Monday, December 6, 2010

Walking in the Rain, Manhattan, 1949

Monday, December 5, 1949

46 West 83rd Street, Apt. 7B
New York City

Dear Art,

Happy birthday!*  Now, at last I will call you 23.  I wish I could have given you the present you wanted – being there to help you celebrate.

How I enjoyed yesterday!  Walking through Central Park, down Fifth Avenue, the ice show, Times Square – even walking in the rain.  I only hope you had half as good a time.

The radio’s playing “If I Loved You” – a beautiful song.

About 6:00 tonight, Shirl and I put our laundry in the washing machine down in the basement.  A half hour later, we decided to go down after it.  We went out to get the elevator and there were about five other people waiting for it too.  All were discussing the smoke in the hall.  They were asking, was it a small fire or a large one?  Finally a woman a little smarter than the rest decided that the fire was down below us, probably the basement, and the smoke was coming up through the elevator.  At that, the other people lost their nerve – when the elevator turned up only three people took it – Shirl, me, and the woman with brains.

Well, it worked alright – we didn’t fall to the earth.  Anyway, the woman got out in the lobby and Shirl and I continued to the basement.  Cold air surrounded us there – all the doors were opened.  Three men were there.  Shirl and I innocently went over and opened the machine.  One of the men turned on us with a “so you’re the ones” expression on his face and informed us he was of the opinion that we threw too many clothes in the thing.  It seems the motor had burned out causing all the smoke.  We felt – well, you know.  Any rate, Shirl and I have decided that the machine was just worn out – we didn’t even have it half full.

Shirl’s doing homework.  I just can’t seem to get started anymore.  I bet I could talk myself into getting homesick.  Or more likely, it would just be missing you.  But I can’t do that – I have to do homework instead.

Art, you’re getting to be an old man.  Pretty soon you’ll be 30!  Am I making you feel feeble?

They just played another nice song – one that we heard often this summer and now – “Jingle Bells!”  Now that’s more like it!  Only 11 more days of school.  Of course, that’s not counting the weekends.  I think I’ll try getting Shirl into some museum one of these weekends.

Just look at the length of this letter!  Me and Margaret Mitchell?!!  Well, you said you enjoyed my letters, poor guy – look what you let yourself in for.  Read it good – this just happens once a year – on your birthday.

Until the next letter, and especially till I see you again –

All my love,


* Art's birthday was on December 7.  This happy birthday wish was written with the assumption that Art would receive the letter on Wednesday, his birthday.

(Tonight – Art's feeling a little jealous.)

© 2010 Lee Price

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