“you can’t go home again” …not true!

855 East 19 Street, Brooklyn, NY

Was it Thomas Wolfe who  said in Look Homeward Angel “you can’t go home again”? My friend Eileen and I found that you can return and enjoy the memories of youth.

My friend Eileen Ori...

Eileen is visiting  from Israel (she was born and lived in Brooklyn until the early 70’s)  and is staying with me until she heads  to Seattle to be with her two children and 6 grandchildren. In 1971, my wife Donna and I spent a summer with her in Herzlia, Israel.

Last Tuesday was a rainy stormy day. We decided to head into Brooklyn to go to the Brooklyn Museum. Of course it was closed…not sure why museums close on a Tuesday…so we headed to Park Slope for some hummus, baba ganoush, and other middle eastern delights. I think I’ve had hummus every day now since she’s been here…ok, maybe not every day…It’s good thing I love it!

Since the weather was still not cooperating  we decided to go back to the old neighborhoods where we grew up. I grew up in the Midwood section of Brooklyn about two blocks from Brooklyn College. My building, 855 East 19th Street, is still standing (see picture above) and looks as I remember it did 50 years ago.  The street’s the same, the houses look the same…looks like they were never touched. East 19th was a great block to grow up on. There were lots of kids (about 10 lived in my building alone) so we were outside playing all the time…We used to play punchball and stick ball on the street. The manhole cover was home plate…hitting a ball over the ‘cut’…the railroad tracks that cut the street in half was a home run. Great memories for me.

2171 Bragg St, Brooklyn, NY

Eileen grew up in the Sheepshead Bay area of Brooklyn. She also lived in an apartment building with lots of other kids. In fact, she’s having a reunion today with 5 of those ‘kids’   in a restaurant in Sheepshead Bay. Eileen has often gone back to Bragg Street. Her friend Sheila still lives in the same apartment that she grew up in.

Not sure if there’s really a point to this post, but it was fun returning home again.

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3 thoughts on ““you can’t go home again” …not true!

  1. Cool-I went back to 839 E. 19th Street 3 years ago to show my new wife the neighborhood-the door was open to the building and we went inside-Hair raised on the back of my neck (it had been 41 years since I grew up in this building –at age 1-16)

    I walked up the staircase and felt strong emotional reverberations-I knocked on the door to 2-C where after a long wait an old woman (90 maybe) – on a walker –and wearing a flimsy nighty- opened the door –I said I lived here when I was a boy can me and my wife come in –she let us in and it was like an acid trip – the louvre doors my parents had put on their bedroom were still there –the furniture all tiny doll house size –the rooms seemingly made for dwarves- my heart was pounding and I looked out the window to the courtyard-my brother and I shared a small bedroom – I can’t believe how small now – when I was ready to leave I asked the old lady when she moved in and wouldn’t you know it – it was the month after I moved out – so there you have it-how many people get to do that?

    Les Ericson

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