Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Monday, December 1, 2008

Window views

I was awake again today at 5:00 a.m. and was thinking about Runnemede and it came to me that every window in the house where we lived had a different view.

I recall watching Little Women (the one where June Allyson plays Jo) and how at the end of Beth's life they moved her to a place where she could look out of the window.

I am going to spend a few days recalling the many views that you could see from the house on Second Avenue -- the house where I grew up.

While the house was really quite small, probably 1800 feet including attic space, it was loaded with windows, and I'm not going to count basement windows, because really the only view from there was up someone's pant leg or the sky. But on the first floor -- not including the back porch which was one massive set of windows now known as a three-season room -- there were 12 rather large windows, each having it's own distinctive view of the neighborhood in which I lived, the view of which changed as the seasons changed and as my direction of looking from them changed.

I recall one Christmas Eve I desperately wanted to see Santa Claus. I was probably 4 or 5. And I changed my position in bed, so that I was sleeping at the foot of the bed and had a clear view of the two windows in the little back bedroom where my sister and I slept with my brother Mark(he was in a crib at the time). Mom and dad weren't too thrilled with me sleeping in that position, but they let me, knowing full well that I would wake up in the morning in bed, in the correct place (because they had moved me during the night) and that while I hoped to see Mr. C, I wouldn't see him, but looking out the windows would make me drowsy and sleepy. They even put the shades all the way up to the top so I would have a full view from those windows. Parents will do anything to get their children to sleep in Christmas eve!
What did I see that night? Nothing but reflections of the bedroom, and stars. Never did see Mr. C or his animals. But when I woke in the morning, I was sure I had heard the bells and the noise of hooves on the snow.
One of my favorite places to get a view from the Runnemede house was the side window in the living room. There was a love seat placed in front of that window, and I would sit for hours looking out that window, watching the traffic (maybe one car an hour would drive by, on a busy day), watching for my friends, looking at the garage next door -- yes, there was a great view of that garage, because it butted up against the church's property. Mom had planted roses and lilies there to try to hide the garage. She also had a forsythia bush that covered a portion of the building.
That particular building was black tar paper on the outside, and roofed with an ugly dark brown roofing single. It was not an attractive building, and as far as I ever knew, it was never used. Mr. Kline, our neighbor on whose property the garage resided, may have used it for storage, but I never saw anyone coming from or going into that garage. I think finally it fell down.
From that seat I could see the sky, the sunset (it faced west), smell the on-coming storms, watch them roll in, and enjoy the magnificence of the lightning and thunder on a summer day. From that seat I could watch the seasons change and with each change the view changed. In the summer the garage was well hidden by mom's bushes. In the winter, all the plants seemed to have died, they had lost their leaves, and so only a few "sticks" hid that garage.
I also liked to sit in that seat and on a cold day blow on the window creating a haze into which I would write words, or draw, and then get in trouble because I messed up my mother's clean window. My task then was to clean the window back to it's original cleanliness and pass mom's inspection. But that didn't stop me from huffing and blowing on the glass again and again and again.
The view at the top of this BLOG is the view from the back porch windows over to the church on a snowy day, many, many years ago. It had to be before the 1970s because the gray siding came off in the 70s and was restored to a white clapboard siding, to make the church look like it did originally.
much mtf

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