Alter's Family Album

His posture in these two pictures indicates the kind of unaccustomed serenity he finally achieved in having that domestic basis of their lives. He was in his early 70's at the time of these two snapshots, both taken during the same late summer afternoon.


While Alter never became a devoted gardener, he did like to do some weeding and pruning in the backyard of his 23rd street elderly house. He didn't do any planting or methodical stuff, but he relished the serenity of his simple, quiet life.

Alter Esselin is standing on the back porch of the 10th street house, and visible just behind him are the spare branches of the tree that inspired his Elegy for a Tree. The window that the branches of the tree can be seen to touch is the window through which the poet converses with his companion tree during the many nights they contemplate in each other.

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