Although the car radio warned that
“war threatened” as “Europe mobilized,”
we set out for the World’s Fair on the
last day of August, nineteen-thirty-
nine. My grandparents came visiting
from New Hampshire to Connecticut
once in three years; it wasn’t easy
to find somebody to milk the cows,
to feed the hens and sheep: Maybe that’s
why we went ahead, with my father
driving down the new Merritt Parkway
toward Long Island. I was ten years old;
for months I had looked forward to this
trip to the Fair. Everywhere I looked
I saw the Trylon and Perisphere—
on ashtrays, billboards, and Dixie Cups;
in Life—: those streamlined structures that stood
for The World of Tomorrow, when Dad
would autogyro to pick up Rick
and Judy from a school so modern
it resembled an Airstream Trailer.
As we drove home late at night—it was
already morning in Warsaw—I
tried not to let my eyes close. My dear
grandfather—wearing a suit instead
of overalls; my grandmother with
pearls from Newberry’s—held my hand tight
in silence. Soon I would fall asleep
as we drove down the Parkway, but first
we stop-and-started through city blocks,
grave in the Pontiac heading north
toward Connecticut, past the newsboys
hoarse, dark, and ragged, flapping papers
at the red lights of intersections.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 8 Number 6, on page 42
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