Reading Lucy

At one point in her essay, “Reading Lucy,” Jennifer Egan talks about having strayed in pursuing Lucy’s letters.  After all, she should have been researching the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  I suspect that as we spend our weeks studying the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Brooklyn Historical Society (where Egan found those letters), and many other places and as we stay at the St. George Hotel (where Lucy’s husband was going to take her swimming–and where one of our participants learned how to swim), we too might stray.  In fact, some of us might have “strayed” already as we read this piece–strayed to what Egan meant by the “clamp of 50s domesticity” or to thoughts of whatever happened to “Minnie, a negro tacker,” or what Lucy’s supervisor Haack was like or what it was like to have 4,657 women at the yard, “working in nearly every phase of shipbuilding and repair.”  So, did you find yourself “straying” as you read this? In some way, the “straying” we do during our week will be the most rewarding and the most fun.  Now, since the pool at the St George Hotel is long since gone, who will take the first metaphorical leap and “plunge” into our blog?  We will talk about the Box later in the week.


54 responses to “Reading Lucy

  1. Stefan Fleischer

    The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I read this b/c it dramatizes how dusty archival research can come alive. Courtesy of Egan I think I would recognize Lucy were I to see her on a bus. Lucy and I would have lots to talk about

    • This is very true Stefan. Egan espouses issues that are important in her time and today. I am glad she “strayed” in pursuing Lucy’s letters. From her writing, the history of the Brooklyn Waterfront has been preserved and can be read about by millions.

  2. Marianne Trale

    Sorry, I couldn’t wait for my invitation from wordpress. One of the things that struck me about Lucy was that she seemed very content in “the clamp of domesticity” because she was very much in love. Although she’s smart and aggressive, for instance, in her talk with Minnie, she seems to long for the day when her husband returns and things can go back to the way they were. This was an interesting time for women as noted by the fact that shortly after Simone De Beauvoir publishes The Second Sex, bringing to the surface that women have been “second class” for a very long time. But one of the interesting things that Beauvoir notes is that the reason for this is that “she herself ” fails to bring about change because she is happy in the position of “other.” That seems to apply to Lucy, who can do a “man’s” job, but doesn’t seem very content in doing so. So this is where I strayed by thinking did love for women in the 40s and 50s require sacrifice of the self? It appears that Lucy is the smarter of the couple, the teacher/learner. And how does that “domesticity” of women then influence women of 2010 … ?

  3. I stray as often as possible, as a rule. Straying promotes creativity in my life. And technology might serve to interrupt it – “It was one of those moments when technology crushingly outpaces the cognitive reach….” Back to work, back to work we go. But what Jennifer is asking us to do is to remember that those moments of straying might offer an enrichment of the soul as well as an enrichment to our work, both collectively and individually.

    I loved reading this – thank you for assigning it as our first.

    • I love fellow strayers! Do you suppose we can count ourselves flaneurs as we poke around the shore and through Brooklyn?

      • “Flaneur” is one of my favorite rarely-used words! While the voyeur, used more often, has a narrow interest in others, the flaneur is so much more well-rounded. Poe’s “The Man of the Crowd,” Gornick’s essay collections, and Whitman’s “To A Stranger” all come to mind. For a good read: Dana Brand’s “On The Flaneur” from “Thirteen Ways of Practicing New York City.”

      • Ah, straying! Ah, humanity! To walk with a purpose but no destination, these are the successful days. How to best study for an exam, students may ask? Take a long walk, Whitman like, for four hours — his daily wanderings cannot be traced but can be bravely emulated. Nature abhors a vacuum; you will be filled.

        I wish to speak also to two little things, found I suppose at the top and tail of Egan’s piece. How wonderfully surprising is Alfred, emerging gleefully from the corners, and wow!, surpassing our worried hopes for Lucy, for life and giving us a memorable adverb near the end. Ah, how wonderful to dance in time, in dreams and hopes, to dance even if flatfoodedly.

        And Egan’s piece tests the reliability of Uncle Walt Whitman’s extravagant claim in the epigraph to the book. What is it then between us? Distance, time, place — all impediments avail not. I love so extravagantly this poet of democratic unity; he waits for us, he says, somewhere down the road.

      • Flatfootedly!

    • Now for some random word association…kspeirs says “flatfootedly” and the only phrase that pops into my head immediately is “city-foot.” It has nothing to do with anything really aside from it being a description of the bottoms of your feet after walking around the streets of NYC in flip flops for a day.

  4. Marianne says “That seems to apply to Lucy, who can do a “man’s” job, but doesn’t seem very content in doing so.” I had a different impression.
    I thought she loved what she was doing. Navy Yard… war production… 24/7. Exciting…Interesting…empathizing with Minnie’s situation. Of course this is based on a very hasty read. I’ll have to look at it again. What do others think?

  5. Is it really straying? More “real” for me than reading The Box; I enjoyed several other pieces in Bklyn was Mine. The people are always more interesting to me than the place; that’s why a city project appealed to me more than the country.

    I think the “smarter” woman/working man relationship was not uncommon, esp. in working-class couples; more boys left school for the army or jobs, more girls stayed to finish high school. And today we have more women than men in community colleges, more women in the military than ever, more men incarcerated (as always). I’ve seen articles about “marriageable men” today that either bemoan the loss of peers for educated women or exhort them to broaden their criteria. I think it’s a more status-conscious society now, particularly than it was during the post-WWII “boom” times; maybe Lucy’s generation’s moving out into the world is part of that.

  6. I love the detail Jennifer Egan skillfully employs and the fact that she becomes part of Lucy’s story: “she wrote in blue pen in a small loose-leaf binder, defining countless acronyms … I, too, was trying to learn the basics of battleships … .” It’s musical and timeless.

    • As a cellist, I love your reference to its being “musical.” I am curious about Lucy’s “lengthy tutorial on how to read music.”

  7. How did this set of 1944 letters between Lucy and Alfred stray into the Brooklyn Historical Society collection?

  8. What a nice essay to start things off with – thank you for sharing this with us. I thought that Egan successfully and simultaneously provided us with the space to stray while also connecting us with a part of Lucy’s journey. The timeless quality of Lucy’s letters along with Egan’s artful way of sharing this chapter of Lucy’s life drew me right in.

  9. If Egan was “straying” from her research on the Brooklyn Navy Yard, I can easily see why. Egan found that “part of the pleasure of reading her letters was wondering how her [Lucy’s} life would turn out” (29). I enjoyed the way Egan delved into Lucy’s life and letters. Her imaginings of what Lucy would look like and how she would sound (her voice “deep and a little crackly”) formed nice little detours in the narrative — straying within the straying. As for Lucy, she seems to fit the model of the good wife circa 1940s: in the bloom of her “heedless” love, she gives her husband remarkable pep talks, trivializes her own education at Hunter, defers to his wisdom about how “to wire a room,” and speaks in informal register “Nuttin.'” Egan’s descriptions invite meandering thoughts. I, too, found myself trying to picture Lucy, fuchsia lips and all.

  10. Good morning,

    “Reading Lucy” was a wonderful diversion from an otherwise hectic day! I found myself wondering what the next day would bring. I also found myself wishing that I had the time to record the type of daily observations and revelations that we see in the essay.

  11. Just before reading “Reading Lucy,” I saw this article in the paper about new plans for the Brooklyn Navy Yard:

    In case you don’t have the time or inclination to click through, the article is about plans to build a ShopRite in yard, concerns about preservationists have about the plan, and that, if the supermarket is built, part of the wall surrounding the yard will be torn down. A few quotes that caught my interest:

    “While preservationists are trying to save the entire Admirals Row, James said the need for a neighborhood supermarket “far exceeds” saving history because right now “this area is like a food desert.”


    “I can’t wait until that wall is demolished,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn). “It creates psychological barriers for the entire neighborhood.”

    I couldn’t help but wonder what Lucy would think about the “wall coming down” and the debate over the use of the yard. I felt like Egan’s article brought down part of the wall around the mysterious Navy Yard for me. A friend lives just on the other side of the wall–on a dead end street that in fact dead ends at the Navy Yard. We often wonder what it is like there now and what it was like in the past. This article helped me envision at least a small part of that answer.

    • michelekremers

      KL: Thanks for the link to the article on the BNY. Living in Oregon and not knowing what is going on across the county, I found this article insightful in giving me a background about the current situation in Brooklyn.

      Living in Oregon over the past 16 years has given me the opportunity to study and gen involved in sustainable design andpractices. I wonder what the sustainable element in regard to history is going to be on the future developement of this site. I look forward to learning more when in Brooklyn.

  12. I thought this was a delightful way to start off our program. I send “oodles of love” for the choice. I am looking forward to straying and thinking of Lucy and others who have walked where we will walk this summer.

  13. brooklynforever

    I am going to stray a little myself and post something without having read “Reading Lucy”. I ordered the book but it will take the better part of a week to arrive where I teach in a remote part of the Navajo Nation. I promise to re-post once I read the essay. Anyhow, I am truly amazed that Jennifer Egan, who lives in Brooklyn, and writes remarkable novels, has put me in touch with a project whose proceeds go to save Brooklyn from falling into the greedy hands of the developers of Atlantic Yards! While surfing to find the article, I came across the “Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn” movement which has captured my interest. I visited the sculptor, Mark diSuvero, in 1975 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard while he and his co-workers were welding huge I-beams in preparation for installations of large steel sculptures throughout the five boroughs. I will always remember driving my rental car (a 1975 Chrysler Cordova) into the BNY searching for an artist friend of mine who was working with diSuvero at the time. I had suddenly gained access to a place that existed only in my imagination. I was impressed by the use of the industrial space for creating art and have always loved that aspect of the BNY urban landscape (moreso than its former military uses). Can’t wait for the book to arrive in the mail. Meanwhile, I can only meander around the Alongtheshore website and read the post of my fellow bloggers. Brooklyn Forever!

  14. Delightful.

    I immediately ordered Brooklyn was Mine for Mothers’ Day for my daughter who lives in Red Hook and has an almost-two-year-old. She can pass it on to her two sisters who both live nearby. I’ve held out for Manhattan myself.

    In Lucy’s list of things to fix, what are “stocks”?

  15. Reading “Reading Lucy,” I did indeed stray in some very personal ways. While a high-school student during those days of “50s domesticity,” I drove a laundry truck as my main duty working in one of the two laundries in my Texas Gulf Coast hometown–making, I think, something like a dollar an hour. And working with me for the same wages was an older cousin–Stella. Soon after the end of WWII Stella had come from New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband and two children so that her husband could find work at the Dow Chemical Company. She and her husband, who was 4f, had met and married while they were both working in the New Orleans shipyard during WWII. In fact, Stella, a shipyard welder during WWII, was an authenic Rosie the Riveter, who had worked for considerable wages in the shipyard. (I have iconic pictures of her in her welder’s overalls and her hair tied up in a handkerchief.) Yet, when the shipyard was no longer functioning after the War was over, Stella without ever complaining and with an acceptance I couldn’t understand chose the “clamp of 50s domesticity” and working for a dollar an hour in a laundry while her husband made good wages at the chemical plant. She’s nearly 90 now, a widow who has also lost one of her children, and I never tire of listening to her talk about her days in the shipyard. So indeed I am looking forward to “straying” and then “straying” some more during our week in Brooklyn.

  16. “All of Brooklyn seemed full of her.” Egan is engaged by her relationship with Lucy, poetically connecting the details of her letters to her own life. Womanhood, self observed, experienced through letters, drawings, notes, the enscription of some record that we were here, we lived, fought and loved in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn waterfront does that, connects us to the past in the physical inscriptions of place, scars of industrial infrastructure quietly rusting, lapped by the tongues of the East River, stories, poems, memories of a walker in the city. The rythms of work seem to connect the past and the present despite the differences in industry and definition. You could feel Lucy’s desire and passion for her husband even in the second hand observation of Jennifer Egan. Feel Whitman’s passion, a passion that we share, haunting the waterfront. I wrote a long poem about living there, the first stanza is below:

    Brooklyn, it’s the curried goat, man, it’s the pall of BQE exhaust diffused in summer steam, the playful flat of a tar rooftop, the bubbles of gas from the fried Polish breakfast we shared, the walk, walk, walk upon the earth because I didn’t get the bicycle off the fire escape that morning, the seductive smell of paint and plaster dust in cool spots of artist spaces, making sex talk, dreaming of green point green

  17. Lucy is a revelation, a complex figure more tangible and appealing than “Rosie the Riveter” ever was to me. Until I read Egan’s essay, I did not realize women of Lucy’s generation visited therapists; debated with their husbands about remaining in the workplace; or had dreams where they pictured their spouses diapering babies. I was pleasantly surprised Lucy earned a college degree! I found myself wondering who or what was responsible for moving Lucy in the direction of a post-secondary education in the early part of the 20th century. The therapist, the education – how was she able to afford them? Did Lucy have advantages other women did not? Did she come from a life of privilege?

  18. michelekremers

    I enjoyed reading about Lucy because it makes historical research exciting. To dig into the past in order to understand the future/presetn can be an enlightening experience. Historical reserach is a detective story that may not have a definitive ending.

  19. “Reading Lucy” is an excellent pick for the group. I am glad Egan “strayed” in pursuing Lucy’s letters. Others might have been tempted to stick to the straight and narrow, the tried and true or what is most familiar. In pursuing Lucy’s letters Egan afforded herself a chance to grow and find out more.

    What interests me is the atmosphere and environment of having almost 5000 women working on a ship building yard.

    • Yes, imagine 5,000 women together in an environment like the Naval Yard! Do you suppose they all menstruated at the same time?

  20. Thanks for the lovely poem, KimReed.

  21. Reading Lucy:
    Great quick read! I didn’t realize that civilian workers in the yard had ranks similar to the navy such as 2nd Class or 3rd Class.

    • This was interesting to me too Billy. The work environment seems to have been very rigid and structured.

  22. This is my first experience blogging, so bear with me. It took me this long to think about going in before we received our invitation. Having just heard a student presentation about the impact of electronic means of communication and how its affecting our use of language, I find it really ironic that we are thinking about the use of written letters as a window into historical times and personal experiences. Now that so much of our communication is electronic, is anything of our times today really being preserved to be accessed by later generations to understand us and our lives–or conversely is so much electronically available that it would be overwhelming to try to sort through it to study it? Just as we take lots of photos digitally but often don’t get around to printing them (and then lose the camera), what challenges will exist for historical research in the future?

    I enjoyed the Lucy piece and reading all the comments people had posted so far and am very much looking forward to my first time in Brooklyn. (Manhattan is the only borough I’ve been in.) I’m reading a book of historical fiction called Passing Strange right now that is set in part in Brooklyn, so every time I read about a place like the Navy Yard in the book, I think about seeing it in June. I almost wish I was reading it after our return because I find it so enriches a read when you’ve been to and can visualize a place.

    I too loved the way this piece brought the realities of women’s lives in WWII factory work so much more to life than the Rosie the Riveter image. I just showed a video in my women’s history class of the modern women’s movement and how the WWII leadership roles some women fell into then led to their becoming leaders later in the 60’s and 70’s, so this tied nicely with that film.

    • I like what you said about comparing Lucy’s letters and the record they left to what our present day blogs, tweets, and social networking pages may say about us to future generations. Makes me think there might be a point to Twitter and Facebook after all…And I also wondered, as did an earlier poster, how ‘typical’ Lucy’s experience was,and to what degree the balance she struck between the demands of married life and the demands of work (and I’m assuming also a sense of duty, as it was wartime) was unique, and to what degree it was shared by other women in the Navy Yard.

  23. Blogging is a first for me! I have ordered “Reading Lucy” but it has not yet arrived. I will post again once it arrives and look forward to engaging!

  24. I, indeed, strayed away from the basic topic at hand. I strayed into visions of Rosie The Riveter (as Karla Brown and Denise C. have already stated). I strayed into painting a picture of Lucy in my mind, as Egan did in her essay. However, Egan thinks Lucy had a raspy voice. I think she was sometimes loud, but not of a harsh tone. I’d like to think she could sing. I’d like to think Alfred could whistle.

    michelekremers commented that Egan makes “historical research exciting,” and I concur. Historical research is nothing without personal tale. History is a story. It needs characters. This sentiment reminds me of the new television show produced by Lisa Kudrow, “Who Do You Think You Are?”; the first episode had Sarah Jessica Parker traveling around America, finding her family’s roots.

    I have a weird quality: I have nostalgia for experiences I’ve never had from time periods before which I was born. In reading this essay, I found myself longing to be part of this kind of love affair, though building ships is probably not as romantic as I’m dreaming it to be. klculkin’s link to building a ShopRite has saddened me as commercialization usually does in a place so rich with history.

    I hope to make my own history this coming June, and even before then. As I’ve noted in my own blog (for those of you new to blogging, click on my name in this comment and you can read my blog), this essay struck a particular chord because of a new guy I met. He’s from Brooklyn. Last week, we went to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I’m already creating memories.

  25. Holden Caulfield understood that the real story, the real focus, is always in the digressions; if this is what you mean by “straying,” I say, let’s do it! I love that Lucy read Dorothy Parker AND that in 1944 had a therapist!

    And I’m wondering about the member of the group who learned to swim in Hotel St. George Pool…

  26. The part that captured my imagination the most was the discussion of Minnie and the supervisor, Haack. Why did she think she’d get a fairer deal in welding? That wasn’t a job that was any less male or any less white than the one where she started. Was racism at this time so parochial that something as random as a different boss would have completely changed her reality? It’s always exciting to come across ideas like this while rummaging through an archive. It’s always frustrating, though, if straying after them doesn’t lead anywhere.

    • Babu:
      From the reading it seems racism and sexism were unfortunately prevalent. I feel a different boss might ironically have changed Minnie’s reality.

  27. I only recently received the list of readings and have now started to get the books through interlibrary loan. I apologize for not being able to comment.

  28. Hi everyone, I’m Susan from Tampa, and I’m sorry that I can’t put forth an official comment; I am awaiting the books from another institution as an inter-library loan. Hopefully, by Monday, I’ll be blogging properly. At any rate, I’ve enjoyed reading your comments thus far.

  29. I strayed by starting Brooklyn Was Mine with “I Hate Brighton Beach” instead of “Reading Lucy” and I am continuing to stray to the other stories in this book. Thanks for leading us here. Reading someone’s personal love letters would certainly cause someone to stray away from historical research! Of course! Letters are more interesting, more revealing, and also more accurate than interviewing someone about a time in their life centuries removed. I am wondering HOW the Brooklyn Historical Society got these letters…If Lucy was my mom or wife, I am not sure that I would share them with the world, assuming that this is a true story.

  30. Addell Anderson

    I appreciated the story as one that allowed a more human connection to Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II. However, I cannot say it affected me the way others have cited. I longed for many more details about Lucy’s work and her peers. As the first reading, I also wanted a better introduction to Brooklyn – its history and people.

  31. jennifer hauss

    I, too, loved starting our study with Lucy. I admire Egan’s novels, especially Look at Me. And I smiled at the mention of “strawberry malted” and the dreams of a blond baby. Watsonfaith leads with Holden Caulfield; the LA Times did a piece in the travel section April 25th on “‘Catcher’ in Manhattan” retracing the steps of Holden, and I can’t wait to land in NY and do the same – and ponder Holden’s question: what becomes of the ducks in Central Park when it ices over? In the piece, the writer quotes Salinger writing about the Natural History Museum: “You could go there a hundred thousand times… The only thing that would be different would be you.” And the major tenet of the article is that we can retrace Holden’s steps and still see much of what Holden saw (and feel what he felt) 60 years ago. I have a feeling our study of Brooklyn may yield a very different response.

  32. James Seymour

    I enjoyed reading about Lucy because it brings history to life, which I would like to do with my students. Jennifer Egan had the “a-ha” moment I want to impart to students: the realization that people from the past are similar to us (or we are similar to them). I hope the other selections in the book are as good, as I await its arrival.

    Like Karla Brown, this is my first experience with blogging, and I also wonder how electronic medium will change the way historians of the future look upon us. Can you imagine reconstructing our lives based on a handful of emails, twitter-postings and text messages? FWIW, IMHO, and YMMV.

  33. Pingback: The Past Is Now: Lowenthal’s The Past Is A Foreign Country | Rediscovering Brooklyn: A Local Tour De Force

  34. Hi, my inter-library loan came yesterday and am anxious to comment about “Reading Lucy.”
    First, although Ihave never been to NYC before, I started feeling like Brooklyn could, despite its size, be a “small town.” This is because of the references in the reading to the very places we will encounter in our workshop : St. George’s Hotel, Coney Island, and the Navy Yard. These places will probably feel like old haunts by the time I first step foot in them! The discussion of negro tacker, Minnie, reminds us that discrimination certainly wasn’t limited to the South, as Brooklyn seemed to have its share mid-century. I also agree with other commenters that I would have enjoyed a bit more information about the work in the yard, although this human-interest look at female workers was a fun read. Susan McClung

  35. “Reading Lucy” led me to to other stories in Brooklyn Was Mine. I enjoyed most of them and came away with a deeper understandisng of Brooklyn and how it has changed. Colin Harrison’s “Diamonds” reminded me of my days growing up in New York City and playing baseball for the PAL (Police Athletic League) on ball fields throughout the various boroughs. My Prospect Park was Astoria Park along the East River under the Triboro and Queensboro bridges. I was surprised to learn this year that the baseball diamonds have been replaced with a soccer field. I learned, for the first time, watching the news last night, that the
    Triboro Bridge is now the RFK Bridge. Sorry, but it will always be the Triboro Bridge for me. Like most residents of Queens, travel out of the borough meant heading into “The City”, meaning, of course, Manhattan. Trips to our neighbor on Long Island were so infrequent that I remember the specific occasions for them. Sporting events were a major reason for the rare visits-a high school track meet, a PAL baseball game, and about a half dozen or more excursions to Ebbets Field. One of the games that stands out was late in the season and involved Sal Maglie and the Giants beating the Dodgers and clinching the pennant. I attended the game with my father and three of my uncles. For some reason or other, my father decided to avoid the expressway. So the trip from Astoria, Queens was a very long one through the many city streets and neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Although it was a long time ago, I still remember being most impressed as we passed through an Orthodox Jewish community. As we were exiting the ball park, we observed, a few sections below us, the two managers, Waler Alston and Leo Duroucher, shaking hands to end the season. It would have been a great snapshot. Alas, I didn’t have a camera.
    Ebbets Field was also the site of the PSAL (Public School Athletic League) high school baseball championships. My high school, W.C. Bryant, won the championship several times during my years there. The entire school was taken to the ball park and, on one occasion, the New York City Transit Authority ran a special express train from Woodside, Queens to Flatbush to escort the student body. In the final in 1955, one of Bryant’s stars, Freddie Van Dusen, came to the plate. He was a tall, blond, left handed hitter with a classic stance. And sure enough, he slammed one over the right field fence onto Bedford Avenue. I remeber how major league scouts attendng the game were scribbling furiously into their notebooks. What happened to Freddie?? I discovered recently that he did indeed make it to the majors having been signed as a bonus baby by the Philadelphia Phillies. He, however, played in only one game and made only one plate appearance. He may hold a record as being the only player in history to have been hit with a pitch in his one and only trip to the plate. He did continue to play in the Phillies minor league organization before retiring in 1961.

    • ” I learned, for the first time, watching the news last night, that the Triboro Bridge is now the RFK Bridge. Sorry, but it will always be the Triboro Bridge for me.” I second that!

  36. Thanks for some more great history, Tony

  37. My readings are beginning to arrive, so I am pleased to finally be able to join the discussion.

    “Reading Lucy” offers a very personal way for us to begin our study of Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront. Within the rush and demands of the World War II waterfront, Lucy’s story is representative of the many people getting on with their day-to-day lives within the chaos of the moment. I particularly enjoyed the unfolding story of two women in two distinctively different historical periods. With this being said, their lives reflect similarities in notable ways – a great beginning for the work before us.

  38. Just got my book and having been born in Brooklyn, I “strayed” immediately to “I hate Brighton Beach” because my memories of Bay 4 after a sweltering trip on the IRT(or was it he BMT) are not at all positive! OMG! was I surprised! The author’s Brighton Beach is a foreign country to me as my Brighton Beach would be a foreign country to her. Talk about you can’t go home again!!!

  39. I found Jennifer Egan’s expanded frame for relaying the story of Lucy’s life as conveyed through her letters to her future husband, Alfred, to make the tale so much more poignant and vivid; juxtaposing the unfolding of Lucy’s life –a life marked by Lucy’s focus on her future, which so many of us, to a great extent, focus on–with Egan’s knowledge of what Lucy’s life would bring (children), when Lucy’s life would end and what historical trends would follow the period within which Lucy lived moved me profoundly. This ironic juxtapositioning made the tale leap off the page by having it integrate with the present. The reading will influence how I think about both contemporary culture and my own, personal life in the present: think as if someone is looking back at all this with the awareness of its own unfoldings and limits. I loved, as well, to learn of happening at the Brooklyn Navy yard.

  40. Brooklyn Forever

    As promised, I will offer another Lucy post after having read the essay. The only thing different I have to offer,perhaps, from the sentiments posted by my Along the Shore colleagues is that I was relieved that Lucy chose San Francisco after Brooklyn. The two locales include industrial waterfronts that inspire and promote, not only the military industrial complex, but later the artistic enterprises of such sculptors as Mark diSuvero whose industrial studios include the Brooklyn Navy Yard as well as a studio near SF at Petaluma, CA. Poets and literary figures have flocked to both locations. Would “You Go Girl!” be too trite to say to our friend Lucy as she pondered the move to the West Coast? Brooklyn Forever

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