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Lost in Coney Island

by 03/01/2020
Neighborhood: Coney Island, East New York

  Each summer it was a requirement that my brothers and I attend summer school. We could not be idle. We must all do something to further our education. My mother, Dot, laid down the law. She was formidable—not standing more than 5’4”, she wielded the power in our household. My father, though technically present, […]

A Trip to Aqueduct

by 10/21/2018
Neighborhood: Aqueduct, East New York, South Ozone Park

The day after I turned ten, my mother took me to my first horse race at Aqueduct. Hitting the regular numbers didn’t pay as well as the horses, and sometimes when Mama had an itch to gamble she couldn’t wait on the numbers man, Mr. Sheyanne, to come around. Besides which, she whispered to me […]

Mother’s First Vote

by 06/19/2012
Neighborhood: East New York

 My mother turned twenty-one, voting age, in 1932, during the worst of the Depression. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was running for president for the first time, trying to unseat Herbert Hoover. My mother had no job, but she had a cousin who was, of all things, not just a Republican but an active Republican. A Jewish […]