I was very moved by a story my next door neighbor Rob told me yesterday. About a month ago an old woman rang his doorbell on a Saturday afternoon. His immediate thought was that she was a friend of his elderly tenant below him Mrs. Klein, and probably just rang the wrong doorbell.
“Hello my name is Mary Boyle, and I’m so sorry to bother you. But I just wanted to let you know that I actually grew up in this house as a child”.
“This is 403 East Fourth street?”
“It certainly is” said Rob.
“You know I haven’t been back here in over fifty years”. “The block still looks beautiful and your house looks so wonderful”.
“Would you like to come inside and see your old apartment, it’s really not a bother” said Rob.
“Oh, that would be a dream come true".
With that Rob helped her up the stairs and into his apartment on the second floor.
Rob told me that the she just cried and cried as she walked from room to room.
It was an extremely emotional experience for her and even Rob who walked by her side.
The old woman told Rob about East Fourth street and Kensington back in the 30’s and 40’s. About what it looked like before the big apartment houses were built on Beverly Road. She remembered a wonderful Church Avenue, and so many people that grew up on our block.
Tears just streamed down her face the whole time, because for this moment she was a child again, and back in the home she remembered so long ago.
Rob was moved by her stories and even asked her if she knew the Lopez family next door at 399 East Fourth.
“Oh, sure I knew them, I believe they bought the house sometime in the late 1940’s. They were very nice people”.
Rob wasn’t sure if it was the elderly woman’s family or maybe just a cab that waited for her out front. Because after the old woman was done, she just got inside a black Lincoln Town Car and drove away.
I wish I was there to meet this woman, but I must have been away for the weekend. For I would have loved to hear her stories about a Kensington, and a Brooklyn that was here so many years before me.
Oh, well, I guess there’s always next time. Because I'm still waiting for the Gordens and the Marcus's who grew up in my house.