New York has been in my history for a long time. Growing up I was read excerpts from a book my great grandmother had written about her childhood. She was accepted into the gifted school young, and joined the theater group with Claudette Colbert. She wrote about her neighborhood and what she loved most about it, Gramercy Park. I heard this and dreamed of a gorgeous New York with women draped with feather boas, walking the streets in their sequins and sparkle and long cigarette holders. I didn't know that much more about Doris, only that her mother Maudie ran off to Hollywood to marry a man in the movies, and Doris eventually settled down, moved out of New York, and started a family. Doris was also known for her séances and automatic writing.
Last year my mother gave me a picture of Maudie for my own collection. I like having reminders of where I came from. And I like looking at Maudie and knowing where my fashion sense derived from. But most of all I like to find the connections.
A few years ago I walked passed Gramercy Park, looking whistfully at the high fence and feeling the inside of my purse for an extra key. There wasn't one. With an twinge of jealousy and an instant entitlement, I threw my purse over the iron fence and climbed to the top. It was supposed to be a graceful jump down but of course, my dress got caught, and I fell, smashing the tulips underneath. An older woman sat on the bench trying not to giggle. I wiped the dirt from my now ripped dress, shook off, and said "It's ok my family used to live here."
There's a part of me that wishes for that life, that wishes for Gramercy Park and to take one of those keys and go in legally. And maybe one day those wishes will come true. I do find an awful lot of keys. And I am getting terribly restless.
In a few hours I'll be heading to the train in my new favorite item, a golden shawl purchased for pennies but worth so much more. I'll be reuniting with R. Krassnova, who likes to shoot me in run down mills, and abandoned alleys. This time I'm asking for train tracks and sand dunes.