A My Private Coney project Flash non-fiction, brief moments and old memories of a city and mother's emotional and physical real estate disappearing at the speed of heartbreak.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Following In Florence's Footsteps
It's rarely a thrill to notice you have become just like your parents.
Usually it's during one of those not-so-flattering moments when you hear yourself say something or watch yourself do something and remember once upon a time you swore, swore, swore you'd never be like them but here you are be-ing just like them...
But how about those other moments when you notice you have become just like your parents?
I remember one day years and years and years ago during a visit to Florence - she was in her late sixties - watching her, as she held a little notebook filled with instructive notes, mesmerize me with tapping I didn't know lived in her feet. Growing up in Fred and Ginger movies, she had always wanted to tap. She alluded that it was a challenge to go to that class - maybe because she was older than everyone, maybe because she was reclaiming a dream too late. But she went until she couldn't anymore.
Facing the rest of my fifties, I decided to do what I had always wanted to do. It wasn't Fred and Ginger I wanted in my feet, but salsa music, what I heard all my life drifting onto Broome Street from the tenements, filling the neighborhood's bodegas, or blasting out of big cars zipping under the Williamsburg Bridge.
So I started taking a weekly free salsa lesson in the neighborhood. I may be old enough to be the other students' mother, and yeah sometimes sitting and watching the guys ask elegant, beautiful, young women to dance feels like I'm back in a junior high school nightmare.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.