Opening Boxes from 2019
When, in Fall of 2019, I moved out of what had been my home in the West Village, I thought I was simply moving from one place to another. I was excited to build a home again, this time in the South Bronx.
Brian and I ultimately lived in the South Bronx for only four months — until March 11 2020, when we looked at one another and realized we had to get into his SUV and keep driving North. As I described in my book The Bodies of Others, when then-Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Broadway was closing — just like that, a CCP-style state fiat, not an American-style individuals-dealing-with-an-emergency announcement — we both realized that bad things were coming, though whether natural or political we could not yet tell.
So twenty years of my possessions had stayed for the past two and a half years in a storage unit.
I was opening boxes now that were not just from another place — as is usual when you move; not just from another time; but I was opening boxes that were from literally another world. I don’t know that such a thing has happened in quite this way in history before.
Some items memorialized normal losses and change. Others, though, revealed that long-revered institutions had lost all morality and authority.
Here was a grey sweater that had belonged to my father, who had been a writer. It still had the line of loose threads along the clavicle, the little gaps opening up in the sewn-together pieces, that were characteristic of his distinguished-but-absent-minded-professor look. Dr Leonard Wolf could wear a moth-eaten sweater such as that one, on a street in New York City, and still look like a Byronic poet preoccupied with his latest sonnet. He looked stylish even when he was bedridden — even when advancing Parkinson’s meant he could no longer communicate with words, his treasure. He was charismatic even when gestures failed him; when my husband, an Irish raconteur, sat by his bedside, telling stories to make him laugh. He managed to have elan even when Brian had to ask him to make a sound to let him know if he wanted the stories to continue, and my dad could only groan: yes, more stories.
The stories have ended now for my father; at least the earthly ones. But the sweater still carries that wintry, breezy scent that was his while he was on this earth, telling us stories, more stories.
I folded my father’s sweater for the mending pile.
A small brown dog toy surfaced, chewed so thoroughly in one section that the white lining of the toy remained. The little
Article from LewRockwell