Oh to be there.
Weather a bit chilly for the end of September but not too bad. The heat not needed and still drinking iced tea, not the hot variety.
Helping at the used book sale with the Friends of the Library but getting bored and sneaking off. Plenty of other people to take paperbacks out of their cartons.
All the way up to where the windows meet the roof and Mother’s old friend to unlock the big drawers behind the archives counter. The other librarian gone home early and no one else to care.
Pictures that go back and pictures that could nearly go forward. Three boxes just with photographs of the bridge with Washington Roebling’s wife riding across with what looks like a parrot perched on her finger. Her husband too sick and having to sit and watch. The bends, they say. Too many times down at the bottom of the river and something going wrong and being shot up to the surface like a cork.
Churches, synagogues and everything else a brick would go with. Parks with girls jumping rope and boys playing catch. Mothers running somehow in their hobble skirts and fathers sitting to read the paper.
But one of firemen and their firehouse at the very bottom and a memory in flood. A story of the uncle in Greenwich Village from before him but not before Mother. The apartment house in Brooklyn Heights where they lived when she was a baby. Someone banging on the door and saying it was about to fall down. Everyone laughing in his face.
But down to the bar they went anyway with Mother in her baby carriage. Three beers Grandfather always said and then back to find the building in a pile of rubble.
But the firemen . . . .must be the ones that climbed up the front steps over everything like mountaineers over the Matterhorn . . .brought back Grandmother’s kitten . . .something to remember forever . . . .all that for a tiny furball so the baby wouldn’t cry . . .a blessing and one never forgotten . . . . .