Back Then

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We lived in Hollywood then, on a quiet, tree-lined street in the early nineteen fifties. It was a time when cars and people moved slower, a time of subtle changes. Back then, it was just the three of us. My father was trying to be a writer. He wrote in the early morning reliving the war, the keys of his typewriter snapping down on paper for three or four hours, then he drank all afternoon trying to forget the war, my mother, and me. My mother served drinks at the Interlude Club on Hollywood Boulevard five nights a week. “My one chance,” she told me, “to do something.”

After school I waited for her backstage, did my homework, and watched. I was watching that night when Mr. Rosenberg took my mother’s arm in a familiar way. I looked at him and I looked at my mother in her new red dress, how beautiful she looked, so happy. That night Mr. Rosenberg winked at me with a broad smile before leading my mother away.