Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Two Tiles

Do I start back on Featherbed Lane? But what do I know of that street. According to pieces of information told to me by, I think my father, or it could have been by the man who delivered seltzer, Featherbed Lane got its name because the homeowners on that hill dumped their feathers on the road to prevent the British from ascending the hill too rapidly. That was a long sentence probably inspired by the George Elliot novel I’m reading— Daniel Deronda. Actually, can I say I’m reading it when I’ve only read sixteen pages. The print is small and the pages are big. And I need to convince myself that I am truly committed.

If I start back on Featherbed Lane I need to include Neil, Nedwyn, and Jerry. We were all about the same age and our mothers all played Maj Jong. All I can recall about that time, which only lasted the first two years of my life, come from photos or family stories. My mother told me that she dressed me in lovely little pinafores with starched bows. Hard for me to visualize my two year old self with a starched bow, but that was a different era.

I know that the mothers of the three boys and my mother often played Maj Jong in the afternoon. It was not until years later that I remembered hearing the tiles knock against one another and someone saying three bam. I have two of my mother's Maj Jong tiles ,from her last set, on my bookcase. It's like having my mother sitting amongst my books.

 My mother was considered a skilled player and I do recall, not when I was living on Featherbed Lane, that she memorized the new plays when the new yearly card came out. My mother lived and died Mai Jong. That’s much later, but since I brought it up I shall proceed before getting back to where I am.

My mother was sitting in viewing distance of the condo pool in Miami Beach where she lived after they moved from the Bronx. Oh, I do so want to be chronological. She wasn’t just sitting near the pool she was enagaged in playing Maj Jong when a terrible headache felled her. By that evening she was in the hospital and I received a call from Miami. She never recovered and died four weeks later. So in a sense her demise occurred over a game of Maj Jong.

But decades before--her games simply continued on and on to the next day. No one had a lot of money so they played for pennies.

It's hard for me to continue in a straight line because I don't know exactly when we moved to 176th Street. Perhaps I need to attempt hypnosis to get in touch with that move. Everyone moved, but not out of the Borough. Even today people will say, "Are you from New York?" How can my accent still hang around my shoulders like one of those fake fox fur stoles they sell in Vintage Cothing stores. They were precursors of woolen scarves.
And I'll talk about woolen scarves on another day. For now I need to find out about the move from Featherbed Lane to 176th Street.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved this memoir! Wondering if you have considered a genealogy search on to the census of your family when they lived on that street. Search the census and you'll find the names of neighbors listed, who lived near your family - which might then spark some more memories. You probably already thought of this, but just in case!

March 23, 2017  

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