Speak, Memory


“THIS book belongs to …,” reads the frontispiece of the little red
diary, followed by the words “Florence Wolfson” scrawled in faded black ink.
Inside the worn leather cover, in brief, breathless dispatches written on
gold-edged pages, the journal recorded five years of the life and times of a
smart and headstrong New York teenager, a girl who loved Balzac, Central Park
and male and female lovers with equal abandon.

Tucked inside the journal, like a pressed flower, is a yellowed
clipping from a Yiddish newspaper, noting that at age 15 the diary’s owner was
awarded a New York State Regents college scholarship. The photograph of a girl
with huge, soulful eyes and marcelled blond hair atop a heart-shaped face stares
out of the brittle scrap of newsprint.

The diary was a gift for her 14th birthday, on Aug. 11, 1929, and she
wrote a few lines faithfully, every day, until she turned 19. Then, like so many
relics of time past, it was forgotten."

"Speak, Memory"
By Lily Koppel
The New York Times

Image: Lars Klove

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[Thanks M. Leddy]

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