April 8, 2007

The Staten Island Fairy

We didn’t believe in the Easter Bunny growing up. Never even considered it. Santa Claus was an impossible myth for my parents to perpetuate with all of our older, wiser friends. But the tooth fairy? She was practically a member of the family.

My mother had created an entire background story and personality for our dear fairy. Her name was Maxine and she lived on Staten Island. Since we lived in Connecticut, Maxine took the Staten Island Ferry and then the commuter train to reach our house, explaining why she always arrived so late at night. No wings for our fairy. Those of us lucky enough to loose a tooth would sometimes hear her in the hall outside our bedroom, pleading with my mother to not have to come in. Maxine was shy and didn’t want to bother us poor children. We’d hear her obnoxious New York accent and my mom’s polished English going back and forth until finally my mother would relent and sneak into our rooms to retrieve the tooth for her.

I adored Maxine's emotional visits. We hardly ever got “real” New Yorkers in our home and she was one of my main connections to the nearby city. I was young and rarely went with my older siblings on their occasional visits. Maxine brought the glamorous city to me. From what I overheard in her conversations with my mother, she was just as socially awkward and scatterbrained as I was. Whether or not she knew it, I'd grown to love her.

I’ve saved a few of the letters from Maxine. Although she was too shy to come face to face with me, she’d often send my mother in to my room with a simple note of appreciation for supplying her with my pearly teeth. So what if the letters were in my mother’s handwriting, I loved these notes from our late night Fairy and was sad that I didn’t have more teeth to give. They seemed to make her so happy and I got the feeling that teeth were her life. I gave what I could.

Even when I got older and became wise to the world, I couldn't give up my faith in Maxine. She was someone I wanted to have a real relationship with. I wanted to visit her home on The Island, relax on her cheap, yellow couch, sip Seven Up and chat about the Mets. Look through her picture books at the places she’d been and the losers she’d dated. I would never have this kind of relationship with someone like Santa Claus. He was so old, so busy. But Maxine, she was the friend I never had who I couldn’t bear to lose.

I’m looking forward to when my kids start loosing their teeth. Even though Maxine was never brave enough to come in my room to retrieve my teeth, I’m sure I’ll recognize her. She’ll be the one that smells like the Hudson river, has windblown hair, an over-the-top accent and a plastic Macy's bag full of silver dollars. And despite all the years to get over her shyness, I bet she’ll make me do her dirty work for her. And I’ll be happy to do it. Anything for an old friend.

18 comments:

Basic Black with Pearls said...

Glad to see you haven't gone totally insane with waiting for dat baby, dahling. And here is the tale of Maxine and how she came to be. Have a lovely Easter. We miss you!

Toni said...

That was precious!

Chanel said...

unbelievable!
east coaster!!!! that explains everything, Ive always wanted to be an east coaster.
Happy Easter from the Tooth Fairy.

Melissa said...

I love that story! And what a great thing to share with your kiddos :)
Happy Easter

chronicler said...

Oh man, you make me want to meet Maxine. I love this story! Wish her well for when when she stumbles off the plane from Staten Island.

Lisa M. said...

I lived in CT for yonks.

Vivid memories, your discription evoked.

I'd love to meet Maxine.

Ah, and days on Staten Island.

*very big smile*

Jenny said...

I knew the tooth fairy as Thaddeus T. Firefly who made his home out of teeth, which is why we had to brush. He had my Dad's handwriting.

So does this mean you're still pregnant?

Sarah said...

Am I ever.

s'mee said...

our little tooth faery was quiet, but left her sparkly little foot prints on the walls and furniture. She left microscopic thank you notes with great detail on how she used teeth to make diamonds and pearls; and strict instructions on teeth cleaning and flossing...made the job much easier and the reward much higher. (teeth went for 25c - $1.00 depending on size and cleanliness)

Is it any wonder #3 wanted to be a Good Faery when she grew up? She just passed her boards and yup, now she's a certified licened, albeit non flying, tooth faery. Maybe the flying lessons come with the accent lessons???

Colleen said...

My little brother was so upset when he accidentally swallowed a loose tooth. How would the tooth fairy be able to come? My mom reassured him that this sort of thing happened all the time and that the tooth fairy had a fishing pole with which to fish it out.

Jamie J said...

What a great memory! I love that your parents had a name for the tooth fairy. I would love to meet Maxine too.

Clyde said...

Wonderful tale-telling tradition to pass on your children!

Julie said...

This is such a cute memory.

But coming from a native Broolynite, Maxine won't smell of the Hudson, she'll smell like landfill, since most of SI was one before the built on top of it.

:)

Annie said...

Our philosopy when it comes to losing teeth; The more you bleed, the more money you get!

Lianne said...

That is fantastic! Every family should be so creative. I remember a friend of mine had the "Hairy Tooth Fairy" because the dad would always forget to put the money under the pillow, so he's make the kid lie down, close their eyes and then he'd reach his hairy arm under their pillow.

citymama1 said...

You could turn that into a Children's picture book. I'm serious. Think about it...I know so great illustrators.

Bethany said...

my favorite post.... ever

Jeans Pants said...

I'm very familiar with Maxine. She was pretty hot. She would come into my room for my teeth and I would always try an woo her. One night I offered to take her out for some coffee and, since she works late nights, agreed to go out with me. She was pretty cool.=0)

I should let you know I believed in Santa Clause for too long. My family even went out of the way every year to either make sleigh tracks in the snow or sounds on the roof. So I know what you mean when you say you cant wait to share this experience with your kids =0)