"In the time of your life--live." That time is short and it doesn't return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition (--Tennesse Williams)
Could everyone write one simple essay about something that once happened in Saltaire…that they saw or were a part of…and put it on one big website? Somebody should collect a lot of stories before we all forget. Otherwise it is like a line in “On The Beach” : The history of the war that now would never be written.” -(JO'H)
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Mrs. Helen Weinlandt passed away on March 20, 2014.
It is impossible to say a few words about somebody who lived to
be 103. So anything you say is necessarily shortchanging a very full
am trying to think of one tiny thing:
is maybe 1957. That makes me maybe 10 1/2 years old. I am
sitting on the porch of our O'Hare house at the corner of Pomander
and Neptune Walks. It is in the evening, getting towards dusk.
was always one evening in the middle of the week that Mrs. Weinlandt
would walk by our house, always around the same time to go to the Post Office. The Post Office was on Pomander Walk, sort of diagonally
across from our house.
was regular, this one evening, middle of the week in the
summer. Like quiet clockwork.
were two phone booths in the lobby of the Post Office. Mrs.
Weinlandt used to call New York on weeks when Mr. Weinlandt
was in the City.
she would walk by, she was quiet, sometimes looked at us, nod her
head hello. I remember smile. I remember quiet. Perhaps my mother
would say hello to her, she would say hello to us, and she would walk
into the post office. And always a nice smile. It was always quiet
that time of the evening.
after a while, she would come out and walk home. She had a flashlight
later in the summer when the sun went down earlier.
unusual about seeing people walk by our house. For instance, usually
around the same time Mrs. Severe, old white haired lady who ran the
candy store, would walk by our house to go to the playground. Ms.
Severe would swing on the swings quietly, alone, just after dark when
all the kids were gone. This was after she had closed the candy
store for the night. Probably around the same time that Mrs. Weinlandt
would make her weekly telephone call.
unusual about any of this. Just some pictures I have in my
Weinlandt used to walk to and from the phone booth for lots of
summers, even in years that most people started getting telephones
(party line only).
long, long, time later, Jeff told me why she kept going to the phone
booth at the Post Office: they didn't get a phone in their house for
years. Bill Weinlandt was a wise man. And I guess he didn't
want to lie to his friends in the City. He wanted to honestly tell
his business associates that he had no phone at the beach, so they
should not try to get a hold of him when he was on vacation. I am
sure the Weinlandts liked it that way. Eventually, I am sure, they
got a telephone. I know Danny has a phone number out there. I called
him last summer. But until they finally got a phone, Mrs.
Weinlandt walked to the post office to make her calls.
I keep having that memory: Mrs. Weinlandt, walking, quietly, evening, to the Post Office, going in for a while, then
quietly walking back. Back, forth, long time ago. Real peaceful. Nice
smile. Perfect quiet evenings, a long, long time ago.