by Henrik Krogius, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Alice Davidson Outwater followed up her 2011 “82 Remsen Street” with a new collection on growing up in Brooklyn Heights in the l930s and early ‘40s. As with the first book, the stories in “Revisiting Remsen Street” (Wind Ridge Publishing, Shelburne, Vt., 96 pages, $15.95) were originally published in the Brooklyn Heights Press in monthly installments at the turn of the millennium. The collection is now available at Wind Ridge Publishing, The Flying Pig Bookstore, Barnes and Noble, www.Amazon.com, or any local bookstore.
Young Alice Davidson’s was not your average upbringing, since her family owned one of the wider houses on Remsen Street and had live-in Irish maids, a cook, and a weekly laundress and seamstress. It was in many ways a viable “upstairs, downstairs” existence in which the Davidson children were insulated from the outside world. The new volume shows Alice’s blooming awareness.
When seven-year-old Alice and five-year-old sister Louise see blood on the Montague Street sidewalk, “a big messy splotch that turned into a dried trickle as it approached the curb,” their parents refuse to discuss it. Alice also begins to see prejudice and discrimination after having been “blissfully blind to the behind-the-scenes exclusion” practiced at the dancing school and debutante parties she was privileged to attend.
The book contains several photographs of family and scenes from the collection, as well as illustrations of objects and equipment belonging to the period. Above all, a glow of nostalgia suffuses every page.