Where I encountered her: Heading north up Graham Avenue in Brooklyn.
Jamie: Hi! Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?
Lucile: Sure, but make it quick.
Jamie: Do you live around here?
Lucille: Yes, I live around the corner here. And I’m here, let’s see…I was born here! 78 years. And I love it. My children want me to move, but no. I have everything at my fingertips, my church, I go to work a couple of days a week…
Jamie: Where do you work?
Lucille: Swinging Sixties Senior Citizen Center. You should come in there one day. [Stylish old person jackpot!]
Jamie: What kind of stuff do you do there?
Lucille: I’m fiscal. I take care of the book and papers or whatever. You should come to the senior center. They would like to talk to you, they love to talk.
Jamie: I would love to! Are there a lot of stylish…people?
Jamie: Awesome. I like your scarf, where did you get it?
Lucille: My daughter gave it to me, I think it was last Christmas.
Jamie: And your pin?
Lucille: This was one of my mother’s, very old, I don’t know how old it is.
Jamie: What about your coat?
Lucille: It’s funny you should ask, my son just asked me last night, he says, ‘mom, where did you get that coat?’ I got it a JC Penney, in the mall.
Jamie: Where do you like to shop, generally?
Lucille: I do go on Grand Street…Gem, they’re pretty good, and then I go to the mall. I go to the mall at Queens Plaza. And Roosevelt field, we do go there when my granddaughter takes me with the car.
Jamie: You said you love this neighborhood…how do you feel about the ways it’s changed?
Lucille: Well, it’s progress. It is for the better, I guess. But there’s a lot of my memories that are gone that are not being said anymore. And the buildings…there are too many high rises going up. In fact, I have one next to my house and I have problems with it. And we just hope that the people who move in there will be nice people. That’s the main thing. But otherwise…[she sees a friend] Hi Betty! How are you?
Betty: How’s your daughter?
[They have a conversation about medical problems that I feel guilty for listening in on. I stop my recorder. After a minute, she turns back to me.]
Lucille: Yes dear, thank you, now let me go. It was very nice talking to you. I wish you luck.
I want to talk some more about the mental map of memories we each carry around the city with us, a concept I’m kind of obsessed with, but I know she has important things to do and it’s getting cold out, so I let her go. Next stop: Swinging Sixties Senior Citizen Center.