NOVEMBER THE FIRST, 1951
Rose and I sailed on La Liberte
To the land of the free
From jolly old England
Still bathed in austerity.
On board we got up early
To gaze at the Statue of Liberty
And dazed we stepped upon the shores
Of the land of opportunity.
We had twenty-seven dollars between us.
We each had a waiting job.
We arrived on a Thursday
On Monday we joined the hub.
We subwayed to our bookstores
Where the people paid
For wrapping paper, books and rental
Of best-sellers that made the grade.
We discovered Horne and Hardart
Where food was in the wall,
Who knew that one day money
From a wall would fall.
I had my first banana split
There were eggs and prunes galore,
Though we couldn’t afford to eat
Cheap swordfish was in the store.
We went to Central Park in snow
The sun shone on the city,
We went to a dollar play reading
Of some playwright who was witty.
Those first days in New York were bliss
I truly fell in love
And New York still is to me
Like a dovecote to a dove!
Esther Lazarson: I was born in England and brought up on English Literature. Mother was born in Lithuania and loved Pushkin and poetry. She entered crossword competitions and consulted me about the words – which nearly always rhymed. “Is it cat or rat?” “Is it thunder or blunder?” When I was eleven, in class, I wrote the ballad of Robin Hood, and over the years wrote a few poems. On my 69th birthday, as my dear friend Fred was volunteer gardening in Ward’s Island, I started to write poetry. I’m 89 now and I haven’t stopped.