Monday, June 9, 2014

"they feed you"

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by eddie el greco and danny delacroix

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

for previous Gwendolyn story, click here

to begin the Gwendolyn stories, click here

rosenzweig home for girls

december 26, 194-

dear g--------------n,

thank you for the lovely gift of fruit cake, and for taking time from what seems like a very busy schedule to write to me. i know your hours must be very full, going to school and learning latin and french and music and such, and at the same time being busy with your "gang" as you so playfully call the young ladies - and a young man too! - who are so fortunate to have been taken under your wing and whom you are teaching that there is more to life than childish play and gossip.

how fortunate they - and i - are to have such a good big sister - if i may call you that - to guide them through the perilous maze of this evil and sin-infested world!

how thankful i am - more than i can say - to you for trying to talk some sense into my mother. but i am afraid it may be a hopeless case. she is a hardened sinner, and though the good book tells us that we should never stop trying to bring the wandering sheep back to the fold, there comes a time when one simply has to make a choice as to which way forward is the best path.

but i digress. to get right to the point, all indications are that, as you have perceived, i am going to do "the whole strawberry" as the girls here put it, and i have resigned myself that it is the lord's will that i do the whole twelve months. so be it.

with that in mind, you may as well stop any continuing efforts mr z---------g might still be making to get my sentence reduced, as it looks hopeless.

there is, however, one thing you can do for me before my mother begins her stretch. if you can get into our old flat, go into my "bedroom" (behind the curtain) and you will find a small dresser beside my cot, and in it you will find stacks of the pamphlets that i used to hand out to sinners on the streets and in the parks.

i am confident that my mother will not have disturbed them.

at the bottom of the stacks you will find some pink pamphlets with the message "is the end really near?". if you look inside them you will find something very rewarding, i assure you.

until now i had not wanted to trouble you with this, but with my mother going up the river and me stuck here, there is nothing else for it.

also, if you would be so kind and can fit it into your busy schedule, once you have absorbed all the goodness you can from the pamphlets could you take all the pamphlets and bring them to my friend in the lord sally jefferson? for though they are cheap to have printed they are not done for free and she will be glad to have them. and if you could spread to her some of the beautiful messages you will find in the pink pamphlets i will be most grateful to you. i leave the exact amount up to your kind heart.

sally lives in the basement apartment of the building right beside bob's bar, on the bowery side. you can not miss it, she has a little sign in her window saying "heaven is here." also, if you could tell her that i am all right but am resigned to doing the whole stretch? i would like to write to her but that might bring the heat down on her. with you it is different, my dear, as you and your friends have lawyers. sally does not have a lawyer, any more than i did. (and i am forever grateful for the use of yours!)

i should mention that sally is a member of the negro race, but as you often express enlightened sentiments toward negroes, i am sure you will get on swimmingly, as you would say.

for the rest, you can take the good word from the pamphlets and spread them to your friend mr sullivan - whom i am trusting because you trust him - even though he has an irish name and i have always found the irish to be treacherous and not very capable of absorbing messages in their heads either good or bad - and he can hopefully make good use of them in his way.

i think that is all i have to say as far as "serious business" is concerned. thank you for keeping me informed of your activities. i am happy to hear that everything is going so well for you.

as for me, things are not desperate - "they feed you" (that is an expression you hear every day here) - but could be better. can you believe it, i have been called a "troublemaker" by the warden - we all call her the warden although she is supposed to be called the "head matron" - called a "troublemaker" to my face and threatened with confinement to barracks so i would not get any fresh air.

"confinement" is the worst thing they can do to you - there is no "solitary" because after all we are just little girls - and they always feed you as i say but maybe not give you dessert but i don't care because i don't care for sweets and give my little slices of cake or dabs of chocolate pudding to my friends anyway.

but i digress again. do you know why i am a so-called "troublemaker"? can you guess?

because i try to spread the word of the lord! the warden - who goes by the thunderous name of mary margaret o'malley - says it is because i make a nuisance of myself and it is a state institution and not religious but i know it is really because she is a papist and a tool of the whore of babylon - she probably should have been a head nun somewhere but i bet the pope himself told her to go out into the world and torment honest protestants. anyway in some ways i am proud to be her adversary because the whore of babylon is even worse than world communism - but i will stop because i can see you rolling your eyes and know you are not ready for the light.

also i know if i wanted to fight her the constitution of the united states and the supreme court would see things my way, but i know you and mr z------------g would not care to get involved as i will be out in ten months anyway and i am grateful to you for what you have already done so i say no more on this sore subject.

you have new friends - well, so do i! i will tell you more about them in my next letter but for now i will say i think they would love to do some good work with us when they too are released from captivity in the not so distant future. i think they would make good team mates or as you would say "gang" mates, ha ha!

almost forgot! about your generous offer to be adopted by your aunt margaret and her swell friends - wow, what can i say! that would be quite a change for me in a lot of ways. i don't want to rush into it, so let me think it over but i will tell you by the end of next month because i know you and your friends and mr z----------g need time for the paperwork, etc.

that's all for now. even if you don't have time for more long letters could you let me know how things go with the pamphlets and sally?

the lord be with you,

your pal ( cousin?)



"The Death of Tommy Sullivan"

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