Writing Naked and Cooling Off With My Grandmother

Recently Nell Curley did a fabulous little write up about blogging with my grandmother in the Commons, and I realized that I have abandoned my poor grandmother, there she is back in Manhattan with her screaming baby and her pretty velvet housegown in the raw cold of early March while her very selfish granddaughter has been frolicking in the country completely ignoring her blog blog blog.

This time I have a reason.  For a month every summer Peter and I run away together to a fabulous house in the middle of nowhere with a view of Monadnock Mountain and stonework that makes you feel like you just got dropped off in Scotland, there are soaring ceilings and a master bedroom with fireplace and a loft just especially for taking a tub.

Peter has his eyes glued to the binoculars the whole time and gossips voraciously about the families of turkey and deer and whatever else happens to stroll through the fields, and I loll around in the gardens picking herbs and popping tomatoes in my mouth.  We kiss under the apple trees in the orchard and sleep till noon. It is all very luxurious and when I come home I feel just like a spoiled brat.

But I also miss it a little, the casbah is more of a winter abode, and we’re having another heat wave, in case you haven’t noticed, so I am naked with the fan directly in front of me. To cool myself off I just think about our dear Maggie, all bundled up in wintery New York.  Let’s go see what that city girl is up to. My grandmother was a fabulous stock broker for herself so these tiny little dividends when she was 27 are just the beginning... Mothering might not have come so easily, since she thinks sticking the baby in the bathroom to sleep is a brilliant idea, but I won't make any judgements just yet because I might do the same thing if my baby screamed endlessly.

March 1, 1937

Baby woke up about two thirty and yelled so M. had bright idea of putting him in the Reback bassinet and sticking that in the bathroom so we could get some sleep whether anyone else did or not.  Worked like a charm. Went and got him a little after five,fed him and left bassinet by bed off he went to sleep.  Doctor's bill came, beautifully engraved, for $250.  Also three dividend checks were in the mail for me: Royal Bank of Canada: $9.50*, Rey Met: $6.25, Am Bs Sh: $6.30 trotted to bank and cashed.  Paper full of stories about sit-down strikes in ten cent stores, telegraph offices etc... Gig news is that steel workes have got raise and C.I.O. is recognized, first time a union has been recognized in this industry.* To Esposito's* for fowl . Another fight with baby over bottle.  He doing the fighting and Grace and I laughing at him.  In late afternoon Rose and Harry arrived with toy. Harry on wagon (I'm glad someone is in the wagon in my grandmother's posse!) so had bar set up for him on mantle with grape juice, coca cola and large bottle of buttermilk surrounded with ice in silver bucket.  Stuck nobly to the Coca Cola with a drop of buttermilk for dinner.  Harry talked about getting a contract with Life and how he got signed the same week with Daily News. Bed about eleven.

*Royal Bank of Canada now sells for about $50 with dividends of about 50cents a share.

*In January 1937 the CIO affiliated United Auto Workers (UAW) initiated a novel "sit down" strike against General Motors in which striking workers in Flint, Michigan, stayed inside the factory instead of picketing outside. When General Motors demanded that the state militia turn out the strikers, setting a deadline many feared would bring bloodshed, the governor calmly declined to send any troops. In early February General Motors fully recognized the UAW. When Chrysler followed a month later, only Ford remained an antiunion holdout.

*Pursuing the "American Dream" Giovanni Esposito moved from his hometown of Naples, Italy to New York City. Originally launching his business on Mulberry Street Giovanni was forced to close it and return to Italy in 1924 to aid in his country's war effort.By 1933 Mussolini's continued rise to power forced his return (with his family) back to New York City. It was in 1933 that Giovanni Esposito and Son's was founded. as a fresh meat and poultry butcher shop in the same Hell's Kitchen-New York City location where it stands today.