August 14, 1929
Received your letter and was not a little pleased to hear that everything is running smoothly with you at the seashore. As Pat would say “It’s well fer the rich”.
Sunday morning my father took me out to Grafton. I took my fiddle, music, book of plays by O’Neal, Weekly People and The Times. That was enough for one day and after getting my fill of each of these, my thoughts rambled to —– ? Guess yourself!
Mrs. Trotsky, Mary and Rose came Sunday evening; they had quite a few incidents to relate so we gabbed away until eleven thirty. This last Monday I had an additional reason for being blue. I must be influenced by the moon. Yesterday on my way home to lunch I dropped in the Dixie for further information about that job. The present manager handed me an application, and after reading it I came to the conclusion I was better off just where I am now. I’ll tell you all about it when you come home.
If Leo drives down for you I’ll try my best to go along. That car is sure a pippin. Last night Dave Harris, Heb. Ginsberg (driving) Leo and I took a fast ride up Spring Ave and you wouldn’t ask for better action of a new car.
You say that “quiet reigns over your spirit” after investigating the premises, shieks etc. What I like to know is whether the shieks are investigating you? Ha! Ha! [Pardon my Pun.]
To-day was Dollar-day here. I never knew there were so many people in Troy including all the cemetarys. This event is a good way of get rid of a lot of garbage. Whatever you girls do, don’t use the razor and enema bag in the wrong way or you’ll come home with hairless behinds and wet arm pits. And don’t flirt until you are flirted to. These are helpful hints and not humor, greater men would advise the same.
Say I’ll bet your red bathing suit is got all the palookas cock-eyed. Don’t forget to take some pictures of yourself under a big umbrella.
Just to show you what an exclusive place Grafton is listen to this. Leo called up Forest Lake Club to hire a cottage. The man on the other end of the wire asked if Leo was of Jewish extraction. What could poor Leo answer but yes so they wouldn’t let Leo have the camp, the dirty K.K.Ks.
On with the show is coming to the American Saturday so if Leo don’t go down for you, I might see it. It’s hot as hell and very damp. The bootlegger downstairs is making some more poison and making it very uncomfortable here so I think I’ll close this letter with loads of cupid’s wares.
P.S. I can picture Gert + Becky surrounded by a lot of he-men; Gert with a bored-duchess look and Becky tickled.
Editor’s Notes: We’ve jumped forward in time almost a year, to the heat of the Summer of 1929. Let’s take a glimpse into the separate vacations of Izzy and Thelma.
Thelma is at the seashore with her twin sister Gert and her friend Becky. Nineteen year olds enjoying the sun, the water, and the boys. Izzy appears light-hearted rather than jealous. He requests a picture of Thelma in her red bathing suit under an umbrella, warns her not to flirt unless flirted with, and praises her beauty. Surely the “palookas” are looking at her “cock-eyed”. There are many places Thelma could have visited to be at the seashore though there must have been an Arabic temple nearby where she met sheikhs and felt peaceful. Thelma’s vacation must be ending before Izzy’s because there is the possibility that her brother Leo will pick her up in Troy and bring her to Grafton. In his new car, nonetheless! I can only imagine it looked something like this and must have been a “pip” to ride around in.
Grafton is a destination in upstate NY due to the Grafton Lakes State Park. I believe Izzy’s parents had a house in Grafton and visited often in the Summer. For Izzy, it is an opportunity to relax and do the things he loves; practice the violin and read. Dollar-day was a community-wide tag sale. Sounds like a cozy place until we hear about the prejudice that Leo faced from the Forest Lake Club. The KKK was fading in 1929 but as young men in the early 1920s, Leo and Izzy knew the KKK was no joke. The greatest threat to the Jewish people was yet to come.
Last, but not least, the bootlegger staying in a room underneath Izzy’s. Prohibition in the US lasted from 1920-1933 – that is a long time without a legal drink. Bootleggers were the common man’s savior, bottling a sometimes dangerous concoction of corn liquor. It can get hot and stinky when a bootlegger is working.
To Read: Playwright Eugene O’Neill – http://www.eoneill.com/texts/index.htm
To Watch: On with the Show! Credited as the first full sound and color feature.