This story was sent to me by Gerard Hanvey
The Purdy Family
I, for some odd reason, remember the Purdy Family during the summertime of my boyhood in the 50s more than at any other time of the year.
It’s been years now but I can still see Mrs. Purdy sitting on the front stoop of the tenement house where I lived on 15th Street waiting for her husband to come home. Mr. Purdy would come home in his gas company uniform. They would talk for a while and, along with their son and two daughters, would get into their old car and go for an early evening drive.
Not many families owned their own cars in those days. The one the Purdy Family owned would not take first prize in any automobile contest. Women certainly did not drive. Not in this neighborhood! Men were in complete control of all machines.
There was a special kind of uniqueness about Mr. & Mrs. Purdy: a togetherness, a friendship, a love. They would drive away from the six family tenement house leaving behind their neighbors, and garbage cans, and children playing; always returning, looking refreshed and renewed. For the short time they were gone, the other housewives sitting on the stoop would gossip among themselves about Mrs. Purdy never cooking supper for her hardworking husband, always going out to eat, and wondering how she kept her apartment. But it was summertime; it stayed light longer; the top floor apartment they lived in became so hot; the rides were a nice way to cool off.
Sometimes they would drive to Coney Island or Sheepshead Bay; at other times, to Shore Road, taking in the view of the harbor with the refreshing breeze coming in off the water.
Those years passed quickly. Mrs. Purdy became ill and passed away. Mr. Purdy retired from the gas company and moved to another tenement house. Most all of the old neighbors have moved or passed away and there is no more gossiping. But I can still see them getting into that old car for a summer night’s drive. I can still see Mrs. Purdy waiting for her husband on that stoop.
I can still see love.