Thursday, December 25, 2008

memories of the singers

It was in 1968 that I first met the lovely and kind Mrs. Frances Singer. We were both teachers at PS 41, on West 11th Street in NYC's Greenwich Village. I was in my first year of teaching and I was assigned a K-1 class. Mrs. Singer was there to help. We became fast friends and she seemed to want to cultivate an out of school friendship with me.
Mrs. Singer was married to a highly respected physician and they lived in a brownstone on a leafy and quiet street not far from the school. Mrs. Singer invited me to lunch at her home on a school holiday and I accepted. This experience is another that sticks with me and today... on this unusually warm winter Saturday, memories are flooding back to me.

I remember it was on a Tuesday afternoon when I walked down from Chelsea to visit the Singers for lunch. I rang the bell and the door was answered by a member of her staff. I had never been to a home with a butler before, but he took my coat and showed me to the drawing parlor, where I waited for Mrs. Singer. She entered and she was wearing exquisite formal attire. She greeted me and Dr. Singer entered to be introduced. He shook my hand and he apologized and said he would not be joining us for lunch because in an emergency he had to see a patient.

Mrs. Singer asked me if I needed to use the washroom and she told me it was on the third floor on the left. I climbed the two long steep flights of stairs and entered an elegant bathroom that appeared to be her personal boudoir. There was a chaise lounge and dressing tables filled with creams and perfumes and dusting powders. On the back of the door hung feathered robes and dressing gowns. And next to the sink were pink guest soaps in the shape of seashells.

I descended those long stairs and I was seated in a dining room at a table that could easily have fit 20 people. Mrs. Singer rang a bell and her cook entered to serve the appetizer. We dined on some fancy prepared gourmet meal and I had "pate." Mrs. Singer was very attentive to my level of comfort, and every time I made a request she would ring the little soft bell and her cook would appear and handle all the needs.

We discussed teaching and we discussed life. Mrs. Singer spoke about her daughter who was about my age and who she adored. We talked about many things. It was the first time I had been surrounded by such elegance.

It has been about forty years since that day. Aging has me Googling around all over trying to find out where some of the many people are with whom I crossed paths during my long career. Today, I sadly learned Mrs. Singer passed away in 1999 and her husband passed away in 2004.

Manhattan was a quieter city forty years ago. There was a less rushed and congested atmosphere. People were less angry and not as confrontational. There was less noise. There was less rudeness and people seemed to treat each other more kindly. People took time to breathe.

a place to go

The year was 1974. I was teaching at a small school on West 45th Street. I had a wonderful 6th grade class. The students were bright, creative, and they had a real sense of humor. The school was on the same block as the Actor's Studio, the Manhattan Plaza had just been completed, and on nice days I could walk home. I loved going to work.
One day, a student named Christopher came to school a little bit late. I asked him the reason for his tardiness, and he told me that the night before he had attended an opening of a movie in which his father had a role. I asked him the name of the film, and he replied, "Godfather II." "Oh," I said. I asked, "What part did your father have in the movie?" He replied, "Frankie Five Angels." I did know that Christopher's father was the playwright who had written "Hatful of Rain." But, I did not know that he was in the film, "Godfather II." So! Christopher's father was "Frankie Pentangeli;" interesting... Godfather II, was released and it opened at a Loew's theater on Broadway. It received phenomenal reviews and I couldn't wait to see it.
Soon thereafter were parent-teacher conferences. I am lucky Christopher was an excellent student. I do not think I would have had a comfort level sitting across from that father and giving a bad report. Mr. Gazzo had written a note to me during that school year asking permission for his son to be excused early on an October day and I saved the note. It was not just a signed note, it was an autograph.
A few months later, the Gazzo family moved to Los Angeles. Christopher kept in touch with all of us through letters he sent to the school addressed to me. In one letter, Christopher asked me if I was still singing because I was awful. I was a teacher who sang while she taught? He said he was going to a school 20 times better but he would rather be going to our school because he missed all of us.
Larry David was asked why he still works. He clearly does not need to work. He said his mother had told him many years ago that we all need to always wake up in the morning and have a place to go. I had a place to go.


I saw the film "Atonement" yesterday. Before the film even began, the theater reeked from a combination of feet, farts, and garlic. I always carry a small bottle of my favorite perfume, Clinique Elixir, so that in situations like that I can spray some onto my wrist and take quick hits when I get nauseous. I never put my head back on a high theater seat. It's a good way to catch pediculosis. I drape my coat over the back of the seat and rest my head on that. The guy in front of me in the theater had a raging case of dandruff and I felt bad for the person who would follow him into that seat.
I also have taken to going to the movies with a hefty bag. I am not a bag lady and I do not sit there wrapped in it while I mumble comments to the characters in the film. I use it to cover the seat. I find it gross to sit in an upolstered theater seat that somebody sat in (for over 2 hours) just 20 minutes earlier. I notice on buses when people get up the seat is sometimes moist from toches perspiration, but on a metal seat the moisture evaporates... maybe leaving a toxic residue, but what can you do? In an upolstered seat, all that toches perspiration gets absorbed into the seat. I do not want to sit in that hot mess, so the hefty bag serves as an extra measure of protection. Then when the film ends, you gingerly pick it up and throw it away.
The film was long and I had to leave to use the bathroom. How come women who stand to pee do not lift the seat? They spray all over it and then they do not follow the rule: "please be neat, wipe the seat." It is uber-gross if you are a sitter and sit down on a wet seat.
I was riding in a cab yesterday and an inch from my left shoulder, on the outside of the taxi window, was a load of fresh bird shit. Oh, and never send food back in a restaurant. I heard they spit in it. I once saw a chef in a restaurant blow his nose on his shirt collar and then proceed to make a salad. Once I ordered lean corned beef on rye in a diner with an open kitchen. The chef coughed into his hand and then proceeded to let the the beef he was slicing drop into that same hand.
Have you ever strolled the city sidewalks and stepped in gum, spit, or dog shit? I have. I have thrown away many brand new pairs of shoes due to that disgusting stuff. Once, I was walking on West 45th Street and I was wearing sandals. I was talking and laughing and stepped in a fresh pile of horse manure. It happened when I was still teaching and I ran back to the school and the custodian hosed off my foot in the school playground. I threw the sandals away (changed into a spare set of mocassins) and a teacher took the sandals out of the trash and kept them and wore them the next day! Can you believe her habits?
When I was an active teacher, a kid spit on the staircase bannister, and I hold onto that railing as I walk down the stairs. I caught a handful of fresh saliva on my way down to the gym.
Once on the bus I had just come from the hair salon and a person sitting directly behind me sneezed right onto the back of my head. I touched the back of my hair and it was wet with sneeze residue.
How come in apartment houses residents use the laundry carts to take down their dirty laundry? I don't want to remove my clean laundry from the dryer and use one of those contaminated carts. I saw a guy washing his sneakers in one of those machines! And his dirty underwear, spread out on the table, could have first used a nice cold water hand soak.
Now we have to worry about bedbugs when we travel! This is a new hazard! Good grief!
My habits are impeccable, but I see many people do not follow common rules of sanitary behavior. It is very disconcerting and gives me pause for thought on this Monday night.

little stays of execution

As one ages, the declutter process begins. We throw out "stuff" so that the load is lighter. It serves to streamline life. As I was going through some papers, I found a photo taken (in about 1974) on a Sunday in broad daylight on 7th Avenue. There is not one person on the street. I found an issue of "Poet" magazine that had published one of my poems in the Winter of 1992. I was called a "New American Poet." Imagine that! Here is the final stanza:

As I hear the sound of the rain begin
to assault the old, tired, faded fire escape-
I start to pack.

In 1991, I won the contest to find "the funniest teacher" at Stand-up NY comedy club. A few years earlier, at The Eagle Tavern, Jon Stewart had spent 20 seconds of his act imitating me. And that year a parent visited me during the school conference night and told me that her daughter set up her room to resemble a classroom and spent part of the night being "Miss Levine" as she taught her imaginary class. I look at my many former students in old class photos. I have a class photo from 1969 where I am wearing a Mary Quant dress and Correge boots and my hair is in a bouffant artichoke.
We tend to go through life thinking we are immortal. I studied Buddhism with Robert Thurman, and many of the lectures were spent discussing mortality. We all have a death sentence. But wait! If we get the right tests and then the recommended procedures, we can get a little stay of execution. It's about those little stays of execution along the way.

the housecoat

I finally did it. I succombed. Recently, I drove to the Newport Center Mall and walked through the mall past Victoria's Secret and Frederick's of Hollywood (not that at my age and with my body I would even give consideration to walking into those stores). I knew where I was going. I had direction and I was on a mission. I headed to JC Penney to check out the housecoats, or as they are sometimes called: "dusters."
I am of that age now when I want to be able to sit around my apartment in a housecoat and be able to wear it to both leave the apartment to throw out the garbage and to go down to do the laundry.
I did not like the selection in JC Penney because they were all only hand washable and I must be able to machine wash my clothes. So, I headed over to Macy's, but they had nothing.
I decided to stop at the Food Court. I dined at Burger King and washed my lunch down with a McDonalds's chocolate shake. Then I noticed a new ice cream joint in the corner by Kohl's and I went in to look at the flavors. They had blue ice cream! It looked unappealing, so I settled for a medium dish of toffee. I was sitting on the bench and was feeling very relaxed. I got a text message from this guy William who I don't even know but he keeps text messaging me about nonsense. I deleted the message and went into Kohl's. I ran out because they had nothing larger than a size 12.
I headed to Sears. Wow! I loved their large collection of beautiful dusters. I got three: one in red plaid, one with blue flowers, and one with pink stripes. I was delighted!
I came home and washed them because I always wash before wearing. Today, I am sitting here at the computer and I am wearing the red one. It is very comfortable and it should serve me well since I live in an apartment house. I can wear it in the hall and feel quite appropriately attired with proper decorum.
Little finds can bring such joy into a day. And it is very important to be mentally ready and prepared to pass through life's stages in terms of dress. One day you can be all sexed out in black lace lingerie from Victoria's Secret and the next day you can be a fat slob in a red plaid housecoat from Sears.
It's all good. I compliment the look with two rollers in the top of my hair (for height). I found my smile.

me and my baby teeth

Dentists are always surprised when they examine my teeth and find I still have three baby teeth. They just never fell out. There may be no permanent teeth under them which might be the reason they are still in my mouth. I love them. I have had them for sixty years. I fear I may have a huge cavity in one of my baby teeth because it has been sensitive and it hurts. It was explained to me that the tooth cannot be refilled with amalgam because very little of the tooth structure remains. They cannot do a root canal on a baby tooth and it cannot be capped. It might have to be extracted. My fear is exacerbated.
Nobody ever guesses my age. I look much younger than my years. For real. I am also very puerile and immature. I have the joie de vivre of a much younger woman. Are you with me here? Are you following this? You got it.
I fear that when I lose my baby teeth, I will rapidly age. A few short days after my baby teeth are extracted, I will look like Hecate; all wrinkled, bent, and wizened. And my youthful sense of self-deprecating humor will disappear.
I allude to a Biblical story. Samson's hair is what made him so strong. Delilah found out it was because his hair had never been cut. When his hair was cut, he lost his strength. Also think: "The Picture of Dorian Gray," but not quite...
Yes, my baby teeth are my Fountain of Youth. They keep me young. They may in fact contain Botox. They may drip collagen into my system. Maybe they even produce a quickly absorbed Retinol. But what concerns me most about the loss of my remaining baby teeth is that my blogs will morph to boring, droll, and trite pieces. No longer will my fans be sweatin' Da RaPpIn' EDuCaTor. They will be reading the prose of Mrs. Odettes.

font felonies

I was banned from TelevisionWithoutPity for not beginning a sentence in a reply with a capital letter. Last night, I dreamed I was back at TWoP again. I was posting and I was unable to stop violating the "dos and don'ts." I had to appear before a panel of mods who would decide a suitable consequence. After a brief recess, the verdict was rendered. I was found guilty of font felonies and sentenced to wear mittens after I logged in. I was devastated. I woke up in a cold sweat and I was so upset I did not know if it was morning or evening. I immediately looked at my hands and I was shocked to see on the middle finger of my right hand a strange looking ruby thimble. I tapped it three times and said: "There's no place like internet forums" and the next thing I knew I was eating potato latkes at the old Famous in Brooklyn. Then, I really was awakened by a loud banging on my apartment door. It was the super with the exterminator. Nothing like a swift NYC reality check to break a technicolor fever dream. And instead of latkes, I grabbed a pop tart and went down to tumult with the doorman.

walking sideways on a spiral staircase

The retired teacher closed her eyes and remembered back to the day when, as a young twenty-two year old rookie, she approached a student and timidly asked to see the homework. The student turned and laughingly replied, "Suck dick, bitch."

That night she called the student's home to discuss such outrageous behavior. The student answered the phone. The young teacher asked to speak to a parent and the student called, "Ma, my teacher wants to talk to you." In the background, the teacher could hear the mother say in a low voice: "Tell her I am not home."

The teacher did not know then that it was going to be a very long thirty-four years. There would be days where she would catch handfuls of spit left behind on staircase bannisters for the purpose of grossing out the unsuspecting victims of the nasty and foul prank. There would be days she would be so tired she would want to go home in an ambulance. Yes, the years were filled with sagas.

I am that teacher and those years were my years... and I so own them.

"good teachers" and "learning"

I recently was involved in a discussion with a man who used the expression "good teachers." That same day, a woman said it was "tragic" that students did not want to learn. That gave me a good laugh. She must have forgotten what school was like. I openly admit I never went to school "to learn." I don't remember any kids liking school. I hated school and so did all my friends. We loved summer vacations, snow days, weekends, and holidays. We loved when the teacher was absent. We tortured subs like all kids do. We all signed "Maynard G. Krebs" when the substitute passed around the attendance sheet. We never connected school with "learning" and like all kids, we wanted fun during school hours! I can remember sitting with my friend Roberta in the school cafeteria. We bought 8 Hostess Sno Balls that had pink and white tops. Just as lunch was ending, we "scalped" the Sno Balls and left the tops on the lunch table to annoy the teacher who was on lunch duty. We had such innocent fun in school back in the 60s. But, we also turned a chemistry room into total pandemonium when the bunson burner accidentally exploded in the teacher's face.
So what's this hand-wringing shtik about kids going to school these days and not "wanting to learn?" Most kids never connect school with learning. I think adults have to accept that scenario and also stop thinking that learning should be fun. The "fun" has to be taken out of the daytime equation. Schools should be like that old TV documentary "Scared Straight." Anything else sends the wrong message because in the 60s for me it was all about American Bandstand and today it is all MTV. School is not reality TV.
The latest hogwash is for school to be run like a model from the corporate business world, where the teachers who don't "produce" are "fired." That is an even bigger laugh. Obviously, none of those who advocate that agenda have ever been in a school in the role of a classroom teacher. One day in the classroom would be their total cure. They seem to think it is all about crafting excellent lessons where students sit quietly and attentively soaking up the subject matter like dutiful sponges. They believe that students regurgitate on standardized tests what they were taught and thereby show a teacher's merit. They do not understand that there are variables involved such as paying attention, studying and learning the material, and doing the assigned work to reinforce the lesson.
And the most important element of what makes a "good teacher" is the ability to handle and manage what often may be a difficult class with several disruptive students. The teacher needs to be able to manage the schedule of subject time blocks and to execute mandated mini-lessons that are easy to understand and follow. She must communicate with students and parents in a professional manner in soft and measured tones and never never ever "yell. " Yelling is considered corporal punishment.
The teacher has to handle many noneducational tasks and interruptions each day... such as students going to the nurse, parents coming to pick up students, the need for the bathroom all day, notes from parents, fights, missing books, students' needs (the sun is in my eyes, it's hot in here, it's cold in here, he took my pencil, my brother expects his notebook now, my mother told me to call her at 11:00, etc.) And then the class phone will ring and the school secretary is asking for a child to be sent to the office immediately with work for the week because he is being placed on an in-house suspension. During the call, everybody starts talking and when the call ends the teacher has to use all her energy to quiet everybody down again. Two minutes later, the principal booms into the class loudspeaker that a monitor should bring down the class record box. Then a fight from the hall spills into your classroom and the school security guard trips over the students while she is trying to break up the fight.
There are constant disruptions to be handled such as the nurse coming in with notes for immediate distribution, the art teacher returning unfinished paintings, the speech teacher picking up her group, the resource room teacher giving you IP reports to fill out, the computer repair guy coming to class, the principal asking for report cards, the school secretary asking for immunization record reports, administrators who march in from the district office and check bulletin boards for posted standards, the school-based team asking for student assessments, the custodian coming in to deliver new equipment, the testing digiteks arriving which have to be returned within an hour, your planbook is overdue and you didn't list the aim of every lesson, the science teacher comes in and wants your projects for the fair, the music teacher busts in and wants the chorus, a kid vomits in the back, a kid goes to the closet and rips a down coat and feathers fly all over the room, a kid chases another kid into the hall, the AP returns a kid who ran out of the room and she tells you it was because your lesson was not motivating... whew, can we come up for air?
And yes, indeed the teacher will be blamed for everything. There is not one incident for which the teacher cannot and will not be blamed. If an 11 year old student trips on his way to the bathroom, the teacher will be asked by the principal why she did not make sure his shoes were tied before he left the room. If a student does not eat his lunch during the lunch hour, the teacher will be asked why she did not realize the student was not hungry before the lunch hour and send him to the guidance counselor. If a student does not do his homework, the teacher will be blamed for not making the homework more interesting. If a student fights with a sibling on the weekend, the teacher will be blamed for not assigning more reading to provide more weekend distractions. If one student pushes another student on the stairs and they fall, the teacher will be blamed for allowing them to be near each other on the class line. You get the picture. The teacher will be blamed for everything that happens... even if she is not even there. And the teacher must value "instructional time" more than fasting on Yontiff.
Wait! I omitted the most important point for the evaluation and determination of who are "good teachers." She should be a good interior decorator because principals love love love rooms that look like super sweet sixteen parties. Her bulletin boards should have cotton and glitter and pipe cleaners and three-dimensional pop-out technicolor doilies and ribbons. And they must be covered in more plastic than my Aunt Sadie's Brooklyn sofa.
And if anybody asks about the school... teachers must always reply: "It's good," even if it resembles the prison in "Midnight Express" because TPTB hate hate hate whistleblowers. Teachers, be prepared to kiss principals' asses in Macy's window until retirement! OK, how do we determine who "good teachers" are? Well, at the least level she should certainly be able to multi-task! And on a few days along the way be prepared to go home by ambulance. :-D
That was the last fur coat I ever wore. Nobody should wear "Bugs Bunny."

going home

“When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn't the old home you missed but your childhood”--- Thomas Wolfe

I may not be able to "go home" again, but I can close my eyes and still hear my mother (at 5:30) every evening calling us for "supper." Then, I open my eyes and walk to Whole Foods for an organic chicken and I wash it down with a pint of chocolate Haagen-Dazs. Then I watch some reality TV and wait for the next day to arrive. In retirement, it's "Groundhog Day!" Or is it?

"you can't go home again"

I am filled with memories of summers of long ago. I can close my eyes and remember awakening to the sound of lawnmowers and the smell of fresh cut grass. A "newsboy" would deliver Newsday and I would read Brenda Starr with more eager anticipation than a new episode of "The Sopranos." On warm days, I would ride my bike around a stream that was filled with tadpoles and return home to watch "American Bandstand" followed by "I Married Joan." Now, I awaken to the sound of a cell phone tower being installed on the roof of my building and I am excited to discover who was nominated for eviction from the "Big Brother" house. And I drive my car to Zabar's for the chopped liver. What a denouement!

the pines hotel, 1961

the catskills, 1963

This was taken as we entered the Imperial Room of the Concord Hotel to see the Connie Francis show. The night before, a first family photo was taken... and the photographer said I looked "drowsy-eyed." So to please me, we retook the picture and this time I made sure my eyes were wide open. This brings "bug-eyed" to a new level.

the infamous "drowsy-eyed" photo

the concord hotel, 1963

All the other adventurers on that cold snowy morning reached the top of the slope and put on their skis and flew down the hill. I decided to walk down. I took baby steps. I was not a risk taker.

from a sixth grade autograph book, 1958

These pages show my prolific parents on the pages they signed in my sixth grade graduation autograph book.

dear diary, 1958

I did not seem to have too great an attention span. There are only a few entries, and much of the blue "Ponytail" diary remains blank. I do remember how much I loved "American Bandstand." I can still recall the regulars: Arlene, Kenny, Justine, Bob... We did go one Saturday to The Dick Clark Show, which was telecast from NYC's Little Theater. We wore "IFIC" buttons to advertise that a chewing gum was "flavorific." I entered a contest to name a handpuppet that appeared on that show. I named the puppet: "Retsmar," after a cousin's cat. I won. I got to attend The Dick Clark Show again, especially exciting because Fabian was the guest and he sang "Like a Tiger." I was in heaven!

look what I found!

I found this story I wrote in 1956. It could be my Pulitzer!

"new york magazine" competitions

For many years, "New York Magazine" ran a series of writing competitions which always appeared on the last page. Readers were given a premise, and the entrants had to develop a one to three line piece or short paragraph to satisfy the description. I entered often and always hoped to win. I look back now, and although many of my "Honorable Mentions" now seem corny and dated, they still make me smile. Here are a few of my entries that won and were published in the magazine. I am going to retype as many as my lazy fingers this afternoon will allow.

" Results of Competiton 746, in which you were asked for Epitaphs."


Perpetual Care by I.M. Pei

"Results of Competition 749, in which you were asked for the opening sentence of a tell-all book."

Last night I dreamt I went to Brooklyn again, where the Brobdingnagian man who today holds court from a corner table at Spago was known simply as "little putz."

"Results of Competiton 816, in which you were asked for the opening lines of a badly written best-seller."

Desiree sat in Judge Paul Tyler's courtroom wearing Armani and a smirk. "So he denied me bail," she thought. "It wasn't so long ago that I was denied nothing." She caught a familiar whiff of Dolce and Gabbana and remembered the hazy evening on Royal Street in the Quarter. "The evidence will show..." droned the prosecutor.

"Results of Competition 862, in which you were asked to win the Eastern Division of the American league, or failing that, to provide a few aromatic lines from a Book About Hollywood."

"And the Oscar goes to... Marlene Bartlett for "Raining in New York." Dr. Lucas Braxton watched as Marlene, radiant, stepped up to the podium. Who would accept, he wondered... Darlene? Charlene? ... or Jim?

"Results of Competition 890, in which you were asked to invent a three-line, two person conversation."

A. I've been told I have no empathy.

B. Well, today my therapist diagnosed me with serious borderline personality disorder.

A. Who cares?

"Results of Competiton 905, in which you were asked for three versions of a random sentence."

The apparition danced before her eyes, then vanished into the dark mirror.

She glanced into the mirror and saw a man looking over her shoulder.


"Results of Competition 852, in which you were asked to describe creative playthings."

THE COMPETITION EDITOR DOLL-- when it winds up, it says, "Hoping you the same."

That last entry paid homage to the editor of the competitions, Mary Ann Madden. She always ended her Competition report with that sign-off. Some readers complained that the same group of writers won every week, but new names popped up frequently and joined the club.

OK, my fingers need to be bathed in epsom salts.

this old house

I love these photos from 1960 and 1961. They both show in the background a very old house that was torn down shortly thereafter. The first is a photo where I am pledging for Theta Sigma Delta Hi-Y, which is similar to a sorority. The second photo shows me standing on our patio. I love old photos because they are really a glimpse into the past and are the closest experience we have to time travel.

shopping uptown

My parents shopped uptown for the bridal registry dinnerware.

a lofty stroll

best toy ever

It was December 26, 1947 and NY was being bombarded with snow from a terrible relentless blizzard. And, it was on this same night that my father had promised to bring home the Mickey and Minnie Mouse dolls I had seen in a toy store. My mother was getting worried because my father was late coming home and she told me not to expect him to be able to go to get the dolls in such terrible weather. Well, darkness fell and still no sight of my father. As I was about to go to sleep for the night, in walked my father covered in huge amounts of snow. And he was holding the precious Minnie and Mickey Mouse dolls for which I had been frantically waiting all day. I still can hear my mother saying as he walked through the door: "In this weather you went to get the dolls? You're crazy." So what's wrong with crazy?

see-saw, marjorie daw

I seem to be trying to make a decision. Whatever choices I have made, there are no do-overs now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

true love

My parents seemed to be happily married.

the true story

But, this photo proves what I always knew! My mother really hated my father and when nobody was looking, she tried to kill him!

lost, but found

It was always something at the Columbia Silver Company.

I found some silver collectors discussing (at an internet message forum) my father's long gone business. I am one of the daughters of one of the brothers who owned Columbia Silver Company. The silver company was located in Brooklyn on McDonald Avenue. It went completely out of business in the 70s. No records remain. By 1994, all the three brothers had passed away. A photo of the three brothers, from 1916, can be found at this blog in the family photo of the side from Minsk.

from the 30s

This is my mother at graduation and my father in formal wear.

when the leaves began to fall

We moved to Long Island in 1952, and when autumn arrived the chilly weather turned the days grey and the views were bleak. These photos show a cold rain and empty vistas. The neighborhood seemed covered in a despondency that was trapped in an endless maze of mirrors.