In 1955, when I was 12, my friends and I would go every Saturday to the Kingsway Theater in Brooklyn. It was on Kings Highway and Coney Island Avenue.
The manager was a very dapper gentleman who looked like Clark Gable and had a similar mustache. I always marveled at how elegant he was. I was only 12, but it made an impression.
Several years ago, I was waiting for the light to change at Lexington Avenue and 57th Street when I noticed a very dapper gentleman standing in front of me.
Just from the back of his head, I immediately knew it was him, the manager of the Kingsway. It was amazing. When I got a better look, I saw he had the same mustache and was dressed in the same perfect way.
I can’t believe it, I said to my husband. It’s the manager of the movie theater I went to when I was 12.
So? he said.
I’m going to tap him on the shoulder, I said.
Don’t you dare, my husband said.
I tapped the man on the shoulder.
Were you ever the manager of the Kingsway movie theater in Brooklyn, maybe 60 years ago, I asked.
He looked at me in disbelief.
Yes, I was, he said.
I was one of the Saturday afternoon 12-year-olds that drove you crazy, I said.
He was so excited that I remembered him. Neither one of us could believe that I did.
— Laura Gruber
I was on an uptown No. 1 train. Across the aisle was a young man who looked to be in his early 20s. He had long, thick, curly red hair. There was a guitar case on the floor next to him.
We looked at each other and smiled. I got off at the next stop.
Around two months later, I got on another uptown 1. I sat down, looked up and saw the young red-haired man with his guitar case across the aisle and two seats away.
We looked at each other. His eyes widened in surprise and his face broke into a grin.
I’m sure I looked surprised, too, and I grinned, too.
In two stops, he got off the train. We were both smiling.
— Deametrice Eyster
‘In a Sentimental Mood’
On a warm summer evening out in the East Village, I found myself more charmed by the playful soul of the street corner jazz band than by the date who was sitting across from me.
Two tequila shots later, my body found its way closer to the music. I thanked the two musicians for lighting up my evening. And with tipsy confidence, I introduced myself as a would-be singer.
“Do you know ‘In a Sentimental Mood?’” the piano player asked.
“Duke Ellington, yes,” I said. “Sung by Ella Fitzgerald, no. But I’ll learn it. And come back next week.”
He chuckled as his fingers danced over the keyboard.
“You’ve got a deal,” he said.
— Polly Fong
Hot Pink Umbrella
I was returning to work from a coffee run when I got caught in the start of a rainstorm without my umbrella.
When I got to the corner at 77th Street and Columbus, I just missed the light to cross. A long line of waiting cars began its procession. I stood there, getting soaked.
Then the downpour over me suddenly stopped. I whirled around. An older woman standing beside me had put her hot pink umbrella over the two of us.
“I can keep you dry for a little while,” she said.
I thanked her, laughing a little.
“Was my misery so apparent?”
“Your hair was wet.”
The light changed, and we crossed the street together under the shelter of her umbrella.
“How far do you have to go?” she asked.
“Just here,” I said, pointing to the right. “I work at the museum.”
“Well,” she said, walking off, “have a lovely day!”
— Camille Jetta
As a teenager, I lived along the Hudson River near the Croton-Harmon train station. During my senior year in the high school, I would cut class, take the train to New York City and use my babysitting money to go to museums.
I knew when all the free and discount days for students were and I would bring a book of my father’s that listed cheap and interesting restaurants where I could go for lunch. I would get back to school in time to take the bus home (or at least to make it look like I had).
One time, I was headed home on the train and I spotted my father. (I found out later that he had left work early because he was sick.)
I moved up a couple of cars and hid in the bathroom the rest of the way.
I never told my parents.
— Cheryl Mayrsohn
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