Anne Wilsdorf

Protopopescu, Orel: -

Orel Protopopescu

I grew up with two older sisters in Hempstead, Long Island, a town considered, throughout the 1950s, to be a model of integration. My mother was a dedicated third-grade teacher in an inner-city school. I devoured all the books she brought me. My father, a lawyer who preferred bridge and backgammon to the law, taught me chess and told stories that made me laugh. He was born in Russia and named me for a Russian city, something that I was often teased about at school. It was the Cold War. We had frequent air-raid drills where we had to crouch down in the hallways with our coats over our heads. I was also teased for being the only kid in school who'd skipped the fourth grade.

Still, I loved my neighborhood, with its people of every color and nationality. Our friends from Jamaica taught us the limbo. Gospel music spilled out of the Baptist church, jazz and rhythm and blues from many houses. I rode my bike Read More chevron_right