Monday, October 15, 2007

Wednesday Oct 15



[no entry today]

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Matt's Notes

Papa's periods of diary silence usually occur when he's overwhelmed by difficult emotions, often in the aftermath of birthdays, holidays, or other milestones designed to trigger introspective stock-taking. We're now five days into his latest quiet period (he accidentally wrote his October 22nd entry on his diary's October 15th page, which is why you see writing on the October 15th image at right) related, I think, to the October 8th Yom Kippur holiday in which he mourned his beloved, recently-departed father for the first time.

His entries leading up to Yom Kippur were either non-existent or uncharacteristically abbreviated, and, with the exception of a long, lyrical passage on the eve of the holiday, he has maintained his quiet for almost two weeks. I have speculated for months on the nature of his grief and on the complicated internal struggles triggered by his father's death but, no matter what I say, Papa's own feelings remain, for him, inexpressible.

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We know, of course, that Papa's inherent optimism and capacity for constructive change would win out in the end; those who knew him would forever admire his sense of calm and warm, contented vibe. I expect, then, he would be satisfied by yesterday's reaction to an article about this project in The New York Times, which has had results both expected (my mother enjoyed the article but felt it was too short) helpful (people have chimed in with research ideas and good comments) and fantastic (at least one e-mail from a long-lost relative and two from the descendants of a character who appears several times in the diary).

Meanwhile, for those of you just joining us, I'll repeat yesterday's list of links to posts about some of the major subjects my grandfather has covered thus far:

- "The 20th Century Girl"

- The New York Academy of Music

- B'nai zion, a.k.a. Order Sons of Zion, the fraternal order my grandfather belonged to

- Baseball

- The Capitol Theatre, one of New York's great movie palaces

- Cars of the 1920's

- Coney Island

- Calvin Coolidge

- The 1924 Democratic Convention, the longest and most contentious in history and the first to be broadcast live on the radio

- The Brooklyn Dodgers and Ebbets Field

- Fraternal organizations and mutual support societies, a.k.a. landsmanshaftn

- The New York Giants, 1924 pennant winners

- Keren Hayesod

- Silent Movies (1924 was a great year for movie lovers like my grandfather; several monumental films including The Thief of Badgad, The Ten Commandments, Sherlock, Jr., and D.W. Griffith's America were out that year. I'm not sure if he saw any of those, but I do know he saw at least The Song of Love, The Unknown Purple, The White Sister with Lillian Gish, and A Woman of Paris, Charlie Chaplin's first serious directorial effort.)

- The Metropolitan Opera

- Papa's Father's Injury and Death

- Prohibition

- Prospect Park

- Early radio (Papa was an early radio adopter and frequently wrote about what he heard on New York stations like WEAF and WNYC)

- Sniatyn, Papa's Ukrainian home town (part of Austro-Hungary when he left in 1913)

- The New York Subway

- Telephones in 1924

- Tenement life

- Woodrow Wilson

- The New York Yankees

- Yom Kippur

- Zionist Organization of America

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