Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Windows -- II

Well, yesterday I mentioned what it was like looking out one of the living room windows. When I counted the windows, I did not count the door windows, and I suppose I should talk about what I could see out the front door window. I also didn't count the two attic windows, but I shall talk about the views I had from those two windows at another time.

The closest thing to the front door was the front porch, then the steps leading down to the sidewalk, the street, and across the street, Downing School. The school I attended for 4 years. I recall waiting by the front door for the children to line up to go into the school, then I would head over to school arriving just in time for school to begin. I really didn't want to play on the playground in the morning before school started, but can't recall whether the reason was I was shy -- yes, believe it or not I am shy -- or whether it was because I didn't want to get dirty before school started.

The piano was just inside the front door -- there was just enough room to open the door without bumping into the piano. As I mentioned the rooms in the small house were, well, small. So, as I sat at the piano, which was a daily occurrence for me as I was religious about practicing right after school, I could see the comings and goings on the street -- of which there were few, children playing on the school ground -- there weren't many of them either -- and the porch, where, if the weather was nice, my brothers and sister would be playing.

In nice weather the door was left open, and the screen door provided the view, rather than the beveled glass door which was shut during cold weather. I seem to recall that the door was open on the first nice day, usually in March, and left open, pretty much the rest of the time, until late October. The only time the inside door was closed was at night, when we were in "lock down" mode.

My dad was a stickler about locked doors. Why, he wouldn't even give me a key when I was in college for fear I'd lose it and someone would find it and figure out where we lived and break in. So, I had to pray that someone was home at any time I was away from the house and coming back to the house. I don't think I had to sit on the front porch very often waiting for someone to come home to unlock the door for me.

Since my mom and dad both played the piano, I think they were determined that each child would learn to play. My dear sister tried, but didn't get very far. My brother, Mark, quickly switched to trumpet, and I don't recall that my brother Carl ever learned any instrument. If he did, it was done after I wasn't home very much any more.

So my view from the piano was such that I could see and hear the street and it's sounds, and the street could hear the sounds emitted from the piano, good and bad. But it was another view from the multitudinous views I had from various parts of that tiny home.


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