by barry menikoff

STONE MOTHER, a memoir at once comic and tragic, traces a boy’s growing up virtually alone on the harder blocks of Brooklyn, propelled by instinct and buffeted by chance, with the streets of the city the one constant in his life. Family, school, early love, Broadway, movies, books, popular music—all the formative influences on a person’s life are captured in vivid detail, opening a window to the city’s history that has long since vanished with the wind.

That morning stayed with me, for I imagined I could reach out and touch the air, as if it were gauze that covered the strangely silent streets. The stillness and clearness, the scent of the bay, pierced me in a way I intuitively knew was all about place, and the place was the city.

What remains after so many years are just these letters... testimony to a moment in time when two very young people, who knew nothing of life, were once bathed in love, alive with the language of popular songs, and the vocabulary of teen longing.

I saw instantly that my tears were not for the movie alone, but for someone who had been transported by it long ago, and very far away.


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