In a column my father published Feb. 10, 1934, he devotes the last paragraph to a young girl he refers to as “Lady Lorraine.” In honor of her ninth birthday, Ebenezer waxed on about her “ladylike qualities,” her accomplishments in the classroom and her big feet. He wrote that she “threatens to outGarbo Garbo’s legendary feet.” How rude, particularly considering that Lorraine was his landlord’s daughter.
Initially, when I posted that column, I was rather curious about who Lorraine was and whether she was some long lost half-sibling. Then I remembered that the 1930 Census record I found a few months ago lists my father as a “lodger” in the home of Glantis Harris, his wife, Edith, son Harcourt and daughter Lorraine. She was five at the time of the Census, so turning nine four years later makes it all add up.
They lived at 434 St. Nicholas Ave. in New York. The rent for the entire place — I assume it was an apartment since there were other families listed at that address — was $80! In addition to my father, the other lodgers included Irving Hines, also a printer from Barbados, and a Philip Carrera, who is listed as a musician from Trinidad.
(By the way: He would later marry a woman who sported a size 11 shoe, and two of his three daughters — not including yours truly — had feet like their mother.)