Author Steven Zwerling’s mother is 107, remembers Women’s Suffrage, supports same-sex marriage, thinks Chris Christie is popular because he’s fat and still believes no one’s exempt from following the Golden Rule. Zwerling chronicles conversations with his feisty mother and her equally plucky friends in his new short story collection Obama, Oy Vey: The Wit and Wisdom of My 107-Year-Old Mother.
The idea for Obama, Oy Vey emerged when Steven Zwerling’s mother was approaching 100 and his wife, Rona, asked, “How much longer can she live?” Since then Rona and Steven have spent every winter with her and her dear friends, the ladies of the Forest Trace retirement community.
Yes, they have their aches and pains, but they remain feisty and funny as they reflect on what is happening in the world that swirls around them—the state of political life; what is happening in the Middle East; and their concerns about the prospects for the current generation.
They reflect on their past where they marched as Suffragettes, helped organize unions, and endured less than perfect marriages. Now that they are on their own, they no longer feel the need to inhibit themselves and so are eager to tell the truth, including complaining about how their grandchildren are too busy to call or visit.
These ladies, these “girls” as Mother Zwerling thinks about herself and her friends, with wit and spunk and wisdom, with all their “issues,” will remind you it is they as much as their departed husbands who are the “greatest generation.”
They will make you smile and laugh and at times shed a few tears. But above all, though well past what should have been their actuarial allocation of years, they are full of life.