Friday, March 11, 2011
The phone rang on a Friday evening. It was one of those evenings quiet enough to border on boredom, or quiet enough to be saved against some chaos closing in.
Her voice was quiet, formal, with some age and a New York accent.
"This is Ivory Collier. I'm related to that young man who was hanged. The one you wrote about."
The pause went a beat beyond polite.
"A friend sent me an article about your book, about what you did to try to help him."
She described her family in Charleston, aunts, uncles and their stories of the hanging and the Duncan storm. Ivory Collier left Charleston almost a half century ago. She moved to New York. There is far more of that in her accent than the the gentle roll of the vowels that come from this peninsula.
Ivory is 66 and works a rotating shift for Con Edison, living in a section of Harlem that most only see when they take a wrong turn of the George Washington Bridge.
I'm going to New York next week, for business I thought more important. A run up to Harlem may be in order, to have tea with the last link to Nealy Duncan.
This story may yet have a proper epilogue. If I can find a cab that will run that far, up the FDR. ______________________________________________