Thanks to my dear sis Abigail, it is now MY time to reflect.
As big of a hole that it was where we grew up, there is NO place else I would have rather spent my first 15 or 16 odd years of my life. New Jersey is instilled in me still and I will always miss those days.
I remember all the bad too, but it all came from good intentions. For instance:
Yes- our carpet had speed bumps (dangerous ones, too)- BUT Amanda was just trying to clean the carpets. I mean, who knew that mop buckets full of water would cause a wood floor to do that?
Yes-we did our dishes in our bathtub. But that's because our beloved father was gonna redo the kitchen for Mom while she was in England, but just never remembered to finish it. This is a double whammy too because it caused our ceiling to fall apart right above the landing and that was miserable and wet and soaked our socks. Just to add to that, I can't tell you how many showers I didn't take, just because the hassle of emptying the dishwasher, er,bathtub would have been, not to mention the wet food that was in there too.
Anyway, One Dirty Tree was a disaster, but I always said if I won the lottery I would buy that house. No way in hell I'd live in it, but I would own it. Not sure it's even fixable really. It's like Dane Cook said, "Paint rust any color you want, it's still rust." Anywho, the tree is gone now and it's sad to me. It was the mascot, if you will, for that house.
My sister Abby was talking about our neighborhood on her blog and what it was like for us growing up. The one thing she said that struck a cord is that the world just doesn't seem to be as safe as it used to. Maybe it's because we're older and wiser now and know what's going on out there, or maybe it's just the truth. I remember nights playing jailbreak with the neighbors all night. Or catching fireflies with old mason jars, or camping outside. The neighborhood seemed so safe but I think it was just so closeknit there that nothing mattered. I can remember the names of almost everyone I grew up with but can't remember names of people I see regularly. It was that kind of town. Good ol New Jersey.
I remember Ethan, before the Ethan we know now. The drummer from Toxxic Waste, the garage band with hits such as "Constipation Nation". The guy who would play the Mister Softee song on his keyboard out of the attic window just to watch the neighborhood kids get their hopes up.
I remember Josiah asking me, "How many pushups should I do?"
or Jenna having us help her stuff those envelopes all night.
I remember my sisters crazy obsession with the NKOTB, and how my brothers and I made a bonfire with their posters and all at a BoyScout camp.
I miss that stuff. I miss Milly watching over us and judging, and playing with the O'Connors, and getting refridgerator boxes from Fridgedaire to make armor suits so that we could all beat each other with sticks. I miss our back porch, thank you Ike. I miss collecting stickers from News Nook, or seeing how far I could stretch a buck at Philly News. I miss Brenton stomping out our hamsters (RIP Brenton). I miss the downpours and the flooded streets. I miss eating sh** at the jumps on my bike, and ballgames at the community center. I could go on. I miss it all.
Unfortunately, after dad left, we were forced to as well.
Not to say I don't love Colorado, because I do, but if I could just have back a few things that were left in Jersey, I think I'd be much happier. Like honesty, reality and Vincents Pizza and Panzarotti's. Hell, throw in CVS and Aunt Charlottes too, and while you're at it, a little Philly News and Market, News Nook, the Community Center and the Hendricksens front porch. It really was a good place, wasn't it?