Her Thirties Part 4

I feel my romance with Sam is over—she attacked my passion for history and dampened my desire not only for her, but pursuing the cold case from the 1930’s.

I was so bummed all weekend I didn’t even think about getting in touch with Harry Greenspan or checking in with Abe.

I feel a bit guilty about putting Abe on the long finger, but I really don’t owe him anything, and it kind of makes you selfish anyway, when your whole world’s falling apart.

I spent the weekend moping about my apartment feeling sorry for myself.

 

On Sunday night, I finally gave in and went to see a movie, alone—The King’s Speech, and ended up regretting it.

It was an accurate enough portrayal of George VI’s stammering problems and it did a good job depicting the various personalities involved, but was woefully inadequate when it came to handling the politics.

I consoled myself with the knowledge that if I’d seen the film with Sam, she would’ve enjoyed the My Fair Lady approach to George’s speech problems and I would’ve grumbled all the way through about the poor handling of the politics.

 

I can picture the scene in my mind’s eye:

An argument ensues with Sam saying, the movie was about the Thirties—what’s your problem?

I no doubt counter with some throwaway line, such as, oh, no problem—you know I’m so obsessed about history, it clouds my judgment.

I feel my pulse racing and my face flushing—and Sam’s not even here!

Then, I slide forty years into our future, assuming, of course, we have one, and realize this is the way it’ll always be—because this is the way it’s always been.

We’re not really compatible, Sam and I—we just conflict and have sex.

I weep then, because I know it really is over.

 

I’d like to say, I got past pouting and followed up with Harry Greenspan, but I didn’t. I was in a real funk until Wednesday, when even I couldn’t stand myself.

It was the first week of March and the temperature was 62 degrees—tied a record set way back in 1987. I couldn’t be a Grinch under such conditions.

As I headed home in the balmy late afternoon sun, I spotted a female student lying on the grass, reading a book. I made a snap decision and headed to Harry Greenspan’s Cabbagetown house.

 

As I pulled up to the curb, I spotted Harry sitting on a rocker on his wooden verandah, reading a newspaper. He was still alive and kicking—Abe would be smiling.

I got out and started up the walk and Harry was out of his chair to greet me.

“Professor Lennox—to what do I owe the pleasure?” He crushed my hand in a surprisingly firm grip.

“The pleasure’s all mine, Harry. How have you been?”

“Same old, same old,” he smiles. “Sit down and have some lemonade with me.”

 

He points to a white wicker armchair beside his rocker. On a matching wicker table, there’s a jug of lemonade and several glasses.

“Almost like spring, eh Harry—were you expecting someone?”

“Oh, the neighbors drop by and chat—I like to offer them something.”

I sit down and pour myself some lemonade. I take a sip—it’s excellent—chilled and sweet with a slight lemony tang. It feels like summer.

“Do you think it’s global warming?” Harry asks, pulling his chair closer beside me.

 

Despite his white hair, his face is young and his cheeks rosy—he reminds me of a cross between Gene Autry and Mr. Haney on the old Green Acres sit-com.

“I don’t believe in Al Gore, so I’m not buying what he’s selling.”

“Good for you,” he rasps, “I don’t believe that crap either. When I was in school, they said we’d be heading back into an ice age. Things don’t suddenly turn that fast.”

“There ya go!” I grin.

 

Harry reminds me of Uncle Herb who used to own a couple of Diamond cabs when I was a kid. Whenever he’d visit, he’d reach into his pocket, which was always full of change, and give me a handful.

“Go buy yourself some candy kid,” he’d growl affectionately. I almost expected Harry to do the same.

“So, is this a social visit—or were you in the neighborhood?”

“It’s a social visit, but also something more. I was talking to a friend about you—we’ve got a problem, and it turns out I think you can help us.”

“How’s that?” he asks, using the back of his hand to wipe away a drip of lemonade.

“My friend’s a detective working on a cold case dating back to the Thirties.”

 

His eyes light up. “You gotta be kidding—the Dirty Thirties—Wow!”

“I thought you’d like that,” I smile.

“Like it? It’s right up my alley.”

My stomach does a kind of half-flip. Sam used the same words—I can still picture her standing in my kitchen.

“Yeah, well it’s more than right up your alley, I think it’s in your ballpark—we’re going to have to revisit Christie Pits.”

“You want to interview me again about the Riot?”

“No, actually, I mean we’re literally going to have to revisit the park—I need your help to find a murder weapon.”

 

He puts down his glass.

“You know, Scott—you lead a very interesting life.”

“You wouldn’t say that if you saw me on the weekend,” I chuckle.

“It’s all relative, as Einstein says. I’m sure your weekend was more interesting than mine. Anyway, how can I assist?”

“Before we go any further, I’d like you to confirm something—was there a dry cleaning or laundry facility near the park in the Thirties?”

“Oh yeah—a big one. We used to stare in the windows when we’d pass it on the way to go tobogganing at the Pits.”

“Great—just checking. Do you remember a wooden press box near the ball diamond?”

“Sure. I must have sat there listening to that announcer a thousand times. My favorite team was Concord Tavern. Those boys could really play ball.”

 

“If my friend and I brought you to the park do you think you’d be able to point out where the press box was located?”

“Piece of cake. That park hasn’t changed all that much in eighty years.”

“Okay. I’ll call up my friend and we’ll drop by and pick you up—when’s a convenient time?”

“Hey, are you serious? —I’m retired. When isn’t it a good time?”

I smile and get to my feet. He stands up as well. “Thanks Harry—I’ll be back in touch.”

 

We shake hands and grin at each other.

He gets a sudden inspiration. “If you ever want me to come to your university class and talk to your students about the Riot, I’d be willing to do that.”

“You know, that might be a good idea. We’re going to be looking at that topic in a few weeks. Thanks Harry.”

“I only expect a modest honorarium,” he adds.

My heart sinks

“Just kidding,” he laughs. The Jewish sense of humor reminds me of Abe. Suddenly, I miss him.

© 2017 – 2018, John J Geddes. All rights reserved.

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