Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ned Doyle returns.

Some time ago, as my wife and I were preparing for the renovation of our apartment, I was deep inside the walk-in closet in our master-bedroom. There, I found an old cardboard shoebox filled with sepia-toned and brittle old letters tied up with a ribbon, bank-statements, a few dozen silver dollars, and a leather-bound diary.

I opened the diary and quickly realized it had belonged to one of the previous owners of our apartment, Ned Doyle. The diary is the personal story of Doyle’s immigrant experience.

I had started, in this space, excerpting the diary, but then, frankly, amid our renovation, I lost the diary. I turned my apartment upside down looking for it to no avail.

Oddly enough, just last Saturday, the diary suddenly seemed to appear out of nowhere. So once again, I will published sections in this space…the story of Ned Doyle, 16, in olde New York.

7 March 1902
With spelling and grammar unimproved by the Editor

Like I wuz saying, the Rebbe came clumping up the stars to his flat with his heavy boots like to wake the dead from h’every footfall. He bursts in troo the doorway and swings into the vestibool with his heavy black bag swinging in fronna him and crash, his black bag falls on the linooleum and is in two flicks of a lamb’s tail crashing oopen like a cloud burst on a soomer day.

Cooming out oov the Rebbe’s bag as it crashes oopen is a coolection of tools of turture, and impleements of pain, the likes of which I ha’ never seen, and they are scattered like mousies all oover the floor.

“Ach,” sez the Rebbe in their Yiddish langwitch which sounds like Dutch. “Ach, me tools!”

“Ye mean, yer impleements of turture, ye divvel! Wot kind oof a man d’ye suppose ye are? A divvel incarcerated?”

He larfs at that, the Rebbe does, his belly jiggling with addypose and shaking like a too sma’ ship inna too big sea.

“Thems his the tools a’ me trade,” the Rebbe sez.

“An’ wot wood yer trade be?” I ast him. “Wot wood yer trade be? Turturing young children fer your God’s sacred rituals? Drainin’ the blud of innycent bairns
t’ make ye bread?”

“No, me boy, no,” sez the Rebbe, as he walks me into the room they calls the pallor. “No, me boy. Sit here aside me,” sez he as he set in his large arm-chair. “And let me explain to you some facts o’ the Jewish rituals of life.”

Here, I stop for the day, Diary.

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