Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Category: Classic Book Club Jacki Kellum

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Merits Another Look – Identifying Some of the Film’s Locations in New York City

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a movie that was released in 1961 when I was 11-years-old. It is loosely based on Truman Capote’s novella by the same name.

Audrey Hepburn Sunglasses

Most of us know that Audrey Hepburn made fashion history in the black dress and sunglasses that she wore in the film. Like most people, I have long associated the fashion staple the little black dress with Audrey Hepburn and the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and when I as a child, I memorized the theme song “Moon River” and learned to play it on several instruments. In many ways, I grew up with Breakfast at Tiffany’s and could have sworn that I had seen the movie before, but until yesterday, I had not.  I decided that I needed to correct that mistake, and I am glad that I did.

“The song ‘Moon River’ was written especially for Audrey Hepburn, since she had no training as a singer. The vocals were written to be sung in only one octave. The famous black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening scenes of this movie was sold for $807,000 on December 4, 2006 at Christie’s Auction House in London, making it the second most expensive piece of movie memorabilia ever sold.” Read More Here

“Tiffany’s flagship store (since 1940) is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City. The former Tiffany and Company Building on 38th Street is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The polished granite exterior is well known for its tiny window displays. The store has been the location for a number of films including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sweet Home Alabama and Sleepless In Seattle.” Read More Here

Aubrey Hepburn plays the part of Holly Golightly, a former Texas Hayseed who has somehow managed to land herself in a very expensive apartment on the Upper East Side.

“There are several sources that report the location for Holly Golightly apartment incorrectly. Some say it is number 171, whereas others say it is 169. In fact, the number showing in the film is 167 even though the correct number is 169.” Read More Here

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is classified as a Romantic Comedy, and I normally try to avoid that genre. For several minutes into the film, I thought that the movie was going to be silly, but by the end, I was in tears. Holly Golightly is a well-developed character who is caught in the fruitless snare of trying to play the part of someone that he can never be. One of my favorite Holly Golightly quotes is:

“But Doc, I’m not fourteen anymore, and I’m not Lulamae. But the terrible part is (and I realized it while we were standing there) I am. I’m still stealing turkey eggs and running through a briar patch. Only now I call it having the mean reds”

If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s and several other related features free Here.

I have watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s repeatedly now, and every time “Moon River” begins to play, I get cold chills. The weakest part of the film is Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of Holly’s Asian neighbor, and because the film quickly digresses into one of Rooney’s scenes, I almost abandoned it too early.

I’m glad that I stuck with the movie through the rough patches and into the relationship that develops between Hepburn and George Peppard. This relationship and Holly’s struggles with “the Reds” is the meat of the film.

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
Paul Varjak: Sure.
Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!

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Cat, George Peppard, and Audrey Hepburn costar in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and each of them plays a vital role.

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During the early part of the film, Cat is the only character who wasn’t wearing a mask.

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The New York Library also plays an important part in the development of Holly’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Until the Peppard character gives Holly a copy of his book, she had no books of her own.

(Puts single book into an otherwise entirely empty bookcase.) “…There now. Doesn’t that look nice?”

“The New York Public Library (NYPL) is one of the leading public libraries of the world and is one of the United States’s most significant research libraries. It is composed of a very large circulating public library system combined with a very large non-lending research library system. It is simultaneously one of the largest public library systems in the United States and one of the largest research library systems in the world. It is a privately managed, nonprofit corporation with a public mission, operating with both private and public financing.

“The NYPL has frequently appeared in feature films. It serves as the backdrop for a central plot development in the 2002 film Spider-Man and a major location in the 2004 apocalyptic science fiction film The Day After Tomorrow. In the 1978 film, The Wiz, Dorothy and Toto stumble across the Library and one of the Library Lions comes alive and joins them on their journey out of Oz. It is also featured prominently in the 1984 film Ghostbusters with three of the titular protagonists encounter the ghost of a librarian named Eleanor Twitty, who becomes violent when approached. Her origins and the Library’s prominent standing are explored in the video game sequel, Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Other films in which the library appears include 42nd Street (1933), Portrait of Jennie (1948), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), You’re a Big Boy Now (1966), Chapter Two (1979), Escape from New York (1981), Regarding Henry (1991), The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), The Time Machine (2002), and Sex and the City (2008).” Read More Here

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Truman Capote became an important writer, and it seems appropriate that part of the film would take place in a library.  George Peppard plays the part of a writer, and that also seems appropriate. I also enjoyed seeing Patricia Neal in the film. Neal plays the part of the rich woman who “kept” Peppard. You may or may not know that in real life, Patricia Neal was the wife of famous author Roald Dahl. All of that seems to fit.

In 1961, I was 11-years-old and growing up in rural Southeast Missouri which is a world away from New York City. I did not visit New York City until 2010, and in an odd way, I am glad that I did not watch Breakfast at TIffany’s until after I had become familiar with the Big Apple. My current home is very close to New York, and I visit the city often. As the film opens, a cab makes its way from Tiffany’s to Holly’s apartment, and it follows a route along what has become my favorite walkway. Breakfast at Tiffany’s was filmed over half a century ago, the New York City that it captures is very much the same now as it was then, and I loved seeing NYC captured in the film.

conservatory garden

Central Park is one of my very favorite places, and part of Breakfast at Tiffany’s is filmed there.

Bandshell, Central Park (from 66th to 72nd Street) Manhattan

Conservatory Water, Central Park (from 72nd to 75th Street) Manhattan.

In most ways, Breakfast at TIffany’s is a tame affair. Holly’s party is one of the most savage scenes, and re-experiencing the Bossa Nova music of the era is pretty wild, too. The only reason that I could stand listening to that music again is because I am a bit nostalgic about it. Otherwise, it makes me cringe.

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But the true monsters of the film are its rats, and the depth of the movie revolves around Holly’s discoveries about them.

“All right — so he’s not a regular rat, or even a super rat. He’s just a scared little mouse. But — oh, golly, gee, damn!”

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I don’t want to completely destroy the film for people who haven’t seen it yet, but the strength of the movie revolves around Holly Golightly’s attempts to deny what is and is not valuable in life. Because of the honest way that Capote created Holly Golighty, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is much more than Romantic Comedy.

“She’s a phony. But she’s a real phony. You know why? Because she honestly believes all this phony junk that she believes.”

“Promise me one thing: don’t take me home until I’m drunk — very drunk indeed.”

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“Didn’t I tell you this was a lovely place?”

“I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It’s like Tiffany’s.”

“Do they still really have prizes in Cracker Jack boxes?” “…Oh; yes.” “That’s nice to know… It gives one a feeling of solidarity, almost of continuity with the past, that sort of thing.”

“It’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.”

“No matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”

“I’m like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.”

Image result for breakfast at tiffany's cat“…Where’s the cat?”

“Oh, cat.”

©Jacki Kellum July 9, 2017



Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow – Quotes with Page Numbers – Link to Free Text Online

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E. L. Doctorow’s 1975 book Ragtime is listed as 1 of the 100 All-Time Best books. When it was published, Time Magazine listed it as one of the best ten books of the decade. You can read the full book free online Here: I’ll be listing many of the passages that I consider to be significant below, and for page references, please see the paperback version of the book published by Plume in 1976.

“Do not play this piece fast. It is never right to play Ragtime fast….” Scott Joplin

In its opening chapters, Ragtime seems to be the telling of several unconnected vignettes about people who actually lived in New York in about 1902. It almost seems that some of the clips are designed simply to help create the setting and the time frame of the book. As the story progresses, some of the people in the vignettes are drawn into the loop, but at first, I found the reading to be a bit confusing and disjointed. Following, I have provided some background information for a few of the characters who make cameo performances throughout the book.

One of the stories in Ragtime is about Evelyn Nesbit:

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Evelyn Nesbit:

“Florence Evelyn Nesbit (December 25, 1884 – January 17, 1967), known professionally as Evelyn Nesbit, was a popular American chorus girl, an artists’ model, and an actress.

 Nesbit Drawing by Charles Dana Gibson

In the early part of the 20th century, the figure and face of Evelyn Nesbit were everywhere, appearing in mass circulation newspaper and magazine advertisements, on souvenir items and calendars, making her a cultural celebrity. Her career began in her early teens in Philadelphia and continued in New York, where she posed for a cadre of respected artists of the era, James Carroll Beckwith, Frederick S. Church, and notably Charles Dana Gibson, who idealized her as a “Gibson Girl”. She had the distinction of being an early “live model”, in an era when fashion photography as an advertising medium was just beginning its ascendancy.

 Stanford White

“Nesbit claimed that as a stage performer, and while still a 14-year-old, she attracted the attention of the then 47-year-old architect and New York socialite Stanford White, who first gained the family’s trust then sexually assaulted Evelyn while she was unconscious.[1][2] Nesbit achieved world-wide notoriety when her husband, multi-millionaire Harry Kendall Thaw, shot and murdered Stanford White on the rooftop theatre of Madison Square Garden on the evening of June 25, 1906, leading to what the press would call “The Trial of the Century”.

 Harry Kendall Thaw

The book Ragtime begins in the home of a wealthy flag maker, who lived in New Rochelle, New York. His wife’s younger brother is infatuated with Evelyn Nesbit.

Setting for the Book Ragtime:

In 1902 Father built a house at the crest of the Broadview Avenue hill in New Rochelle, New York. It was a three-story brown shingle with dormers, bay windows and a screened porch. Striped awnings shaded the windows. The family took possession of this stout manse on a sunny day in June and it seemed for some years thereafter that all their days would be warm and fair. The best part of Father’s income was derived from the manufacture of flags and buntings and other accoutrements of patriotism, including fireworks. Patriotism was a reliable sentiment in the early 1900’s. Teddy Roosevelt was President. The population customarily gathered in great numbers either out of doors for parades, public concerts, fish fries, political picnics, social outings, or indoors in meeting halls, vaudeville theatres, operas, ballrooms. There seemed to be no entertainment that did not involve great swarms of people. Trains and steamers and trolleys moved them from one place to another. That was the style, that was the way people lived. Women were stouter then. They visit the fleet carrying white parasols. Everyone wore white in summer. Tennis racquets were hefty and the racquet faces elliptical. There was a lot of sexual fainting. There were no Negroes. There were no immigrants. On Sunday afternoon, after dinner, Father and Mother went upstairs and closed the bedroom door. Grandfather fell asleep on the divan in the parlor. The Little Boy in the sailor blouse sat on the screened porch and waved away the flies. … The air was salt. Mother’s Younger Brother in his white linen suit and boater rolled his trousers and walked barefoot in the salt marshes. Sea birds started and flew up. This was the time in our history when Winslow Homer was doing his painting. A certain light was still available along the Eastern seaboard. Homer painted the light. It gave the sea a heavy dull menace and shone coldly on the rock and shoals of the New England coast.” pgs. 3 – 4.

Image result for winslow homer rowing homeThe Fog Warning by Winslow Homer

“The afternoon was a blue haze. Tidewater seeped into his footprints. He bent down and found a perfect shell specimen, a variety not common to western Long Island Sound. It was a voluted pink and amber shell the shape of a thimble, and what he did in the hazy sun with the salt drying on his ankles was to throw his head back and drink the minute amount of sea water in the shell. Gulls wheeled overhead, crying like oboes, and behind him at the land end of the marsh, out of sight the tall grasses, the distant bell of the North Avenue streetcar tolled its warning.” p. 5

Related image Pope-Toledo Runabout

” An automobile was coming up the hill from North Avenue. As it drew closer he saw it was a black 45- horsepower Pope-Toledo Runabout. He ran along the porch and stood at the top of the steps. The car came past his house, made a loud noise and swerved into the telephone pole. … The driver and the passenger were standing in the street looking at the car: it had big wheels with pneumatic tires and wooden spokes painted in black enamel. It had brass headlamps in front of the radiator and brass sidelamps over the fenders. It had tufted upholstery and double side entrances. It did not appear to be damaged. The driver was in livery. He folded back the hood and a geyser of white steam shot up with a hiss.” p. 7.

“The car’s owner was Harry Houdini, the famous escape artist. He was spending the day driving through Westchester. He was thinking of buying some property. He was invited into the house while the radiator cooled. He surprised them with his modest, almost colorless demeanor. He seemed depressed. His success had brought into vaudeville a host of competitors. Consequently he had to think of more and more dangerous escapes He was a short, powerfully built man, an athlete obviously, with strong hands and with back and arm muscles that suggested themselves through the cut of his rumpled tweed suit which, though well tailored, was worn this day inappropriately. … Mother had ordered lemonade. It was brought into the parlor and Houdini drank it grateful. The room was kept cool by the awnings on the windows. The windows themselves were shut to keep out the heat. Houdini wanted to undo his collar. He felt trapped by the heavy square furnishings, the drapes and dark rugs, the oriental silk cushions, the green glass lampshades. There was a chaise with a zebra rug. Noticing Houdini’s gaze Father mentioned that he had shot that zebra on a hunting trip in Africa. Father was an amateur explorer of considerable reputation. He was president of the New York Explorers Club to which he made an annual disbursement. In fact in just a few days he would be leaving to carry the Club’s standard on the third Peary expedition to the Artic. ” pgs. 7 – 8.

. . .

The Arrival of the Immigrants

“The next morning, after a champagne breakfast with the press, the men of Peary’s polar expedition cast off the lines and their sturdy little ship, the _Roosevelt__, backed out of her berth into the East River. Fireboats sent up sprays of water which misted in rainbows as the early morning sun rose over the city. Passenger liners tooted their basso horns. It was not until some time later, when the _Roosevelt__ had reached the open sea, that Father was persuaded of the actuality of the trip. As he stood at the railing there was transmitted to his bones the awesome unalterable rhythm of the ocean. A while later the _Roosevelt__ passed an incoming transatlantic vessel packed to the railing with immigrants. Father watched the prow of the scaly broad-beamed vessel splash in the sea. Her decks were packed with people. Thousands of male heads in derbies. Thousands of female heads covered with shawls. It was a rag ship with a million dark eyes staring at him. Father, a normally resolute person, suddenly foundered in his soul. A weird despair seized him. The wind came up, the sky had turned overcast, and the great ocean began to tumble and break upon itself as if made of slabs of granite and sliding terraces of slate. He watched the ship till he could see it no longer. Yet aboard her were only more customers, for the immigrant population set great store by the American flag.” pgs. 11-12.

“Most of the immigrants came from Italy and Eastern Europe. They were taken in launches to Ellis Island. There, in a curiously ornate human warehouse of red brick and gray stone, they were tagged, given showers and arranged on benches in waiting pens. They were immediately sensitive to the enormous power of the immigration officials. These officials changed names they couldn’t pronounced and tore people from their families, consigning to a return voyage old folks, people with bad eyes, riffraff and also those who looked insolent. Such power was dazzling. The immigrants were reminded of home. They went into the streets and were somehow absorbed in the tenements. They were despised by New Yorkers. They were filthy and illiterate. They stank of fish and garlic. They had running sores. They had no honor and worked for next to nothing. They stole. They drank. They raped their own daughters. They killed each other casually. Among those who despised them the most were the second-generation Irish, whose fathers had been guilty of the same crimes. Irish kids pulled the beards of old Jews and knocked them down. They upended the pushcarts of Italian peddlers.” p. 13.

“But somehow piano lessons began to be heard. People stitched themselves to the flag. They carved paving stones for the streets. They sang. They told jokes. The family lived in one room and everyone worked: Mameh, Tateh and The Little Girl in the pinafore. Mameh and the little girl sewed knee pants and got seventy cents a dozen. They sewed from the time they got up to the time they went to bed. Tateh made his living in the street. As time went on they got to know the city. One Sunday, in a wild impractical mood, they spent twelve cents for three fares on the streetcar and rode uptown. They walked on Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue and looked at the mansions. Their owner called them palaces. And that’s what they were, they were palaces. They had all been designed by Stanford White.” p. 14.

. . .

“In the killing summer heat politicians up for reelection invited their followers to outings in the country. Toward the end of July one candidate led a parade through the streets of the Fourth Ward. He wore a gardenia in his lapel. A band played a Sousa march. The members of the candidate’s Benevolent Association followed the band and the entire procession made its way to the river where everyone boarded the steamer _Grand Republic__, which then set a course up the Long Island Sound to Rye, New York, just beyond New Rochelle. The steamer overloaded with perhaps five thousand men, listed badly to starboard. The sun was hot. The passengers jammed the decks and crowded the railing for a breath of air. The water was like glass. At Rye everyone disembarked for another parade to the Pavilion, where at picnic tables the traditional fish chowder was served by a small army of waiters in white full-length aprons. After the luncheon speeches were made from a band shell. The band shell was decorated with patriotic bunting. This has been provided by Father’s firm. There were also banners with the candidate’s name spelled in gold and small American flags on gold sticks that were given as favor at each table. The men of the Benevolent Association spent the afternoon consuming beer from kegs on tap, playing baseball and throwing horseshoes. The meadows of Rye were dotted with men dozing on the grass under their derbies. In the evening another meal was served and a military band played a concert, and then came the culmination of the entertainment: a display of fireworks.” pgs. 18 – 19.

. . .

“Houdini … was a Jew. His real name was Erich Weiss. He was passionately in love with ancient mother whom he had installed in his brownstone home on West 113th Street. In fact Sigmund Freud had just arrived in America to give a series of lectures at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and so Houdini was destined to be, with Al Jolson, the last of the great shameless mother lovers, a nineteenth-century movement that included such men as Poe, John Brown, Lincoln and James McNeill Whistler. Of course Freud’s immediate reception in America was not auspicious. A few professional alienists understood his importance, but to most of the public he appeared as some kind of German sexologist, an exponent of free love who used big words to talk about dirty things. At least a decade would have to pass before Freud would have his revenge and see his ideas begin to destroy sex in America forever.”  p. 30.

. . .

Poverty in New York City

“He sat in his quiet cozy study in Vienna, glad to be back. He said to Ernest Jones, America is a mistake, a gigantic mistake. At the time of course not a few people on those sores were ready to agree with him. Millions of men were out of work. Those fortunate enough to have jobs were dared to form unions. Courts enjoined them, police busted their heads, their leaders were jailed and new men took their jobs. A union was an affront to God. The laboring man would be protected and cared for not by the labor agitators, said one wealthy man, but by the Christian men to whom God in His infinite wisdom had given the control of the property interests of this country. If all else failed the troops were called out. Armories rose in every city of the country. In the coal fields a miner made a dollar sixty a day if he could dig three tons. He lived in the company’s shacks and bought his food from the company stores. On the tobacco farms Negroes stripped tobacco leaves thirteen hours a day and earned six cents an hour, man, woman or child. Children suffered no discriminatory treatment. They did not complain as adults tended to do. Employers liked to think of them as happy elves. If there was a problem about employing children it had to do only with their endurance. They were more agile than adults but they tended in the latter hours of the day to lose a degree of efficiency. In the canneries and mills these were the hours they were most likely to lose their fingers or have their hands mangled or their legs crushed; they had to be counseled to stay alert. In the mines they worked as sorters of coal and sometimes were smothered in the coal chutes; they were warned to keep their wits about them. One hundred Negroes a year were lynched. One hundred miners were burned alive. One hundred children were mutilated. There seemed to be quotas for these things. There seemed to be quotas for death by starvation. There were oil trusts and banking trusts and railroad trusts and beef trusts and steel trusts. It became fashionable to honor the poor. At palaces in New York and Chicago people gave poverty balls. Guests came dressed in rags and ate from tin plates and drank from chipped mugs. Ballrooms were decorated to look like mines with beams, iron tracks and miner’s lamp. Theatrical scenery firms were hired to make outdoor gardens look like mines with beams, iron tracks and miner’s lamps. Theatrical scenery firms were hired to make outdoor garden look like dirt farms and dining rooms like cotton mills. Guests smoke cigar butts offered to them on silver trays. Minstrels performed in blackface. One hostess invited everyone to a stockyard ball. Guests were wrapped in long aprons and their heads covered with white caps.” pgs. 33 – 35.

The Tenements

” Evelyn saw stores with Hebrew signs in the windows, the Hebrew letters looking to her eyes like arrangements of bones. She saw the iron fire escaped on the tenements as tiers of cellblocks. Nags in their yokes lifted their bowed necks to gaze at her. Ragmen struggling with their great junk-loaded two-wheeled carts, women selling breads from baskets carried in their arms: they all looked. The driver was nervous. He wore gray livery with black leather jodhpurs. A girl in a pinafore and high-laced shoes sat playing in the muck along the curbstone. A little dirty-faced girl. Stop the car, Evelyn said. The driver run around and opened her door. Evelyn stepped into the street. She knelt down. The girl has straight black hair that fitted her head like a helmet. She had olive skin and eyes so brown they were black. She gazed at Evelyn without curiosity. She was the most beautiful child Evelyn had ever seen. A piece of clothesline was tied around her wrist. Evelyn stood up, followed the clothesline, and found herself looking into the face of a mad old man with a closely cropped gray beard. The end of the line was tied around the old man’s waist. He wore a soft cap and a collar with a tie. He stood on the sidewalk in front of a display cart of framed silhouette portraits pinned to a black velvet curtain. He was a silhouette artist. With nothing but a small scissors and some glue he would make your image by cutting a piece of white paper and mounting it on a black background. The whole thing with the frame cost fifteen cents.” pgs. 36 – 37.

Emma Goldman seated.jpg Emma Goldman

[Evelyn Nesbit becomes extremely concerned about the daughter of this silhouette artist who is a socialist. He encouraged Evelyn to go with hi to hear the political activist Emma Goldman speak. Goldman was a Jewish immigrant and a feminist. In the book Ragtime, there is mention of the fact that Emma Goldman was involved in the killing of Henry Frick.]

Mother Finds a Discarded Baby


In Chapter 9, the reader returns to the original household in New Rochelle, and the mother of the household finds a baby that had been buried in her back yard.:

“Mother had dug something up. She was brushing the dirt from a bundle which she held on her lap. The maid let out a scream and crossed herself. The little boy tried to get a look at it, whatever it was, but Mother and the maid were on the ground, brushing the dirt off, and for a moment he couldn’t get past them. Mother’s face had turned so pale and suffered such an intense expression that all the bones of her face appeared to have grown and the opulently beautiful woman he revered was shockingly haggard, like someone ancient. He saw, as they brushed the dirt away, that it was an infant. Dirt was in his eyes, in its mouth. It was small and wrinkled and its eyes were closed. It was a brown baby and had been bound tight in a cotton blanket. Mother freed its arms. It made a small weak cry, and the two women grew hysterical. The maid ran into the house. The boy followed his mother to the house, running alongside her as the small arms of the brown baby waved in the air. The women washed the baby in a basin on the kitchen table. It was bloody, an unwashed newborn boy. The maid examined the cord and said it had been bitten. They swaddled it in towels, and Mother ran to the front hall to phone the doctor. The boy watched the infant closely to see was breathing. It barely moved. Then its tiny fingers grasped the towels. Its head slowly turned as if through its closed eyes it had found something to look at.” p. 58

. . .

“Within an hour a black woman was found in the cellar of a home on the next block. She was a washwoman who worked in the neighborhood. She sat outside the house in the police ambulance and Mother brought the baby out to her. When the woman took the baby in her arms she began to cry. Mother was shocked by her youth. She had a child’s face, a guileless brown beautiful face. She was the color of dark chocolate and her hair looked chopped and uncared for. She was being attended by a nurse. Mother stepped back on the sidewalk. Where will you take her, she said to the doctor. To the charity ward, he said. And eventually she will have to stand charges. What charges, Mother said. Well, attempted murder, I should think. Does she have family, Mother said. No, ma’am, the policeman said. Not so’s we know. The doctor pulled down on the rim of his derby and walked to his car and put his bag on the seat. Mother took a deep breath. I will take the responsibility, she said. Please bring her inside. And despite the best advice of the doctor and the remonstrations of the police, she would not change her mind.

“So the young black woman and her child were installed in a room on the top floor. Mother made numbers of phone calls. She canceled her service league meeting. She walked back and forth in her parlor. She was very agitated. She felt keenly her husband absence and condemned herself for so readily endorsing his travels. There was no way to communicate with him any of the problems and concerns of her life. She would not hear from him till the following summer. She stared at the ceiling as if to see through it. The Negro girl and her baby had carried into the house a sense of misfortune, of chaos, and now this feeling resided here like some sort of contamination. She was frightened. She went to the window. Every morning these washwomen came up the hill from the trolley line on North Avenue and fanned into the houses. Traveling Italian gardeners kept the lawns trim. Icemen walked alongside their wagons, their horses straining in their traces to pull the creaking ice wagons up the hill. When the sun set that evening it lay at the bottom of the hill as if it had rolled there. It was blood red. Late at night the boy woke and found his mother sitting beside the bed looking at him, her golden hair plaited and her large breasts soft against his arm when she leaned over to kiss him.” pgs. 59 – 60.


To be continued

List of Books for 2016-2018 Classics Book Club

List of Books for 2016-2018 Classics Book Club

December 2016 – The Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens – Published 1843


January – Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – Published 1813

February – Black Beauty – Anna Sewell – 1877

March – The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – Published 1925

April – A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway – Published Posthumously about 1920s Expatriates in Paris

During the Summer, We Are Taking a Break from the Classics and Are Reading More Modern Books.

May – The Prince of Tides – Pat Conroy – Published 1986

June – The Language of Flowers –  Vanessa Diffenbaugh – Published 2011

July – The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert – Published 2013

August – The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver – Published 1998

September – To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee – Published 1960

October – Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury – Published 1962

November – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving – Published 1820

December – The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams – Published 1922


January – Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell – Published 1936

February – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum – Published 1900

March – The River and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor

April – Elmer Gantry – Sinclair Lewis – Published 1927

May – Poor White – Sherwood Anderson – Published 1920

June- Cheaper by the Dozen – Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth – Published 1948

July – The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton – Published 1920

August – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith – Published 1943

September – Rebecca – Daphne DuMaurier – Published 1938

October – Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne – Published 1850

November – O Pioneers – Willa Cather – Published 1913

December – Little Women – Louisa May Alcott – Published 1869








Free E-book Black Beauty Project Gutenberg


The Jacki Kellum Book Classic for February is Black Beauty, and you can read the entire book online Free Here

Many do not realize it, but Black Beauty is an old book classic. It was written in 1877 by Anna Sewell.

“Black Beauty is an 1877 novel by English author Anna Sewell. It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she remained in her house as an invalid.[1] The novel became an immediate best-seller, with Sewell dying just five months after its publication, but having lived long enough to see her only novel become a success. With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time.[2]

“While forthrightly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 58 on the BBC’s survey The Big Read.[3]” Wikipedia

Pride and Prejudice Chapter 3 – Free Audiobook, Quotes, and Notes


“To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.” [The Narrator] – Jane Austen

“Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report, which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year.”

Image result for pride and prejudice dancing

“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.” [Mr. Darcy] – Jane Austen

“His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and every body hoped that he would never come there again”. [The Narrator] – Jane Austen

 Illustration of Mr. Darcy by Robert Ball

Description of Mr. Darcy:

“…his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.”

Description of Mr. Bingley:

“He was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely agreeable, and, to crown the whole, he meant to be at the next assembly with a large party. Nothing could be more delightful! To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love; and very lively hopes of Mr. Bingley’s heart were entertained.

“If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield,” said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, “and all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for.” …

“Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners.

[During the party, Mr. Bingley danced every dance, and he seemed to be particularly interested in the eldest of the Bennet sisters, Jane. Because there were fewer men at the dance than ladies, Elizabeth was forced to sit during a few dances, and she overheard a conversation between Bingley and Darcy]:

“Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of gentlemen, to sit down for two dances; and during part of that time, Mr. Darcy had been standing near enough for her to hear a conversation between him and Mr. Bingley, who came from the dance for a few minutes, to press his friend to join it.

“Come, Darcy,” said he, “I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.”

“I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with.”

“I would not be so fastidious as you are,” cried Mr. Bingley, “for a kingdom! Upon my honour, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them you see uncommonly pretty.”

 [About Elizabeth’s sister Jane]:

You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room,” said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet.

“Oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you.”

“Which do you mean?” and turning round he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said: “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me….”

Back at home, Mrs. Bennet expressed her feelings about Mr. Darcy:

“But I can assure you,” she added, “that Lizzy does not lose much by not suiting his fancy; for he is a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing. So high and so conceited that there was no enduring him! He walked here, and he walked there, fancying himself so very great! Not handsome enough to dance with! I wish you had been there, my dear, to have given him one of your set-downs. I quite detest the man.”




Pride and Prejudice Free Audio Recording and Quotes – Chapter 2


“She (Mrs. Long) is a selfish, hypocritical woman, and I have no opinion of her.” [Mrs. Bennet] – Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice Free Audio Recording and Notes


“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” … Jane Austen

“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.”

“What is his name?”


“Is he married or single?”

“Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!” – Mrs. Bennet

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