My mother idolized Ingrid Bergman. Dubbed “Miss Shakes” for her nervous energy, Gracie interviewed Buddy Rich and Vince Lombardi for her high school newspaper; later she worked on “Queen for a Day,” the radio version, broadcast over the Mutual Network from studios at the one address she never, ever forgot, 1440 Broadway.
In photos from her wedding Gracie bears a resemblance to Sylvia Plath, though the same might be said of many youthfully apprehensive brides of that era. I have lauded her inspiration and lamented the depths of her emotional unease.
My beloved mom began our final conversation by asking for the time: when I indicated 10:30 she worriedly replied: “then we’ll need to make the Eleven” (o’clock Mass of her nursing home imagination). But if taunted by the Irish waterfront’s militant tribalism and her own anxiety disorders, Gracie’s world remained ever suffused with the richly eclectic voices and passions of the great metropolis: it’s out there, she promised.
With you always.