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Hello and thank you for your patience! It has been some months since I last posted, but the reason for that actually relates to this blog. I began writing about my grandmother’s letters when I first moved to Brooklyn about 4 years ago and discovered parallels between my life and hers–even though I never met Sylvia and know little about her. I have moved and changed careers many times since then, but I am now back in Brooklyn and have continued to find ways that my life follows and re-frames the life of my grandmother.
My silence over the last few months has been in part because I found out over the summer that I would need open heart surgery. It was surprising news to get at the age of 27, and from the moment I found out, it loomed over everything. I’m happy to say that I’m almost at the four week mark post-surgery and everything went smoothly and successfully. How, you ask, does this relate to Sylvia?
Well, Sylvia passed away only a few years after the letters you have been reading were written. She was only 34 years old, my aunt (her daughter, Cookie) was 8 and my dad was 4. She died just a few blocks from the first apartment I lived in in Brooklyn – at what was the Jewish Hospital in Prospect Heights. The family always thought she died from a heart complication that started with an infection she got at the dentist. However, with the discovery of my recently-repaired congenital heart defect, it seems increasingly likely that she suffered from the same condition, but lived at a time when it couldn’t be fixed. I feel incredibly lucky to have received the care I did, which didn’t exist in the not-so-distant past.
As I, and my family, process all of this I wanted to share two postcards that Sylvia wrote to her children from a sanatorium in Suffern, NY in 1951.
The Times has featured a look at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The 13th slide is a photo of BLDG92, the interactive museum/community center where Sylvia’s letters are still on display:
Again, this is not particularly blog related but a piece a wrote has been published by the LA Review of Books, see it here! It is about the book From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
by E.L. Konigsberg and what it means to put children in an urban setting in literature: http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?id=1770
This is not exactly related to my grandparents but it does have to do with femininity in history! I wrote this for the Huffington Post: American Girl: How Radical Can a $105 Doll Be?
Please feel free to comment or share!
The final installment of my posts on the Brooklyn Navy Yard Blog has gone up!
Check it out here:
The first of a series of blog posts that I wrote for the Brooklyn Navy Yard has been posted. Happy Women’s History Month!
My parents went to see Sylvia’s letters on display @BLDG92 – the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center. The whole center is beautiful and engaging. Go there and support this great new site for exploring Brooklyn’s history!
Just like my mom did:
This is a postcard that is currently on view at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center (@BLDG92)! Go see it in person!Alex Rosner A.S. Company 360 US N.T.S. Sampson N.Y.
This one struck me funny. Well so far they thought [sic] us only one knot probably they’ll teach us more later. My love to you and Baby. Alex
[Symbol] Means L, means love.
I think this mass produced card speaks to a concern that was on a lot of people’s minds as they tried to navigate their roles in the war and at home. Here, the curvy lady stands at the sink doing dishes while the navy man sits baffled (did Alex draw sweat drops?) with the baby in his lap. He may know about being on a ship but the diaper is proving to be beyond him.
This card deciphers what the dots and lines and boxes at the bottom of various letters mean! A Google search reveals that “. — . .” is morse code! I think that’s a sweet new way that Alex and Sylvia found to say “I love you.” Happy early Valentine’s Day!