Cover image for My life as a list : 207 things about my (Bronx) childhood
Title:
My life as a list : 207 things about my (Bronx) childhood
Author:
Rosenkrantz, Linda.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Clarkson Potter, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
89 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780609603673
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library F128.9.J5 R58 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

A memoir of growing up in a post-Depression Jewish Bronx neighborhood captures the sights, sounds, personalities, and other sensory impressions of the society that shaped the author's life on the eve of World War II.


Excerpts

Excerpts

A F T E R W 0 R D I was on a plane coming back to Los Angeles from a trip to New York when I opened my notebook and found myself writing the words "500 Things About My Childhood: My Life is (sic) a List," followed by a few sentences: All my elementary school teachers had the same hand-writing. AllI my aunts floated but none of them swam. There were only two girls in my class who weren't Jewish. It was an idea that seemed to have arrived full-blown, complete, out of nowhere, or perhaps out of my deepest subconscious. The rest of the flight found me frantically scribbling a list of words, names, and phrases: Hitler dream, mother's box, dumbwaiter, Francisco Raymundo, Danny Kaye, Franco-American spaghetti. By the time the plane approached LAX, the notebook was almost filled. The process of expanding these notes into a book was equally intense, but it moved at a very different pace. It seemed that each item on my life-list, even if it was only a single sentence long, was so loaded that I could process only two or three of them a day. Some, like the idea for the book itself, came fully formed; others required shaping and amplification; some of the longer ones I returned to again and again (pondering over such significant issues as did I really hate Betty Grable or did I just think her nose was too close to her mouth?). I gathered around me all the family photos (of which I have somehow been made the extended family's designated custodian, receiving batches every time someone dies or empties out a basement) I could find, and whatever childhood memorabilia had miraculously been preserved (the report cards, clippings, and letters that had survived my mother's moves and mine), and I found that staring at them would bring me into contact with feelings, experiences, relationships, and people I hadn't thought about since childhood. As a Bronx Realist, I could never say I made a spiritual connection, but these things did form a kind of skeleton key into what I once called (in a poem I wrote when I was thirteen) my memory attic. As one recollection triggered another, patterns began to form and I could see interconnections (that required the use of a lot of parentheses), memories building upon each other, I saw the symbiotic relationship between Mommy and me in a way I never had quite seen it before, I saw that my early years were a lot more "Jewish" than I would have thought, and I also saw a little girl who was a network of not always so admirable contradictions. As the book built, piece by piece, I added and subtracted ele-ments until I reached the number that seemed right for me, knowing that when I arrived at the point where my sister was born and I got my period, my childhood was essentially over. Through all this, the thought struck me several times that in a sense this was an exercise that would be interesting and revealing for other people to try doing, in their own way. It is a process I can heartily recommend. Excerpted from My Life as a List: 207 Things about My (Bronx) Childhood by Linda Rosenkrantz All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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