What Was My Grandma Maggie Doing On Saint Mark’s Place, February 1, 1937
Rained all day yesterday; we read— I in Daughter of Earth by Agnes Smedley, powerful book, full of hate and very interesting. To *Luchow’s for knackwurst. M. beer and I wine, and home and the Talleys in for bridge, and we had luck for once sufficient to counteract their better playing. Feel fine and Grace says might as well resign myself for another ten days. Walk and read and talked to Anne Wolfe, who had been to Harlem Sat. night and horrified because negro at *Savoy Dance Hall asked her to dance.
*Lüchow’s opened when Union Square was New York’s theater and music hall district. It had seven separate dining rooms, a beer garden, a bar, and a men’s grill. One room was lined with animal heads; another displayed a collection of beer steins. When the city’s fortunes turned in the 1970s, the restaurant shut its doors for good after a mysterious 1982 fire. It’s now the site of a New York University dormitory.(from ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com)
*The Savoy was a popular dance venue from the late 1920s to the 1950s and many dances such as Lindy Hop became famous here. It was known downtown as the “Home of Happy Feet” but uptown, in Harlem, as “the Track”. Unlike the ‘whites only’ policy of the Cotton Club, the Savoy Ballroom was integrated where white and black Americans danced together. Virtuosic dancers, however, excluded others from the northeast corner of the dance floor, now referred to as the “Cat’s Corner,” a term not used at the time.(from wikipedia)
And what was her granddaughter doing on February 1st, 2010 in Brattleboro, Vermont?
Well, thank goodness we are still reading Daughter of the Earth, a depressing book true, but a must. Or so Alice Walker says in her intro to the reprint. But times have changed at the Savoy Dance Hall, which I think is called The Savoy Ballroom, but I would never argue with my grandma.
Ten more days? Can we wait that long? And all around us people are popping out babies or full of them. I was in the produce section Sunday and saw Leah, looking very beautiful and rosy-cheeked with Max, sleeping peacefully on her chest. He’s a true Brattleboro-ite: happiest at the Co-op. And at the cheese counter I saw Re, one of my dearest friends, who I haven’t seen in absolutely ages, and when she turned around with her full moon belly, she said, Twins. Girls!! With her little Finnegan at home, she’ll have to get a mini-van or at least one of those motorcycles with a sidecar. For three. I told her she could drop them all off with me when she felt a wee bit insane. Of course, she was born to be a mother and will probably never feel insane. And then there’s my grandma. We are waiting with baited breath, boy or girl. And more importantly, when.
And while we wait, Evie Lovett and I are busy preparing for the Four Days show at Vermont Center for Photography. We are doing last minute edits on my text (Evie very good copyeditor not for hire), font-size and mounting and meeting at the gallery to hang and so on and so forth. Of course, Evie does absolutely everything, she is interminably organized, and I flail along behind her, trying to pick up the pieces that she never drops. So anyway, don’t forget to come. We might have a snow storm, in which case we can all just cozy in at the gallery, gazing at Evie’s gorgeous photography and imagining we are all in Montana, at the beginning of July, the hot sun rising over the Blackfeet reservation, and picture book clouds floating over the continental divide, the air smells of cotton candy and sage grass, and we are listening to the drums and watching the fancy dancers, with their bells and beads and feathers, dancing so beautifully.
Come one come all, The Vermont Center for Photography, Flat Street, Brattleboro, Vermont, Opening: Friday, February 5, 2010, 5-8 pm.
And maybe by then, Maggie will have her baby!