Barbara A. Edelman, Writer
New Paltz, New York
I considered using "I Write" on my banner, rather than "Writer." But "I write" always makes me think of the 1981 movie, Reds. (Reds is my favorite partial movie, in that I watch only the first part, which concludes with American radical journalists John Reed and Louise Bryant embracing on a snowy St. Petersburg street, as the triumphant masses sing La Internationale. It's stirring. The second part features Lenin and typhus and a sad ending. Who needs that?)
Diane Keaton & Warren Beatty as journalists Louise Bryant & John Reed in Reds.
Early in the film, we see John Reed covering the 1913 Paterson, New Jersey silk mill strike in preparation for a planned Broadway fundraising pageant. (what fun!) He's confronted by a hired goon who's sporting either brass knuckles or a blackjack, and the goon asked him what he's doing there. Reed replies, "I write." The goon says, "No, boy. You wrong." Then he bashes John Reed in the face with the weapon. I like the goon's wordplay.
So now, when I see the popular "I Write" on writers' websites, I think, "no, you wrong" and imagine bashing someone in the face. And that's the story of my page header. Did you like it? I have another story. It's about my parents, my siblings, and me. (Mostly about me; "write what you know," after all.)
Here's a photo of my parents in 1956, shortly after they became engaged. It was taken at the ancestral family seat in Tottenville, Staten Island, New York.
My Jewish mother, her parents, and assorted aunts and cousins left Krakow, Poland on September 3, 1939, two days after Nazi Germany invaded. They traveled through Europe, Asia, and Africa. By chance, their refugee travels almost exactly matched the path of Luftwaffe bombing, so within days of arrival of she and her familiy, she'd be in an air raid shelter. She and her parents ended up on New York City's upper west side a couple of months before Pearl Harbor, and she always felt responsible for the destruction of the U.S. naval force.
As an adult, my father looked and sounded like a Presbyterian from a Kansas or Nebraska prairie town who had been transported via black hole technology to the Tottenville home of my Russian Jewish immigrant grandparents. Assuming my black hole theory is incorrect, my father's first language was Yiddish. He didn't speak English until he started public school at New York City's PS 1, and somehow the English he acquired had the flat, nasal quality of the prairies. He liked fishing and camping.
I'm writing a memoir about growing up with parents who didn't fit in the environment they chose to raise their children in. My working title is We're Not From Here. Want to read draft Chapter 1? Or maybe it's the introduction. I don't know yet. Here it is.