THE CLARITY THAT COMES WITH AGE, PART II by JEFFREY FELNER

…and it must be true that one’s long term memory sharpens while ones short term memory fades as we age. With that in mind, this is a sort of collection of remembrances from high school days though my early years living in my own in New York city.
As I said in my past telling, my folks were certainly not of the highly educated or evolved variety and yet there was something about them that allowed me to have these sorts of amazing formative years. Remember we didn’t live in politically correct times and as kids we didn’t have things like time out and let’s talk about it. Despite it all, in retrospect, they “gave me permission” to be me and truly broaden my horizons though I must say that I wasn’t aware how their acquiescence would affect my adult life.
How many kids of mid teenage years got to go to life drawing classes at the New School at 66 west 12th? By “life drawing” I mean NUDES… there were no questions asked, no examination of the course content, just a simple yes and handed over a check, I was enrolled in a semester of magical Saturday classes with 2 of my dearest friends. So every Saturday we headed into NYC via LLIRR with our tackle boxes of art supplies and our newsprint pads under out arms and off we went to our class with A. Walter Kendra. Of course, included in these weekly trips were trips to Delsem’s the art supply store on 14th street, coffee at Little Joes on the corner of 12th street, maybe a palmier from Jon Vie on 6th Avenue and almost certainly some sort of shopping excursion uptown after class.

One of my favorite stops was to Lord & Taylor where at this ripe age we already had a dedicated saleswoman by the name of Mrs. Brown who was this gray haired school marmish stocky lady who wore wire rimmed glasses and her hair in a swirl of a braid at the nape of her neck. Mrs. Brown helped up with our frequent purchases and it is was also when there was a thing called a sales book and where the sales person manually wrote a “send!” triplicate, which became my preferred method of purchase. The capper of course was that while I was busy at school all week long, my packages would arrive all week long to the amazement of my mother.
I would be remiss if I didn’t recount that we of course had our secret stash of cigarettes which if course was to show off how cool we were. We ventured to a far off territory known as Bloomingdales. Imagine in those years the store had a post office in and was hardly as famous as it became but no matter we were on a mission to see and shop. On one particular adventure we were waiting for the subway to take us back to reality when I thought it would be a good idea to light up. Unbeknownst to me that was illegal and shortly thereafter appeared a cop to either ticket or lecture me for the violation I had just committed. Suffice to say that scared the shit out of this little Jewish boy from the suburbs.
What has also been recounted to me was that apparently I was offering my fashion advice to anyone who would listen.

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I was told how I had my friend’s mother return her Bar Mitzvah mother outfit because I deemed ii inappropriate for her. The think to keep p in mind here is that I was maybe 13 if I was lucky and who was I to advise and yet that dress went back in deference to my fashion authority. One can only imagine who else I was advising but for sur my mother was first in line. Dyed to match shoes or silver or gold… long dress or short… is white appropriate at that time of year or simply does this go with this or could you please hang a picture or wrap a gift for me or address an envelope for me

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