Betsy Doll

Eighty years of marriage does not seem very long.

Thoughts of you inspired a song.

I sang of our travels, our family, our friends.

Our love for each other until the very end.

Our joys, our quarrels, the traveling we did.

The castles we saw that we dreamed of as kids.

We saw wealth and poverty side by side, impossible to hide.

Like the New York tenement I lived in.

Vermin, rat ridden, it had Italian marble steps as you went inside.

My thoughts wander, from near to far.

“And the band played on.”

* * *

Perfectly at ease with my thoughts while lying on the living room couch, Danny comes over, nudges me.

“Let’s go.”

I have never said no.

With some difficulty, I get up and follow him.

He leads us to the elevator, which debarks us into the underground garage to his car, which we get into. 

Prior to leaving our apartment he puts a mandatory mask over my face and like everyone else on the street, I look like a bank robber.

He puts it into gear and we are on our way to Boyle Heights for a visit to his wife.

* * *


It took me a while to accept Betty’s death, September 31, 2019, with her beguiling smile on her face. 

I had leaned close to her and said, “Betsy doll, I love you.”

She squeezed my hand and deeply exhaled. It was her last breath. I bent over close to her mouth and said, “Goodbye, Betsy my love,” and kissed her. Betsy doll opened her mouth into a distorted “O” and died.

As the rabbi had said 80 years ago – in death we parted.

Overwhelmed with tears, I left the room, went to bed, unable to sleep.

As my friend and longtime employee Ruby said, “Boss, that’s the way it is. That’s life.”

August 12, 2020

Author: Morrie Markoff

Centenarian (born in 1914) who lives in Los Angeles, and is also a metal sculpture artist and the Author of "Keep Breathing," available on and other book seller sites.