Jean Hough

Grey Street


I’m Jean Hough, and I’m standing on Grey Street. When we used to walk to swimming lessons down at Thames Pool on early mornings in the summer, all the doors were open because, you know how hot it can get. And the smells were incredible. The Italian lady would be cooking up a storm, early before it gets hot, and the Ukrainian people did the same thing, Polish. We had lots of Jewish people. People had different businesses or trades or talents. But when we were very small, we would go to a Jewish lady’s house. And we used to sit up on her big fluffy bed and she would pull long boxes out from under. And you would pick through the socks in them and find two that matched and had no runs. And then you would buy how many pairs of socks you were supposed to, pay her, and say goodbye and off you went. We had a real mix. I always thought that is was comforting, but my friend Ellen says that, yes, she knew that but it was not very important to her, it didn’t really stay with her.  So I think a lot of what I feel is because I don’t have a grounded base of belonging. Whereas in her house she was the youngest child. But she always knew who she was, and that she belonged. I think I always took in my surroundings hoping I would find a place to belong as well, yeah… I’m Jean Hough. I lived in SoHo, on Grey Street.