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A treasure is a thing or a person highly valued. I believe that what is considered valuable may vary from one person to another. I have been on this long journey to learn more about my mother, and in doing so, I have been reaching out to people I would not normally contact. One of those such persons was Alan Greenspan. Alan Greenspan is the former chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Board, which oversees the Federal Reserve Bank from 1987 until 2006.
Before I went to New York for my research trip, I was interested in learning more about my mother’s High School. My mother attended George Washington High School located in the neighborhood of Washington Heights in Manhattan, NY. So as I was searching the internet, I came across Wikipedia that had a listing of noted individuals that attended GW High. On the list was Henry Kissinger, Harry Belafonte and Alan Greenspan. I had remembered my mother stating that she attended the same school with Alan, but she was not too keen on him, so I did not push her.
So, I decided to locate Alan Greenspan, and this is the transcribed letter I wrote him:
September 7, 2009
Mr. Alan Greenspan
Washington DC 20036
My name is Yvette Porter Moore and I am doing research for a book that incorporates some of the writings of my late mother, Betty Mae Peters who was born in Manhattan, New York in 1926. She grew up in the Sugar Hill area to to 1950 at which time she moved to Los Angeles. My mother attended Washington High School and was a graduate of NYU.
During my research for the book, I discovered that you were born in 1926, raised in the Washington Heights neighborhood and also attended the same schools as my mother. These little known facts really intrigued me, and this is when I read a short biography about you online. My mother spoke of the cultures that resided in the neighborhood. I remember her telling me she went to school where it was predominately Jewish. I could truly see the cultural influences of her upbringing as I was exposed to Kosher foods growing up and also lived in a predominately Jewish neighborhood in San Diego, California. My mother was fond of the Jewish culture.
My mother also stated that she resided in “Sugar Hill” and that it was considered a posh African American neighborhood that has deep historical roots during the period of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1910’s, 20’s and 30’s. I’ve also read her journal that made mention of World War II, and the Air Raid drills that occurred in New York. My mother was going to write a book of her memoirs in Manhattan, but she died before her dream was realized. As her daughter, it is my desire to writer her story.
This is why I have written you this letter. I humbly come to you requesting that you would share with me, from your perspective what Manhattan was like growing up. What were the race relations between the Jews and the Blacks during the 30’s 40’s and early 50’s? I would like to know what the environmental landscape was in Washington Heights, Manhattan. I understand that we may never meet but anything you can share with me would not only be wonderful, but I would be eternally grateful to you.
I am including my mother’s obituary in hopes that you will feel compelled to write me back personally or possibly call me. [Contact info removed for privacy]. If you would like to meet in person, please also let me know so I can arrange my travel. I appreciate anything that you can do to help.
Yvette Porter Moore
Mr Greenspan responded to my request quickly:
September 18, 2009
Dear Ms. Moore,
Your letter brought back many memories. I wish I had the time to sit back and chat about my growing in Washington Heights, but my schedule is so tight that I am unable.
My best wishes on your project
Even though he graciously declined my opportunity to interview him, I decided to read his books. By doing so, I learned as much as I would have if I had the chance to speak with him. I feel that this note is treasure for my chest as he still gave me well wishes for my continuing project, (this is how I took it) because no matter how disappointed I was, he did respond back to me.