Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Birthday Wish

It's Halloween, which means it's my mother's birthday. I've sent her a card, but it will arrive late. Having broken the ice by calling her, recently, I've been speaking to her a lot, on the phone. I'll call her, later, for her birthday. Our most recent conversation has me worried. My mother's worried about her financial difficulties. The property taxes in Nassau County, Long Island, where she lives, are some of the highest in the United States. Her house has no mortgage on it and has been in our family for four generations, but the property taxes have risen so high that she can't afford to pay them and eat. For the past three years, I have tried to increase my income, so that I could assist her, but I haven't been successful yet. She had considered selling the house, but certain legal complications have delayed that and now the housing market in the US has softened.
Another problem is that she's let the house become run down. Spending almost all of her income and savings just paying the taxes each year and buying food, and electricity, she's not spent anything on repairs. Because of years of neglect, the heating doesn't work and there's no running water. It was bad enough thinking of her living there without heat and running water, but now she fears she will lose the house to the tax collectors. I need to at least double my income in order to be able to afford to live myself, plus support her. I've started applying for jobs that pay significantly more than my day job at the restaurant, but I've not landed any so far. I worry that it will be too late by the time I do manage to significantly increase my income.
Ironically, for years, when I was younger, my mother and I didn't get along. When I was young, she was horrible to me and I didn't consider doing anything for her in return. She always had her mother to look out for her, so I concentrated on myself. Then, after I moved to England, my grandmother died, leaving my mother on her own for the first time in her life. The big breakthrough between us came after my divorce. For the first time in my life, my mother was kind and considerate toward me. If she could change that much, surely I could drop my resentment toward her. It was great to develop a new, pleasant relationship with my mother. Now, I want to help her and make sure her latter years are as pleasant as possible. Unfortunately, I'm not now in a financial position myself to do anything for her. I keep hoping she can hold on till I make a big breakthrough. I dream of being able to turn up and fix all the problems. Get her heat and water fixed, and pay the taxes for her. My fear is that she'll die before I am able to. I worry about her health. In addition to a thyroid problem, I know she has glaucoma and I suspect she doesn't always take her medication, because of lack of money. Also, I worry about any medical problems she's not telling me about. I don't want her to become homeless. If she could just keep the tax man at bay till I land a better job, then things would be okay.
Now an idea has occurred to me. I have over 2,000 "friends" on Myspace. If each of them gave only £1, that would be enough to get her past her immediate property tax problems. Sure, many are bands and commercial sites, who aren't going to do anything. Still, maybe some people would want to help. Many of you have been readers of my blog for some time. It's free and I make no demands on you for reading it. I try to be entertaining and am grateful that you read it. I would never ask for anything for myself, but if you feel inclined to make a small gift to my mother, it would be appreciated. I only ask for at least £1 per person, or $2 if you are using American money. Of course if you are well off and would like to give more, that's fine. If you are not in a position to give a gift, or not inclined, I won't think ill of you.
Those of you in the UK should send your gifts to me. I will pool all the money and then convert it in one lump sum, into dollars, to send to my mother. Make checks payable to Joseph Brennan and send them to Joey B, Seaside Radio, 27 Seaside Road, Withernsea, North Humberside, HU19 2DL. Please mark the envelope "personal and confidential." Those of you using US dollars can send your gifts directly to my mother. Make checks payable to Joanne Brennan and send them to: Joanne Brennan, P.O. Box 126, East Meadow, NY, 11554-0126. If you want to send her a belated Birthday card, or a Christmas card, that's fine. Please don't mention that I have made this appeal. She's a proud woman and wouldn't want to think that I was asking for charity on her behalf. Don't mention her living conditions or glaucoma, for the same reason. Regardless of her stubborn pride, I'm doing this because I don't know what else to do. I just don't want her to become homeless before I can help. Anyone who objects to my request, simply do nothing. Blame me, don't take it out on her. Please don't send her any harassing mail. She turns 70 today and I just hope to make her Christmas happier than her birthday is. Those of you who do help, no matter in how modest a way, will join my hall of heroes. I will never forget you and when I am successful, I'll throw you a thank you party, or something.

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