CHILDHOOD AT CENTURY’S TURN
My first memory of home is of a modest house and a small back yard, with a square of green grass surrounded by a flagstone walk and, on three sides, a narrow grass border. Our house was one in a row of new brownstones that had sprung up among the scattered mansions and country estates on New York’s East 139th Street. In 1895, living there was like living in a semirural suburb of New York City; there were no subways to pump people in and out.
I remember, too, a gray stone mansion, set in a pleasant garden nearby, where I attended kindergarten. Here, in my short blue-serge pants and jacket, broad red bow knotted over a white blouse and long black ribbed stockings and button shoes, I played with other genteel ...