Thought Catalog

Richard Grayson

Richard Grayson, a retired lawyer and college professor, is the author of With Hitler in New York (1979), I Brake for ...

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At Grandma Sylvia’s, Debbie Solomon’s interview took an unexpected turn as Grandma poured out her bitterness and frustration. It seemed depressing and tedious to me, but Debbie said it was great: “She’s sort of a punk grandma who could go on TV and just keep saying how bad life is.”

The Krewe of Thoth threw out multicolored beads and coins bearing their name and the Mardi Gras seal. I managed to catch or scoop up a handful of beads and four doubloons. Tom said this was a tame Uptown parade and that on Tuesday the Downtown parades are unspeakable madness.

It was a gorgeous afternoon on the levee, and out by the river were roller-skaters, joggers, frisbee players and teenage lovers wrapped in a blanket. A car horn played “Dixie.” I like New Orleans. It’s a relaxed place, and race relations seem better than in any other place I’ve been.

Gary is such a snob about Miami Beach being such a tacky place for old people like his uncle, but I love the atmosphere there: all the bright lights and glamorously seedy old hotels on Collins Avenue, the old Jewish people kibitzing on their porches.

I can’t let life defeat me; I’ve got to give it another shot. Hell, I’m young and strong and talented enough to get myself and Grandma Sylvia on the front page of today’s Miami News. And tonight a reporter for the Neighbors section of the Miami Herald wants to interview her.

In the Miami News city room, there were reporters hunched over video terminals, papers scattered everywhere, some editor barking out instructions. The place felt so alive. How can one not be impressed with historical front pages (“War Ends!” and “Snow in Miami!”) and Pulitzer Prize plaques?

I have no home of my own, no job and less than $2,000. So why don’t I feel depressed? It’s not just that I’m in sunny Florida. See, with my lack of money, position and prospects comes a very real sense of freedom. As “Me and Bobby McGee” says, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

When I opened the door of her apartment, I saw a big grey poster that said NEW YORK WILL BE GRAYER WITHOUT GRAYSON. “Surprise!” shouted a crowd of people from the living room. I was stunned, although everyone was sure that I had known that Avis, Alice and Teresa had planned a going-away party.

I’m happy to be moving to Florida. Although I have no idea what I’ll be doing a month from now or three months from now, I feel like I’m starting fresh, as on the John Lennon song being played all the time now: “It’ll be just like starting over.”

Stacy took my Florida address and gave me a squeeze on the shoulder as she got off the bus. Her eyes were as light blue as they used to be, and I remembered how much I’d been attracted to her. She seemed to have turned out so well that I was pleased with myself for once loving her.

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