Thursday, March 15, 2007

Saturday Mar 15

Sent home to parents $5.00
& to Solomon & Priskas 2.50 each

Met Beite & her new husband
at Breindel's and spent the
remainder of the evening at
Brother Rothblums house in E.N.Y.
making new aquaintances
especially that of a [pretty] girl who is
unusually gifted with knowledge

It was indeed not at all a burden
for me to take her home from the
farthest point in Brooklyn to the
farthest point in the Bronx, our
conversation was a varied one
being that of music, arts, business
etc, and she certainly made a
hit with me, she is not of that too naive
kind but shrewed and clever.

I reached home at 5 a.m.


Matt's Notes

Six weeks earlier, a woman Papa hadn't seen for eight years approached him on the BMT from Brooklyn to Manhattan and confessed her love for him -- fruitlessly so, for she was also engaged to be married. Though fate had denied her to him, he grabbed her for one impossibly melodramatic kiss before they reached their destinations. "If I had only known," he wrote in his diary that night.

And now, another romantic, cinematic sequence aboard the BMT: Papa offers to escort the young woman to the subway and ride with her into Manhattan. He looks sharp and handsome; she's happy to accept.

photo of papa in a sharp hat

As they cross the Williamsburg bridge, he tells her how his cousin Breindel, who he had seen in the early part of the evening, met him and his sister Clara when they arrived at Ellis Island in 1913.

At the Canal Street BMT stop, just a few block from his home, he walks her to the Broadway IRT; the train pulls up, and, impulsively, he jumps on board with her. If this were a silent movie, the title card might read:

Cupid's arrow finds its mark

The long ride up through Manhattan begins. Every few stops she assures him he does not have to see her home, but each time he tells her it's his pleasure, he's enjoying their talk, it's getting late and she shouldn't be alone, he wants to hear what she has to say. She asks him why he calls their mutual friend Rothblum his "brother," and he explains that they are lodge brothers in the Order Sons of Zion.

He will not budge, so transfixed is he by her face

Finally, the subway emerges from under ground and becomes an elevated train at 161st street. Papa leans in close to point out Yankee Stadium, promises to take her to a game some day.

photo of Yankee Stadium

Only a few stops left now: Mt. Eden, 176th, Burnside, 183rd, Fordham Road, Kingsbridge Road. Finally, with the hour nearing 4:00 AM, she gets out at Mosholu Parkway. Perhaps she declines his offer to walk her to her door, a final treat she'll save for another time.

photo of IRT map

He relives every moment of their ride on the way back, each stop reminds him of the way she turned her head, laughed, accidentally brushed her hand against his, impressed him with her strong opinions, her command of facts.

lost in his new memories, he nearly misses his stop

When he emerges onto the street, the sky is already a light purple. The streets are mostly empty. It is Sunday. The air is fresh and cool.

and so the world welcomes a new day.  But what dawns for him?


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