1923: A Time For Change?

Morgan Nash, guest writer


. . . And there I was, stuck in a life I did not love, with a man that I did not love. I knew I deserved better. I knew I could not spend another day feeling breathless. I knew I was meant for so much more. So, I ran.


*          *          *


“Last stop, New York! Everyone off!” the conductor yelled over the screeching brakes as he stormed through the aisle. Waking up from the little sleep I had gotten, I attempted to uncurl from my little ball and stretch my legs out, but was halted as my legs jammed against the three suitcases and trunk tightly packed infront of me. I had forgotten who I was sitting by— Mr. Henrick Davidson, a sweet man of about 50 . . . said he was on his way to Tokyo with a mission team to help with cleanup from the earthquake. It was my first time hearing of such news. Mr. Davidson said, “It had a magnitude of 7.9 (The Editors). Over 140,000 innocent folks passed, the least I can do is go help their families and try my best to fix up their homes some.”

The train halted and everyone emerged from their seats in a hurry to collect their things and deboard—many to meet their families waiting anxiously outside at the station. Not me. I was on my own. I said my farewell to my new friend, collected my belongings (my journal and small suitcase), and stepped off the train.

Feathers. Music. Lights. Streets jam packed with men heading off to work with their briefcases in hand. Women making their way home wearing smudged makeup and last night’s dresses— and very short ones may I add.I had just gotten used to the hem length being raised to “six inches off the ground.” These were “at the knee” (Shi, p. 794). The crisp and harsh cold pierced my skin, and I quickly pulled my sleeves to hide my finger tips from the cold. There were so many different aromas in the air, it was hard to pick just one—fresh bread being peddled down the street, wet pavement, gasoline from honking cars, smoke emerging from factories. So this was New York.

It was 1923, and the booming city was already so very different from back home in Pennsylvania. I liked it and was instantly intrigued. It was a fresh start. A new life. A new me.

*          *          *

I lay in bed that night pondering everything that led me to come to New York—Papa’s push for me to pursue my dream of writing (even as a woman) before he died, falling in love with another writer. . . and then falling out of it when the abuse began, then running to New York to start over. . . to pursue my dream of being part of a big magazine . . . to escape Simon’s strangling grip.

Tomorrow would be the day that would assure me that my escape actually had purpose. I would walk into the office of the brand new TIME Magazine and present to the manager why he should hire me.

*          *          *

I sat in the lobby of TIME Magazine overwhelmed with eagerness. The day had already been stressful in and of itself. I had left my motel quite early so that I could find and get settled in my apartment. I found it all right, along with my roommate who was passed out on the couch after what looked to be a long night of partying. The apartment was fairly disorganized and the air was coated with a thick must.

There’s no way that is cigar smoke, I thought. Surely a lady would not smoke a cigar.

I was wrong. As I was examining the room more I noticed that my roommate had fallen asleep with a cigar in her mouth.


The apartment was rather small. There was a tiny kitchen that appeared to never have been used for anything besides storing unnecessary gadgets. I peeked into what appeared to be a small bathroom. It reeked of fresh vomit. I gagged and quickly shut the door. In the bedroom were two small cots—mine appeared to be serving as laundry table.

With only an hour until TIME Magazine opened, I set my small bag on an uncluttered part of the cot and headed out the door, careful to not wake my new roommate. As I headed out the door, my blouse got caught on a piece of wood that was sticking out of the doorframe, and my top button popped off.

Great, just great. I thought to myself. This will look real classy when I ask for a job.

My thoughts were interrupted by the one and only Callie Hathoway—the front desk secretary who looked highly unintelligent.

“Ms… what did you say your name was, darlin’?” Callie smacked her glossy red lips together. She made me cringe.

“It’s Epp—” I stopped myself. I had forgotten that I shouldn’t go by my real name, especially with the press. Simon would be sure to find me that way.

“Is that a hard one, Miss? Callie smacked her gum obnoxiously.

“Pardon me. It’s, uh, it’s Susan, uh… Susan Buchannaan. Call me Susie.”

“All right, Susan. If you want, you can see Mr. Dolberg now in his office.”

I walked through the busy workroom. Desks were packed in, phones were ringing, individuals were typing away on typewriters, some just standing around smoking cigars. I at this point was beyond nervous, and beginning to feel out of place. However, as looked around more and more I felt less paranoid about my unbuttoned blouse. In fact, my tiny bit of cleavage did not compare to the women who were practically wearing slips around me.

Mr. Dolberg was on the phone when I walked in, taking large puffs from his cigar every chance he got, which was rare because he didn’t seem to give the individual on the other line a chance to talk.

“Just get the story to me tonight or I will cut you. Not another word. I don’t care about the puppy breeding taking place at the part. I want news on the new stadium. Get it to me or I’ll . . .” Mr. Dolberg’s eyes met mine “Listen, I have someone here waiting on me. Just get me the story.”

He hung up.

“What do you want?”

“Hi, Mr. Dolberg. My name is Ep, uh, I mean to say my name is Susan Buchannaan. I just recently moved here and I am a big supporter of the TIMES. I’m sorry, I meant to say you can call me Susie. I was just wondering if…”

“Why are you here? I don’t have time to sit down and have tea, Ms. Buchannan. What do you want.” He took a sip of his coffee.

“I would like a job. I would like to be a writer.”

He spit his coffee back out with a laugh.

I gave him a look.

“Wait, you’re being serious?”

“Yes, yes, sir, I am”.

“You do know that this is TIME Magazine, correct? People don’t just walk into the TIME and request a job. They get selected.” He blew out a puff of smoke.

“Yes, sir, I do, and I think that…” I stumbled for words, “that I would make TIME even more successful.” What had I gotten myself into. I was making such a fool of myself.

“Do you like baseball, Ms.. what was it again?”


“So, do you?”

“Yes, I love it.” I lied.

“Here’s the deal, I need this piece done about the new stadium tonight, and frankly, I don’t think Joey is going to get it done. He seems more interested in partying and cheating on his wife than actually doing his job. The Yankee Stadium is opening tonight. They say there is a projected number of “75,000 fans” (Yankee)  that will be there and I’m desperate for a cover story. If you don’t disappoint me, the job is yours.”

“Oh, Mr. Dolbberg! I am honored! What an opportunity. Thank you so much, sir. I promise I will not let you down. Thank you so…”

“All right, all right. No need to kiss my rear end. Just get it done by this evening and we will talk then.”

*         *          *

I got it done, allright. Dolberg, who never has been one for flattery liked it, and granted me with the job. I walked out of his office and smiled. This was the new beginning. This was the new me.

As I walked to my apartment, I was beyond excited and I felt free… that is, until I opened the apartment door.

I turned stone cold.


“Simon. . . what are you doing here?”

“You didn’t think you really could get away, did you?”



Works Cited

Shi, David, and George Tindall. America: The Essential Learning Edition. W. W. Norton &          Company, Inc. 2015

The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Tokyo Yokohama earthquake of 1923”. Encyclopedia

Britannica. 31 Jan. 2012. Web. 3 April 2017.

“Yankee Stadium History”. The New York Yankees. Web. 13 April 2017.



The Jazz Age. The 20s. Time Life Inc. 1969.

The Roaring Twenties. Greenhaven Press, 2002.

Time Magazine. Weh. 2 April 2017.