Middle of the night, in a field of empty cubicles, punching numbers into computers. Law office at 3 am wandering corridors because they needed someone there in case the phone rang. Getting on an immigration line at 9 pm, huddling all night in the cold until official doors opened at 830 am and the well-rested and richer person took my place.
Florence, only qualified to play or to teach, once did supermarket inventory in the middle of the night. Hands trained to wring out the nuances of the saddest music in the world, placing Del Monte cans neatly on a shelf. It paid the bills as she put her life back together.
And my father, neatly charting the 162 jobs he applied to after being given the shaft by a company he had shown up to for 25 years, rain, shine, grim, broken, bereft, lost, still providing for a family that was slowly disappearing…
He finally got a job with the city through blind testing and worked until it was time to retire and get a bit of a pension.
She finally got enough paying piano students that paid the bills and allowed her to dance with the girls she liked.
And after all the too-many decades I trundled through, I looked at that wide open barren space and decided to fill it with story.
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.