Mom in the baby carriage, 1945
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I played sometimes on the fifth floor of the Castle, high above the streets of Brooklyn, in the old servants' quarters.
Sometimes I lit a ghost fire in the long-unused fireplace there, kneeling at the marble hearth to warm myself in its phantom flames.
I peeked into the bathroom, at the enormous claw-foot tub under a steeply slanting ceiling, or into the china storage room, where I liked to imagine the sound of dinner parties, the laughter and conversation, the clink of glass against glass.
I would dare myself to enter the trunk room, a dark interior closet filled with the luggage of long-ago trips--many steamer trunks, their brass fittings blinking in the sudden light.
And it was there I discovered the derelict baby carriage, and filled it with the toys of another childhood, and tended them: the celluloid-faced Humpty-Dumpty, his stripy legs uselessly dangling; the dusty Steiff dogs, a Boxer and an Airedale; the naked baby doll, its two tiny pearly teeth and eyes that opened and shut, eerily, on clever hinges...