After being picked up from St. Stephen's first grade on Halloween 1960 (I believe Sister Beatrice stayed in her nun costume but wore those funny glasses with the fake nose) ~ Rory, Mom, Nan Ryan & me visited my Aunt Joan's apartment at 321 East 85 Street. Rory was The Owl & The Pussycat (can't figure how he pulled both of them off at the same time, brilliant acting on my brother's part) and I was a Hobo. We bought Rory's costume for a buck ninety nine and my Bum mask for 39 cents at Woolworth's (staples and rubber band included with a one hour warranty) and raided my grandfather's old clothes for my costume when he went out for a walk. He didn't miss a thing, as predicted by my grandmother.
321 was a usual haunt for Mom, Rory & me. Mom visited her sisters, Joan and Barbara, two to three times a week. Counting my two grandmothers, I had five mothers.
The now pictures are all of 321 East 85th Street's stoop. As you can see, hardly anything has changed in over 50 years, and I still dress like a hobo.
That's Alison the Ghost in 1988. Here's a silly thing I wrote for her years ago.
“Dungarees be Free!”
Hot summer night, a run on the track.
Fear struck hard! I turned my back.
Adjusting my eyes to see what was there,
A little fat man with long green hair.
“My debt I’ll collect,” he snarled at me.
I proceeded to run up the nearest tree.
“I have all night you may as well come down.”
Before he finished his remark, I fell to the ground.
'What do you want, leave me alone!"
Knelling over me, I smelled his cheap cologne.
“You borrowed my jeans and I want them back!”
“They're dungarees, they are not slacks!
You’re a fruitcake I don’t own any jeans.
Go far away your breath stinks like beans."
I rushed home, as he jumped up & down.
“You’ll never be safe. I’m not leaving town.”
My Halloween story, "The Love Seat," is in Ask A New Yorker this week
If you visit the Upper Eastside sometime soon, my framed photographs are on display at Yorkville Creperie through the end of the year. Please drop in and see my work and enjoy their excellent food and service.
hosted by Yorkville Creperie through December 31, 2013
1586 York Avenue (bet. 83 & 84 St.)