Monday, November 16, 2015


You WANT to read this.
Just Mercy (the book I blogged about on Thursday) is now up for grabs, people.  Just throw your name in the hat, as it were, by commenting.  I will pick a winner on Saturday. This book, about a lawyer's untiring work for racial justice in the South, is definitely a worthwhile read, although now it has me panicked about David being in school in Alabama.  By some strange genetic throw of the dice, David - son of an Ashkenazi Jew and a father who is half Irish Catholic/half WASP - is dark-complected enough to look as though he hails from the Middle East somewhere. After reading this book (and after reading about Alabama's reaction to the sad events in Paris on Friday), it is all I can do not to pick up the phone and say to David, "DO NOT LEAVE CAMPUS FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER."  So far I have restrained myself. So far.

Theo is in the military, and I have never - for any reason - felt the need to warn him of danger, not even when he traveled to Morocco and to Jordan. Anna traveled to Colombia on her own, for heaven's sake, and I didn't blink an eye. So I don't think it's as though I am a helicopter parent hellbent on protecting her adult children. And, look, Michigan is being stupid, too. Hello? A terrorist can drive over from a neighboring state, you know.  What are you going to do - institute border controls with Indiana and Ohio?

I had to look up which states border Michigan - I guess I should watch who I am calling stupid, eh?

I traveled up to NY on Saturday to visit a former neighbor - the husband of the woman who witnessed my humiliation in Harris Teeter. She passed on 2 years ago, a year or so after they moved up there, but he is still around, as are their 2 daughters and their families, all up in the NY area.  So I got to see him and one of her daughters and even another former neighbor who drove down from Connecticut to join us. I ended up staying the night at the daughter's home, in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn is WAY bigger than I realized.
You know, I grew up in NJ, frequently visited Manhattan, was steeped in Brooklyn lore (my father's family hailed from there), have read books about Brooklyn - all to the point that I didn't realize until Saturday that I had never actually SEEN BROOKLYN. So my poor host, who kindly volunteered to take me on a walking tour of the Greenpoint and Williamsburg sections on Sunday morning, had to put up with a slightly manic guest exclaiming at regular intervals, "OMG! I've never been here! Look at those rowhouses! The East River! I've never seen the East River! Is that Manhattan across the water? The Williamsburg Bridge! Francie crossed that!"

I could not shut up. It felt as though I had come home to a place I had never been before. Brooklyn!

And then I had to drive all the way back, relying on my phone's GPS, which went fine until the moment that I realized it had stopped working (that happens sometimes) and I went to tap it with my finger and knocked it clear across the car, where I couldn't reach it. I was on Staten Island at the time, another place I had never been before. Luckily, I was close enough to NJ for homing instinct to take over, so I managed to find the turnpike anyway. Whew.

Anyway, I'm tired - 5 hours of driving, 2 days in a row, seems to be an activity I am aging out of. Still, I am glad I went (Brooklyn!), as I had been meaning to make the visit for a while; and now that that's taken care of, I can stay home and focus on ignoring Christmas until December 19 or so.  Wish me luck.


  1. Well, michigan just got "safer". Indiana' governor just closed Indiana, albeit temporarily, from receiving any more refugees.
    I have been to NYC several times, but never outside of Manhattan. I guess next time I'll make a point of branching out and seeing more.
    I would like to read that book, by the way. :)

  2. That is a lot of driving in two days.

    I am adding this book to my List of Books to Borrow from the Library. It looks like a good thought-provoking read.

    We lived in NYC (Manhattan, Upper East Side) for several years. I only went to Brooklyn once. It was really cool, and very different from Manhattan. I'm glad you got to see it.

  3. Yes, I would read it! And I would also be exhausted after driving that much!
    When my family went to NYC for spring break in 2010 (I think... looking it up would require too much effort right now) we stayed on Staten Island and only touched on what I know is a small bit of Manhattan. So I'm a little envious that you got to explore Brooklyn.

    I didn't need to click on that link because the story remains fresh in my mind. :)

  4. Prejudice has some scary ways of showing itself. Now I will worry for David as I worry for another friend's sons who are actually half-Samoan/half-Caucasian, but look either hispanic or middle eastern.

  5. I would say yes, to the read, but then it would just get added to the two piles of books sitting on the shelf right above the computer monitor...the ones I also plan to read. For that reason, comment or no, I'll pass on the lottery and increase someone's chance of winning.
    However, I will add it to the post-it note that has all the books I WANT to read at some point!

  6. Sounds like an interesting book.

  7. My dad was born in Brooklyn so we visited several times. The Transit Museum is there--built into a real (unused) subway station. I highly recommend it!

  8. The book sounds fascinating. And I, too, am very concerned about our country, and the weird twists and turns its taking these days.

  9. When I saw this I thought you meant the book Brooklyn. I don't know a thing about the book Just Mercy (it sound interesting but I've got a tbr pile a mile high right now so I do not think I am up for another book) BUT there is a book called Brooklyn which was one of the most maddening depressing books I've read for a while. And they just made it into a movie. I've seen ads. So if you want to read a book about a spineless, flat-personality girl who moved from Ireland to Brooklyn in the 1950s, Brooklyn is it, but A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a million times superior in every way. Francie! I am sure I would be the same way as you were, channeling her as I toured Brooklyn. I am jealous!


    My grandma's cousin Frank Curtis Williams and his wife Gertrude owned this house until she died. Her family was the second owner of the house. It is a really neat old house, but people must have been a lot shorter back then. I am 5 ft 9, and the ceilings seemed really low to me when I was last in the house in the late 1970's.

  11. Brooklyn! I feel the same way about Boston and Beverly and Salem, Massachusetts!
    Was back there several years ago for a family reunion and while so much was the same a lot had changed. Guess we have to expect that.

  12. I'm glad Faith above discussed Brooklyn the novel, because I had the same thought, that you were talking about it, and I had only heard rave reviews. Now I will NOT be reading it because there are plenty of real things to be depressed about. jeez.

  13. I would really like to explore Brooklyn. I've only been there once, to take my daughter on a tour of the Pratt school, but we stayed in Manhattan. We did manage to make our way from Pratt to the Brooklyn bridge and walk across back to Manhattan.

  14. I do want to read that!