House in Brooklyn

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I am a doctor. I have a practice in Brooklyn, which is a town to the east of Manhatten Island, over the East River. The area is affluent. I live here with my wife. I have built a house of relatively modest dimensions but none the less pleasant and to me satisfying. I had an architect and contractors and on a piece of land I have built the house in which I shall live with my wife and we will raise children. You can walk to the East River from my house. There are some shipping warehouses, and a sugar refining plant.

I am Peggy. I live with my husband in Brooklyn, which is a town on the west side of Long Island. Our house which David built is pleasant — the top floor has windows on all sides which communicate, and so there is a great deal of light. We have two children; Leah, and Sam just born. I shall ask David to lay a patio in the garden where they will be able to play in the summer, and we can have a table and chairs out there, for guests. Kitchen and servant quarters are in the basement. We dine and withdraw on the first floor and on it is on the second that there is so much light. Perhaps once the patio is laid I shall sit out there too.

I am Lizzy. I am cook to a doctor’s family in Brooklyn. I live in the house which is on South Second Street, near to where the master keeps his practice, and easy for the shops. Things are all nearby. Down towards where they built the bridge it is becoming very Jewish. I can walk to the East River anytime I like and meet people it’s so breezy there. The master keeps a medical practice. He is a rather rigid man. The mistress Mrs. Kallum is very nice though she can be a little distracted at times — sometimes you can be talking to her and talking and not be sure that she has even heard a word you are saying. There are two little children, Sam and Leah. Sam is still too small to go about much.

I am Leah. I am in the garden with my brother Sam and because we have been good we are playing on Mummy’s patio. We playing one sure five but that is secret and no-one else knows how. The mice are playing here too but it is wrong because they are bad and shouldn’t be allowed. Lizzy is cook and lives in the basement. Sam has just done a seven which means that the grass will grow backwards through the cracks but not for another hundred years. Lizzy’s wooden spoon is too long and so I am going to do a four.

I am David Kallum I am a doctor in New York city in the borough of Brooklyn. I live in Williamsburg where there is a new bridge and new communities have come with it into the area though my practice is not affected. I have two children and a wife we live in a house which I had built I then added a patio. My wife spends a deal of time on the second storey. The practice is busy.

Leah is becoming a difficult child. She has many special rules and becomes upset if they are broken only they change all the time and I cannot follow all of them. But she is good with Sam. Sam is my son. Lizzy thinks I am too lenient with them and let things go their own way I know she does I know she thinks things. Only it is hard to know — they become so very upset. It is easy for her to criticise, from where she is. I like it best when she hangs out the washing. Then it swells in the breeze.

Lizzy is naughty her spoon is too long and she will not see what time Sam needs to be left upstairs to get bigger. He will never catch up and it is not fair. The house is too big for him. It was Sam with all the mice.

This house is changing it is becoming stranger Mrs. Kallum does not like to come downstairs. The children are very odd. Leah is too demanding and Sam will not talk to anyone. He is scared of the fireplaces. He will not go near the fireplaces. He has been violent and broke a lamp it scared me. There are many new people moving into this area and new houses are being built. Most evenings I go to meet my sweetpea by the bridge. He is Jewish. It is a way of getting out. There are new houses in this area they need cooks.

I am Sam.

This afternoon I am sitting on the patio but it is still very close. Summers in New York City are very close David says because of all of the buildings — they hold the heat in. I am not sure if it is good for the children. They are growing up. This afternoon we are having an oil furnace installed for the winter — winters in New York City can be very cold, David says because of the sea. We had to have the fireplaces bricked up and covered because they scared my son Sam. He has been violent. David thinks it is a bad sign.

I am Sam. I am watching over the spaces in this house as they can be difficult — all the things you never thought about gather there and snap at you. Yesterday for example it was the shape of bolts on the Williamsburg Bridge. Why are the bolts shaped like that? Why why and then the bolts. It can be impossible to concentrate. I have arranged my room as best I can I think. My mother helps me with some of it.

Brooklyn is metropolizing very fast it is not so affluent as before there are new people coming in my cook is leaving. My practice is very busy, and my house. My son Sam is schizophrenic. My son Sam is very schizophrenic. My daughter is. I am Dr. Kallum.

Since the death of my husband things have of course become more difficult. Mr. Havermeyer our lawyer is a great help to me and oversees things as best he can. I have moved to Rutherford; living in such a big city I find sometimes it can be hard to keep a clear picture of things. Here there is more air. Leah is living on in Long Island and does a little secretarial work, and Sam has the house to himself, and so can organise things as he likes best. It is perhaps sad to leave the house.

I am Leah Kallum. I am Leah Kallum I have secretarial experience from the offices of the six different companies I have worked in. I did not stay long. No it was the way in which they were set up they were badly set up with files all kinds of wrong sizes, colours …. Everybody there agreed. Then the documents didn’t fit. I was working part-time my references are in that file there I am contactable on the ‘phone.

I am Sam I am in the house the basement is now safest I have worked a lot upstairs but it is hopeless. The blue skylight into the landing makes the whole open and everything gathers and pricks. The night is too big. It comes picking me out still nobody on the street says a word they pretend not to notice. I know they see it happening. They watch this house, peer at the windows. The years have faces too.

The years have faces too.

I am Havermeyer I am working on the Dr. and Mrs. Kallum files. The situation has been much neglected. The chief questions to be looked at are those of the house, and of the two children neither of whom are fit to work. The mother died recently. I will create a trust — it was Mrs. David Kallum’s wish — for the house to sit in. I will build a trust with one trustee to be appointed by Miss Kallum and he will manage the rental proceeds. These will then provide support for the two children. At present her brother has run of the house but stays mainly in the basement. And so we will let the upper two floors.

I am Lorraine. I met a woman called Leah Kallum on the internet. She has asked me to be trustee to her mother’s estate — a house in Brooklyn. I have to find the tenants. Leah is not I do not think Leah is altogether well. I have not spoken to her brother. I think they need some help. I find a few tenants let them live there. It is a little extra money.

Leah?

I have been to see this house I am trustee of I have never seen anything like it it is —. I have never seen anything like it. Some of those things it’s horrible I don’t even want to —. I live in upstate New York. I work in Walmart. I have health problems — this weekend I am going to have my stomach stapled to try and do something about it. I don’t know how to deal with this; this trusteeship. There are two Russian builders they are going to do renovation. They are going to pull some of that stuff out.

I live in Brooklyn, on South Second Street. That house they’re pulling things out of it’s Sam’s house he’s always been there — they’re Sam’s things. This is Brooklyn; people have what they like here it’s terrible it’s New York City.

I am Amanda. I have a bookstore in Williamsburg Brooklyn and an apartment nearby on South Second Street. The house is beautiful. My apartment is. But needs work done on it there is water getting in I think the roof leaks. The previous tenants upstairs were crazy I heard him threaten her sirens they are now gone. Sam lives downstairs. He is very medicated, very quiet. He stays in mostly I barely see him; sometimes he feeds the squirrels out back. But he does not wait to watch. He throws food turns and goes back in. I have a place in upstate New York which I let to Bard students. When I go there I sometimes visit Lorraine my landlady — I tell her I think the work was badly done. I tell her the render is falling down the exterior is not safe. It rained very hard last week water in the garage backed up through the sink and it was pouring over. It was pouring over. She has very severe weight problems. She doesn’t want to think about it. I have a bookstore. The house is beautiful Sam is so quiet it needs some simple things, someone with some time.

I am Adrian. I have just moved to New York City — I’m staying with my friend Amanda in a house in Brooklyn. It is teetering uncertainly betwen chichi New York and charmed ruin. Downstairs there is a medicated schizophrenic named Sam. In the landing is a blue skylight which moves across the floor all day and rests at night. In the garden through a thrash of wailing weeds you can just see the arms of four chairs, a table leg, a drowned flag of patio. I love being in a sea city. I love the ironwork on the bridges and the fire escapes I love the stinky East River and being so high above it. I love blackedout Manhatten against the sky, and kids leaping through fire. I am going to renovate this upstairs apartment and stay there. I am going to do some work on the roof.

August 19 2003, New York