On the 14th–Woody Guthrie’s Birthday and Bastille Day–we ventured onto Manhattan Isle to meet Beata, a Polish friend of Marysia’s. She was in the States visiting her sister and crossed the Hudson on a ferry to connect with us.
She brought a cute lil’ stuffed bear for Ian, which he immediately fell in love with. It comes with a T-shirt that says, “Nie mow do mnie misiu.” Literally, this translates as “Don’t call me teddy bear,” but Beata says that there’s an idommatic meaning in Polish. It also has a spare T-shirt with a zoomin’ car on it!
We picked up some sandwiches at a grocery store and made our way to Central Park. The weather was beautiful and we stumbled upon a small gazebo where we had our picnic.
We’d brought food for Ian, but neglected to include a spoon. Marysia improvised with the wrong end of a fork.
Ian did not seem to mind.
Next we walked to the pond where sail boats commonly sail (officially known as the Conservatory Water) and where Penny and Jerry Butler walked the Infant Jeremy and his pesky little brother, Reid, in 1958–when the former was 4 and the latter was 2. Dad was working in NYC and we had lucked into an apartment near the park.
Marysia and Beata, in a quintessential New York scene:
I was eager to introduce Ian to the pond.
And, in particular, I wanted him to “meet” Hans Christian Andersen–a larger-than-life bronze statue that was installed in 1956. It was virtually brand new when I first visited it and I’ve long believed that sitting on his lap is my oldest childhood memory. When I visit NYC I often make a little pilgrimmage to Hans Christian Andersen and hop up on his lap once again.
Ian was fascinated with him–especially the “ugly duckling” at his feet.
He then demanded that he be lifted up so that he could read the beginning of the story of the ugly duckling that is inscribed in HCA’s book.
After communing with Hans, we set off for Ian’s first subway ride.
All in all, a very eventful day!