COVID 19 notes

March 20th, 2020: lost my sense of smell today … the day before my mother’s 100th Birthday

April 22nd, Earth Day: next door neighbor (Maureen) has died. I only discovered her passing because policemen were standing outside her door. Smell (and most taste) has not returned

May 2nd: am regressing back into childhood in matters of food: eating steak sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, matzoh brie, cheep lemon cake, frozen dinners, pot pies, potato sticks. Thank God for Anton Chekkov! Am swilling his beguiling short stories like a thirsty person might imbibe cold water.Following, a tender morsel plucked from A Story Without a title”: In the fifth century, just as now, the sun rose every morning and every evening retired to rest. In the morning, when the first rays kissed the dew, the earth revived, the air was filled with the sounds of rapture and hope; while in the evening the same earth subsided into silence and plunged into gloomy darkness. One day was like another, one night like another. From time to time a storm-cloud raced up and there was the angry rumble of thunder, or a negligent star fell out of the sky, or a pale monk ran to tell the brotherhood that not far from the monastery he had seen a tiger — and that was all, and then each day was like the next. If words were pillows – I’d like to rest my head on these

5.6.20: found $1.09 in the lobby; ate two white castle burgers for breakfast

5.20: saw Dr. D.B., had test. Could hardly wait to get home so as to remove my bra. Thank God D.E. has arrived to stay … yes … to stay!

5.17: test result: positive for covid-19. Am in seclusion

5.29: second test

6.1.: test, negative. 10 PM curfew;  looting and protests out there

6.2: 8 PM curfew now. More looting also riots (curfew seems to be Trump’s idea of a quarantine …)

6.3: night after night helicopters hover. Huge marches. D and I watch from window. I’ve put on 10 pounds since new year.


7.13: removed wristwatch. Can’t stand the constraint

9/19/20: the Farrari-red colored sheets ordered on Amazon have arrived

9.20.20: cracked front tooth in half

9.21.20: sent under construction ms – (12 reunion stories compiled, tentatively titled “We’ll Meet Again”) – to UK (on anniversary of sale of “Found and Lost”)

9.30: had tooth repaired at new dentist near Gramercy Park. An astonishing job was done; that I hadn’t worn a bassiere wasn’t an issue.  Anniversary of Lily’s death also Rie birthdate


11.19: ms. of “We’ll Meet Again” returned with detailed, thoughtful, helpful notes

11.22: bought a new jolly (black with red, green and yellow) flowered watchband; attached it, threw away the old one, returned watch to left wrist rather than right

11.24: received a death threat by email this morning from a ‘J S’

12.11: have begun cutting my own hair

12.3: brain fog, rash on both arms near elbows … Eerie not be be able to smell. Wonder – after sweating so much – do I stink? I’ve know way to know.

12.15: cascades of mucus in the middle of the night to the point of retching up a cloud of it

12.16: 5:20am – framed painting of three lemons on wall behind above my bed dropped with a crash. Out of the blue it slid between bed frame and wall but didn’t hit me in the head.  Thankfully. Heavy dark wood frame cracked apart, glass didn’t. It would have done a number on my head and/or face. The brown twine Dorothy used instead of wire (probably 50 years ago) simply dissolved

12.18: Sam and Anne’s silver-plated letter-opener dropped when I stood up; it stabbed my toe

12.19: while washing dishes in the kitchen, a silver fork dropped from my hand and stabbed my other foot

12.20: woke with a black (left) eye. Have no idea how or why or when

12.22: put watch back on this morning … had removed it for the night

12.26: took covid test at a walk-in clinic on 23rd Street.

12.28: result of test – Negative

12.31: ate lobster bisque for dinner, put watch on watch around two in the afternoon. Skyped with AM in Haarlem near midnight Dutch time. Alternating between/among: Episodes of “Spiral” – French detective series – 78 episodes/8 seasons and Wandering Jew: The search for Joseph Roth” by Dennis Marks ( beautiful Notting Hill Edition)

1/1/2021: made french toast with soy milk also fresh bread from Sullivan Street, drizzled New Hampshire maple syrup given by Alice, assume it’s still eatable as syrup has been in refrigerator for a good number of years

1/5/21: special election for senate in Georgia today, everything at stake. Discovered circular medallions of painful fungus under both breasts from sweat. I seem to sweat when I go outside even if it’s icy. Need to find Elie Wiesel’s review of Anne Frank Remembered for SFB, found it: (was in International Herald Tribune on May 10th, 1987): Am struck by it’s power, as I haven’t read it in thirty years … several paragraphs follow: One better understands their rapport by reading the testimony that Miep, in her turn, has just written (with the remarkable collaboration of Alison Leslie Gold).

Having met her by chance, Alison Gold spent 16 months with Miep Gies and her husband Jan — Henk in the book — questioning them on their memories of the occupation. Let us give recognition to Alison Gold. Without her and her talent of persuasion, without her writer’s talent, too, this poignant account, vibrating with humanity, would not have been written.

Miep relates with simplicity and sobriety her ties with the Frank family.  … Thus her book can serve as commentary on, as interpretation of, Anne’s “Diary.” Thanks to Miep, we better understand what the young girl tells us, and why.

.. Who betrayed the Frank family? The informer was never found. Otto Frank did nothing to search for him. He preferred to use the past in order to save the future. Is this the reason why his daughter’s book sustained such enthusiasm in the world? Because the reader wanted to reassure himself? Because he managed to believe, like Anne, that man is good … in spite of everything? Anne Frank has left an unfinished Diary. If she had been able to write in Auschwitz and in Belsen, what would she have said? Would she have manifested the same confidence in man? No one can answer these questions; no one has the right to.

Let us simply remember, in the name of truth, that it was only when Anne wrote the last word of the last sentence, that she entered, mute, into the night of silence.

The review of a lifetime!

3.23.2021:Elliott born to A. and S! The sight of his little face in the first photo makes me happy … a happiness that begins at my knees and travels up my entire trunk

3.24.21: used a cane for the first time going to the dentist for a deep cleaning on 53rd Street. Seems like I’ve crossed a line when I dusted of this cane.  Can’t remember where I got it … I think I brought it back from Poland or perhaps it was Slovenia. Brings to mind literal lines written in Rome (on 30 November 1820) in a letter to Charles Brown by John Keats: “… I have an habitual feeling of having my real life passed and that I am leading a posthumous existence.”

3.25.2021: can barely walk across the apartment from bedroom to kitchen. Legs stiff, hurting. Tried compression socks and pain went away for an entire day. Once I was an athlete, was awarded best athlete prize when I graduated from Junior High School. I fondly remember all the sports in which I happily participated: swimming stoop ball punch ball canoeing fencing kendo judo volley ball scuba diving 8 ball pig and chicken (never hiking …. always hated hikes)

5.5.1: could it be that my knee issue after tormenting me for months has been divinely lifted? When I woke from nap just now knee and calf felt NORMAL. Dumped cane

7.22.21: Louise Fishman died at dawn. Am in shock. We had a long conversation from her hospital room a few hours before …. she was fearful … due to a dramatic reaction to a steroid medication given after miner heart surgery. It’s a hot summer weekend …the hospital quiet, half functioning since so many doctors are off sailing on their yachts  in the Hamptons. She was totally herself and lucid during our conversation.  It shouldn’t have happened …

12.30.21: helped wheelchair-bound neighbor (C.M., age 90), into her chair so that her sister (B., age 88 once a actress on Broadway stage) could give her an at-home covid test that registered positive. Thus: am in quarantine again for 5 days and won’t be able to help C. get out of bed as I’ve done on consecutive days since last May without missing a day. I hope she can find someone else to fill in  …

December 31.21: set of lime-green-colored sheets arrived. Perhaps the last day of the year is like the last chocolate in a gaudy box. Once its eaten, the box will be empty. It is. I wonder what fate has up his/her sleeve for this new year?

1.1.22: put out my light last night early and listened to Stendhal’s (famous for never altering his daily routine including shaving every day during the retreat of Napoleon from Moscow in 1812) novel La Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black).  Listened on and off all night, falling asleep for some hours and then backing up the tape and listening again. Woke predawn and called N to say happy new year, skyped M on Isle of Whyte, then zoomed into a 24/7 meeting in New Zealand first thing. ‘Alvin’ was speaking. I looked at my phone, saw a nondescript middle-aged gent standing in what looked like a park, several other men were sitting on a benche along the side by a wall. It turns out that Alvin was speaking from prison. He explained that he’s 52 years old, has been in prison since he was 17, found alcoholics anonymous in prison and has been sober for 18 years. He’s getting out of prison in 9 days and is scared to death. After Alvin, Wendy from South Africa shed tears as she told the group that this was her very first day.

Later: Re-read Turgenev’s “Bezhin Meadow” from Sportsman’s Notebook (my favorite book of the year … perhaps the decade (translated by Constance Garnett in 1897). Recently I discovered that Turgenev died of syphilis, I can’t remember how. Seems like I’m on a roll with syphilitics having listened to The Most Dangerous Book by Kevin Birmingham on Joyce who, according to the author, suffered all his life from symptoms caused by syphilis including his eye troubles; also Edouard Manet as reported in The Lost Notebook by Maureen Gibbon – didn’t but never finished. Stendhal, Joyce, Manet…. A book for someone to write. Not me

1.2: these months I drink coffee from a glass, never a cup, mug or bowl. The preferred ‘glass’ is my  Bormioli Rocco tumbler from Italy. Have a tickle in my inner ear that defies every Q-tip. Don’t think I’ve fastened on a bra in half a year

1.3: at-home  test – negative.

1.11: Miep died 12 years ago today. Lit a Yehrzeit Memorial Candle. Pat Hemingway also died on this date but 45 years ago. Bitterly cold outside, I love it. It snowed two days ago at last. Listened to Sinead O’Connor’s autobiography Rememberings all day. She, like me, battered as a child by her mother. Got text from D (in Paris) where he’s experiencing unpleasant health symptoms. Is it possible that you have syphilis? I asked him. It’s occurred to me too though it’s probably unlikely, he replied, and added, It was called ‘goujere’ in Shakespeare’s day … known as ‘the French Disease in those days. Probably just a UTI…..

1.16: negotiating contract as ‘consultant’ on 8 part mini-series “SMALL LIGHT IN A DARK ROOM” so as to be available for zoom meetings with ‘writer’s room’ or whomever requests as an informational resource (authority?) during the pre-production, also production

1.21: out of the blue learned that the Dutch film about Hannah Goslar – “My Best Friend Anne Frank” – has come to Netflix. It’s the (made in Europe) feature film based on my book. Yes, they’ve credited the book  although I’d passed on personal involvement wanting remuneration for Hannah to use for her constantly growing extended family – (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren – about 75 to date) – can always use funds. Had lost track of the film after news of its premier in Amsterdam

1.23: A windfall suddenly. 12 degrees with fresh cold air so delicious to swallow.

1.25: hair falling out in droves. am trying minoxidil spray

3.21.22: mother’s 102 birthday. Second anniversary – loss of smell – though it randomly, briefly, returns. Received query for stage rights to ANNE FRANK REMEMBERED  from two woman in theater, a producer, a director

7.9.22: Gerry Margolis died suddenly … or suddenly to me. I can’t stand it.

9.6.22: breakthrough: at 3:15 a.m. ordered a ticket for $76 to see Allen Cummings & Steven Hoggett do “Burn” on Robert Burns at the Joyce Theater down on 8th Avenue tomorrow.

9.7.22: Walked (bra-less) to the Joyce had perfect seat upstairs on left side.  Wouldn’t have missed it for the world.  Loved everything about it

9.8.22: Queen Elizabeth dead

10.5.22: cut sheaf of Basel from garden. Chopped for pasta sauce and … trumpets please … actually smelled the sublime odor of Basel so so strongly. If this is all I ever smell again … so be it! The smell brings tears

10.9.22: Paul Gies died today.  Totally unexpect. A tragedy.   (His death has come on the same date as Daddy, though Daddy died 13 years ago.) Another coincidence: Paul and I share the same birth date; his in 1950, mine in 1945.


10.28: Hannah Goslar has died

11.21: Marijane Meaker has died, not surprising since she’s almost 93 but still a shock as I’ve known her since 1969-ish and she seemed invincible

May 24.23: ordered set of (crayola) lemon-yellow sheets. Put on watch . Rereading George Orwell’s Burmese Days. The line from it, The moon came out like a sick woman getting out of bed, describes tonight to a T

6.30: why so many sets of sheets piled in the linen closet?

7.12: Dashiell William born to A and S at dawn! Wondrous!