Collage #1 by Phil Sultz

Saturday Dance

Saturday night, walking down Michigan Avenue near Broadway, I could hear music coming from the Black and Tan Club.  I didn't give it much thought then, but some of it got into you all the same, and stayed there, especially in the thirties and early forties.  It was slow and moody music with a train, box car beat,  and then, Mr. Saturday Dance, with Ben Webster on sax, and Tony Braxton on bass.  Maybe it was a reflection of how we lived then.  It seemed to mean something.  Most folks thought it was, Mr. Saturday Dance, instead of what it was,  Missed the Saturday Dance, but it didn't matter.  Now when I hear it, I think of Tony Braxton.  Both he and my Mom died of TB at the age of twenty-three, and all that young dying is in the music too.

Broadway by Phil Sultz

Broadway Cross by Phil Sultz

Carwash by Phil Sultz

Sultz Roofing by Phil Sultz

Water by Phil Sultz

The Warm Room

When Benny and I were boys, the kitchen was the warm room in winter, but after we ate, we didn't hang around. There was no reason to. We didn't sit there discussing anything, or read books. There were none. There was an old wind-up victrola and a few religious cantor records that no one played. Everything in the kitchen was Mom's domain. She was tough. If a rat got into the house, she'd track it down with a broom handle. She'd say, You can't come into my house, and then kill it. Aside from the stove, icebox and the food items, there was the ringer washing machine, the ironing board, a narrow pantry off to the side, and a table and chairs where we ate. When Mom needed something at the store, she would usually send me or Benny. Benny was harder to find, but on school days, we both came home for lunch. Our school lunch was usually a banana in sour cream with bread and milk, and then back to school. This was our life, and we followed it. If Mom gave us an apple, I would give the core to the milkman's horse on a side street on the way back to school. I liked watching him chew. When we moved into the two-story brick building at six ninety-three Broadway, there was a horse trough in front of the shop next to the curb, and an iron loop set into the brick wall of the building on the driveway side to tie up a horse. I tied Lightning, my imaginary horse, there. There were still peddlers with horses pulling wagons that I saw after public school on my way to Hebrew School working in the streets buying almost anything people had for a few coins. The peddlers sat on their little benches in front of their open wagons, hollering, rags, rags. There were horse sheds in Iroquois Alley, near the Hebrew school. When I yelled to Mr. Cohen, how his horse was doing, he would always reply, He's a good person. Most peddlers were Jewish immigrants.

Stranskys by Phil Sultz