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.
Apartment below Hettie’s is gutted for renovation and dust rising, her bathroom’s inoperative. Helene losing her hair, Hettie suggests pellagra, no bathroom for two weeks makes her tired, dirty, mad. Helene sees Boston doctor, says “No More Doctors.” Hettie has scene with “specialty plumbers”; when workmen come to repoint brick, dust boils out windows, neighbors call firemen, who break street door and dash in. Helene soon back walking outdoors, legs and head healing. Hettie, “all tuckered out,” meets drummer Milford Graves, who’s glad she’d saved “historic building.” She confesses there’d always be reminders of past life in it. Helene writes of Fred’s birthday party, then Fred’s throat cancer, says it should have got her, not him. Both wish they could “step over” Christmas, then say Happy New Year; Helene sends love to Lisa, who will marry in January. It’s cold; Helene suggests Hettie wear a ski suit, her last-ever words.