Love, H: The Letters of Helene Dorn and Hettie Jones
Hettie Jones is the author of numerous books, including her memoir of the Beat scene How I Became Hettie Jones; the poetry collection Drive; and the young adult Big Star Fallin’ Mama: Five Women in Black Music. She has published in many newspapers and magazines, including the Village Voice, Global City Review, and Ploughshares. She currently teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at The New School, the 92nd Street Y, and the Lower Eastside Girls Club, and she previously taught at several colleges and universities in New York and elsewhere. Jones lives in New York City.
Hettie living situation is again threatened by gentrification. The “motherboard” of her computer breaks; she’s going to Africa. “Sweet and friendly” Kenneth Koch dies. In Africa, at Golden Tulip Hotel, then Rita’s village, they work well. Back in New York, Helene counsels, “Take a breath,” wishes Hettie would visit, and she does. When real estate agent with developer visits, she asks for $1 million to move, then next day asks for $1.4 million. Helene laughs. But in narrative Hettie says money can’t buy history, which she prefers to money. Home again, she finds section of original pre-1850 ceiling has fallen; fixing, she thinks of Rita’s aunty. Helene gets new hearing aids, moves to senior housing. New deal at 27 Cooper Square in progress while Hettie writes Rita Marley book of 72,438 words. With neighbor Katy to lawyers; their apartments will be renovated, historic building and its Beat / Black Arts history saved.