It started with a pair of heels clicking down the hallway of a dream.
I have a great grandmother I’ve never discussed here. She is a family legend and, like most family legends, a family shadow. She and I were never alive at the same time but she looks out for me like no one in my line but my mother’s mother Alice May, who died when I was 18.
This great-grandmother’s name was Rubenfire, which I learned long after I named my now-deceased kitty Ruby. Growing up I was only told that she was a very cruel woman who’d made a small fortune selling rags. Later I learned she was brave, charismatic, and resourceful, and that when she’d arrived here from Poland as a non-English-speaking teen, she’d done the only thing she could to support her children upon discovering her husband had started a new family in Brooklyn: She turned tricks, and eventually became a successful brothel owner in the Salem area of Massachusetts. Continue Reading →