Jerry was sitting at a table in front of Whole Foods with Jackie in his lap. Jackie is a Jack Russell Terrier who is remarkably docile for a normally high-spirited breed. When I first spoke, Jerry said, “Oh, you sound like New York.” Great. Our family left new York a mere 58 years ago. Maybe after 100 years I'll lose the accent.
Jerry is actually Gerhard. He was born in Germany and lived in New York from 1951 – 81. We talked about how the culture in NY has gone downhill. I explained that as a baby, my mother would put me in a carriage and leave me outside while she did her housework. Today, at the very least she would be arrested.
When Jerry walked to first grade (in NY), he could barely speak English. When he walked home, no one was there. A neighbor heard him crying and took him in until his older sister arrived. We reminisced about neighborhoods where people really took care of each other.
While we spoke, his wife Bea arrived. She had a thick German accent and a very expressive face. Alas, she would have no part of being photographed. A woman and young girl passed by, and the child had to stop to pet Jackie. She is Ella, and it made her day.