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Memorial Day

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Also, the goyim hang a little white cloth with a star in the front window, in honor of themselves and their boys away in the service- a blue star if the son is living, a gold star if he is dead. A Gold Star Mom, says Ralph Edwards, solemnly introducing a contestant on Truth or Consequences, who in just two minutes is going to get a bottle of seltzer squirted at her snatch, followed by a brand-new refrigerator for her kitchen . . . A Gold Star Mom is what my Aunt Clara upstairs is too, except here is the difference- she has no gold star in her window, for a dead son doesn’t leave her feeling proud or noble, or feeling anything, for that matter. It seems instead to have turned her, in my father’s words, into a nervous case for life. Not a day has passed since Heshie was killed in the Normandy invasion that Aunt Clara has not spent most of it in bed, and sobbing so badly that Doctor Izzie has sometimes to come and give her a shot . . . Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint

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