Beyond disbelief

Free to change
I grew up in an apartment on the 12th floor of a World War II era red-brick apartment building in lower Manhattan, with my parents and a goldfinch. In an identical red-brick building, across from the playground where I got my head stuck between iron bars and had to be rescued by the fire department, lived Berenice, an elderly lady who had been my grandmother’s best friend during their days at Cornell. Berenice was a pulp fiction writer who had carried on a dalliance with a celebrated author, but never married. She wrote and lectured on the “great experiment” of Soviet communism, and kept a daily journal which by her death at age 97 had grown to 85 volumes.


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