Originally posted August 15, 2010
When the old people die in the old neighborhood, usually it's their kids who clean out the apartment.
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.
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
This is Delancey Street. The Delancey Street Florence roamed. The Loews Delancey in the backbround 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."
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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