cleaning up so well (jones_casey) wrote,
cleaning up so well
jones_casey

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you can stand on the arms of the williamsburg bridge crying "hey, man, well this is babylon"

i, today, asked my mother the name of the apartment complex my parents and i lived in before they moved into my childhood house a few weeks before my first birthday. i went to the complex's website, and the first thing i saw was:

"you’re in luck! save $25/month! one bedrooms start at $474/month."

what an odd number.

***

i don't even recall now how i stumbled upon it, but i set my dvr to record a documentary called ahead of time which aired on march 6th, and finally got around to watching it today. i'm certain that my reason for doing so was that it was the biography which chronicles the life of a woman who at age 20 was (at the time) the youngest person to hold a PhD. this woman, dr. ruth gruber, i learn upon finally watching it today, wrote a book called exodus 1947: the ship that launched the nation about a famous ship called exodus 1947, which carried jewish emigrants bound for palestine, and which embarked from france on 7/11/47 (or 11/7/47 as they do it across the pond), and played a role in the events leading up to establishing the state of israel. the documentary chronicles ruth's life from her birth in 1911 through the events of 1947 (11-47), including some footage of her time spent as a correspondent in the soviet arctic [the arctic!]; she had a love affair with the arctic, and kodachrome slides she took in alaska (don't take my kodachrome away). harold ickes, secretary of the interior, who would go on to be her employer, by pure chance, saved her life in 1942 when he canceled her passage on an airplane which cracked up and the pilot of which was burned to death. ruth will be 100 in september of this year, this 2011.


you should watch it yourself (it next airs on 4/11/11), but this moment...

ruth:

"so [so!] when i got into nyu at fifteen, i took the train from kosciuszko street, nobody could spell it right [not even the closed captions], and then i got off at the last stop in brooklyn, marcy avenue, went down the stairs, and got on the williamsburg bridge, and stood on the bridge looking down at the water, and i always loved water. water is so important in my life. and i would stare at the big buildings from manhattan as they were mirrored upside down in the water. and i would write poetry, most of it terrible. but sometimes it got published. a few things got into poetry magazine. but i would write about how i had to get away. i had to get out of brooklyn. i had to get somewhere."


and a headline following the fuss over her phd achievement "just wants solitude a while to get her bearings"

and in alaska, where she learned "to stop being so restless to get things done. i realized you could get them done if you just waited, and were patient, and lived inside of a bubble." ... she learned "how to live inside of time."

***

happy 4/7/11.

***

the fate of the exodus 1947: during a restoration of the exodus 1947 (that had been left decaying in the haifa harbor) in 1952, a mysterious accident occurred and the exodus 1947 burned to the waterline. a salvage effort failed and she sank once again. in 1974, again an effort was made to raise the remains of the ship for salvage. the remains were refloated and were being towed toward the kishon river when she sank again. parts of the ship's hull remained visible as a home for fish and fisherman until the mid 2000s. without fanfare or ceremony, the city of haifa built its modern container ship quay extensions, enlarging the port of haifa on top of the remains of the exodus 1947. the quay area where the remains of the ship are buried is a security zone and is not accessible today.

a memorial to the ship was erected in france on 7/11/82.

***

random: ruth had a bohemian apartment at 14 harman street in brooklyn. a search reveals that zillow gives it a zestimate (sic) home value of 474500.
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