When the old people die in the old neighborhood, usually it's their kids who clean out the apartment.
But sometimes their kids send their kids who don't know what's what. Or sometimes there are no kids so it's the niece or the nephew or their kids. And sometimes it's even the kids of the neighbors next door - complete strangers - who clean out the life of a person who has no kin and no connection except to the people in the photos they leave behind.
Which is how Laurel found all these old photos tossed in the garbage. She brought them home so that a discarded life and history could always have a home.
This is Delancy Street. The Delancy Street Florence roamed. The Loews Delancy in the background still looked like that when we went there on Saturday afternoons.
Laurel thinks this was taken on Orchard Street. The boy, the mother, and even if she was the sister, the young woman relegated to the back. We all hoped the picture was taken when he was back for good.
On the back of this, in beautiful fountain pen cursor, someone wrote "Herman. He played for the Czar." Since the only Russians who came to America in the early 1900 were Jews, all we could think was this was a Jew who played for the Czar. That was a big, big deal.
Did Herman ever make it here or did he die there, probably in a pogram or in the camps?
Me, Laurel and Joyce looked at this guy and we all said "He looks familiar. That place looks is familiar."
This picture, every inch of it, is a picture of one of those rare delicious moments I had as a kid - the evening dark, the clock early, the smells recognizable, the accent my own.
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