Betty Smith Knew Brooklyn

By Amy Hamblen

Growing up in the Midwest, my childhood was a whirl of swimming in strip pits, hunting for morel mushrooms in small forests, rolling down grassy hills, and pondering the open sky. Summers meant trying to catch frogs while my dad fished for bluegill or playing croquet with my mom and brother in our front yard under a hot summer sun.

There was one key person in my life, though, who always told me stories that had a wildly different setting than the out-of-doors life I knew: my grandma from New Jersey. On walks to the park she would entertain me with stories of her youth that...

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