Lockdown Day 89: The Magoos / Encierro Día 89: Los Magoo

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

I RECENTLY TOLD YOU ABOUT my Uncle Aaron (click here). His wife, my Aunt Lilly, was 9 years older than My Mother the Dowager Duchess. She and Aaron dated for a number of years and my mother was only 12 when they married. So, my Uncle Aaron was more like a big brother than a brother-in-law.

Lilly, the oldest child in the family and 18 years older than her youngest sister, grew up being the boss of everything and everyone (and defending her siblings against her father’s wicked temper). I never experienced her bossiness— or maybe I just liked when she was in charge. She and Aaron made Dale and me feel loved.

Thanks to Lilly, my mother had three names, the one my grandparents gave her (which Lilly didn’t like); the one she went through school with (because Lilly registered her under a different name that she thought she liked better — Lilly was only 14); and Mimi, the nickname almost everyone in the family used for her — beginning with Lilly. No one in the family ever used the name that, thanks to Lilly, my mother was known as by all her friends for the rest of her life, and which required us to include her birth name as an alias on every legal document after she died.

Anyway, when Aaron met my mother, he began to call her Mimi Magoo. And then just Magoo. I don’t know why. My mother didn’t know why. Aaron couldn’t remember. He told me, “It sounds good.” I always thought he named her after the cartoon character Mr. Magoo, but that character wasn’t created until 1949. Lilly and Aaron were married in 1940 and my parents in 1947. Lilly had six other younger siblings and Aaron didn’t have a nickname for any of them.

When my parents had their own family, Aaron called us all The Magoos. When my sister, Dale, was 21, she married a man she met in Scotland four months earlier. Two days after the wedding she was off for a new life in England. My parents hosted a cocktail party.

Dale was a cryer. She wasn’t the type who cried for attention or when she was angry or felt put-upon. But she cried, sobbed, at funerals; at documentary footage of the holocaust; at tragic news stories. She cried at important things.

Dale sobbed through her entire wedding ceremony. Her small, perfect chin scrunched up like a walnut. My brother-in-law was appalled; he thought she was laughing (which shows how well they knew each other). So, I was shocked that by the end of the party, Dale hadn’t shed a tear. Then Lilly and Aaron said good-bye. Aaron hugged Dale and said, “Dale, no matter where you go, you’ll always be a Magoo!” She ran out of the room sobbing.

And, in case you’re wondering, I just got teary eyed telling the story. The Kid Brother and I are the last in a short line of Magoos.


HACE POCO TE CONTÉ SOBRE mi tío Aaron (haz clic aquí). Su esposa, mi tía Lilly, era 9 años mayor que Mi Madre la Duquesa Viuda. Ella y Aaron salieron durante varios años y mi madre tenía solo 12 años cuando se casaron. Entonces, mi tío Aaron se parecía más a un hermano mayor que a un cuñado.

Lilly, la hija mayor de la familia y 18 años mayor que su hermana menor, creció siendo la jefa de todo y de todos (y defendiendo a sus hermanos contra el mal genio de su padre). Nunca experimenté su jefatura, o tal vez simplemente me gustó cuando ella estaba a cargo. Ella y Aaron hicieron que Dale y yo nos sintiéramos amados.

Gracias a Lilly, mi madre tenía tres nombres: el que mis abuelos le dieron (que a Lilly no le gustó); con el que estudió en la escuela (porque Lilly la registró con un nombre diferente que pensó que le gustaba más — Lilly tenía solo 14 años); y Mimi, el apodo que casi todos en la familia usaban para ella, comenzando con Lilly. Nadie en la familia usó el nombre de que, gracias a Lilly, mi madre era conocida por todos sus amigos por el resto de su vida, y que requería que incluyéramos su nombre de nacimiento como un alias en cada documento legal después de su muerte.

De todos modos, cuando Aaron conoció a mi madre, comenzó a llamarla Mimi Magoo. Y luego solo Magoo. No se porque. Mi madre no sabía por qué. Aaron no podía recordarlo. Me dijo: “Suena bien”. Siempre pensé que la llamó así por el personaje de dibujos animados Mr. Magoo, pero ese personaje no se creó hasta 1949. Lilly y Aaron se casaron en 1940 y mis padres en 1947. Lilly tenía otros seis hermanos menores y Aaron no tenía un apodo para cualquiera de ellos.

Cuando mis padres tuvieron su propia familia, Aaron nos llamó a todos Los Magoo. Cuando tenía 21 años, Dale se casó con un hombre que conoció en Escocia cuatro meses antes. Dos días después de la boda se fue a una nueva vida en Inglaterra. Mis padres organizaron un cóctel.

Dale era una lloradora. Ella no era del tipo que lloraba por atención o cuando estaba enojada o se sentía agobiada. Pero ella lloraba, sollozaba, en los funerales; en imágenes documentales del holocausto; en noticias trágicas. Ella lloraba por cosas importantes.

Dale sollozó durante toda su ceremonia de boda. Su barbilla pequeña y perfecta se arrugó como una nuez. Mi cuñado estaba horrorizado; él pensó que ella se estaba riendo (lo que demuestra lo bien que se conocían). Entonces, me sorprendió que al final de la fiesta, Dale no hubiera derramado una lágrima. Entonces Lilly y Aaron se despidieron. Aaron abrazó a Dale y dijo: “Dale, no importa a dónde vayas, ¡siempre serás un Magoo!” Ella salió corriendo de la habitación sollozando.

Y, en caso de que te lo estés preguntando, tengo los ojos llorosos contando la historia. El Hermanito y yo somos los últimos en una corta línea de Magoo.

Lilly and The Duchess work on Dale on Rockaway Beach, July 1955.
Lilly y La Duquesa trabajan en Dale en Playa de Rockaway, julio de 1955.
Aaron, with his younger daughter in Brooklyn, 1948.
Aaron, con su hija menor en Brooklyn, 1948.
Aaron and Lilly, the candle-lighting at my Bar Mitvah, 1967, after I had already lost my religion. (So many more stories to tell.)
Aaron y Lilly, la luz de las velas en mi Bar Mitzvah, 1967, después de que ya había perdido mi religión. (Tantas historias más que contar.)
Aaron at his elder daughter’s house, 1979. If that cigar were lit, Lilly would have sent him outside.
Aaron en la casa de su hija mayor, 1979. Si ese puro estuviera encendido, Lilly lo habría enviado afuera.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

24 thoughts on “Lockdown Day 89: The Magoos / Encierro Día 89: Los Magoo”

  1. ‘Magoo, you’ve done it again!’
    Your aunt and uncle sound like gems. You were/are lucky to have had them in your ‘court’.
    And those photos of Dale……your tears are those of love.

    1. Anon,
      Don’t know who this is, but thanks for the comment. And, yes, my whole family was lucky to have them.

      1. Jim:
        It sounded like you, but I didn’t want to assume. That’s so annoying isn’t it. I’ll be commenting on 20 posts; the first 10 are fine and then suddenly I’m anonymous and have to log in again.

  2. Oh what fun to see a young Sister Dixie Normous at her Bar Mitzvah!!!!! I also have some wigs that remind me of your aunt Lilly!

    You weren’t related to Mr. Magoo were you? He couldn’t see very well.

    Ok, Im grabbing my ice tea and going outside to sit a spell.

    1. Mistress Maddie,
      I’ll have to do a bar mitzvah post. The entire album is scanned. Oh, the wig ideas! No relation (Or resemblance) to Mr. Magoo, unless he was my real father…

  3. The 3 Magoo kids – inimitable and irreplaceable. The photo of you with your Aunt Lilly and Uncle Aaron is a gem, but those of Dale vamping for the camera in her mischievous innocence are treasures to behold.

    1. Wilma,
      We loved being The Magoos. And, yeah, Dale vamping before the age of 3!

  4. sassy looking dale. and marrying a guy she met 4 months before – wow. so how did you lose your religion and with whom?

    1. Anne Marie,
      Oops. I meant losing my religion in the literal sense. I had a few years to go before “losing my religion.”

  5. “The Last of the Magoos” — it has a certain ring to it, like “The Last of the Mohicans” or something. It’s wonderful that you have such fond memories of your aunt and uncle!

  6. It occurred to me that “magoo” might be an old slang term and this is what I found on the Internet — “The Dictionary of American Slang compiled by Harold Wentworth and Stuart Berg Flexner (Second Supplemented Edition 1975) defines a magoo: n. 1 A custard pie used by actors to throw at one another in comedy scenes.” Does that fit, LOL?

    1. Debra,
      I found that, too. But I couldn’t make any sense of it, nor when it originated. Besides my mother didn’t like custard pie.

  7. I never knew any of those stories, thank you. They make me cry remembering how much we all loved both Lilly and Aaron. Missing you.
    Cousin Lori

    1. Lori,
      Can’t tell you how much your comment means to me. Nice to have shared sweet memories. More stories will come.

    1. Steve:
      I thought I was so cool in my paisley brocade tuxedo. My brother had a matching one. My cousin, for his bar mitzvah, wore tiny rose brocade. WE were so much cooler. Mitch Magoo DOES have a certain ring.

  8. Wonderful story.
    Something funny When I check my mail in the morning I always see your post with on each side my two comic pages. I try to read something funny or happy each morning.

    1. Parsnip:
      And I try my best to be happy or funny each morning. There’s enough to make us miserable right now. We don’t need any help from me!

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