23 February 1957

23 February 1957

(Dated 22 February 1957 in the notebook but almost certainly written the next day)

Ask Bill – and he named it – “The Story of the Prodigal Son”. I was thinking of [her friend] Blanche [Schwartz] and [her nephew] Stan. She has told me Stan has stayed with her – that he should inherit most of her money because of her closeness to him. This would be advisable only if she underpaid him. But she has given him stock, etc. If she has underpaid him and kept him from work he enjoyed doing – say civil engineering – he did join the See Bees [sic – the U.S. Navy Seabees is meant]. Then he should get the bulk of her money. But – if she pays him well and he really is not frustrated in his ambitions – she should treat her other 2 nephews as the father did his prodigal son.


Met Miss Murray on McCauley today. She told me her brother and his wife – her sister-in-law, founded the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church. Small world – ain’t it?

I was going to Fishers [Food Market on Lake Shore Drive] with my little old grocery cart. She was walking ahead of me very, very slowly. She was a black figure, black coat, gray hair, on the slender side, obviously quite elderly, wearing a good black coat, a pair of tan nylons, and black rubber overshoes turned up high above her ankles.

I was walking rather quickly and passed her with my little cart. But there was something about her very, very slow walk. After passing her about 20 feet, I turned around to see what was causing her to walk so slowly. Once I showed my interest – she saw me looking at her – I stopped, then began walking toward her.

“Is there anything wrong?” I asked. “Are you looking for an address?”

“No,” she said, then a conversation between us started. I slowed my pace extremely to walk along with her.

The story?

“It’s my heart,” she said, “everybody has a heart these days.”

“Yes,” I laughed, “We all have hearts – just a question of what condition they are in.”

She told me she has coined so many phrases, she doesn’t know which one she’s coined, and which one she’s read. (I made some remark, prior to her comment, saying I didn’t know whether I read somewhere or whether it was one of my own coined phrases.)

She could’ve been 70 or so, who knows. She was a “Miss,” she said she wasn’t much of a housekeeper, but a homemaker. I told her “Housekeepers we can always get – but homemakers come at a very high premium.”

She knew the neighborhood only slightly. She lives a door or two from Elsie’s – but knows no one. Said she moved into the neighborhood in 1946. The house she lived in was either her family home or a home her brother and his wife originally owned. He had made it into a two or three family residence. He believed in making homes for young people. She lived in the house taking care of the tenants, I guess. Her brother was the businessman.

A very intelligent little lady, as keen as a bright shining gold piece.

After 15 or 20 minutes of conversation with her about her shopping problems, relatives who looked in on her from time to time, we went our separate ways she hates to impose on friends to carry heavy groceries upstairs – Modic (Market) delivers groceries, but if she ever sees me going up the street she said she’ll let me get a loaf of egg loaf bread for her from Fishers.