Long Long Agoby Frederick Orin Bartlett
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length:
Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed
When the brakeman swung back the door and with resonant indifference shouted in Esperanto “Granderantal stashun,” Galbraithe felt like jumping up and shaking the man’s hand. It was five years since he had heard that name pronounced as it should be pronounced because it was just five years since he had resigned from the staff of a certain New York daily and left to accept the editorship of a Kansas weekly. These last years had been big years, full of the joy of hard work, and though they had left him younger than when he went they had been five years away from New York. Now he was back again for a brief vacation, eager for a sight of the old crowd.
When he stepped from the train he was confused for a moment. It took him a second to get his bearings but as soon as he found himself fighting for his feet in the dear old stream of commuters he knew he was at home again. The heady jostle among familiar types made him feel that he had not been gone five days, although the way the horde swept past him proved that he had lost some of his old-time skill and cunning in a crowd. But he did not mind; he was here on a holiday, and they were here on business and had their rights. He recognized every mother’s son of them. Neither the young ones nor the old ones were a day older. They wore the same clothes, carried the same bundles and passed the same remarks. The solid business man weighted with the burden of a Long Island estate was there; the young man in a broker’s office who pushed his own lawn mower at New Rochelle was there; the man who got aboard at One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street was there. There was the man with a Van Dyke, the man with a mustache and the fat, smooth-shaven man and the wives, the sisters and the stenographers of all these. They were just as Galbraithe had left them–God bless ’em.
A strange and very joyful and then sad piece about a man who visits his old neighborhood. With delight, he finds it hasn’t changed at all; but then at deeper inspection, he finds that everyone he knew is deceased, and no one remembers them…it is as though he and his friends had never lived. It’s quite tragic. Is there enough action for the theatre? Probably not; but possibly a fabulous one-person show?
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