The Mendlesteins Lived Next Door to Us at the Beach

Harry Mendlestein owned a hardware store

in Milford, Connecticut.  He and his wife Joanie

and their two children and his widowed sister Lil

and Lil’s daughter all lived next door.  The women

walked back and forth and back and forth

drinking black coffee and sometimes eating Danish.

They never ran out of subject matter. My brother and I

were younger.  He would play and I would listen. The women all

laughed a lot and although they mostly did not go in the water

even though we were at the beach none of them

sunbathed didn’t cover themselves with Johnsons baby oil the way

some people did, or make reflectors from aluminum foil, they mostly

gossiped, exchanged recipes for dishes like tuna casseroles, macaroni

and cheese, they seemed happy all of them and when the men came home

my father and Harry Mendlestein around 5:30 or 6 at the latest, the men would

change into their baggy swim suits, walk across the rocky long island sound

beach and jump in for a swim and the women, back in their original houses

would set the table, serve the dinner and we, knowing no more and no less

than this, we were every one of us happy enough.




Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.

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