She'd watch us closely as one of us would go up to the other and pretend to saw off his arm. The victim would tuck his arm inside his shirt sleeve and shout, "MIMI! HELP MEEE! MY ARM IS GONE!"
Mimi would shriek, bury her eyes behind her tiny hand and shout, "BJ! MIKE! STOP IT!" Then she'd laugh and turn a crinkled red.
It was a game all of us loved in our own way.
Later, we'd lay on the couch with our heads on her lap and she'd pet our hair as well dozed off to the hijinks that Zach Morris, Lisa Turtle, and Screetch (really, do we need to get into last names here?) would get up to on reruns of Saved By the Bell—Mimi's favorite show next to Full House.
She'd re-watch these shows just about until the VHS tapes turn reedy and bust.
Some years earlier, we'd sit on La-Z-Boys in the small TV room of the house on Saturn Avenue. We'd pass the time between commercials looking at Mimi's copies of Tiger Beat magazine. Or otherwise page through the meticulous diaries she kept. She didn't mind. These diaries primarily cataloged two things:
- The wardrobe she wore each day.
- Her love for her family.
Mimi had a messy fall over a year ago and has really slipped both mentally and physically. She now lives in an assisted living facility for the disabled, a big old house in downtown Racine.
Today, Mimi turned 44 years old. The woman, in her own Buddha-like way, has made our family what it is. How it is. All of us are infinitely better people for having her in our lives.
Happy birthday, Mimi. I love you sooooooo much.
(See all the photos)