The N-word was not spoken on Thatford Avenue; not in anger nor in jest. I didn’t hear it at home or school, or in the dreary little shops we and the other poor frequented or on the gritty streets where we played hopscotch. I’m not saying Brooklyn was a citadel for forward thinkers, but rather a holding cell for those who might produce a future president or those who would end up homeless. The Euro-poor of my childhood knew how tenuousness their financial safety was in golden America. It made us overly polite and humble to the point of timidity.Read More
One More Thing Before I Go
Last spring when the scent of lilacs followed me from the backyard into my kitchen, I thought of my mother’s distant cousin and her daughters, who, like my lilacs, visited yearly when the earth warmed and the days grew longer. I pictured us all in idyllic memories of jump rope games and playing with dolls. But, except for MaryAnn, the littlest daughter, I could not remember their names.
A few years ago, I could have called my mother. She would have teased me for my forgetfulness, asked what I was making for dinner (there was never a phone conversation where we didn’t talk about food) and repeated her mother-to-daughter mantra, “When are you coming over?” We would have shared stories of those long-ago days before hanging-up and re-joining our lives. But my mother has passed on and while the images of our family lingers-the details are lost. I write One more thing before I go, my living record for my son, in hope that one day, when he has a question I can no longer answer, it can be found in this blog.