Hard copies of these typed letters were discovered in an old camp trunk in the basement storage facility of one of the few buildings that remain standing in this Brooklyn neighborhood. The building is quite decrepit and is scheduled for demolition. The letters were found in November 2048 by a teenager who believes they were written by his great-grandfather. The letters are addressed to Mendel, the letter writer’s father, who appears to have been dead for at least six years when his son, whose name we are unsure of, started to write him. The son appears very agitated in some of the letters. With permission from the family, we are publishing them on the date they were written, only 28 years later.

December 30, 2020

Dear Mendel,

You were a Zayde, now I’m a Zayde, but this is a story of the original Zayde. I don’t know if you remember the story, and if you do, I’m sure we remember it differently, but it is a funny commentary on aging and family. Zayde, your father, was in a nursing home. He was in his nineties and it was getting close to the end of the line. He had immigrated to the United States, raised a family, and lived through two world wars, the Great Depression, the invention of the car and airplane, and the lunar landing. Over time Zayde had lost his facility in English and was now only speaking in Yiddish.

That day there were six of us crowded into his small room, you, your two brothers, me, and two of my male cousins. My cousins and I were in our early twenties, which put you and your brothers in your fifties. Zayde keep speaking in Yiddish to the cousins when either you or one of your brothers interrupted and said “Pa, we are your sons. Those are your grandsons.” He looked at the three of you and responded. “Those are my sons. You three are old men.”

Happy New Year.

Your son