Saturday, June 04, 2005


I love Helen. She is the older woman living in the next brownstone over from us in Brooklyn. She was born and raised on this block and so were her parents and all her aunts and uncles and cousins, etc. She likes to tell stories how 'back in the day' the shaved ice guy lived in the building she is currently in or how her aunt used to live in my house and how her father once built doors in all the picket fences so the kids could go from yard to yard to yard.

The only times I really see Helen I am on the back porch in my pajamas. She is often on her back porch in her pajamas. She is ususally hanging out the laundry. It's a pajama party. With Helen.

I've liked Helen since the moment I met her. It was day two of living in our new place and I was sweeping the walk. She shuffled up to me and nudged me in the ribs,

H: How much ya pay for that place?
K: we are actually renting.
H: Ohhhhh...ok. I was won-da-rin. (thick Brooklyn accent)
H: You two married?
K: Nope
H: Catholic?
K: Nope
H: Jewish?
K: Nope
H: Oh. My name is Helen. I've lived on this block my whole life.
K: Oh wow! Nice to meet you!

The funny thing about Helen is that for some reason she got it in her head that I am a public school teacher and E 'works in computers'. Recently on the way to the subway I had a rare Helen sighting in the front yard. I was wearing jeans.

H: You can wear denim to school? As a tee-cha? Must be nice.

It was one of those moments where it would take longer to explain to her that I am in fact not a teacher nor have I ever been. So I just said yes. Yes I can wear denim as a teacher. Sort of like the time E went on a trip to Texas to take some photographs for an upcoming photography show. When he returned Helen asked me,

H: So...did he get the computa jawb in Texas?

After a moments pause, I just said no. No he didn't get the job in Texas.

I don't mind the life Helen has created for the two of us. In fact I find it kind of endearing. This morning I saw Helen on the pack porch.

H: Goodmornin'! So...schools out for summa!
to which I replied. Yes. Yes it is.


At 11:52 AM, Blogger posthipchick said...

i've heard teachers on the e. coast can't wear denim.
but us teachers on the w. coast do it all the time.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger zinktuais said...

lovely post (and neighbour)!!

At 11:05 AM, Blogger rion said...

i like this one a lot. so new york.

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Jake said...

school's not actually out until june 30th- best that you hide in your house until then so she doesn't find out.


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