Wallace Wood: Against the Grain, part eight
On the heels of the fictional Fox/EC romances, a real-life romance began after Wood met Tatjana Weintraub. Born in Darmstadt, Germany, she was living in Holland before coming to the United States in 1947 with her brother. “My brother wanted to emigrate because he wanted to go to the university,” she said in 1985. “The Quaker school we went to was an international Quaker school. In Holland you can’t study at a university unless you have a Dutch state exam. It was very hard to become a Dutch citizen, and we were stateless. Through the Quakers, he got an offer to come to the States. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I got an offer too, and I traipsed along.”
She arrived in New York in December, 1947, shortly before the Wood brothers came East, and in an odd coincidence almost as if they were destined to meet, she moved into a rooming house on the same street where Woody lived in 1948 — West 97th Street. It was not until 1949, however, that she encountered the Wood brothers at a folk dance elsewhere in Manhattan.
“Through the school I went to in Europe, I got in touch with Quakers here. They had set up this group especially so that immigrants could meet Americans. Every Saturday night, a folk dance was held in the cafeteria of a Quaker school. Wallace and his brother showed up suddenly.”
Glenn and Woody attended the dances regularly, and in December, 1949, Tatjana began dating Glenn, who recalled, “Wally and I would go to the Quaker folk dances, and we met Tatjana and other people that we knew for quite a while there in New York. We both enjoyed that very much. Powell House — I think that was the place where we used to meet. We would go down in the lower part of Manhattan at this central meeting place and learn to square dance, and there were different callers who would carry on activities. Some of this was very, very great stuff. I really kind of wish I could find another group like that. Tatjana was and still is, a great dancer. She’s really tremendous on the dance floor.”
In December, 1949, the trio got together for an evening of fun and frivolity at the annual Christmas party of the Cartoonists and Illustrators School. “The first date we had,” said Tatjana, “I went out with his brother, and Wallace had a different date. Before that date, we only met down at that folk dancing, but I don’t remember whether it was several times. I would imagine so. The Hogarth School’s Christmas ball was in a large room; they may have rented a hall. We sat at a table, and there was also dinner. I remember that Wallace and I talked a lot right away to each other. I had a few dates with Glenn after that Christmas; I think we went to some movies. Wallace had this studio on West 64th where Lincoln Center is now. He and his mother and brother lived upstairs in the same building. One time Glenn and I had been out, and he took me to Wallace’s studio and asked Wallace to take me home because he couldn’t make it. We walked, I suppose, the West Side about 30 blocks, and I think that was the last date I ever had with Glenn.”
In addition to a dressmaking job, Tatjana attended night classes, a full schedule that left her little free time, but her growing relationship with Woody in the winter and spring of 1950 brought some changes. “I had to work to keep myself afloat. I went to the Traphagen School of Fashion in the evening after work. Then I met Wallace and started cutting classes. I gave it up.”