Wednesday, February 27, 2008

November 30, 1931

I am back in the city after Thanksgiving. I absent-mindedly left my journal behind at Barnard. Not that there was much to report from Saratoga. The Graydons came down to my parent's for dinner on Thursday. There was my Aunt Eunice and Uncle Joe Graydon who came with my cousins Sandra, Richard, and Michael. All of whom are younger than myself, even though Sandra is engaged at the age of 16. Mother was quick to point that out more than once. Her fiancee did not attend dinner. He spent it with his family, which I found queer seeing as that they are engaged.

My grandmother, Eleanor Morgan, came down from Maine, where she has gone to live with her younger sister, Viola. Grannie Ellie, I had taken to calling her as a child, was from the coast of Maine and came to live here when she married my grandfather, Henry. He hailed from Saratoga but was logging in Maine for a summer to make money to start his apple orchard. They met in June and married in September. He brought her back to Saratoga and they had one child, my mother. Hence my mother being from Saratoga and my brother's namesake. Mother, I feel, has secretly resented her own mother's decision to live with her sister instead of her own daughter. Grannie Ellie said she was always meant to live by the sea, and so after Grandpa died, she left.

Grannie sat intently and listened to my stories for hours on end about the city. She's never been and swears she'll make it down at some point before she dies. Grannie is only 74 and the Morgan women live to ripe old ages. I told her she has plenty of time and when I graduate, I will find an apartment with a spare room just for her. She is a very independent women and had always served as my model. Although she is warm, she is dignified, smart, and strong. What I strive to be.

It snowed on Saturday and father hooked the sleigh up to one of the horses. He brought me out on a ride and told me that he was proud to have a daughter in college. He truly is the most dear thing in my life. It was Grannie Ellie and he who make coming home a pleasant experience.

But I am most happy to be back even if I will now be inundated with finals and most likely, not writing that often.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Just to keep the readership informed, Velma cancelled lunch due to inclimate weather. She did so at 5:40 this morning in a conversation I was not coherent enough to recall.

I do remember her saying something about boots and swollen feet. Then a quick comment about the semicolon getting a whole article in the New York Times this week. She was delighted with it and said the semicolon is finally getting the attention it deserves. Unless that was a dream I had after I hung up with her.

Regardless, we've rescheduled for next Friday.

November 25, 1931


Again in the darkness of this temple. No girl this time, just myself and then a set of narrow stairs. The whole time I felt as though I was on the verge of falling forward into nothing. I took cautious steps down the spiral of the staircase and at the bottom was a dim light. A lantern and a little man smoking a long pipe. His face was rosy and warm. On his head was a pointed hat. He smiled.

This afternoon, I will board a train for Saratoga for the Thanksgiving holiday. It will be my first time back since August. I look forward to seeing everyone, but I am apprehensive about talking to mother about my experiences here. She can be very judgemental and I just couldn't bare it. Not after enjoying such independence here in New York. I'll have to sensor some of the more sensational aspects of the past few months.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


JUSTIN: Hello.

VELMA: Sweetheart! It’s Velma.

J: Hey Velma! What’s up?

V: I hear you’ve been gettin’ cozy with my Nicky.

J: Yeah, well if you call two emails, cozy.

V: He hates it when I call him Nicky. He’s all work. No fun. But I guess that’s good in an assistant, huh?

J: Sounds like it would be. I wouldn’t know. I don’t have one.

V: Real smart kid though.

J: He seems it.

V: Anyway, he’s been printing me out some of the entries. What a gas to read them in print. I still think I sounded like a square, but whatta ya gonna do. Hey, everyone thinks they’re important when they’re 19, right?

J: God knows, I did.

V: Right, wait till you start hitting the stuff in the 50’s. I thought I was freakin’ Virginia Woolf. It’s tough to hold onto. All thoughts, none of the depression.

J: Great, it should only take me about 5 years to get there.

V: Tell me about it. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll be dead by time you finish ’31.

J: Ha, ha. Not unless you plan on dying by the end of the month.

V: Sweetheart, it could be by the end of the day.

J: Oh stop.

V: The reason why I’m calling, if you can believe there’s a reason, is for you to come and get these letters.

J: Yes, I’d be happy to do it.

V: I just feel nervous putting these things in the mail since they were hand-delivered to me.

J: Not a problem.

V: What days are good for you?

J: I’m usually off Fridays.

V: That’s a nice racket.

J: Yeah it is. It’s the only time I really get to work on the blog.

V: I see.

J: Also, next Tuesday I’m in Washington Heights so I could drop by then.

V: Why don’t you come up on Friday? Meet me at the Peace Fountain at one o'clock. That’s where I eat my lunch.

J: Even in February?

V: Especially in February. Do you want me to bring some lunch for you? Strike that! I am. Don’t eat before you come.

J: Really, don’t worry—

V: Clamp it! I make a mean tuna fish. Bring Courtney if you want.

J: She probably has to work, but I’ll ask her.

V: Good, she can sketch me. I’d love to cause a scene in public.

J: I bet.

V: Alright kiddo, gotta run. See you on Friday.

J: Yup. Have a good one.

V: Bye now.

J: Bye.

Monday, February 18, 2008

November 18, 1931

Yesterday's surprise was a trip to the top of the Empire State Building. Dottie and Sarah both decided to pool their resources for the outing. We traveled down to 34th street on the IRT. I had no clue as to our destination. When we stepped off the train, I immediately noticed the grandness of the building not thinking it had anything to do with the surprise. Walking down the street I couldn't help but be in awe of the structure looming over the entire neighborhood. Then to see it so close in front of me made me dizzy. It was Biblical in scope.

When we stopped right in front of the entrance Dottie shouted: "Surprise, we got you a building for your birthday. I know it's a bit big, but who couldn't use the space nowadays, right?"

I laughed. Sarah took me by the hand. "No such luck sweetheart. We found it a bit pricey. You'll have to settle for a trip to the top and dinner."

"You Jews are such downers," Dottie said.

"You Italians are such liars," Sarah retorted.

"We're dreamers," She snarled.

Being a Protest of Anglican heritage I had little to offer.

Admission to the observation deck was a dollar a piece, which I thought steep, but Sarah and Dottie both insisted they pay. Rumor has it that, because of the Depression, most of the building's offices are vacant and the only income is from tourists going to the observation deck.

The lobby was extremely modern. Very bold and metallic; clean and rigid. After paying the admission we were shuffled into a large elevator with about eight other people. The speed at which the elevator traveled to the 86th floor was dizzying. I'm not sure I've ever been on anything that went so fast. Sarah thought she was going to vomit and Dottie said it felt like a night out without the night out.

The observation deck was on the 86th floor. There was another deck on the 102nd floor but it was reserved for air traffic only. Apparently dirigibles will be able to dock and unload passengers up there.

When walked outside not one of us could speak. Our mouths dropped wide open at what we saw. It seemed like the entire planet was below us. My first thought was being on Olympus looking down on Earth. Both Sarah and Dottie immediately looked south to find their homes. I looked out as far as I could to the ocean.

"I can see Bay Ridge! I wonder if ma could hear me?" Dottie said laughing.

"Most of the world has never been this high off the ground before. Can you imagine?" Sarah said. "If only I had my damn camera."

I saw the Brooklyn Bridge and I thought of Rudy. I looked beyond it to the speck that was the Statue of Liberty and then the open water.

We stood in awe for some time before Dottie interjected, "I'm freezing and I have to piss. Time to go."

After riding down to ground level. We saw to it that Dottie was relieved and then ate supper at a diner around the corner. I had a hamburger and a chocolate egg cream from the fountain. Both Dottie and Sarah swear by them. I was dumbfounded to learn that it wasn't made with eggs or cream.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

November 17, 1931

My 19th birthday today. I've been told there's a surprise outing planned by Sarah and Dottie. Strangely enough I heard it from Abby after one of our literature classes. I think she was intent on ruining the surprise, but I walked away before she could say anything more. Thus, I'm to know nothing about the location till I arrive.

A package arrived first thing this morning by post from Saratoga sent by mother and dad. In it was a new dress, blue, and a box of my favorite mint tea. There was a note of well-wishes from the whole family, which I found touching. Even Henry said he missed me around the house.

Not all that much to report about yesterday's delivery. I did take a cab down to the site of #1 Wall Street. The building is near completion and will be 50 storeys when completed. It is extremely modern, yet almost cathedral-like in appearance. It stands directly across the street from Trinity Church, which I did not take the time to walk into, unfortunately.

There was a fairly tall man in his, I would say, early 50's waiting for me in the entry-way. He said nothing to me. Only motioned for me to come closer to him. He displayed a small box wrapped in brown paper. I simply handed him the envelope of presumed money. He winked. I looked to the ground. He said simply, "Tell the Professor, there's more if he wants to take a look." His voice was deep and rough.

"I will," I said quietly among the sound of drills and hammers.

"You must be the new messenger?"

"I am." I said wanting to offer up nothing more.

"They are making quite a fuss over you." He looked me over in a way that made me very uncomfortable. "I can see why." He smiled.

I quickly placed the package in my satchel, "Good day," I said and ran to Broadway.

No matter now. I need to get ready for my surprise jaunt.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Me and Mr. Fish

You might remember an email exchange between myself and Velma's assistant, Nick Fish. In his email he promised Velma's completed profile and letters from the Tulip family. To date I have received neither. I decided to gently remind him. He was quick to respond.

My email:


Hey, it's Justin the "blogger." Hope all is well with you. Just wondering what happened to Velma's profile and the Tulip family letters. Please let me know if there is any way I can help to expedite the delivery process. If the mailing hasn't occurred, I am frequently in Upper Manhattan and would be happy to come by Velma's office to pick the materials up.

Let me know and have a good one.


Nick's response (which came 22 minutes later):


My sincerest apologies for not contacting you sooner about the letters. When I last spoke to Velma about the mailing, she seemed hesitant to put the fragile documents in the mail. They were hand-delivered by a member of the family as to avoid damage. The letters begin in the 1930's so the paper is disintegrating. Velma asked me to contact you on the matter two weeks ago, but seeing as we've been swamped here with various other obligations, it honestly slipped my mind.

It might be best for you to come and pick up the letters in person. I think Velma will feel more comfortable with that arrangement. Plus, I'm sure she would love to see you. Let me speak to her on the matter and get back to you with a time and place.

Again, I apologize. Enjoy your weekend.


Nick Fish

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

November 15, 1931


I could vividly feel the same blue feather that I was holding from my dream a few weeks prior. I was walking down a city street and came upon, what looked to be, a huge stone temple from ancient times. For some reason I was drawn into this place. When I entered it was completely dark. I had no sense of direction. I felt as though I was walking into a void and then the girl came. The one with the tattered bonnet, who gave me the feather. She grabbed my hand and we went tumbling through the dark.

I am recording this as I have just woken. The seeming reality of these dreams are beginning to frighten me. The image of this pale girl is disturbing. Not sure how to proceed.

I am off to Loockersmans's office this morning. Harold dropped a note in my campus letter box saying there is a delivery to be made.

Late Morning

Have returned from Loockersmans's with a thick, soft envelope to be delivered to a man named Harry Basset. He will be waiting for me at the construction site of 1 Wall Street. I am also supposed to receive something. By the feel of it, I would say I am carrying money to this man.

This does not sit well with me.