It was the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis and then of the Profumo affair, of Mandy Rice-Davies and Christine Keeler—the hot topic of conversation at the trucking company, largely because my fellow rate clerk happened to be an expatriate Brit.
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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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
The dancers’ body paint ran under the hot lights and, afterwards, in the lobby, listening to working-class Italians from Bensonhurst, I first divined that a passion for an art form entails close critical attention and cold discriminations. These stern, brick-laying, bocce-playing critics thought Radames was not on form that night.—
Thoughts of mortality inevitably lead to thoughts of downsizing. The eye falls on those banker’s boxes stacked in the store cupboard, numbered and catalogued, never opened. One’s children, when one is dead, will scarcely be interested in drafts of stillborn books, old cheque stubs, ancient correspondences turgid with self-importance, fusty memorabilia. So, discovering that the […]