am in far better shape than I was before I began (once again) to medicate.  So…I don’t feel like smashing my head against the wall until it splits open and I don’t contemplate getting so drunk that falling in front of a truck would be written off as an accident.  Though I am still bitter about being laid off, I’ve moved from the worst of those dark thoughts too.

      Problem now is doing something other than feeling better that I feel better.  That won’t get me another job.  A paying one, as I still go in for my old employer. Ah, but am I looking?  No.  Am I asking friends to look for me?  No.  Am I, as usual, just drifting through the present, hoping somehow the future will work out in some half-ass way, as it always has.  Oh, yes indeed.  Am I terrified that I continue with such a self-destructive, unmotivated mindset as I race toward 60?  Words can’t describe the terror.  Yet I move not a inch. 

       This is why I explain, but I don’t complain.  I don’t have the right.  My childhood and adolescence are history, and whatever effects it had on me, I’ve been an adult for a long time.  I’ve made every single decision for myself.  Even a few good ones. 

      I don’t sit and morbidly contemplate my long ago past.  You know, I realized I’d never  told the story of my father (and my mother in relation to him) or of her second, pitiable marriage.   So I did.  But those  events don’t consume me.  And I don’t even know I’d change the “bad” things even if I could.  Why?  Life has afforded me quite a few pleasures.  Ones I might not have experienced had I been “happier” and taken another road.   I worry the here and the now, which as usual, I try to pretend isn’t really happening.  I’ll think about it tomorrow.  The thing is, after a while, everybody else agrees with Rhett Butler–they just don’t (can’t) give a damn.

      And, Lucy.  I’m lucky to have all of you. 



      10:55 am | July 1, 2012
      • Ladybug

        I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.  Gone With the Wind – Scarlett O’Hara

        3:21 pm | July 2, 2012
  • BabySnooks

    It’s scary to realize you are going to be 60 and have no “security” but I have several friends who had “careers” who found their “careers” came to an abrupt end and then found their “security”came to an abrupt end when they had to use it to pay the bills. I’m told we have to “reinvent” ourselves. Not so easy to do. But, well, we go on. Not so easy to do either.  I remind myself at various points that others “reinvented” themselves or at least their careers at points when everyone probably told them they were too old. Leona Helmsley one of them. I love to drop her name because it irritates everyone. At 40 she was a secretary who a broker gave a break to. The old days. She would type the letters to prospects each night and then mail them the following morning. Eventually she started getting calls. What a lot of people don’t know is she was “filthy rich” when she married Harry Helmsley. And then there’s Ann Miller. At 60 she was back on Broadway in “Sugar Babies.” So, well, you’re never too old. At any point.   Maybe you get so depressed you just bounce back in a moment of mania. Who knows. But it’s never really over. And if you can’t “reinvent” yourself I suppose you find a way to “reinvent” your career. Been there, doing it Mr. Wow. It’s tough. But others did it. And so shall we!

    4:20 pm | July 1, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Baby…as I’m sure you intended, it was the Ann Miller reference that got me.

      Even before “Sugar Babies” she was dancin’ on top of that big Campbell’s Soup can.   And Louis B. Mayer had taken a very personal interest in her.  But nobody ever invests when the lion is still roaring.

      6:10 pm | July 1, 2012
      • BabySnooks

        Many of the “goldie oldies” made MGM rich but MGM in turn did not make them rich and they just assumed the money would keep flowing in from this or that. And for awhile it did. The television guest spots. The dinner theatres. Las Vegas. Suddenly, well, they were more “oldie than goldie” and that was the end of that. Some got lucky. Some didn’t.  Ann Miller got lucky. But she also kept herself out there so to speak. And when Broadway called she figured why the hell not? And off she went. Many hesitated. Or wanted more money. That happened to a mutual friend of Ann’s. As someone put it she thought she was Elizabeth Taylor. The problem was even Elizabeth Taylor was no longer Elizabeth Taylor in terms of money. I think Ann Miller was merely looking to add to her nest egg. And didn’t realize the cosmos had dropped the proverbial golden egg in her lap. The point is we are never too old to do what we need to do. And if we’re lucky like her we get to also do what we want to do!

        4:04 pm | July 2, 2012
  • Lauriate Roly.

    Mr. WOW:

    Just a thought.

    Reinventing yourself?

    Your fans imply you should reinvent yourself.

    Hey, look at me. My father died in his early sixties.

    Very shortly after his death, someone noticing me at a very exclusive restaurant in Zurich, said to his friend, “Just look at him for a moment. This guy is really remarkable. His father left him 240 million. . . and he built it into a fortune”.

    Truth is, I didn’t lift a finger or do a damn thing once the 240 mil was established carefully and definitely in my bank account.

    My aim was only to live it up to the hilt.

    Many years have passed, and I’ve spent a real bundle: living high, traveling, pleasing myself by buying anything I pleased, clothes, women, property, cars, yachts, computers, gadgets, baseball and football teams, horses and polo grounds…and theatres; just about anything that costs more money than almost anyone can afford was my proper domain. If I wanted it, I bought it.

    Well anyone with any kind of sense would realize that living this way, even with an original bankroll of well over two hundred million dollars, is bound to come to a point where you just have to capitulate and accept that sooner or later, you’re going to go broke.

    Well, the point of my story is that it happened to me. I’m well over seventy now and I’m down to my last sixty-two million. I’ve got to go easy…no doubt about it.

    Like they say: I’ve got to reinvent myself.

    Mr. WOW, it ain’t easy. You have to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again.

    Gosh, I wish I had all that money my Dad left me. Maybe I could have built it into a fortune, and perhaps I could have lived and enjoyed a beautiful life. . . (“ I could’a bin a contendah“ ). !!


    PS – Mr. WOW, this is a baloney story, fit only for April Fools day. Not true at all. I just thought I might pick up your spirits by surprising you with what could be a beautiful background for the guy you know as Lauriate.

    Hope you enjoyed it.

    9:06 pm | July 1, 2012
    • Ha!  Lauriate, since the Wall Street fiasco, it has been my dream to get hired as a bank CEO and run it into the ground.  I figure – OK, so I know nothing about banking, but what the hell, apparently these big shots didn’t either, and they got $42 million bonuses and $30 million “severance packages” and so on.  Hey, I can run a bank into the ground for considerably less, so I see no reason why some big Wall Street firm wouldn’t hire me.  Make yourself a resume and come along, maybe we can realize our dreams!

      11:40 am | July 2, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear LR….

      Well, it perked me up enough to imagine myself momentarily reinvented as somebody who was very attractive to you.  And willing to help you spend that last $60 mil.

      Honestly, I don’t want to re-invent myself.  There’s nothing to re-invent.  My life has been spent giving the best of myself away to others.  I need to find or invent a real Mr. Wow.  Who won’t have to call himself Mr. Wow.   Eh–I don’t work a Chilean mine…I don’t have a flesh-eating disease.  I am not alone.   And if this is it.  It’s okay.  I made my deal with the devil.  
      2:41 pm | July 2, 2012
      • jadez

        mmm…all actions are motivated by self interest.

        you say you gave the best of yourself to others.
        do you mean that in a negative way?
        sure sounds like it.


        you make excuses instead of telling the truth.

        the reasons for the way things are.

        does it ever make a difference ?
        of course not.
        but, it can offer peace of mind.
        if…you want it.

        11:44 am | July 17, 2012
        • Mr. Wow
          Mr. Wow

          Dear jadez…


          Do I mean that in a negative way?  Yes–for me.  But nobody forced me to give anything away.  I wasn’t (and I am not) secure enough to do for myself.

          Do I make excuses?  I don’t think so.  I don’t  blame anybody else for the often sorry state in which I find myself.  I am the master of my leaking vessel.

          And that’s the truth.  And it is that truth that stops me cold.  Now, if I could get over the truth and work on fixing that leak with some real motivation, I might find peace of mind.  Or at least find myself tolerable. 


          8:05 pm | July 17, 2012
  • Rho

    Mr. Wow, we love you the way you are.  No need to invent yourself.    Hang in there.


    4:48 pm | July 2, 2012
  • Rho

    Sorry, meant to say “reinvent” not invent.


    4:50 pm | July 2, 2012
  • Haunted Lady
    Haunted Lady

    Maybe not reinventing yourself so much as discovering new elements of yourself, new perspectives. I think you’re quite lovely as you are. I hope you can find a new direction and find what else there is to Mr. Wow.

    6:52 pm | July 2, 2012
  • rick gould

    Hey Mr. W–
    Your story of those younger years is right out of Charles Dickens, New York style.
    I don’t know if re-invent is the right word, but I think there is a lot of us in the same boat, facing middle-age in a scary economy and job market.
    Hang in there and be open to opportunity, at the very least.
    And you have a captive and captivated audience here!

    7:53 am | July 3, 2012
  • lulu

    Instead of re-invent think about refurbish, rescructure, replenish.
    Remember there are many here to support every effort you make. 

    10:19 am | July 3, 2012
  • Rho

    Hi Mr. Wow — how are holding up in this heat?  I am a winter person, can’t take it.


    4:15 pm | July 6, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Rho…just coming off a wicked cold.  Heat, air-conditioning, heat, etc.  Sore throat, couldn’t eat (or drink!)  Got  real skinny.  Not a good look. Better now.  More to come.  But not on my cold. 



      8:00 pm | July 9, 2012
      • Mr. Wow, I should send you some batches of my soft peanut brittle.  Soft, like the inside of a Clark bar or a Zagnut.  A little softer and nuttier than a Butterfinger.  This will stick to your ribs!

        10:56 pm | July 9, 2012
  • jonnyT
    Jonny T

    It’s already been said by others, but it bears repeating.  Your stories should be published.  True stories, compellingly written.  This latest post speaks volumes about you, Mr. Wow.  In a good way, of course. ;-)  Keep them coming.  

    10:34 pm | July 8, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Jonny…(like the Dietrich song!)  Thanks.  I don’t know that anything I write speaks particularly well of me.  But, that’s my opinion. 



      8:03 pm | July 9, 2012
  • Rho

    Feel better Mr. Wow.


    9:28 am | July 10, 2012
  • Lady Jayne

    Dear Mr. Wow,

    Today I came back from vacation and the first thing I did was check your blog for a post. I was becoming one of your nervous fans! Not only was this worth waiting for, I was blown away by your style. Your prose reminds me of Betty Smith’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. When I read your words I am catapulted into your world. We all have awful things in our lives, but I feel that those awful events have shaped me into who I am. Strong, resilient, and forever optomistic. You would not be Mr. WOW without having survived the rocks of your life. I am so grateful you are feeling better and took the time to put your thoughts to paper.

    1:12 pm | July 10, 2012
  • maryburdt

    I came back to this site today because I was so worried about you.  Do me a favor and just rest for a while.  Who ever said, “doing nothing is a bad thing?”  I think right now you might just watch old movies, listen to good music, eat delicious food, and love B.  You are in a place where you need to recover first and then when your strength returns, take one breath at a time.  I have walked in your shoes for some time now and it isn’t easy to take that first step toward recovery.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it is easier to just pull the covers over your head.

    Wishing you good health and happy thoughts.  We all care about you.

    8:29 pm | July 12, 2012
    • Deirdre

      Wise and loving words, maryburdt. 

      12:18 am | July 18, 2012
  • Susan

    Mr Wow:

    I have been thinking about you! Hoping things are going well.
    Take care and know that we love you!

    9:07 am | July 23, 2012
  • Jamie

    Dear Mr. Wow.Wow!!I don’t know how I missed this post/blog. I miss YOU. I miss your humor, your ability to get to the heart of the matter, any matter, but most of all, I want you to know, YOU MATTER.
    So, I came looking for you and found your above poignant, heartfelt post.
    Please return to us. We have much to muse about after all….

    7:25 pm | July 23, 2012
  • Rho

    I miss you Mr. Wow, hope all is well.

    10:34 am | July 24, 2012
  • oletajeanne

    Greetings from Not-So-Sunny San Francisco Mr. Wow,

    I am a long time reader but first time commenter. I just want you to know that I love your writing and eagerly await your musings.

    I hope you are doing well,

    4:56 pm | July 26, 2012
  • Deirdre

    Here I am again looking for a word or smoke signal from our great friend, Mr. Wow! Sending love and hugs to you and B. Hope you both are doing okay. xoxoxo

    5:25 pm | July 28, 2012
  • Haunted Lady
    Haunted Lady

    I hope you are well and coping OK. Frankly, I hope you’re coping by watching some great old movies and enjoying a little silver screen nostalgia. And I hope the best for B, too. Remember that you have a multitude who care about you.

    12:46 pm | July 30, 2012
  • BabySnooks

    If you do not post something soon, well, Hoboken will be treated to a lunatic wandering the streets calling out “Mr. Wow Mr. Wow, where arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre you?’ and of course a cop will pull up and ask me who I am and who you are and I will tell him I don’t really know who you are and it’s really none of his business who I am and then they will made a rude comment and I will channel Zsa Zsa and,  well, it won’t be pretty. And of course I will then have to have an attorney call Liz Smith to verify that Mr. Wow exists and Baby Snooks exists so I can get out of jail instead of being sent on to a mental hospital but of course then Liz Smith will know who I am and I will probably end up being sent on to a mental hospital and that won’t be pretty either.  Soooooooooooooooooo……

    6:30 pm | July 30, 2012
    • maryburdt

      Hi to all my fellow Mr. WoW followers,  I am worried about our guy just like the rest of you.  What can we do to get some info about him.  Maybe, just maybe, B could fill us in on what is happening.Baby Snooks does NOT need to go crazy in the streets of New York looking for you (so funny!)  Please let us know what is going on.  Mr Wow…we miss you you so and hope all is well.

      7:35 pm | July 30, 2012
  • Rho

    I’m worried too.

    9:43 am | July 31, 2012
  • lulu

    I join the worry ‘club’.  Baby Snooks I’ll come from LaLaland and yell with you.

    10:20 am | July 31, 2012
  • Jamie

    I’ll meet you all in Hoboken.
    I’m worried.

    3:35 pm | July 31, 2012
  • rickgould

    I hope you are just very busy, Mr. W…With work and working on your health.
    I have resorted to re-reading Liz Smith’s columns to guess which parts you help her write ; )I am that hard up for a Mr. Wow fix!
    Hope all is well, or at least manageable.Big hug,Rick

    1:39 am | August 3, 2012
  • Scarlett Ohara
    Scarlett Ohara

    I haven’t checked in awhile…..looks like I have missed a great deal. Hope all is well Mr. Wow. If given three wishes I would use two of them to meet you and Baby Snooks. The third wish is a secret!! Love ya lots and hoping for a word from you soon.

    Baby Snooks, you’re post about running through the streets of NY was too funny!


    4:17 pm | August 19, 2012
  • Heya i am for the primary time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really helpful & it helped me out much. I am hoping to give one thing again and help others such as you aided me.

    4:31 pm | April 7, 2013
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow


      April 7, Dear Jesse….

      Being so screwed up, I can’t imagine how I might have helped you out, but I’m happy to know I have.  If you say so. 

      5:06 pm | April 7, 2013
      • maryburdt

        Hi Mr. Wow,  are you OK?  I saw your answer to Jesse and was relieved to see you post.
        Please let us know what is going on.  We care about you and B and need to hear from you.  Much love to you both.

        8:45 pm | April 10, 2013
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