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New York Day Five – Tuesday

Ted gets the New York Times delivered, so I
got to read that fine paper as I ate breakfast. To the Café Noi for a final
post and to a shop called Sable’s, which was mentioned in the NYT on the
weekend and is around the corner from Ted’s – owned and run by Chinese
people, it sells lox and sturgeon, traditionally the domain of the Jews.
Bought some for Ted and Lola. Then packing and cleaning, making sure there is
absolutely no trace of me anywhere. I hope to be able to come back.
Not even a ten minute walk up 3rd
Avenue to Lola’s, to dump my stuff and off to meet Richard Curtis, who became
my New York agent in 2006. He loved my Jewish Shakespeare book and tried very
hard to sell it, but could not find a commercial press interested – the market,
they said, was just too small. So he urged me to find a university press, which
eventually I did. I’ve sent him word of how I’m doing, and this time decided to
see him again and let him know about my new projects, particularly the next
book, about my parents and my uncle Edgar and his arcane world of bridge.
Richard thought, though it’s very hard to sell memoirs, he said, there are now
so many, there might be interest in a book like that “if you can make it about
the larger world.” I will do my best.
Met Lola and her daughter Patti, cab to
MOMA. Patti has had an interesting career in fine art restoration, and Lola had
worked all her life as an artist and jeweller, so it was interesting touring
two exhibits with them, one on Degas’ prints and another, very different, on the
modern Californian artist Bruce Connor. The Degas was exquisite – my, that man
loved women and yet saw them clearly – I don’t ever think I’ve ever before seen
a classic work of art depicting a woman peeing. And Bruce Connor had a very
dark sense of humour; I laughed out loud several times.
We had coffee at MOMA, toured the shop and
then headed to Grand Central for supper at the Oyster Bar, which worked for
Patti as she was heading back to New Haven from there. A delicious meal in a
venerable establishment, including fried oysters, plump and juicy. Much, much
talk of family. 
Lola and I had a crazy cab ride home – heading off in the wrong
direction, much fuming before we got turned around – and then even more talk here about family. She had had a very full day and was still full of
energy. A life force. 
She gave me this quote from Einstein: “The
strange thing about growing old is that the intimate identification with the
here and now is slowly lost. One feels transposed into infinity, more or less
alone.” She understands this better than I. 
We watched a DVD I’d sent her of my
family’s early years, film taken by Pop, my grandfather, her mother Belle’s
beloved older brother. It showed my dad as a boy sledding in Central Park, he
and his little brother Edgar at a place by a lake and at boys’ camp – playing
baseball, Edgar the shy intellectual strikes out and my aggressive dad hits a
home run. Lola exclaimed, There’s Grandma! Yetta Kaplan, born near Minsk, the
family matriarch, a difficult woman. Lola remembers her. Lola remembers when
the Hindenburg went down. She is a human history book.

Lola and her sometime caregiver from Uganda, Jennifer

A picture I’d never seen before. The little boy, bottom centre, is my dad, with his father right behind him, somehow looking like everyone in the family. The smiling woman is Belle, Lola’s mother, the other man is her husband Jerry, and the little girl on the end is Lola. Must be about 1924. 

We talked about the anti-Semitism her
family, and she herself, had endured – her father Jerry Golinko had booked a
hotel for a family holiday, but when the check-in guy saw him – “Golinko was
not a Jewish name but Dad looked Jewish” – he was turned away: “No Jews are
allowed here.”
Now I have to get dressed and go to Newark.

In Daily Shouts: “I hated New York, a city where the desperately overworked and the startlingly rich breathe in the smells of each other’s garbage frying on griddle-like summer sidewalks.”

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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