I hate Jerry Lewis.
You may think that because I am a female comedian, it has something to do with him, every chance that he gets saying,
“Women aren’t funny”. That came years later.
As a kid, I hated Jerry Lewis.
It had nothing to do with his movies. It was the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon!
Now, before you get your ire up- please know that I think it’s an amazing cause!
Even as a child, I recognized that and would walk around my neighborhood asking if anyone had any chores I could do for them, just to make some money to donate to the Ed McMahon drum roll, final total. When it comes to raising awareness and money for Muscular Dystrophy, I think almost everyone can agree, Jerry Lewis is a wonderfully, kind and thoughtful man. Practically a saint!
But in a child’s mind, the MDA Telethon signaled the end of summer.
The last day of freedom before school started!
To me, Jerry represented alarm clocks and homework. But my mother couldn’t get enough of the Labor Day weekend staple. She would float around, turning the television as loud as it could go, which was a miracle in and of itself, because like most mother’s, my mother had super human hearing!
My brother’s and I never understood why our mother was so happy over Jerry Lewis and such a heartbreaking cause.
Children often hear, “Someday when you become a parent, you’ll understand”. Now as a mother of a 6 year old, I finally get it! I completely understand that to my mother, the MDA Telethon signaled the same thing it did for me- BACK TO SCHOOL!!
For her it was 3 months straight of mosquito bites, poison ivy, fighting and “I’m bored” coming to an end. The last week of the chaos was spent shopping for supplies, buying the grocery store out of juice boxes for packed lunches and wrangling my brother’s and I for much needed haircuts. Forcing us to try on all of the shoes and clothes in our closets to see what fits, who wins the “hand me down lottery” (Thank God I was the only girl, although, sadly that didn’t stop my little brother from inheriting several pink articles of clothing and a long standing ribbing about a particular Rainbow Bright sweatshirt!) It was whirlwind of whining, early bedtimes and spending a small fortune-that we didn’t have. Then, finally, the morning of the first day of school, the bus pulled away and she was alone!
I only have one child, and drive my son to school but the sentiment is the same. I remember last year, when he went to kindergarten, I was so sad. My Facebook post (https://www.facebook.com/TammyPescatelli1 ) went viral:
“First day of school. Lots of kicking, screaming and crying. My son is fine- that was me!”.
I had made lists of all the things I was going to do with my free time, during his kindergarten year. Paint my walls. Go to the gym. Write a book.
I did find time to do some of those things. I would work like a crazy person, on the days that I was home off of tour and my son was at school. But then, miracles of miracles, I got stuff done and had free time! My husband was at work, so I started volunteering at my son’s school. Whenever they needed me and my schedule would allow. I was able to go on field trips & help with holiday parties.
By volunteering I got more time with my son and got to put the names with the faces of his friends that he was constantly chatting about when he came home.”Yes, Drew is funny.” “Oh, I didn’t know that Stacy had a twin sister”. I got to see how his phenomenally patient teacher was meant to be a child’s first teacher and introduction to school.
It certainly wasn’t the alone time I was hoping for, but I wouldn’t trade those stolen moments for all of the spa
appointments in the world!
This year my son is in first grade, or as he proudly likes to say, ” We’re #1!”.
I do have a list of things to do, but I am also adding to it, volunteer and nap.
FYI: I have went on to perform my standup routine on several of those MDA telethons, even a few with Mr. Jerry Lewis himself.
He was very kind and gracious to me. I liked him a lot and felt bad for hating him during all of my school age years,
although I didn’t share that tidbit of information with him.
I did however, ask him to sign an autographed picture for my mother.