Early Memories

by Michael Colloms

          My memories of Sunnyside come from the period 1942 and 1950 during which time my family lived on 45th Street.  In 1950, at a time when David and I were inseparable friends, my family moved to Croton-on-Hudson.  We still visited Sunnyside often for shared events, and as a teenager, I came down on my own to New York for bi-weekly music lessons with Henry Danielowitz.   My first piano lessons, however, had been with August Yellin who lived in the alleyway between 44th and 45th Streets. 

 

          There were lots of musical evenings, political classes and discussions in the neighborhood – including at the Colloms and Horowitz households - one time with WEB Dubois, another with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn – to which many close friends and relatives came. 

WEB DuBois seated in the Horowitz household for a discussion group.  Photo by Dan Shapiro, courtesy of sunnyside.us

          I have fond memories of David and our friendship with Danny Wolfman.  Other friends included Larry Marcus, Dana Green, Ann Adler, Marius DeLeon, David Farbman, their parents as well.  

          When I was probably about 8, the four-letter word beginning with “f” was the every other word utterance, and was written often on the pavement. Encountered by an innocent yours truly, I was somewhat humiliatingly laughed at for my ignorance, but satisfied with my mother’s definition - “an Old English word for marriage” - for a few more years.  

          Our fourth grade class was amazing.  Our teacher, (Mrs. Levine?  Mrs. Malden?) held a mock campaign debate during the 1948 presidential campaign.  I think Marjorie Godlin and Robert Sussman were in that class.  There were a few Democrats who supported Harry Truman, but there was no one at all to support Republican Thomas Dewey’s position.  David was a good sport, and volunteered, in the end, to present arguments for Dewey.  Everyone else in the whole class was rooting for Henry Wallace!