Thursday, July 30, 2009

... and Dancing in the Rain

It wasn't that I had forgotten. It's just that I hadn't had to remember. But there she was, a little girl jumping and giggling and running and shouting in Wednesday's downpour.

When I was young and it poured humongous cats and dogs, Florence would send me out in maybe rain boots, maybe sneakers to play in the storm. I'd race around the empty courtchyard and jump and dance and skip and stick my face up into thunder and wind.

As of her decline deepened, the months and months and months turned into years and years, and to pass the time we would watch Singing In The Rain over and over and over again. The blessing of dementia allowed it to be an exciting revisit, one she didn't realize had just happened the week before.

Today, quickly snapping a picture as I futilely raced against getting soaked and miserably wet, I wondered if her quirky idea of playtime came from that passionate dance Gene Kelly did when he realized he was in love.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"... Another Hundred People Got Off Of The Train..."*

Waiting for someone, watched the many people pour out like confetti made of July colors, a train station reconfigured some years ago to look beautiful yet remind us through pieces of old walls artfully placed how awful it had been especially during the summer months.

*Another Hundred People - Company by Stephen Sondeim

...It's a city of strangers,
Some come to work, some to play.
A city of strangers,
Some come to stare, some to stay...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Memories: Home Where My Love Lies Waiting - revisited

This is Florence somewhere in Bushwick. She told me she could tell how their fortunes were diminishing by how bad the new home was. This move was one of the bigger steps down.

The trip from Trenton to Brooklyn was taken illegally in the front of the truck with the driver who, according to Florence, took pity on Gramma and her, two lone females on the border of destitute.

I know nothing of that apartment on Patchen Avenue, except that Florences flourished at Eramus High School, was neighbors with someone who knitted mittens used for shooting rabbits, and had someone mailed her a little letter so that she could have this special stamp for her collection.


original post:

The Exhaustion of Diaspora: Part Six - Home Where My Love Lies Waiting
Saturday, April 4, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Welcome, New Visitors to HER NEW YORK!

Thank you so much for taking time that at the end of your life you do not get back to visit IT WAS HER NEW YORK.

I post three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, Sunday's posting always a family or childhood memory. However, as we see from JEREMIAH'S VANISHING NEW YORK, something in our home can without warning suddenly become a memory.

Still, perhaps foolishly so, I write to defy what some call inevitable and others call stupid. I'm with stupid.

Like Father, Like Son

It was a dream come true. As wonderful as Gramma allowing me a ride on the Wonder Wheel or Florence playing hookey with me and Louise and taking us for a early morning summer swim, recently one night I got to have Coney and baseball together. The Brooklyn Cyclones, farm team for the Mets, were playing the Pennsylvania Auburn and with $8 tickets for the outfield boxes, once again we rode the emotional roller coaster until the Cyclones, just like the Mets came from behind and we're still not sure how but then again family traits do run deep.

And of course, the fireworks helped ease the exhaustion from the ride.

*with thanks to Kristopher for the hotdogs and fries. Go Nathan's!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Vanishing New York Highlights Her New York: C.O. Moed Faints

Jeremiah's Vanishing New York a.k.a. The Book of Lamentations: a bitterly nostalgic look at a city in the process of going extinct, one of THE most important blogs in the world (which NY is) highlighted IT WAS HER NEW YORK on it's Wednesday July 22nd blog.

Vanishing New York

To say that this is an honor is an understatement. Jeremiah Moss is a New York hero who epitomizes the African proverb "Only when lions have historians will hunters cease to be heroes."

Well, Mr. Moss is one mean-ass lion with a computer and because of that, our city won't have to go quietly into the night.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sunnyside Up

The maintenance guys had to get in immediately because something was leaking somewhere.  Luckily I still had an emergency $20 tucked away so I grabbed a taxi to Florence's.

The dashing driver and I talked about the decrease of taxi use and the possibility of driving a bus. He asked what I did.

"I'm an out-of-work writer."

"Oh! You can write about me."

So I took a picture and, handing him my card, told him to check the blog in a couple of days.

"I don't just drive a taxi." And he handed me his card. There, dashing smile and all, was his picture next to bright bold letters announcing SUNNYSIDE REAL ESTATE: All Your Residential and Business Needs Met!

"You're like in the two worst professions to be in during a recession,” I said in disbelief.

He laughed, said, "What can you do? You work."

Knock down 7, get up 8.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Memories - Fine Dining At Chez PS 134

PS 134 on East Broadway between Grand and Montgomery/Pitt

The spartan diet of Florence's limited but very healthy cooking took its toll early in my life and in need to something interesting to eat I would, against the rules, often visit friends' homes to ogle their tuna fish casseroles with potato chips on top, or their peanut butter and jelly sandwich (a forbidden delicacy in our home) or the obviously gourmet macaroni and cheese dishes. I didn't partake of any of it, the imposing on other people's limited food supply and strained budgets a cardinal sin, but I did lustfully leer at those dishes.

And then one summer, once again enrolled in the city-run day camp program in the park across the street, I was told that because I was a camper I was eligible for the summer lunch program at PS 134. I almost died and went to heaven. And for several weeks I indulged in plates of all the starch and gravy and meat loaf and macaroni they'd pile on my plastic tray.

Years later, I found out that PS 134 had a lunch-time program for the senior citizens in the neighborhood. For $1 you could get lunch. Florence, barely still cooking for herself or occasionally going to the Luncheonette with me (our version of eating out), swung by, perhaps motivated by the same curiosity that drove me to meander around friends' dinner tables. The fare, this time low sodium and low fat, was just as exotic to her as those summer meals years ago had been for me. I was thrilled, thinking a steady source of food would help balance the nutritional swings between her diet of national chain fast foods she saw on TV and the tasteless salt free organic stews she made for herself.

But soon she stopped. "I don't feel right," was her explanation. She worried that taking her $1 meal when she had a little bit more than nothing in her bank account was taking away a $1 meal from someone who didn't have anything in their bank account.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Coming Home

He and his five brothers and sisters were found in a box on Queens Boulevard in the pouring rain.

From the beginning we liked each other

However, I'm allergic to cats.

And there was that story of a cat who lived with my parents briefly. It kept following Florence around all day interrupting her practicing. The message was clear: pets stymie art. The cat was given away on day three.


When someone decides they want to adopt you and they decide it with a heart that has greater horizons than any limits that appear, there is really nothing much you can do about it.

And this kitten decided I was his.

So, one day, quite recently, he took up full residence in an apartment I obviously had been renting for 33 years just so that, one day, he could move in.

Jupiter has come home.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Old School High Tech Revisited

I couldn't get a signal on the computer to find the number of the theater to find out the times of the movie on Friday. "When I get home I'll go on their website and call them," I grumbled.

"I do have a phone book," she said. "It's white and it has numbers in it. I'm even in it."

Later, she read aloud from her hand written stories. I typed them into my computer. "Wouldn't it be faster to xerox it?" she asked.

"Who's old tech now?" I answered.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Memories - It Was Her New York and For a Brief Moment It Was Ours, Too

The people gathered.

The lady sang.

The audience listened.

The neighbor sat enthralled.

And she talked of her New York.

The Renegade Cabaret
Highline at the end by 21st Street
At night, usually Friday

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What I Stared At While Wondering ....

Then Why Are You Living Here?

Where: a tiny plane going from a tiny city back to New York

Who: two high-powered business people with accents from places I'm told I should be more open to

What They Said:
#1 - I'm still getting used to it. Did you ride the subway when you lived in NY?
#2 - no, not really...I wouldn't. There are um interesting people on it if you know what I mean.
#1 - Ha ha.

What I Stared At On My Subway Ride Back from the Airport Wondering...

Where Are All The Interesting People?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Door

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. - Matthew 7:7

But if all else fails, take a picture of it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday Memories - "You Say You Want A Revolution..."

Monty's Mom asked what everyone in the courtchyard asked. "What are you doing with your mother's apartment?"

(actually it was more like "whatcha gonna do wit ya motha's apartment?" note: the "t" is silent)

I gave the usual answer about renting and the piano.

"You still play?"

No. I had put my foot down at 13 and refused to play anymore. If I was going to be forced to study music, go to music school and attend the music department at the School for the Performing Arts for violin, I wasn't also going to study the piano. In a rare nod to my individualization, Florence agreed.

I never liked it, I told Monty's Mom.

"Well," she said, "You were a rebellious one."

I was? I had played with Monty when we were little little but like most of the neighbors in the courtchyard it never really felt like anyone knew me, just of me as I ran past in a game of tag.

"Oh yeah. You were power to the people. I mean it was the 60's. But yeah, you were. You were little, too. Yeah. Power to the people."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Songs from the Second Floor*

While they all took pictures of the Empire State Building I looked up to where New York really exists and took a picture of the second floor.

*Sånger från andra våningen (Roy Anderson- 2000)

A film poem inspired by the Peruvian poet César Vallejo. A story about our need for love, our confusion, greatness and smallness and, most of all, our vulnerability. It is a story with many characters, among them a father and his mistress, his youngest son and his girlfriend. It is a film about big lies, abandonment and the eternal longing for companionship and confirmation. Written by Fredrik Klasson {}