... received late December
A letter received in late December, beyond our publication deadline. The writer refers to an article I wrote about my sister-in-law in our October, 2003 issue. To read, click here. Her book, "Dispatches of the 1960s From a White Writer for a Black Newspaper in New York City." She assumed the name of Gertrude Wilson, pretending to have a posh Upper Fifth Avenue address. In her published memoirs, she reveals her real name, Justine Tyrrell Priestley. The book is available on Amazon.com, from Barnes and Noble, or from the publisher on Martha's Vineyard, RR1 P.O. Box 65B9, Edgartown MA 02539. The feature article: Newsday, Aug.14,'03.
Dear Mr. Priestley,
On this quiet evening I was "surfing" names from my past. One of them was a young woman, Justine Tyrrell, whom I knew in the early 40's when my older brother, Walter Mantani, was conductor of a young peoples' symphony orchestra sponsored by the Hecshcher Foundadation. At that time the Foundation was located at 104th Street and 5th Avenue in NYC. I thought Justine was the most beautiful and charming woman and I had a very definite eight-year-old's crush on her.
She and my brother were friends and she even came to visit us at my parents home in New Jersey.
After the war, my brother left the Foundation, Louis Smadbeck returned from military service and I never saw or heard of Justine (I think we called her "Jut") again until now. I often wondered what had become of her. My brother died in 1963 at a young age.
It doesn't surprise me that she went on to be the activist and humanitarian that she was. She was such as beautiful lady in body and spirit.
It saddens me that she is no longer with us. I would have loved to have spoken to her again.
Armand De Luca
Orient Point, NY