Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Attic windows

In the attic where my sister and I were housed (after several years of my father using it for his study), there were two windows, one in the front, and one in the back. You can see the one in the front in the picture of our house. The "front" room was used for storage until I was 16, at which time I nagged and nagged my parents to let me have the room for my bedroom. I told them I would clean it out and since there was furniture in there, I decided I could use that furniture for my own, and not share a bureau and bed with my sister. Not a bad idea, eh?

The front room had no heat in it, so we took off the door that separated that room from the "back" room, where my sister and I had been housed, so the heat would flow into the "front" room (minimally). I think I had an electric heater in there for the really cold days in winter.

So, I had a different view out of the front of the house, than I had from downstairs, either through the door or the front window -- that would be the openings that faced Second Avenue.

From my perch I could see a lot more, and since I was even with the tree branches, I could enjoy the birds more closely than downstairs where I would have to look up to see them. I recall a family of cardinals that "lived" in one of the sycamore trees that was out front. The trees are still there, you can see them in the picture. The cardinal family lived in the tree on the left as you look at the picture.

I loved my roost. And it really was like being in a tree house. The window, although it doesn't look really large was 48x54, so it really was a good sized window, and the dormer in which it was set was like a little sitting room, although I did put my bed under the window in the summer time.

I have always been a furniture mover, and so every time I cleaned my room, I moved the furniture. Now that I can't move myself, my furniture moving days are over, and I think my husband is very thankful for that, because when I was younger, he would leave for work and the furniture would be arranged one way, and he would come home, hoping when he walked in that I hadn't moved the furniture to a place where he would trip over something. I tried to be sensitive to traffic patterns, at least.

So I arranged that little dormer-room as my "office" with the desk in front of the window and the chair set so I could see out the window. Or, as I mentioned, my bed would be placed in front of the window and I, like Beth in Little Women, had a great view of the street, the school, and far up the street, and trees and their inhabitants.

From my lofty position I could see not only Mrs. Mahorter's house, but the Britton's home, and almost up to the Strike's house.

I recall one day Tom Lodge -- our produce huckster -- was parked out front of our home, and I was spying on him. He looked up, and I'm sure he could see me on my side of the window, but maybe he couldn't. After all, when you look in a window in the daytime, you really can't see very far into the house -- not like at night-time when all the lights are lit and you can see whatever the curtains or blinds don't hide.

I wish I had a picture of that view, but I don't. You'll just have to imagine what it was like.

NOTE: The picture of mom and dad sitting is the side window in the living room, which is the first window about which I wrote. The one where they are standing is in front of the porch/front window in the living room.


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