Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Another County heard from!"

“Election Day seemed the greatest holliday of all to Francie. It, more than any other time, belonged to the whole neighborhood. Maybe people voted in other parts of the country, too, but it couldn’t be the way it was in Brooklyn, thought Francie.
“The week before the election she went around with Neeley and the boys gathering “lection” which was what they called the lumber for the big bonfires which would be lighted Election night. She helped store the lection in the cellar…
“Francie helped Neeley drag their wood out on Election night. They contributed it to the biggest bonfire on the block. Francie got in line with the other children and danced around the fire Indian fashion, singing “Tammany.” When the fire had burned down to embers, the boys raided the pushcarts of the Jewish merchants and stole potatoes which they roasted in the ashes. So cooked, they were called “mickies.” There weren’t enough to go around and Francie didn’t get any."

“Francie, along with the other neighborhood children, went through some of the Election night rites without knowing their meaning or reason. On Election night, she got in line, her hands on the shoulders of the child in front, and snake-danced through the streets singing,
“Tammany, Tammany,Big Chief sits in his teepee,Cheering braves to victory,Tamma-nee, Tamma-nee.”

“She stood on the street watching the returns come in on a bed sheet stretched from window to window of a house on the corner. A magic lantern across the street threw the figures on the sheet. Each time new returns came in, Francie shouted with the other kids, “Another county heard from!”

-from Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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