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The White House
Please allow me to express my deepest gratitude for the dollar you contributed to my campaign. Although I have indeed considered lowering the voting age as you suggest, I am afraid I would have to draw the line at eighteen. Nine is out of the question. I wish it weren't. In any event, I am touched by your support.
Mrs. Roosevelt joins me in thanking you for your kind words. I hope that the next four years will justify your continued faith in us.
Yours very truly,
Franklin D. Roosevelt
It's funny how the years have changed everything about Brooklyn geography. Time was when uptown meant Nathan's if you were in the mood for an orange pop, a neurotic hot dog, and some front-line scuttlebut from a lonesome GI or the old Paramount, where Veronica Lake once sold war bonds and kisses, and nearly financed the entire Normandy invasion herself. The business district was really the Citizen-News building, where if you hung around long enough and practiced your eavesdropping you might learn that Bataan wasn't just the name of a movie; and downtown, of course, was Flatbush, where on the Fourth of July the 433rd Infantry marched from Grand Army Plaza to Anzio with only an Irving Berlin cadence pointing them in the right direction.
Slugger Banks Whips Iowa City 5-0
Springfield, Ill., May 14 Nineteen-year-old rookie sensation Charlie Banks propelled theSpringfield Bluejackets to an easy win over Iowa City here, with a solo haymaker in the second inning and a slammer at the bottom of the eighth. The volatile third baseman has become something of a local legend since early April, when he failed to make the squad cut during tryouts but was issued a uniform regardless after refusing to get off the team bus.
Brooklyn is where I grew up. It's where I learned what a storm trooper was, what an egg cream was, what "flak attack" meant, and what rubbers were used for outside of keeping your feet dry. It's where I discovered the true market value of a steelie versus an aggie and the queasy sounds your stomach made whenever you saw a hundred thousand hobnail boots goose-stepping through the Pathé News. It's where any kid could tell you that "Captain Colin Kelly shot a tiger in the belly, then he sent the ship Haruna to the bottom of the sea" but not know the capital of Michigan. It's where the nearest you were likely to get to heaven was smelling the popcorn at Luna Park, or seeing a real-life Dauntless dive-bomber blue with white trim taking off from the Navy Yard, or falling asleep with your blackout curtains drawn tight while Glenn Miller played "Moonlight Serenade" over the radio, live from the still waters of the Glen Island Casino ("mecca of music for moderns"). Brooklyn is also where I learned that I was a kike, that my second-to-best-friend was a Nip, and that my father was never coming back home.
"Nana Bert, is my Dad there?"
"He's busy, dear. We're going to Monte Carlo, but with all those Germans, you can't get a reservation. Call him after the eighteenth."
Banks Downed by Food Poisoning;
JOPLIN, Mo., June 24 The Racine Rocket lost his bid for 38 consecutive hits this afternoon when an attack of food poisoning brought about by a tin of tainted anchovies caused him to ground into a double play against Joplin in the eleventh inning after having hit safely in his first five at-bats.
"I thought they were sardines," mumbled a sheepish Banks as he was carried off the field with a fever of 104. Asked where he had learned such stamina, the nineteen-year-old third-sacker retorted, "In the 3 C's [Civilian Conservation Corps]. Unless you were dead, you kept going."
After the divorce, my mother moved us from a largely Hasidic community in Williamsburg to an old brownstone at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Montgomery Street, where the mailboxes in the vestibule presaged the special fabric out of which my adolescence was to be woven. "Corelli. Verrastro. Fiore. Bierman. Di Cicco. Fusaro. Delvecchi. Margolis. "This told me all I needed to know. Of course, as the newly appointed resident Jew, I couldn't be entirely certain what recreational activities the neighborhood was willing to offer, but I had a pretty decent hunch that bleeding was among them. Not that my mom or my Aunt Carrie did much to promote my cause: they openly lit Shabos candles on San Gennaro Day, walked to shul through the Our Lady of Pompeii street festival, and helped feed the Italian-American War Widows with a tray of stuffed derma and potato knishes. The day we unpacked, I figured conservatively that I had a week left to live; one look at Lenny Bierman and I pared the estimate by half. But I was determined to fit in.
"Get it, Margolis? Sheenies walk on that side of the street.
Banks Clips Association's Top Tomato
Chicago, Ill., December 18 On a ballot that surprised absolutely no one, the Midwestern Association today unanimously voted Charles Banks the 1937 Henry Chadwick Award, marking only the second time in the league's 61-year history that the honor has gone to a rookie. (Turkey Mike Donlin, in 1898, was the first.) Twenty-year-old Banks was notified via telegraph at his home in Racine, Wisconsin, and purportedly wired back, "Who in Hell is Henry Chadwick?" Springfield Bluejackets officials have turned down several lucrative offers for purchase of the rookie's contract, including a bid from the Brooklyn Dodgers which purportedly involved the
By the time I turned twelve, the Dodgers made me vomit. There was a popular misconception floating about the borough that they were lovable losers; for my money, one might just as easily have dispensed with the adjective altogether and developed a much clearer rotogravure of the truth. They had neither brains nor breeding forgivable shortcomings in and of themselves if perhaps they had owned even one shred of talent. But they didn't have that either. What they had was a hartebeest at first named Dolph Camilli, a hop-o'-my-thumb at short they christened Pee Wee and thought it cunning, and something at third base called Cookie Lavagetto. Nobody had the balls to ask why. Then there was Craig Nakamura's idol, Leo Durocher, who plainly belonged behind bars-at a precinct house or an animal sanctuary, the need to distinguish was purely moot and predicated solely upon space availability. All things considered-and given the way my luck was running-about the last thing I needed was a bedroom window that overlooked Ebbets Field. And the only hurdy-gurdy in Flatbush.
|Leave us go root for the Dodgers, Rodgers,|
They're playing ball under lights.
Leave us cut out all the juke I jernts, Rodgers,
Them Dodgers is my gallant knights.
Of course, it never would have occurred to me that my father's lifelong passion for the damned team might have had something to do with my utter loathing for them; this, after all, was 1940, and we hadn't heard about pop psychology in those days. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wasn't going to be finding any heroes in Brooklyn. So I looked where I could-but the results were kind of disappointing.
The White House
February 14, 1940
President Roosevelt has asked me to respond to your most recent letter, and to assure you that he, too, is keeping an eye on Denmark. No doubt you will understand that it is far too premature to consider arming the Royal Air Force as you suggest, although your reminders relative to the Lusitania are sobering indeed. In any event, I am sure the President will pass your recommendations on to Neville Chamberlain at his earliest convenience.
Stephen T. Early
April 9, 1940. I have decided to turn to a life of crime. My dad was supposed to take me to Coney Island but he never called back, my left eye is black-and-blue again, the Japanese say they're only borrowing Nanking temporarily but nobody believes them, and Hitler is beginning to scare the holy heck out of me.Last Days of Summer. Copyright © by Steve Kluger. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.