This morning I walked down my garden path and bumped into my neighbor who I’ll refer to here as Julia. Julia is 92 years old and has lived in SMA for over 20 years. Her late husband was a journalist in NYC; he passed away 4 years ago.
I was apprehensive about approaching Julia for an interview. Several people I’ve met here refer to her as the “grand dame” of SMA. As I’ve alluded to here before, some of the not so “grand” dames of SMA are not very friendly or helpful (thus my reluctance to approach Julia). It turns out, Julia is worthy of her title. She has a sharp mind and incredible memory. She’s also extremely well connected in SMA, and even offered to introduce me to a woman who has been here since the 1930s (I’m assuming she came here as a child). In any case, Julia may turn out to be one of those “key” informants that drives a project like this forward. When I told Julia I’d like to interview here, but didn’t want to bother her if she was busy she replied, “Don’t be silly. I love to be bothered.”