Her Mad Money
After Sherri died, Hannah and I sorted through her stuff. What to set aside, what to keep for ourselves, what to throw out. We started with the stuff on her side of the bed. Sherri and I slept on a bed with drawers; a kind of combination bed and cabinet. The drawers on her side of the bed were crammed with a chaos of trash and treasure.
There were lots of canisters of medicine, some empty, most expired; there were old copies of The Nation, turned to the crossword page, all filled out in ink; there were burnt-out vibrators (to the trash), a used one (ditto), and one still in its box (Hannah got that); there were lots of books; and there was a lot of jewelry, some of gold, some of glass, some in boxes, some loose.
Sherri told me to never open the top right drawer; an order that I obeyed while she lived, but now I was her heir and executor. In that drawer was the clutter listed above, but there was also a large ziplock baggie. That baggie held envelopes; those envelopes held cash. About $2155. I wondered aloud what it was, and Hannah explained that it was Sherri’s mad money. Hannah told me that Sherri had advised Hannah that, when she lives with a man, she should always have some mad money around. This is to help her leave him, if necessary.
I was impressed by the feminist logic of this, for this was the first that I had ever hear of it. I mentioned it to my big sister Debby; she said that our mother Marjorie had said the same to her. I am now doubly impressed; for it seems that there is a world of mother-to-daughter cultural transmission that I knew nothing of.
A third thing impressed me. During our 20 years together, Sherri could have left me at any time. But she didn’t. She must have loved me.