Lewi's Journey 2

Special Meetings

I come upon this curiosity in The Brooklyn Eagle of Wednesday, July 16, 1941. Noted Swedish Minister to Speak At Tent Meeting Rev. Lewis Pethrus of Stockholm Church at Salem Service Tonight The Rev. Lewis Pethrus, pastor of the Philadelphia Church, Stockholm, Sweden, said to be the largest church in that country, with a membership […]

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John Lockett Leaving the Tyne, by Frank H. Mason

Squareheads

I stumble on a fine sea yarn, a memoir called “The Luck of the John Lockett” by Shalimar, the pen name of F.C.Hendry. The story is in his From the Log-Book of Memory (Blackwood, 1950), one of many volumes of reminiscence and fiction Hendry published from the 1930s until his death in 1955. They are […]

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Mildred and me 1955

Mildred

It was a common name for girls among Norwegian immigrants. Rutgersen, Börresen, Dahl, Aarstad. And others. All produced Mildreds. The vogue lasted across at least two generations. No one names girls that any more, not since the War. The median age for living Mildreds, I read somewhere, is seventy-eight, older even than the Gertrudes and […]

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Middlemarch

Middlemarch

I am reading Middlemarch. I am up to the moment in Chapter 5 when Dorothea decides she must tell Celia she is determined to marry Mr. Casaubon. Before she has said anything about it there is the following exchange. Celia begins: “Is any one else coming to dine besides Mr. Casaubon?” “Not that I know […]

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Enghavevej, Edvard Pedersen, 1850

Uncle Knud

I can’t let Uncle Knud alone. This is the character I introduced in my last post. Married to Aunt Josefine for five months in 1918–1919, lived in Brooklyn with his sister and brother-in-law for the next twenty-three years, until his death in 1942, and whose ashes were buried with Josefine at Evergreens Cemetery. A character […]

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Three Sisters

Emigrants

Old photos arranged on my desk. Everyone pictured is long dead. Some of them dead twenty years before I was born. Grandparents? Great-grandparents perhaps? Yet they are not. These are photos of my aunts, uncles-by-marriage, first cousins. On the left two of my Aunt Josefine. Then two of Aunt Anna and her husband on their […]

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Picasso, Dora Maar, 1938

Jessica Jones

We are watching, as it happens, in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, the television series Jessica Jones, which is based on a Marvel Comics original. A contemporary morality play with a feminist inflection. Sex, drugs, mental illness. An edgy air. A noirish tale in a chiaroscuro New York City. Jessica herself a wise-cracking, heavy-drinking […]

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tent

Tent meeting

We have a photo hanging in our entranceway, a large panoramic group picture posed by a professional photographer, a religious meeting under a tent. The camera is stationed at the rear looking forward, at an elevation, so that the preacher or minister and other platform worthies, including a number of choristers and musicians, are in […]

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Brooklyn

It must have been 1946, because the War had ended and the landlord, Mr. Smedfjeld, had just died of TB. My father was cleaning out the cellar. “Don’t touch those rags,” he said. “Why not?” I said. “They belonged to Mr. Smedfjeld,” he said. “But you are touching them,” I said. “It doesn’t matter so […]

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Queens

Preparation

I could date it with some precision if I thought about it, probably in the late 70s, in other words a long time ago, and I forget what book it was that triggered it, a Bellow or an Updike most likely, but at any rate what came out was an idea that reading American authors […]

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