The Sky Through the Hole in the Bone: A Story of Greenwich Village in the Forties
Set in the last days of a still Bohemian Greenwich Village, this memoir is the story of a young girls awakening and growth, told through letters and journal entries. Her adventures lead to a summer working with Georgia OKeeffe, encounters with several atists before their fame--Wilhelm and Elaine deKooning, Franz Kline, Joachim Probst, writer Maxwell Bodenheim and later, Joseph Heller.
The year is 1942, the time of the second World War and the beginning of recovery from the Great Depression. Defense plants are booming; meat, sugar, and butter are rationed, as well as gasoline. Government ration books are a must, the draft is on and young men are being conscripted into the service. For the first time, women are allowed to work at mens jobs.
Marjorie, not yet twenty-one, uncomfortable with men, decides to become a lesbian and devote her life to writing. She considers herself a poet, and escapes much of the influence of the war by moving to Greenwich Village. But when she becomes involved with a group of artists and loses her virginity to Joachim (Jack) Probst, a member of the group, her lesbian dreams fade. Probst renames her Carol, her middle name, and they live together for two years.
Wickie, her best friend, and recipient of most of the early letters, is the opposite of Marjorie, now Carol. Raised in Europe, the daughter of an ambassador, Wickie is sophisticated, worldly, secure in her self-image.
Carol is curious, adventurous, uncertain, insecure. She met Wickie while she was selling magazines cross-country and they became instant friends. She expects someday to be transformed, to automatically become very wise. The magic age is thirty. Her life with Probst has many twists and turns: infidelities, separations, money problems. In a get-away to San Francisco she becomes an artists model, a hat check girl, rides the cable cars, discovers French poets, and North Beach. Her adventures there with a friend, Babs, yield a sense of joy which she had not had in New York.
But when Babs becomes ill, its back to New York, to Probst and inner turmoil. She becomes pregnant and Probst leaves her.
As a mother, Carol continues her Bohemian life, boarding her daughter whom shes named Lilith (the Goddess in George Bernard Shaws play, Back To Methuselah.)
After a failed romance, which nets her an apartment, she falls in love with Arthur Gunn, a painter, exactly her fathers age, who plays Pygmalion to her Eliza Doolittle. He is committed to transforming her-- to making her into a lady, and she is completely open to it. She sees him as very wise. It is through him that she first learns about OKeeffes work, in a retrospective at the Whitney.
Arthur gives up on her transformation and Carol betrays him with Ernest Guteman, a sculptor she is posing for. There is a terrifying night when she is in bed and hears Arthur sharpening knives.
After that incident she moves in with Guteman and they bring Lilith, now three years old, to live with them. It is through Ernest that she meets Georgia OKeeffe and spends a summer working with her. A very important time for Carol, the OKeeffe influence is felt for the rest of her life.
At Liliths nursery school, Carol becomes friends with one of the teachers and through her is introduced to Richard, a young writer-painter, who is working on his PHD at NYU and teaching English at Penn State. They fall in love and eventually marry, making their home in State College, Pennsylvania. Lilith begins first grade.
Marriage creates many problems, much adjusting as they learn to be a family. Carol keeps busy with writing, taking jewelry-making at the college, and learning to cook.
After four years in Pennsylvania, living next to an abandoned apple orchard, getting used to being in the country, Richard applies for, and is hired at Long Beach State Co
What people are saying - Write a review
THE SKY THROUGH THE HOLE IN THE BONE: : A Story of Greenwich Village in the FortiesUser Review - Kirkus
A snapshot of bohemian life in mid-20th-century Greenwich Village, as told through a visionary's extensive journal entries.Lee's candid memoir opens in 1942, when she, a 20-year-old virgin, decided to ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
actually Anyway apartment Arthur artist asked Babs baby Beach beautiful Bellport Benzedrine blue called Carol comes dark Dear Wickie didn’t Djuna Barnes doesn’t door Doris dream everything eyes face feel felt finally Franz Kline friends gallery Georgia O’Keeffe girl gone Grandma guess Guteman hair hand happened haven’t He’s head heard isn’t Joran knew knock laugh leave Lilith live look married Maxwell Bodenheim miss morning mother moved never night nursery school O’Keeffe Okay painting poem Probst Psyche remember Richard Samantha seems She’s sitting sleep smile someone Sometimes sorry sound stares stay story strange Street studio subway T. S. Eliot talk tears tell There’s things thought told trying turned Village voice waiting Waldorf walk watching we’re week What’s who’s window woman won’t wonder write you’ll you’re you’ve