Saturday, October 04, 2008
620 Reservoir Drive, Boonton, New Jersey
When I was six my brother was born and we moved into 620 Reservoir Drive in Boonton, New Jersey. We moved from a giant old Victorian (also in Boonton) where we shared space with my Aunt Helen, Uncle Phil, and cousins Sheila and Stevie. Stevie and I have birthdays that are only two weeks apart so we thought we were twins. We had no idea that we would ever be separated, but one morning we left for nursery school together and in the afternoon we went home to different places to live. Our parents never thought that the change might be a bit disconcerting for us. It wasn’t like we were moving to another city – we just wouldn’t be together 24/7. So there I was, an adorable six years old, torn away from my twin and saddled with this new baby who took all my parents attention. What could I do but pack my tiny tears suitcase and flee the scene. So I found a ride to Route 46 and moved to Alabama where I remained until Gypsies kidnapped me and returned me (yes, I was that bad) to my family. OK, only part of the story is true—Gypsies never kidnapped me.
As I mentioned in a blob a few days ago, over the last week we have been cleaning out the house in which my family lived for about 57 years. It was a nightmare both physically and emotionally. Yesterday we finished and went to the Reservoir Tavern for a lunch celebration. “ The Res” remains an integral part of who I was and I guess, am. It is a fabulous Italian family restaurant where I had my first dish of pasta with golden garlic and the best pizza you can eat outside of Italy, (but it is in the same league.) On a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, people are three deep at the bar and after 6 the wait is about an hour. But it’s worth waiting because if you get close to the bar you can order toasties (deep fried and yet healthy!) and a drink. When I think about what I will miss about Boonton, the Res is right at the top of the list, (I don’t think I’ll miss the new WalMart). The Res is also the place where all the old friends gather on the night before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Eating dinner is only part of the reason. Being at the Res is like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold night—comfortable and reassuring. And although we all get older we remember one another without any baggage and to some degree, we see each other as we were when life was just another Friday night football game.
Chris Coombs came over to help us lug and lift. Els (my sister-in-law) is strong but the 250 pound mirrors and the 500 pound console TV were even too much for her. At about 11:00am when we were borderline catatonic, (and the people who assured us they would come to collect the free furniture they selected failed to appear) we called the movers from the homeless shelter who had taken all the unclaimed good stuff two days ago and asked them if they could just empty the house and take whatever was left to the dump. They said they could be there within the hour. Chris and David had already made two trips to the dump and couldn’t deal with doing it again. By the time we made the call we had taken everything to the garage except two giant antique mirrors – one with beveled edges and one deco with inlaid painted glass. We were heartbroken about having to throw them out. Especially since when we got them off the walls they were even more beautiful. So Els decided to take one.
At about the same time, Mr Leva, the landscaper, showed up to mow the lawn. I told him he didn’t have to do it – since we had sold the old homestead, but I asked him if he would help me to dig up a small seedling from the front yard—a kind of keepsake that I could take and plant in Virginia. He knew exactly what I wanted. “You mean the Japanese Maple?” he asked. “You know it was so pretty that I never pulled it up--even though it planted itself.” And he dug it out with enough dirt and love that I think it will live until David gets it home. “You know, I did the original landscaping with your Dad. We walked around the property and he told me what he wanted and I told him what we could do and it worked, didn’t it. Shame the white birch died near the back door, but time takes a toll on everything.” He was sure right. “Mr. Leva, how do you feel about antique mirrors, because I have one that I don’t want to trash but I don’t know what to do with?”
Mr. Leva took the mirror and a set of outdoor plastic outdoor furniture. At the same time the guys with the truck showed up, the women from the Mosque, who had promised to be there hours before and were unreachable, also appeared. But it was too late. The stuff was already loaded and the women had neither truck nor help to take it off.
And that was that. Nothing left but the memories – oh and I did take some old pictures of my parents, Jeff and me, taped them together and hung (hid) them in a place where they would always remain. Like those movies where the ghosts refuse to leave, we would always be there in spirit. (I might share the location sometime when we're all together).
I looked out at the 55 years worth of pieces of our lives going to the trash and all I could think was, I guess I’m glad those Gypsies returned me. We’re just sayin...Iris
as always, click on a picture to see it full size